Marketing for Realtors: Social Media is NOT for Selling Houses

Andrew J. Chwalik | January 1, 2019

Andrew J. Chwalik | January 1, 2019


Stop using social media as another database for hosting your listings.

Social media can be used for many things, but storing stagnant product listings is not one of them.

I'm being straightforward because I want to be as clear as possible. I've had far too many realtors come to me and ask why their social presence hasn't grown even after investing hundreds of dollars in social advertising. If you're a realtor, read this short post and implement the strategy I lay out before spending anything on social.It will save you money and grow your audience.

Social media isn't for selling houses.

In the world of real estate, social media should be used for three things:
#1 Sharing valuable content with your audience
#2 Encouraging and answering questions
#3 Creating an ecosystem for your realtor brand

These three aspects should be the foundation of your social media strategy. Yes, every realtor will implement them differently, but they need to be a part of your plan if you want social to work for you. Notice that "selling houses" is not on the list. Let's break each one down so you can start implementing them right away.

#1 Sharing valuable content with your audience

It doesn't matter the platform or type of content, anything that you are sharing needs to provide value to your audience. Before posting anything on social media, stop and think about the type of value your viewers will be getting. Are they going to learn something new? Is there a specific takeaway that they will be able to use? Will they get enjoyment or a good laugh? Are they going to be empowered to follow up for more information or make a change?

You can create value in a variety of different ways. Here's the magical equation to ensure you do it correctly on a consistent basis: definitive emotion + timing.

You need to determine the emotion (which will influence the type of value your viewer will get) that your piece of content will evoke. Once you get familiar with deliberately thinking through the reaction of your audience members, the better response you'll see.

Timing is everything. Take a look at one of my favorite examples. During the 2013 Super Bowl, all of the stadium lights randomly went out and play had to stop for upwards of 15 minutes. Someone from Oreo was watching and published this tweet just minutes after the outage.


With a simple image and four words, Oreo had over 10,000 retweets and 1,000 comments in under an hour. That's a potential reach of over 1 million! Not to mention, this massive hype was free. All they did was send out a little tweet. 

If Oreo tweeted this out a few days later, sure, it might still have been entertaining but would have gotten nowhere near the same response as it did by publishing it in real-time. Pay attention to timing and make sure to take advantage of it whenever possible. There is always a right time and a wrong time to post certain content.

➡️Action Item: Stop only posting content about your listings. Yes, make it easy for people to find them, but they should only represent 25% of your social media posts. The remaining 75% should be focused on content about the community. What are the factors that influence people's decision to buy a house beside the characteristics of the actual home? The community that their new home will be located in! Share content about community events, school news, local restaurants, and the like. This will provide your audience with more value, resulting in an increased social growth rate.

#2 Encouraging and answer questions

This one is pretty straightforward. Don't just be available to answer questions, encourage your audience to ask them. Social media is a two-way street, it's meant for engaging in conversation with two or more parties. Too many companies/brands/people use it as a megaphone. I've talked about this phenomena in Creativity Killed the Cat Episode #17, check it out.

No one wants to be talked at, especially in a world where consumers are bombarded with content 24/7. The only way to combat that is by talking WITH people, not at them. Ask them questions, respond to their concerns, talk to them as human beings. Be a conduit for conversation. If you haven't got what I'm saying yet, let me be clear. Social media is about building relationships.

Be intentional and genuine with your content and interactions. Take the time to build relationships with your audience. Realtors know this more than anyone, selling is all about establishing a relationship based on trust.

➡️Action Item: Host live Q&A sessions with your audience via Facebook Live. Schedule a virtual event where you'll go live for 30 minutes and encourage your audience to join you to ask questions about the community and home buying experience. Not only will this help you build better relationships, it will place you as an expert in your field. People will start quoting your answers to others when talking about real estate. When you empower others with knowledge, you get referrals just for helping share the facts!

#3 Creating an ecosystem for your realtor brand

When talking with your kids about social media, what do you tell them? Let me quote the good advice that my parents gave me when I was a preteen on the forefront of Twitter in 2007:

"Be careful what you share on this social media thing. Whatever you post on the internet will stay there forever."

Such great advice from mother and father Chwalik. You should pay attention to their words of wisdom as well because every piece of content you share will influence your brand image, good or bad. On top of that, as a realtor, you're creating an ecosystem with your social presence. You're building a virtual world where people can gather information, find the house of their dreams, engage with an expert, share their thoughts, and so much more. It's important that you share the right type of content to create a positive ecosystem.

Yes, this is important for your realty business. The stronger social ecosystem you have, the more successful you will be at selling homes. However, there is a larger asset at stake, your personal brand. Once you build your personal brand online, it's difficult to reshape it if you decide to move in another direction. That is why it is vital that you focus on building a quality ecosystem from the start. Pay attention to your personal brand and use it as an asset.

➡️Action Item: List out every social media platform where you have a presence. Rank each one by importance. Which one allows you to engage with your audience best? That answer will be different for everyone. I prefer Facebook because I can organize content, share value, and chat with my followers best on that platform. Once you've figured out the order, spend all of your time developing your #1. That's right, totally forget about the others. You only have so much time and bandwidth. I want you spending all of it on one social media profile. 

Don't want to take my advice and focus on one social account? Then at least check out my article on the best social media management software so you can avoid a massive headache.

See? Social media might not be for selling homes, but it certainly is a tool that will help you do so.

— Andrew J. Chwalik