It may sound like an easy topic to address, but when you consider the growing number of platforms, real estate professionals need social strategies in place to capture their clientele. This starts with knowing your audience and knowing when they're active online.
As a real estate professional, it's important to be in tune with your community and your personal clientele via social media. Posting about local events and goings-on is one of the easiest ways to get social media engagement. But, there are some general social media facts to be aware of, like how 80 percent of the country's population live in the Central and Eastern time zones. Take timing into consideration when posting. Also, if your audience is older, you probably shouldn't post after 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., when most of your audience is already asleep.
With such a variety of social platforms now at your disposal, it can be dizzying trying to make sense of the best times to post. Here are some tips to follow for the most popular social media sites/apps:
Let's begin easy. For agents and brokers, it's no secret that Facebook is your greatest social asset. Besides the fact that the vast majority of your clientele is likely active on the site, there are few times that you can go wrong posting to Facebook. According to Fast Company, though, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. is the best time to post, with Wednesday at 3 p.m. being the prime hour during the week. However, this doesn't mean you can't post any other time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., as long as it's valuable content.
Think of what will best speak to your audience: what are their interests and what time of year is it? If the warm season is right around the corner, maybe share a piece on summertime activities that are going on in your area or great weekend getaways. Also, as a rule, lighter content will perform better on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for obvious reasons.
The rules for LinkedIn are very similar to the rules for posting on Facebook, with one exception: stick to the work week. By far, the most engagement you'll see on LinkedIn is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Naturally, those numbers fall off dramatically on weekends. The social aspect of the site is still career-oriented and, unless you're targeting job hunters, most people aren't going to give LinkedIn much attention from Friday to Monday. What's interesting about LinkedIn, however, is that research shows posting earlier and later in the day will garner the best engagement. People treat the site almost like they do the morning paper, so they'll check it once they've gotten to the office and likely once again right before they leave.
Instagram is becoming less and less "that app that your kid uses." The real estate industry has been slow to pick up the app, but since it's highly engaging and photo-centric, that shouldn't be the case. Beautiful photography is crucial to selling homes, so having another platform to push those photos out on should be a priority. Instagram, however, is one of the social platforms that people will check the least during business hours, as they likely won't find an interesting article or anything that they can construe as "working" if their boss catches them on it. Also, the desktop version of the app is still clunky at best. With that in mind, noon is still a safe bet to post. Many people check their Instagram when they run out to lunch, but your best engagement numbers are still going to be during the week after 5 p.m.
Here's another social app that was originally marketed to and used by millennials, but is now being employed in more professional settings. As with Instagram, you can upload photos and videos to Snapchat, but (like Instagram Stories) they disappear after a certain amount of time. Also, the best posting times for Snapchat are pretty much identical to those of Instagram. But keep in mind that Snapchat should only be used to fill out a social strategy. You shouldn't focus on Snapchat if that means you won't have time to post regularly to Facebook and Twitter.
Last, but certainly not least, we come to Twitter. There have been talks of the app's demise for years now, but for now, Twitter is sticking around. The good thing is, unlike with Facebook and Instagram—where you really shouldn't post much more than a few times a day—you can post as much as your heart desires on Twitter. Tweets are incredibly ephemeral because when you post one it's just plugged into an endless scroll of tweets, and five minutes later it's buried. Also, feel free to tweet any day of the week—though, Fast Company's research shows that Monday through Thursday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. are the absolute best hours to post.
There are several other social platforms that real estate professionals are taking advantage of, such as Google+ and Pinterest; however, as mentioned above, you should only be considering these platforms if you already have a robust social strategy and can pool some of your resources away from Facebook and Twitter. In 2018, though, your identity on social media should be an extension of your real estate business and its goals. Make sure you're investing in the above social sites/apps and taking the time to learn about your clientele and when they're active online.
Jameson Doris is RISMedia's blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.