Real estate agents count on referrals, next to straight advertising and marketing, to build and grow their businesses. People rely on the experiences and opinions of others with whom they are close first and foremost. This makes it incredibly easy to gain that listing or start doing showings with a new client.
People also trust complete strangers with whom they’ve built a virtual relationship by virtue of their knowledge, celebrity status or respect within a community. These are a special group of market targets called influencers.
What is an Influencer Anyway?
Influencers are people with whom you, as a businessperson or marketer, build relationships with so they can help you build relationships with their audience. Your goal is to gain that person’s trust to eventually align your brand with theirs by association.
No matter their audience size, the quality of their audience and the value they bring is of utmost importance. For example, you may find someone who has a social media reach of five million people. However, these five million people are all under the age of 21. No target market for a real estate agent trying to catch selling and/or buying clients!
Why Work with Influencers
Besides sharing your content and referring you to their networks, influencers can help you better understand your target market. Their built-in audiences provide you an opportunity to gain insight into what the people who follow and respect them like and don’t like.
This knowledge can significantly boost your marketing efforts. It can also help you tweak your strategy for the better.
Who are These Influencers
Think about who has the type of audience you are looking for. We’re not talking about just those who are blatantly interested in real estate but also those who may just have the profile of person with whom you typically work or would like to work with. The audience can be young professionals if your target first-time homebuyers or sellers or baby boomers if you are looking for potential listing clients in this demographic.
Influencers should be relatively active and frequently engaged with their audiences. If they don’t post often or have a relationship with their audiences, then it will be virtually impossible to build your rapport with their audiences, too.
Building Relationships with Influencers
Once you target an influencer, you’re goal is to gain their trust first. On social media, start commenting and liking their posts. It may be tempting to go overboard, but do your best to be genuine and avoid spam-like behavior. Know your boundaries.
Commenting on their blog is another great way to get noticed. This can be even more engaging with an influencer as you are digesting more thoughtful, longer form content and almost having a virtual discussion around it in the comments section (depending on the topic and your comment).
If the influencer happens to have written an article or received an award, then this is the perfect time to reach out directly, whether via email or direct message, to comment or congratulate them. Doing so will get you noticed and start a real, private conversation with them.
Once you have built a solid relationship, you can start asking them to share content or to help promote your services. The ultimate way to gain a referral from an influencer? Make them a client and have them share their positive experience with everyone they know!
It obviously takes time to build a relationship with an influencer, but once you do, the effort will be well worth it.