Digital Media Popular in Sandhills Real Estate Market
How realtors are increasing their use of digital media
By RAY LINVILLE
The Information Highway connected a long time ago to real estate professionals who increasingly look for ways to use digital media to improve their sales and gain new clients.
To understand more about how digital media – blogs, websites, videos, and social media tools — is being used locally, I reached out to Michael Long, a real estate broker and Realtor with Everything Pines Partners Real Estate.
Digital media is very important for him and his agency to drive home a very specific message: “We are a local firm, not a national brand. Our agents are specific to this area, and we do more than just sell properties. We work actively to improve the quality of life in this community, and we communicate that message through digital media,” he says.
At Everything Pines Partners, agents also have their own webpages in addition to the company’s primary webpages. For Long, it’s a way to promote his experience, identify his service areas, provide contact information, and link to other resources—in addition to making his blog available in an easy-to-read format.
How useful are blogs? Long says, “Blogs are very helpful when they are informative and provide new information. They also help to increase traffic to a Realtor’s website because after a new post has been uploaded, the blog generates an email to potential clients that gives a link to the post.”
When Long was certified as a Pricing Strategy Specialist by the National Association of Realtors, he was quick to explain on his blog how the certification would benefit clients in determining the value for their properties.
Another important aspect of digital marketing is the use of testimonials from recent clients. About testimonials, Long says, “They’re amazing and extremely important. It’s very important to have helpful testimonials on your business page. A recommendation is the best compliment you can get.”
In addition to favorable testimonials, Long benefits from a five-star rating (the highest) on Zillow, an online real estate database company that many new buyers, especially millennials, use to narrow their home searches even before contacting a Realtor.
Long recognized early the importance of Zillow and similar websites such as Trulia and Realtor.com that identify homes as they come on the market. “These sites extract listings from MLS, the Multiple Listing Service, and listings are now available to anyone anywhere. The typical site is updated every 15 minutes. As listings change, prospective buyers can see the change immediately,” he explains.
To optimize his online profile, Long has even contacted Google to improve how he is “found” when a prospective client begins an internet search. “It’s important for new clients to be able to find you. Google crawls webpages and picks up key words that show up in search results. It has increased my search radius and traffic, and having five-star reviews on Google is vitally important,” he adds. (Incidentally, his reviews on Google all have five stars.)
Videos, another important component of digital marketing, are being used increasingly by Realtors. They help to promote open houses and contain links that direct potential clients to other web resources. Long says, “Buyers like virtual tours. A buyer who doesn’t know you can see you in a video and observe your professionalism. Agents at my company have already sold several properties because of the exposure that one video provided.”
Long also uses Facebook and Instagram as digital marketing tools. “In five minutes, I can create a clean, crisp ad. This presence doesn’t always generate sales, but it does boost traffic to your website, particularly when a buyer is looking for a specific MLS number and is checking out a new listing,” he says.
“A Realtor not using digital media is missing out on a huge opportunity to promote,” he concludes.