Are you using social media to look for homes? You probably should be, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2021 Technology Study.
The study, released in August, polled more than 3,000 active REALTORS® and found that, more than ever before, real estate agents are using social media to connect with homebuyers.
In fact, more than half of the agents surveyed said social media is the most valuable tool they use to connect with buyers — as valuable as their listing websites and email marketing tools combined.
What does that mean for homebuyers? If you’re not following local real estate agents on social media, or scoping out home listings on your favorite social platforms, you could miss out on great homes.
Before the internet transformed real estate, homebuying was a much more analog process. Homebuyers searched newspaper ads for real estate listings or drove around neighborhoods gathering paper flyers from little tubes in front of listed homes. The flyers included a few interior photos and the agent’s phone number.
These days, people expect instant access to photos of every room from multiple angles, not to mention views of the outdoor property and a 360-degree virtual tour to boot. And they’re increasingly finding these listings via social media.
That creates a mandate not just for real estate agents to be on social platforms sharing these listings, but for homebuyers who don’t want to miss out on great homes in a hot market.
As more and more agents share listings via social media, homebuyers who aren’t using those platforms will lose out to those who spotted the listing on Instagram and have already messaged the listing agent about seeing the home.
“There is no denying that social media has become an integral tool to promote a listing,” Bob Goldberg, chief executive officer of the NAR, said in a news release about the technology survey.
He said the pandemic has further fueled the drive to connect with buyers on social media.
You might not be thrilled about scrolling your Facebook or Instagram feed for home listings. Maybe you prefer to see updates from family and friends instead.
Apparently, more than half of agents aren’t particularly excited about posting to social media either.
More than half — 54% — of the survey’s respondents said they use social media “because they’re expected to have a presence on social media.” This isn’t exactly an enthusiastic endorsement.
Yet agents need to connect with buyers, so they go where buyers are. According to the technology survey, more and more agents are using social media to:
- Maintain relationships with clients (49%)
- Promote listings (49%)
- Find new prospects (36%)
- Connect with other real estate professionals (33%)
Nine out of 10 REALTORS® who responded to the NAR’s survey said they used Facebook to connect with clients and promote listings. Instagram came in second, with a 52% use rate, followed by LinkedIn at 48% and YouTube at 24%.
Newer platforms favored by younger adults get very little attention from REALTORS® for now. Only 5% of respondents said they used TikTok and Snapchat, while 3% said they used Clubhouse.
This tendency to favor Facebook isn’t surprising considering the NAR reports the average homebuyer is 46 years old and has a median income north of $90,000. This is a demographic that prefers Facebook, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center.
The Pew study also found adults younger than 30 overwhelmingly prefer Snapchat and TikTok to Facebook and Instagram. As younger millennials and Gen Z start shopping for homes, agents will likely adopt these shoppers’ preferred social media networks.
As a homebuyer, making connections doesn’t stop when you find the right REALTOR®. You’ll also need a home inspector, a closing attorney, and, of course, a mortgage lender.
Your REALTOR® may have some suggestions about which real estate professionals to contact, but you can do your own research online — including on social media — to make the best connections throughout your homebuying journey.
And here’s one upside to Facebook. If the agent, inspector, lender, or attorney has a business page, you may be able to see reviews and testimonials there. These can provide powerful insights into what it’s like to work with a particular company, and choosing the right professionals can make all the difference to a smooth and successful home search and closing.