With just two showings during the first three weeks of listing her client’s property in Spring, Texas, Realtor Jessica Arnett did what any real estate professional would do: she donned a panda costume and photobombed a second photoshoot of the suburban home.
The whimsical slideshow, which debuted in June, features the panda lounging in the backyard, relaxing in the master bathtub, and working out on a treadmill in the basement (in addition to 18 other poses). Arnett told the Houston Chronicle that her clients wanted to do something creative to market the property before it became a stale listing. So she went panda after hearing about similar photoshoots.
Say what you will about Arnett’s stunt, but the viral marketing tactic worked. In less than 24 hours, the Realtor had several showings scheduled. Days later, the listing went viral on the Web.
We’ve all had those trouble properties; those listings that for some reason (or for many reasons) just could never get traction in the market. They needed a boost to gain attention, to stand out.
If giant pandas are not your thing, there are dozens of other creative, low-cost marketing techniques to enhance the “virality” of a property listing. Here are a few real-world examples:
ADD A PERSONAL TWIST TO PROPERTY DESCRIPTIONS
“There’s only so many ways you can say a small cottage is charming.” That’s what homeowner Mitchell Hastings told WVTM in Birmingham, Ala., when a reporter asked about his out-of-the-box property listing on Zillow. Hastings listed his two-bed, two-bath house in May with a 670-word narrative packed with witty, light-hearted comments about the house and community. The listing went viral and was even featured on the local TV news. Here are a few excerpts from Hastings’ listing:
The master bath has a stand-up shower. Would you rather take a bath? The second bathroom has a tub/shower combo. Start a bath and switch to a shower if you are indecisive.
Wake up in the morning and let the dog outside while you stay inside. Beat the birds to pick blueberries from the bush, or pick rosemary. Find a creative recipe that uses blueberries and rosemary. The point is that they are there and have somehow survived.
MLS property listings are painfully boring and cryptic. Some are ALL CAPS, others have too many exclamation points!!!!! Realtors that take the time to tell the story of the property and community have a significant leg up on the competition in their markets. Get really creative with your narratives and you just might go viral.
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BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA MAESTRO
Getting mentioned in the local news is great, but having a strong social media presence is much more powerful in today’s hyper-connected society. Consider this: the top 10 social media platforms draw more than 2.9 billion unique users monthly. Savvy Realtors are tapping into one or more of these platforms as a tool for branding, advertising, and lead generation. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and not all social sites are ripe for real estate.
Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices, but one on the rise is Instagram. The photo/video-sharing site is among the fastest-growing platforms and has highly engaged users (it trails only Facebook and Snapchat in that category).
Last September, at the Inman Connect conference in San Francisco, three real estate agents who are power Instagram users shared their secrets and success stories. Montecito, Calif.-based Realtor Dusty Baker (@dustyjbaker) said he’s using Instagram to connect with new and past clients, as well as other Realtors.
“NAR stats show that 89% of buyers say they love their agent and would work with them again, but only 12% do. I’m not going to be one of those statistics,” said Baker. “I like to keep in touch via Instagram because [my past clients] choose to follow me when I post about a house, about my family, about a vacation. They’re choosing to look at that. It’s not quite as invasive.”
BROADCAST LIVE FROM THE PROPERTY
As we wrote about extensively last week, social media tools like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Snapchat allow anyone with an account to broadcast live-streaming video with nothing more than a smartphone and a decent connection.
Progressive Realtors are using these emerging tools in creative ways, such as entertaining broadcasts from open house events, live Q&A sessions with home shoppers, and detailed property tours. Besides adding a sense of immediacy to the social media post, live broadcasts are favored by followers and promoted by the platforms. Facebook, for instance, places live videos at the top of newsfeeds to maximize their reach and engagement.
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