Using Google+ As a Real Estate Agent
The following article is written by David Amerland who is one of the foremost experts on the subject of search engine optimization (SEO). David Amerland is the author of ‘The Social Media Mind’ and the best-selling ‘SEO Help’, ‘Online Marketing Help’ and ‘Brilliant SEO’. His books on online marketing, SEO and the social media revolution have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build successful online businesses. When he is not busy writing he advises companies and start ups on social media strategy and gives talks about the social media revolution on the web. He maintains his own blog at http://helpmyseo.com where you can find practical SEO and social media advice and spends more time online than is probably healthy. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter @davidamerland.
There are few industries in the world that quite share as many challenges when it comes to online promotion as the Real Estate one. The busy realtor who struggles to carve up enough time to spend with potential buyers and sellers and still run his business, also has to contend with the demands made by the transition of marketing from traditional to digital.
There is a paradox here that must be addressed. While for most industries the transition from offline to online means greater opportunities and an increase in ROI due to the efficiencies achieved through the web, for the real estate industry as a whole it presents a real challenge. Real Estate, a proposition that is hyper-local, has to, somehow, also work on a global scale. Homes being sold in Texas may find buyers in Idaho. Villas in Florida can be bought by holiday home seekers in Britain.
Those looking to relocate from one State to another, or even one country to another, have to be able to find what they want outside their own search bubble. The realtor is expected to have a powerful presence in local search, achieve high rankings in global search and still run a business that has no regular hours and is plagued by a volatile target audience.
For realtors the only answer to the challenge represented by ‘online’ was to either specialize and hyper-localize in terms of both sellers and buyers in which case the issues raised by the complexity of being found through search became somewhat easier, or to put enough time and money into the digital part of the real estate business and hope the ROI worked. Either way the solution required curtailing the ability to work properly by either committing to a smaller, deeper part of the market or a greater expenditure of money. Both choices come with inherent risks.
Now however, there is another way.
The power that lies in “connecting the dots”
Google+ is frequently called in the media “Google’s Social Network” but it is a lot more than that. It is a set of powerful socialization tools that allow the creation of social signals right across the web. In order to quantify this a little let’s look at what is also frequently mentioned in the media as the “competing social network” to Google+ – Facebook.
The listing of a villa for sale in Florida posted on Facebook may get a little bit of interaction with some of those who see it, it may get re-shared a few times, particularly if it is a spectacularly appointed or expensively priced villa, but its finding a buyer has about the same chances that traditional, one-off print advertising offers or worse as at least the latter can lie around for a while the former will get buried in the stream within a couple of hours or so.
The chances then of the right person seeing it, at the right time, with the right mindset, are so slim that they hardly do justice to the effort involved in posting it. Now look at that same listing posted on Google+. The data is indexed by Google. The search engine notes that the listing is for a villa in Florida. It sees that those who interacted most with the listing come from Britain. It notes that the person who posted it frequently blogs about villas, engages in posts about real estate in Florida and interacts with realtors and clients who are based in the State.
The next thing you know a potential buyer doing a search on Google for moving services to Florida sees, in the suggested results on Google search, the name of the realtor who sells villas there. A different person using Google’s UK index to look for “luxury homes in the US” also sees the name of the realtor selling villas in Florida. And, if the realtor has done his homework and linked his G+ account with his website, they also see, each time, a thumbnail of his picture next to the suggested content that appears on Google search.
What has happened here is that by creating a breadcrumb trail of activity the clever realtor has engaged Google search to act as his personal real estate billboard, complete with publicity picture, when it’s relevant to the search query.
No more time wasters
The key here is relevance. Search only works when it creates what is increasingly called, contextual value. There is little point in having your real estate listings show up on a search for Florida someone is carrying out as a school project, for instance. Here Google+ and Google become almost synonymous in purpose and the bridging link is data. But the gift is not just granted, you need to work for it.
The data you input in your Google+ profile, the connections you make, the interactions you have and the posts you place there are all part of an increasingly visible digital footprint that begins to define ‘you’ as an entity in Google’s search. That means that what you do and how, locally and globally begins to now make sense the way humans would understand it and machine search, in the past, didn’t. Which also means that you are then more likely to have a targeted audience in Google search than ever before.
If all this sounds like you can finally begin to achieve more in the digital world, in real estate, with less it’s because that’s exactly what it is. The caveat is that you will need to invest time in a content creation plan that will, in its totality, help create as complete a picture of you and your business as possible, link your website to your Google+ profile and behave online with the authority and expertise and generosity of advice and engagement that you do offline.
Do all this and suddenly the job of being a realtor will begin to sound a lot less demanding than it currently is. The time for using Google Plus For Real Estate is here! If you are a Real Estate agent reading this article don’t get lost in the shuffle! Google Plus can be a Realtors best friend if you know how to use it properly!
