The annual Florida Realtors Convention certainly was in full force this year and included many speakers with valuable information. I was lucky enough to get to sit in on some of the classes being offered to agents at the convention, and I was impressed by not only the information provided in the classes but also the professionalism and sheer desire to learn from the attending agents. Since real estate is such a visually driven business, accompanied by a growth in transactions and listings moving electronically, I thought providing a top five list of the best apps real estate agents can utilize in their business would be beneficial.
This is probably a no-brainer, but one of the apps growing in popularity by the day is Instagram. The application is a visual-based app with users having the chance to type a brief description below the photo. This is a great tool to use to showcase the curb appeal or great room in that new listing. Don’t forget to use hashtags to boost your views! Common hashtags include #realtor, #realtorlife, #florida (or state you live), and #homeforsale. While Instagram does have optional filters built into the app, I wouldn’t recommend using them as they are quite obvious and may give potential clients a false perception that the photo has been over-edited even if your only intention was to brighten up the room.
One of the most widely-used applications both on mobile devices and desktops is Facebook. A topic of much discussion is whether having both a business page for your listings and a personal page is necessary. During conversations at the convention, many speakers voiced the opinion that it is a personal decision to have one or two pages on Facebook. My suggestion, however, is to keep it simple and stick to one page for personal and business-related items. I suggest this because pages that constantly bombard one topic onto the newsfeeds of people they are trying to target often get blocked and erased from memory. Also, in a business that operates largely on referrals, being able to mix a personal touch with business could heavily work to an agent’s advantage. Find a medium and a way to put your personal spin on posts that are related to real estate, and you will be surprised to see how many potential clients will reach out to you after feeling like they know you from your profile.
This app is a little less known and newer in an age when compared to the strong veterans above. Periscope is a video-based app that syncs with your Twitter page. When logging into Periscope, Twitter will send out a tweet to all your followers that you are now live on periscope. From there, users will be able to see the live video stream from their phone and be able to respond to you over the app in real time. Periscope would be a great app to utilize during an open house or when you have secured a listing and are ready to showcase it to potential buyers. The app gives the perception of seeing a “behind-the-scenes” type of moment and has been widely received by the general public. Periscope actually hit 10 million unique users in the month of August.
Another great resource for real estate agents to utilize is Youtube. Agents can update a full walk-through of a home in just minutes and allow potential buyers from all over the world to have access to it. Youtube has proven to be very beneficial in terms of securing international and foreign buyers. Youtube can also be accessed through both mobile and desktop versions. Remember that if you are going to post a video on both Facebook and Youtube, upload to Youtube first to prevent the video from not working correctly on either platform.
Last but not least, do not forget about the power of Twitter. Agents can utilize Twitter to quickly send out updates on their local area or on new properties for sale and closings. The small blurbs are a great tool to generate buzz and start conversations with interested consumers. I recommend the same strategy on Twitter as with Facebook, keep both profiles together to showcase personality and generate more leads. Twitter is primarily accessed through mobile phones so it is a great way to reach on-the-go consumers.
Keeping up with technology and ways of reaching target consumers is a key tool to being successful in the real estate business. But the payoff of utilizing these new applications is tremendous compared to those that do not stay current. Although it may be challenging, being savvy in new technology also does not go unnoticed and if often appreciated by potential buyers, especially as the Millennial generation steps into the buying market.