Real estate agents are always searching for innovative ways to widen their nets and capture more leads. Online forums and web communities offer incredible opportunities to widen your network and generate leads. Online communities give you a platform to establish your authority as the go-to local real estate agent. In this article, we’ll show you how to actually add value for potential clients in forums and web communities, and enhance your brand.
Here’s how to infiltrate the top 5 online communities to generate new real estate leads:
Reddit is a popular forum where people can discuss almost anything. It has 1.58 billion users around the world, and the US accounts for the majority of its traffic. You should focus on offering something valuable for people on Reddit such as professional advice without expecting anything in return. Eventually, you will build a reputation as the real estate expert.
Here are a couple of ways you can generate local leads on Reddit:
Participate in Local Subreddits
Local subreddits have tens of thousands of subscribers, and many people post topics related to real estate. The communities are very active, and many posts tend to get responses within hours. There are tons of interesting local real estate discussions that you can hop onto depending on your areas of expertise.
To find local leads, here are steps that you can take:
- Look for subreddits in your local area (e.g. /r/chicago, /r/houston). Consider adding statewide, regional, and major city subreddits to widen your net.
- Search for posts that include terms such as “real estate,” “housing,” or “property”.
- Look for real estate threads that you find truly interesting.
- When you respond, provide a very quick intro on your background to show that you’re an agent or broker.
- Add value by providing solutions or alternatives.
- Do not advertise or pitch your own listings, or you will get banned.
- Build your reputation so people will private message you with more questions.
- Tell them you can promptly respond to them if you can get their email address.
On Reddit, you can find new leads or new leads will find you.
Start a Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything)
An Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in a local subreddit can quickly establish your expertise in your market. An AMA is a series of questions and answers hosted within Reddit. Typically, only famous people do AMAs, but anyone can start an AMA by posting a thread in a local subreddit identifying yourself (e.g. “I am a top producing agent in Detroit, Ask me anything!”) Think of it as a talk show. You are the host and the interviewee at the same time, and the users are your interviewers.
To attract an audience, tell users who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Then, let your audience know the types of question that you’re prepared to answer to set some guidelines for your AMA. It would be best if you tailor your session according to the issues posted on the subreddit. For instance, if plenty of users are asking about seasonal activities and unique hang out spots in the area, add those to your list of topics. You can also discuss the local housing market situation and the best places to invest in real estate property.
Some people will respond a few seconds after you post, and some might post questions weeks later. Keep track of user activity and answer questions as soon as possible. More importantly, always look to add value whenever you get a chance to respond.
The value that you’re able to share reflects on your value as a real estate agent. As you continue the discussion, there’s a chance that you’ll find someone who fits your client persona. Even better, some users may ask questions because they are looking for an agent or broker.
The question and answer site Quora touts 190 monthly users with other 200 million unique visitors per month. Questions on Quora often get awesome responses from many angles, which is one of the reasons why people pay attention to it. More importantly, responses rank in search engines like Google, opening the doors for people to find you. The Real Estate feed on Quora has over 65,000 questions and 376,000 followers. You want to convert these eyeballs into leads.
Here are steps you can take to get leads on Quora:
- Keep an eye out for questions related to your expertise or your local market.
- Whenever you get a chance to respond, take time to write a comprehensive post. A complete response gets you more upvotes. The more upvotes you get, the more views you’re likely to receive. In the image above, the post was upvoted 198 times, but it gained over 77,000 views.
- Leave multiple links on your post that will direct users to your website.
- Make sure your website has a lead capture so users can share their email address with you. As opt-in bait, consider coming up with an ebook or special report on the latest housing trends in your market to capture email addresses of your visitors.
Quora is an active web community so spend some time crafting your responses and leaving links to generate new leads.
3. Real Estate Forums
While typical real estate forum participants are agents, brokers, and aspirants, there are also others users who join to ask for advice. This is a great chance for you to snatch quality leads as these people are most likely ready to buy or put their house for sale. Some real estate forums have created local real estate forums to keep discussions organized. This is a great way to hone in on local leads.
Here’s a good list of active real estate forums that you can join now:
Once you’ve joined a forum, here are steps that you can follow to generate new leads:
- Search for location-based discussions in your farm area.
- See if there’s anything interesting that you can chime in. At first, it is recommended that you respond to general questions such as “Best Deal Ever” or “Real Estate License Costs” to build your reputation in the community.
- Watch out for users looking for tips or advice in your area. The key to these forums is to be the first responder. There’s always a chance that someone might grab the opportunity
- Offer something valuable without expecting anything in return.
You’ll eventually build a reputation that you are the real estate expert in your area. When that happens, people will start sending you real estate related inquiries. That’s when you capture their email address.
4. Local Facebook Groups
Consider joining local Facebook groups for a more targeted approach. Members of local Facebook groups generally have some form of attachment or connection to the area. To join local Facebook groups, go to this link and see what groups are available in your location:
Common local groups are community, buy and sell, and houses for sale/rent. You want to join these groups because members are likely looking for your services or listings.
If you keep browsing these Facebook groups, you will find members looking for real estate advice, rental properties, or possible real estate opportunities. Take some time to answer questions. These groups usually have thousands of members, and not all of them may be actively participating, but they are seeing your responses because group posts appear on users’ feeds. The more posts you respond to, the greater visibility you get.
Eventually, members of these groups will see you as the local real estate guru. When that happens, you will receive inquiries in your inbox.
5. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects sources and reporters. Journalists send out queries to help them with articles they are working on. If you provide a good response, the journalist may publish it on their website. Your successful quote gets rewarded with backlinks to your site.
HARO quotes are often published on reputable websites such as The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Mashable. Getting backlinks from these sources increases your website’s domain authority. This means that you will rank higher for keywords that you rank for in search engines like Google. Ranking higher increases your probability of being found by local users looking for a real estate agent.
Writers in FitSmallBusiness use HARO. Here’s one response from a real estate broker that made into one of our articles:
On HARO, you don’t have to necessarily answer real estate queries. Instead, look for questions that would most likely be read by your target customers. Take for example the HARO quote provided by Leaseref, a commercial real estate review company. They were responding to a question about website domains, which is a business related topic. Their customers are business owners.
Follow their lead. Find topics that your leads will most likely read, and start submitting HARO responses. Just to note: HARO sources outnumber reporters. Therefore, your submissions must stand out. Here are few tips to increase the probability of getting published:
- Be sure to follow reporter requirements (e.g. word count, do they require a headshot?, etc.)
- Offer a unique angle instead of writing the first thing that comes to your mind.
- Add insights by talking about a specific experience or example.
With this strategy, you are leaving breadcrumbs for new leads to find you.
Finding new leads on web communities is like investing. You have to put in something valuable first, and give it time grow before you can reap the benefits. This is the general strategy to generate new leads in online communities, such as Reddit, Quora, and Facebook.
This post was written by David Waring, co-founder and publisher of Fit Small Business, a rapidly growing website that reaches over 800,000 small business readers a month.
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