If you are in the Real Estate industry whether is be a Realtor, mortgage broker, or home stager make sure you join the Google Plus Real Estate Community. There are great discussion daily on a wide variety of topics related to Real Estate and how you can grow your business!
Another outstanding article on your blog site Bill. If David’s explanation does not make sense to fellow real estate agents then I don’t know what does. I can’t imagine not being active on Google Plus, it is really a must for all agents who desire to be seen on the world wide web.
Thanks Petra. David did an outstanding job explaining why all Realtors should be using Google Plus in their daily lives to grow their business.
The key is to get active…I hear so many agents say “that is a good idea, going to check that out” but they rarely follow through. For those that do engage on G+, their contextual value will be distinct and found by consumers (what we all want). Great job by David on this article!
Great information Bill I appreciate you sharing it! I have not used Google Plus much but I will definitely create a strategy around it now. Thanks!
Dean – It would be well worth it to join and start using Google Plus right away. There is no better site to help increase your Real Estate business!
We have to leverage all the tools at our disposal to seek out potential clients and G+ should be a cornerstone of that process. If we want contextual value when others perform web searches, we have to post, engage, and repeat as often as we can.
Agreed Anita. Google Plus should be the staple of every Real Estate agent who is looking to increase their online visibility.
Great article about why Google Plus is so effective for Real Estate agents. I personally appreciate how you keep us thinking and on our toes as far as G+ is concerned. I’m so glad I followed you over there from AR.
Melissa – I am glad we are connected as well. I have really enjoyed our Google Plus friendship!
Great article Bill that hits the nail on the head! I feel that many people fail to realize the true potential that lies within the internet and social media channels such as Google Plus. Like most businesses, real estate revolves around sales, and sales revolve around relationships. I look forward to reading more of your articles!
You’ve done an excellent job communicating how social signals work and how real estate professionals can leverage this new opportunity. In Austin Tx the real estate vertical is an incredibly competitive space. Using social signals will be another way to differentiate.
Very good info David and Bill. I wish more agents would consider developing an effective online presence in my area. It’s frustrating not having any local agents who are willing to learn how effective online marketing/branding is to their business.
Thanks Ryan! The collaboration with Dave was thoroughly enjoyable. Every Realtor should be using Google Plus daily if they want to be more visible and increase the chances of growing their business.
Jmaes – you are correct 2013 will be the year of social signals with Google Plus leading the way!
Brad – I can understand why you would want more agents involved with Google Plus on a local level. Hopefully more wake up and smell the coffee!
Bill, I was just talking to Realtors last night at a hosting session to explain the connections of G+ and many still do not get it. David Amerland weaves an incredible post here on what not to miss and the benefits…I know you are addicted!
Another perk of G+ Relationships… I would have never read this great article if you (Bill) had not posted it on your blog and G+ stream… I’m in your circle, not the authors. Thanks for the re-blog… the share… and thanks for “getting it” and working so hard to help us all “get it”.
I’m going to re-share this with some peeps that I want to help “get it”:)
Karen – I am glad this article on how Google Plus can help the Real Estate industry has hit home for you. There are a lot of Realtors that don’t really truly understand social media and especially Google Plus. I hope using using Google+ helps grow your business!
Bill – I just started using Google + and I am hoping it will be an effective tool for me and my business in the future! Thank you for this informative article… I will definately share with all my contacts!
Wow, easiest explanation I have read. Thanks to you for posting and Bill for writing. Checking out his blog.
Hi Missy – Dave Amerland is a great guy to follow on Google Plus. I was thrilled he was able to make this Real Estate article and show other Realtors and consumers how Google Plus can help our industry!
Great article Bill. I use Google plus as a real estate agent. It makes sense to have contacts with agents throughout the world to increase referrals.
Mark I would agree if you have a good real estate network of other professional Realtors you are connected to they can become a good referral source when needed. Google Plus is one of my favorite networks for establishing business connections with other real estate agents.
Google Plus is one of the strongest social media site nowadays where you can strengthen your connection, broaden your knowledge and meet people in the same industry that can be your potential resources. It’s a reliable place for business, and not to mention the feature of Google Local Search. It’s beneficial both in business and personal growth.
Looking under the hood of each marketing transmitter, translator that boosts the signal. Each platform has an owner manual we all create and share how it helps, works for each in their real estate markets. Thanks for the background, philosophy of Google plus to understand how it works, how you need to saddle up and ride like the wind with it.
Andrew it still amazes me how few Realtors have caught on to the power of Google Plus. Many of them are wasting their time telling the world how busy they are on Facebook with everyone in the crowd going HO-HUM!