Where are the gaps for supporting service providers in the real estate industry?
Facebook for Business, Instagram Story, and cellphone cameras have turned every real estate professional into a social media specialist, with a degree in photography, videography and journalism for good measure. Or so it may seem to any young entrepreneur trying to get a foothold as a service provider of choice in this industry.
As players working with and in the industry daily we’ve been in the rather unique position to learn what the industry wants. It wants a professional public persona, but at the right price.
Successful real estate entrepreneurs all have a certain image they are comfortable with and any marketing or profiling they put out into the world better match that; so a young service provider’s best bet is to study that image carefully before making any pitch.
Then there’s the issue of money. You had better prepare yourself for some serious negotiations. What else would you expect from people who negotiate for a living? When it comes to pricing your service it is important that you take all of the variables into consideration and price the service correctly from the get-go. And then stick to it; above all else, know your own professional worth.
“But I can do it with my phone” OR “I already have a Facebook page”
True, and true. These are the comebacks agents will throw at you; and you need to have answers for them. Any decent phone can take a photo, and it’s really, really simple to set up a Facebook page. But there’s a reason photographers, social media marketers and the like spend money qualifying themselves. And we see that reason daily.
Anyone can see the difference between a listing that was photographed by a professional and a listing where the agent took a few quick snaps with a smart phone. Dark, dingy-looking kitchens, 10 images focusing on the ceiling and another six photographs of the homeowner’s porcelain clown collection are commonplace with these listings. Wet towels on the rack are a favourite no-no. At the same time, going Live on Facebook for a video update of a recent listing might be easy, but getting the sound and picture quality right is a whole different ball game. A squawking hadeda in the distance, a windgat biker roaring up the road or wind whirling in your cellphone’s mic are not predictable nor are they factors agent “videographers” even consider when shooting a Live or prerecorded video.
Trust us, we know!
You might have noticed some changes with the way your own Facebook newsfeed looks lately; some tweaks have been engineered to the way you see the groups and pages you belong to. This is because Facebook wants its users to generate their own content (this is what there whole business model is based on) and to stop people and businesses from simply sharing and resharing the same limited content.
So what does this mean for an agent managing their own page as and when they have time? Just sharing content generated by another page means you are unlikely to be seen by your intended audience without paying for a sponsored post.
Even if there were no Facebook algorithms to contend with, the potential minefields for agents managing their own pages are huge. Slow response rates, ignoring complaints or negative reviews, turning the business page into a personal soapbox, grammar and spelling errors and misguided or socially insensitive postings to name just a few. To put it simply, there are too many issues to deal with and still be a successful real estate agent.
So where’s the sweet spot?
If you have read this far, you’re either a real entrepreneur looking for a way into the industry; or you’r an agent looking for education and ways to enhance your own marketing efforts. Congratulations to each of you!
Back to the point: Where is the sweet spot? The value add?
Service providers need to know what they are good at: If it’s copy editing, help agents to improve their written listings; if it’s photography, clue yourself up on interior spaces photography (believe us, it’s not the same as shooting pretty landscapes as too many corners in the shot can play havoc with a wide-angle lens); if it’s videography and editing, be quick, efficient and provide uniqueness to the customer experiences.
What all these complementary services have in common is that they assist the successful real estate agent in their core business: Marketing and selling a home. Help them do that, and you’ll have an in with a potential client base of some 30,000 real estate agents.
Additional reporting by: David A Steynberg