Real Estate Agents: Expand Your Brand Through Reviews
Guest Blog Post by Matt Brown
As social media becomes the norm for any business trying to expand its clientele, real estate agents have another very important way of networking. This industry thrives off of referrals and leads of satisfied customers. Now, these leads and referrals are happening online through local data providers and review sites. From the customer’s standpoint, their best referral may be from a satisfied stranger that you helped find the home of their dreams. With this in mind, real estate agents should prompt every happy customer to log in and sound off.
New advances in smart phone technology have made review sites incredibly relevant again, particularly the popular review site Yelp. Apple’s newest creation, the iPhone 4S, has a built in program called Siri that helps its users find everything they are looking for with a quick press of a button and a voice command. When it comes to a local search, the user will simply have to say “Find me a real estate agent in San Antonio”, and Siri will instantly return with a shortlist of Yelp’s best matches. These returns are based on a few different factors.
First and foremost, and hopefully most obvious, is having a Yelp profile. In the real estate industry, it is a great idea for the sponsoring brokerage and the agent to each have their own page, such as this one. Yelp profiles have space to recommend other businesses, and an agency can help its agents by placing the link to their profiles on their page storefront. It is easy to claim or create your business page on Yelp, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve filled out every available editable space with content, photos, messages, etc.
Once the page is established, encourage your customers to review it. If you have helped someone find the apartment or home they were hoping for, you have done something none of the other agents have been able to do. You’ve done the research, helped them negotiate, and set everything up for them. Yes, this is your paying job. But if they appreciate what that takes, ask them to review your performance on your Yelp page. It takes but a few minutes to create an account and give you feedback. Hopefully the feedback will be positive, but it is good to have a variety on your page. Siri will be pulling results due to proximity and pages with traffic. For growth’s sake, it’s a good idea to respond to these reviews. It makes you look very involved, and this can help in terms of new potential clients.
There is other game in the review business outside of Yelp. Yelp just happens to be in the spotlight right now. In terms of growing your business and putting yourself in front of potential customers, there are several other local directory and review sites that may have the same opportunity as Yelp one day, so why not get yourself set up on these as well?
As some seasons yield more traffic and new customers than others, take advantage of the slower periods to build your personal brand online. As a real estate agent, you are really working for yourself. You are in charge of getting yourself out there and finding new leads. However, if you can take advantage of the great technology tools at your fingertips, you can have the leads come to you.
Guest blog post by Matt Brown
Matt is the founder of Evolving Interactive, a Chicago SEO firm. Evolving Interactive provides small and medium businesses with internet marketing services to help businesses nationwide increase their presence and reach online. Since 2008, he has developed marketing strategies to help clients achieve their marketing goals. For more information contact Evolving Interactive by email at: [email protected] or call 312-454-4550