Do Blogging and Social Media Still Work for Real Estate?

Cole Wiebe
April 6, 2014
Read time: 4 minutes

When outlining a content marketing strategy to new real estate clients, the terms "blogging" and "social media" often raise immediate objections. I'll hear about how they tried blogging and even Facebook a while ago, and it didn't work. And they do have a valid point; it usually doesn't.

Why do blogging and social media efforts typically fail spectacularly for real estate professionals?

1) No time

Most agents are incredibly busy. Their titles include Sales Agent, CEO, CMO, Office Recruiter, Trainer, HR Representative, Bookkeeper, Part-time Accountant, Office Manager, Support Rep., Janitor and more. Responding to email and phone calls now ties up half of their day. There is no way anyone can half ass even half of those jobs, much less do them well.

On top of this already insane work load, they've tried to take on the role of Webmaster, SEO Copywriter, Chief Blogger and Social Media Ambassador. There will never be time to even learn how to handle the content marketing roles at a professional level, much less implement the steps effectively. Where twenty to thirty hours per week are common time investments, for a successful agent, their blogging and social media have been very sporadic and uninspired at best. In all fairness, they never gave content marketing a shot.

It's unfortunate, but there are many companies offering 'quick fix' alternatives to making a commitment to ongoing, quality content. "All you need is our system," the phone rep. claims. They would have website owners believe they need only ten minutes a week to dash off one or two paragraphs, in a quick blog post, and the proprietary third party software will automatically handle the social media. And then all they have to do is wait for a flood of leads to pour into the world class CRM system. On the surface, these automated solutions sound like a good idea and a very welcome breath of fresh air. Time leverage is a good thing in business, right? But in a sea of content without any substance, why would anyone take notice of one more piece of mindless, fully automated crap in their wall or feed each week? You're absolutely right; they won't.

Astute real estate pros will focus on the one or two things they do exceptionally well, and begin delegating other tasks to people better qualified to see them through. Some agents will already have assistants with writing skills, and a marketing background, and all they need is some coaching from an expert. Most however will only be able to capitalize on the power of the internet, with some measure of professional content assistance every month.

2. No love

If blogging and social media engagement are considered necessary evils of your business, you are probably the very worst person to take on the task. Even an amateur can develop a significant following, with a little coaching, for a subject they love writing about. The audience will forgive the typos and grammatical errors if the information is valuable enough, and it's shared with sincerity and real passion.

If you don't have your heart in it, get someone that loves doing it. The dollars you save, by doing a mediocre job yourself, aren't worth the big dollars you stand to gain from even one single commission that results from connecting with prospective clients.

3) No audience

Most agents and brokers are accustomed to the "good old days" of advertising. They purchased ad space in a successful newspaper or magazine, and perhaps purchased spots on the radio. In other words, they presented their message to a well established audience. If a paper like the Vancouver Sun had a readership of roughly 450,000, Monday - Friday, you rented space in front of 900,000 potential eyeballs.

As traditional content on the printed page dwindles, readers are looking for their content on the web. The rising stars will be those businesses and professionals who develop their own audience, by providing ridiculously valuable content people crave, instead of relying on outside media.

It is unrealistic to expect a handful of Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers to replace the audience of traditional media. Even a few hundred may not put a dent into the number of eyeballs traditional media provided. And while there are unscrupulous companies that will sell you large blocks of bogus social followers, those can hardly be considered "friends" or potential clients.

Building a sizeable audience of qualified email list and blog subscribers, and followers in social channels, will take a lot of work, and doing it effectively is an acquired and very specialized skill. As a minimum, most agents will require some coaching in this area. As busy as most real estate marketers are, bringing in a social media pro is usually a prudent investment. Also, consider a social media makeover, to improve online branding, enhance your profile and perhaps weed out posts that simply aren't helping your image.

4) No scalability

Businesses are either growing or dying. So, unless you're a professional blogger, where writing posts and marketing them in social media are your job, every hour you invest into do-it-yourself marketing is competing with your ability to provide the service your real estate business is known for, and building your success team.

Writing the epic posts that will become your 'findable' evergreen content, and cultivating your audience, will simply be too time consuming to be sustainable over the long haul. Even if you seem to be finding the time today, wouldn't it be far better invested face-to-face with potential clients?

Final thoughts

High quality, relevant and useful content, published regularly, carefully optimized and well promoted in social channels, does produce predictable and consistent results. But, you have to be all-in to get that payback.

Most of the disappointment in this process, among real estate agents, comes from grossly underestimating the time and effort involved. If you're building a successful real estate career, it's highly unlikely you'll have the time to become an SEO, content marketing and social media expert as well, so you should be considering someone to pass that baton to.

Can I answer any questions for you in the comments below, or in a scheduled call?

Cole Wiebe, content marketing expert, Vancouver, BCCole Wiebe helps brands and professionals grow their influence and value online; so they can “out content”™ their competition. Cole is a content strategist, content writer, conversion copywriter and online marketing coach. He is also a UX (user experience) web designer and developer of over 20 years.

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8 comments on “Do Blogging and Social Media Still Work for Real Estate?”

  1. Hi Cole,

    I agree with you there - it's tough for small business and companies to manage or handle it all. If they do it all on their own, where do they find the time to work on their product, service, or business. Passing the work to those who specialize in writing or perhaps social media is their best option. Yes, some companies have their own staff of such professionals, while other prefer delegating it to others. Writing good content that is of value IS the key, agree with you there. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    BTW - My comment is showing up in large fonts so I can't manage to read it, just hope it's not the case with others 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Thanks for the comment and for letting me know about the font size in the comment area. Amazing what a difference a missed decimal point makes :-). I did some re-styling in that area yesterday and used 14rem instead of 1.4rem for the font size in the style sheet. Since I don't send myself comments in the front-end, it may have been some time before I caught that. Thanks so much for the heads up.

      - Cole

  2. Hi absolutely agree with you cole, allow me to share my own experience.

    In Lagos, Nigeria where I am, I once consulted for a real estate company and on presenting blogging and social media marketing as part of my laid down marketing plan; it was totally rejected, and the same excuse tallies with yours.

    I think some business does fairly well without these two marketing strategies while some doesnt. In my own case, they'd rather pitch tent with the traditional newspaper advertisement that is capable of reaching a potential 15000 readers a day throughout the Nigerian states.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Social media actually works for small business. Blogging is something that takes too much time to get results but in social media we can use PPC advertising to get the desired result.

    1. Hi Pankaj,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Social media has rarely worked for our clients, as a do-it-yourself proposition, because they already invest over 60 hours a week running their businesses. But hiring a social media pro gets it done. We do use PPC advertising on client accounts, in the early stages of content marketing, before organic search results kick in. But once we've achieved first page rankings, PPC is just too costly for the small businesses we work with.

      - Cole

  4. Hi Cole,

    I'm with you all the way on this one. For a small business to succeed with blogging and social, it seems wise to have someone do that as their sole responsibility. If someone tries to take on too much it won't succeed and can lead to unwanted results.

    1. Hi Amiti,

      Exactly. I remember a time, some years back, where most web designers laid out the site in Photoshop, wrote the code, and carried out SEO and other promotion. The Internet was new and it was simpler. To provide a high level of service in 2014, online marketing agencies have a team of specialists, each working on one component of the marketing strategy. For a business owner to take care of business as usual during the day, plus add on all these added roles, is an impossible task.

      - Cole

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