Since the housing market rebound, more people are looking to real estate organizations to buy or sell a house. Many areas of the country are experiencing record numbers regarding sales. This means real estate organizations are well-positioned now more than ever to expand their companies and add to their thousands of franchises and employees.
Employees of real estate organizations are usually customer-facing, meaning they’ve already developed relationships with clients and potential prospects. Employee advocacy can assist in nurturing these relationships and help develop new ones through the utilization of your employees’ social networks.
Since companies in this industry tend to be massive and global in scale, it can be difficult to amplify consistent messaging across your organization efficiently. Because of this, real estate organizations miss out on a significant opportunity to bolster multiple departments within their organization.
In the following guide, we will outline the basics of an employee advocacy program and explore specific tactics that will positively impact real estate organizations’ marketing, sales and HR departments.
An employee advocacy program is one of the most fundamental ways of showing your employees trust. Many large organizations hesitate to give up the reigns when it comes to allowing their employees to utilize social media for work purposes. But in real estate, employee advocacy can work as a great tool to improve the different areas of your business. For example, an employee advocacy program can help:
- Bolster employee engagement
- Increase nation-wide social exposure
- Build thought leadership among agents and brokers
- Grow your business’s official social media pages
- Easily keep your employees informed with any news or changes in policy
Real estate organizations are all about helping customers buy and sell properties through their various franchises. It’s about connecting with people. The more people you can connect with, the bigger the potential business becomes.
Most real estate organizations usually have an official social media presence where they post regularly. While this gets the message heard by some of their followers, these organizations miss out on a significant opportunity to amplify their message by using employee advocates.
It might not seem like much, but your employees have an average of 846 social connections. By utilizing them, your organization can improve its social reach by 561% and garner eight times as much social engagement than your brand channel alone. This makes real estate organizations with tens of thousands of employees a well-suited industry to implement an employee advocacy program.
Many large real estate organizations are global giants. They consist of thousands of franchises that house massive workforces. This often makes distributing and amplifying consistent messaging a challenge. But through the use of an employee advocacy platform such as Bambu, you can easily overcome this hurdle. Bambu makes it easy for your employees to curate and distribute content. This removes any barriers for your employees to become employee advocates.
One big issue organizations often run into is getting employees to actually participate in an advocacy program. Employees often have concerns that make them shy away from participating. In a recent report from Bambu, we found:
- 15.7% of employees don’t know what content they’re supposed to share
- 21.6% don’t know if their company wants them to share
- 15.6% are scared to share the wrong thing With the proper training and a robust social media policy, you can overcome these hurdles.
Using Bambu to disperse content through all levels of your organizations helps you gain a consistent voice across all channels with your brand. Your content can then be amplified by employees to generate brand awareness, increase social reach and ultimately impact your organization’s bottom line.
Tactical Approaches To Success
Different departments within an organization can benefit from employee advocacy. Specifically marketing, human resources and sales. Because each department has different goals and objectives, each group has a unique approach to social media. Just as each department has different goals and objectives, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter dier in terms of what type of content gets shared.
Buying a house is one of the most important decisions in a person’s life. It is a purchase that is made over many weeks or months, and it requires the prospect to be nurtured throughout the entire process. Your marketing team or individual brokers’ can showcase that their company is an industry leader on their personal social networks.
- What to share: Branded content from individual franchises, user-generated content from employees about your industry or your company and open house listings.
- How to position: Informational yet promotional. Facebook offers a unique platform for franchises and their brokers to directly market their brand to its employees’ networks. This allows the content to be reshared and their brand could end up in front of a potential prospect.
- Potential outcomes: Web traffic, potential lead opportunities for franchise or specific brokers, brand awareness and social engagement.
- What to share: User-generated content from employees (LinkedIn Pulse articles) that promote thought leadership, articles from C-level executives that promote employee engagement and the brand image and articles from industry leaders who speak at current events or give important news.
- How to position: Mainly informational. You want your employees’ networks to get value out of the content they’re sharing. This will also position them as individuals that will be looked to as resources in the future.
- Potential outcomes: Increased connections with both individuals and company page on LinkedIn, website traffic and earned media opportunities from user-generated content.
