Industries that rely heavily on in-person, face-to-face contact have had to adapt quickly in order to stay relevant this year.
One of those industries is real estate. Instead of hosting open houses and scheduling multiple showings in an afternoon, agents are now doing much more work behind the screen—whether that’s streaming video walk-throughs for multiple clients at a time or working with other videographers to develop 3D tours.
While real estate already relied heavily on online platforms like Zillow and social media sites, the importance of these platforms has increased exponentially with everyone staying home.
I recently spoke with one luxury agent, Philip Scheinfeld of New York’s Compass, about what he and his colleagues are seeing in terms of how social media is shaping the industry. Scheinfeld is one of the city’s most successful young real estate agents, having sold over $ 150,000,000 worth of property across New York City.
Shama Hyder: What role does social media play in real estate today? What do you think real estate agents need to know about these tools?
Philip Scheinfeld: Real estate agents are now selling homes and buildings, finding clients, and growing their brands online — all through social media.
Having a social media presence is one of the most important, if not the most important presence you can have today as an agent. That’s true even more so in today’s world—not being able to meet IRL for the last few months has significantly changed how we run our business. Now our clients’ first impression is online, whether it’s via Zoom or Instagram.
2020 has been the year of uncertainty, but also the year of persistence. With persistence, those who have pushed through the challenges have been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With uncertainty comes change and evolution.
Those who are ahead of most have gotten to that point by evolving with the times and using social media to their advantage. Social media is the strongest marketing tool we have out there—it reaches out not only to our closest friends, but people around the world 24/7.
Hyder: What do you think sets a great agent apart from a good one?
Scheinfeld: Having a strong team behind them. Without my team, I would not be where I am today. That in itself is the most important tool you can have to be a great agent. It all starts with a solid foundation.
Another important thing is to have a strong social media presence and engage with potential clients—buyers and sellers, other agents, brands and followers. You want to be someone who is recognized and looked upon highly online.
Being present and up to date with technology, trends and the market is also critical. You always need to be a student and constantly be learning—you can never absorb too much.
Finally, you have to make sure that you are not treating your clients like transactions. Make them feel special, important and that you have their best interest at heart. Make it feel like a personal relationship rather than a transaction.
Hyder: What are three social media tips that you would give someone starting out in real estate?
Scheinfeld: First, engage, engage, engage!
Second, make sure your name and brand are both represented in the same light. Reputation is everything! Social media can be both personal and professional. If you want to separate the two, then make your personal account private and your business account strictly business.
Remember, your name will always be your name, do not misrepresent yourself. Social media can make or break you. As I said before, during these times especially, social media is your first impression!
Third—be authentic! Don’t follow trends and be cookie cutter. Make yourself different. That’s the power of social media—it’s your canvas.
Hyder: What are some of the other virtual aspects of real estate selling that are important these days?
Scheinfeld: Virtual tours have been huge for my clients—we have rented and sold sight unseen through virtual tours as well as FaceTime showings.
Virtual staging and staging apartments IRL is also huge. Most clients have a challenging time with interior design, especially on the scale of an apartment. This is not everyone’s forte, so being able to show them how the space works with furniture is key.
Something that has also been key for us is making the surrounding area look and feel like home. If the listing is in Flatiron, we show buyers all the restaurants, things to do, shops, etc. You want people to feel like they are home and safe, and excited about working with you. You’ve got to sell the location as well as the property.
Scheinfeld and his team are proof that social media and technology’s influence in real estate is only growing—whether someone’s looking to buy a $ 400k single-family home or a multi-million dollar residential building. How are you going to up your social media game in 2021?