What Every Agent Needs to Know About Becoming a Local Influencer

In real estate, a good reputation means everything. In order to gather more referrals, connect with new clients, and close more deals, you have to work hard to leverage yourself as a trusted resource in your community.

The question is, how do you do it?

How do you go from being someone who helps people buy and sell homes to becoming a well-known and well-respected real estate influencer in your local area?

There’s no secret equation that will guarantee your success, but there are a number of tactics you can implement that will help put you on the right track.

Here are 6 ways to position yourself as a real estate influencer in your community:

1. Be Everywhere

To be well-known by many in your community, you really need to make an effort to be everywhere. What does that mean for a real estate agent? It means investing your time, money, and energy in the following ways:

Attending Business Breakfasts – Make time in your schedule to attend organized and informal business breakfasts. Organized business breakfasts are scheduled events that happen on a weekly or monthly basis. They usually focus on a particular topic or theme, such as small business or community development. Informal business breakfasts, on the other hand, can be something as simple as inviting a few of your business contacts or best clients together to eat  breakfast and network once per month.

Joining Networking Groups – Join networking groups that bring different types of professionals together for the purpose of sharing contacts and helping each other grow your businesses. To find a group to join, look for a group on LinkedIn, find upcoming events on your community or city website, or look for a BNI group in your area.

Buying Advertising Space – Allocate part of your marketing and advertising budget for different types of ads that you can place throughout your area. Test launching ads on billboards, benches, poster areas on buses, community fliers, and local radio. You can also launch advertisements on Facebook that will target people living in your city. To learn how, explore this resource.

Going on Local TV & Radio – Connect with local news broadcasters and morning show DJs and convince them to let you occasionally share tips and insight about the real estate industry and local market on their shows. Work with them to create a regular segment that will allow you to position yourself as an influencer and familiarize people in your community with your face and voice.

Sponsoring Local Events – Donate your time or money to help support and sponsor local events. Sponsor different types of events that target different audiences, such as theater events, high school sports, concerts, county fairs, and any other events that happen regularly in your area.

Having Meetings at Public Places – Instead of meeting at your office, schedule more meetings at local restaurants and coffee shops. Doing so will help you connect with other potential clients and give you the opportunity to get your face and voice out in front of others in your community. It’s also a good way to support other local businesses in your area.

Meeting with New Business Owners – Whenever a new business owner moves to town or opens up shop, invite them out to lunch. It’s a great and easy way to build relationships with like-minded people who could refer leads to you.

Being Involved in Local Government – If you’re comfortable doing so, participate in local government. This could be as simple as attending meetings and events as an audience member. Or, it could mean getting involved with a local initiative that you care about.

Give Back to Your Community – Donate money to local causes and events. It’s an easy way to big back to the community and show people that you actually care about making the city you operate in a better place for everyone.

2. Create Valuable Content (Online & Offline)

I’ve mentioned this before on this blog (see this post and this post): these days, it’s not enough to simply help your clients buy and sell homes. In order to differentiate from your competitors and build trust among people, you have to leverage yourself as a resource. Being a resource means you’re able to show people that you’re knowledgeable about the real estate industry and homebuying, AND that you’re actually willing to help people with the questions they have in regards to these topics.

The easiest way to start leveraging yourself as a trusted resource in your community is by creating original, valuable content for people to find and use when they have questions and need help. You should be creating two types of content:

  • Online Content: tips, ideas, and best practices that you share in blog posts, on your social media pages, in the emails you send to leads, in videos that you record and share, and in ebooks that people can download on your website. Need ideas? Start here.
  • Offline Content: tips, ideas, and best practices that you share in actual pamphlets, brochures, and other types of printed media.

It’s important to understand that your primary goal with creating content isn’t to sell people on hiring you. Your primary goal is to educate people and to help solve their problems. If you can provide value to your target audience, they will want to hire you when they’re ready to buy or sell their home. They’ll also be much more likely to refer you to their friends and family members.

3. Find Your Niche / Passion

Another great way to become an influencer in your local area is by identifying and focusing on a particular niche audience or passion that you have. That’s not to say you can’t work with every type of client—you can! What it means is that you might position yourself as someone who is the expert on a particular topic, or it might mean that you work on a particular type of real estate project most often. Here are some examples:

  • Embracing Your Passion: As a real estate agent, you could become known as the expert in your community about local food, local hiking trails, or local history.
  • Finding Your Niche: As a real estate agent, you could become known as someone who is familiar with helping military families purchase homes. Or you could become known as someone who is very good at helping people find the right fixer upper / investment property.

The goal here is to differentiate and help prospective clients better understand who you are and how you can help.

4. Delight Your Clients

Making an intention effort to go out of your way to delight clients is another great way to become a local influencer. Let’s face it: the real estate industry is competitive. As more and more people turn to using social media as a way to evaluate and research real estate agents before even contacting them for the first time, it’s more important than ever to get your happy clients talking and telling their networks about you.

The best way to do it is by investing in customer delight. Customer delight is a specific strategy that you implement during your interactions with clients. Delighting customers doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are a few ideas of ways you can do it:

  • Send handwritten thank you cards after meeting with prospective clients.
  • Offer to drive your clients to and from the houses you show them.
  • Take your clients out to lunch or dinner after a long day of looking for houses or working to prepare their house to put on the market.
  • Send clients amazing closing gifts to remind them how much you value them. Need ideas? Start here.

Again, your goal with delighting customers is to get them to talk about their experiences on social media and in conversations with family and friends who are looking for a referral to a good real estate professional.

5. Try New Marketing Channels

Real estate agent marketing has come along way in the past five years. If you haven’t had much luck growing your business and your personal brand using widely popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it may be time to try something new. There are a few new marketing channels that are worth exploring in order to increase your brand awareness:

  • Snapchat: More agents are now using Snapchat as a way to connect on a more personal level with clients and prospects. Snapchat is especially popular with younger homebuyers. It can be a great tool to use to position yourself as a knowledgeable, helpful, and entertaining real estate influencer in your area. For more on how to start using Snapchat as a real estate agent, read this blog post.
  • Livestreaming: Live video is another channel that you could be testing in order to connect with prospective customers on a more personal and authentic level. You can go live using Facebook, YouTube, Persicope, or a tool like Ustream.
  • Podcasting: Podcasting isn’t necessarily a new marketing channel, but it has recently been growing in popularity again. Instead of simply writing blog posts or social media updates in an effort to stay connected with clients, try sharing your value and insight in the form of a weekly or monthly podcast. To get started, check out this helpful guide from Entrepreneur on Fire.

A word of caution: don’t spread yourself too thin when it comes to testing new marketing channels. Focus on testing one channel at a time, and give each channel at least 90 days of testing before you decide to move on to something else.

6. Build Strategic Partnerships

The final way to position yourself as an influencer in your local community is by building strategic partnerships with people who can help you get the word out about your business and connect you with new leads. You can build strategic partnerships with:

  • Other businesses that work in the homebuying or real estate industry, such as construction companies, staging companies, title companies, or other professional contractor businesses.
  • Other business owners that have customers who fall into your target audience. Examples could include bankers, accountants, lawyers, school teachers, etc.
  • Past clients that are well-established and well-respected in the community who can vouch for your business and introduce you to the right people.

To build a successful personal brand and leverage yourself as a local influencer, you need help from other people in your community. Find like-minded people who align with your business, and also think about how you can help them grow their businesses in return for helping you grow yours.

Over to You

What other tactics and strategies have you been using to leverage yourself as a real estate influencer in your community? Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

About William Harris

William Harris is leading growth at HomeSpotter and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.

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