Thu07242014

Business & Real Estate

Realtors turn to social media: Online access sets new search standard for homebuyers

Photo Courtesy Of Rose Meily Mary Pope-Handy and Tim Hmelar outline the benefits of social media as marketing tools for realtors.

Realtors are stepping up efforts on yet another marketing platform – social media.

At the first in a series of presentations – Tech Trilogy – for members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors held in Los Altos, Mary Pope-Handy, a realtor with Sereno Group, and Tim Hmelar, CEO and founder of Web Lunchbox, shared information with members on social media’s important role as a marketing tool.

The pair discussed the process and shared tips on blogging, cross-linking sites and blogs, and how to get on page one of Google.

Pope-Handy and Hmelar said Facebook is one social media tool that is a “powerhouse,” noting 75 million of its 180 million users in the United States check Facebook before they go to bed at night and first thing each morning. If you are in business, they said, it’s also important to use other social media tools such as Twitter, Linked-In, ActiveRain and Yelp.

Real estate purchasers are surfers. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, 96 percent of first-time homebuyers start their home search online; 20 percent of weekend traffic at realtor.com is on a mobile application.

For those with business websites, Pope-Handy and Hmelar suggest acquiring knowledge of HTML to make changes to the site. They also recommend blogging and said YouTube and videos are a must for realtors and other business professionals.

Findings from the same survey revealed 45 percent of respondents walked through a home they visited online, 29 percent located an agent via an Internet home search and 75 percent of homeowners said they were more likely to list with a realtor who makes videos.

Pope-Handy said success is almost guaranteed if a posting gets on Google’s Page One, because 68 percent of Google visitors do not navigate past the first page when searching for something online. Realtors need to use the effective keywords at their sites and blogs and cross link them. Landing on page one can attract a crowd to an open house or result in an offer on a property.

Blogging can differentiate the knowledge among agents. Companies that blog receive 97 percent more inbound links and reported 55 percent more website visitors.

Blogging doesn’t need to be done in real time, Hmelar said – blog posts can be written ahead of time and posted at scheduled times. A blog’s popularity depends on its name, its relevance to the writer and his or her occupation – use keywords to match a website’s – the geographic area and the neighborhood. Invite questions and answer them. Post a short answer and link the website so that visitors can get a more detailed answer from the blogger.

“Think of social media as a marketing plan,” Pope-Handy said. “You need to have a crystal idea of what you want to accomplish.”

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article.

For more information, contact Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.silvar.org.

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