- What to share: Tweets from individuals high up in the organization, Tweets about current events and news within industry, content about current events within the organization and user-generated content from employees or other thought leaders within the industry.
- How to position: Since the character limit on Twitter is 140 characters, make your Tweet concise and to the point. Also tag any individuals mentioned in the Tweet (eg., @coldwellbanker, @remax) with relative hashtags such as #realestate, #homebuying, #luxuryproperty and #realtor to increase potential reach.
- Potential outcomes: Increased brand exposure through Retweets, web traffic, earned media opportunities and increased social reach.
The ultimate goal of employee advocacy for a sales department is to generate leads. In the case of the real estate industry, the sales department is composed of the individual sales agents and brokers. Social selling is an emerging part of social media and can be very powerful if executed correctly. Through an employee advocacy program you get the conversation started about one of the most important purchases in person’s life.
- What to share: People go to Facebook to connect with friends and family. This makes it an ideal platform for Realtors to connect with friends and family on their social networks. Share content that is informational yet slightly promotional. Also share new house listings that direct back to your web site, events that your franchises may be holding, posts about certain neighborhoods and any special information about them (how good are the schools, etc).
- How to position: The content needs to make the sales agent or broker look like they are expert in their field on their social networks.
- Potential outcomes: Increased brand exposure, potential leads gained through word of mouth marketing and increased engagement on the broker’s network.
- What to share: Industry news and events, user-generated content and branded content that has to do with sales.
- How to position: The content should make the franchise, sales agents or brokers the go-to resource for all things industry-related.
- Potential outcome: New connections on LinkedIn, increased engagement on posts and higher visibility or profile.
- What to share: house buying tips, area real estate news and information, branded Tweets and Tweets from industry influencers or thought leaders.
- How to position it: Content that is resourceful and relevant. Use proper hashtags relating to the content that is shared and make sure to tag all relevant parties using their Twitter handle (@coldwellbanker).
- Potential outcomes: Increased exposure to both the brokers and franchises own social handles, increase in Twitter followers and potential lead gathering by utilizing and engagement strategy.
Employee advocacy can play multiple roles in human resources, but the primary goal is to lower the cost of recruitment. Job prospects, now more than ever, have more choices in their employer. They look for a solid company culture, what kind of team they will be working with, the office setting and certain perks of the job. Employee advocacy can amplify all these attributes to social networks of not only your HR department but your entire company.
- What to share: Content that speaks to the culture of the company (company events, in-office parties, off-campus outings, etc.), testimonials of current employees about what it’s like working there, current job openings and charitable causes the company cares about.
- How to position it: Since Facebook is growing as a major source of potential job candidates, the content you share has to tell a story about what it’s like to work at your company.
- Potential outcomes: Increased potential leads and applicants through word of mouth marketing and referrals.
- What to share: Job openings through employees and subsequent company pages, posts about company culture and causes that your business holds dear.
- How to position it: Because LinkedIn is such a professional platform, there are many qualified candidates on it. You need to build awareness about your company and amplify it through department-specific employees. Make sure the posts you share will still be relevant for quite sometime as LinkedIn posts tend to have a much longer shelf-life than Facebook or Twitter.
- Potential outcomes: Brand exposure, new candidates, candidates through referrals and web traffic.
- What to share: User-generated content that has to do with company culture or employee stories, charitable causes your company supports, o-campus company outings and in-office events such as celebrating milestones or employee achievements. Since Twitter limits to 140 characters, make sure to include quality images that tell the story you are trying to portray.
- How to position: Tell a story with your Tweets, even if it takes multiple Tweets in a row. You want prospective employees to get a sense of what your company is like behind closed doors. Keep it conversational in nature and make sure your Tweets can be found by using relative hashtags like #realtor #realtyjobs #jobsinrealestate with geo-modifiers (Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.).
- Potential outcomes: Increased social reach for your employees and your company, potential for lead acquisition and increased brand exposure.
In such a customer-centric industry, it pays to have consistent messaging throughout all levels of the organization. This helps those on the front lines stay on brand and keeps them up to date on any significant happenings with the company or industry. With the right training and advocacy platform, you have everything you need to empower your employees through all levels of your real estate organization.