You may think managing a blog and running a couple of ads here and there is enough to get you a few qualified leads — but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not making the most of the opportunities you have at your fingertips. Personal branding encompasses every little thing you do, be it in person or online, and it’s the key to developing a well-known real estate business.
What exactly is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process of making yourself the thing you’re marketing. Branding is the process of marketing a particular product or company; but in this case, that is you. Brand does not mean just online — it’s part of everything you do and what you stand for.
When you think about a restaurant’s branding, for example, it’s more than just the type of cuisine it sells. Branding encompasses every single thing in the establishment, tangible to abstract, from the way its employees greet you to the style of writing on its menu to the decor and ambiance. That joke written on the napkin (that you may or may not have laughed at) is part of the restaurant’s branding.
It’s why you associate some restaurants with places to watch sports and why you know other places require a suit jacket — their branding has communicated clearly what type of establishment they are, what occasions they’re best for, their overall vibe, etc.
This is all true for personal branding for real estate agents, too. Everything you do and every piece of content you produce online and offline speaks to your brand, so do it well and make it count.
Above all, no matter what you do, be consistent.
Why should you focus on personal branding?
1. As a real estate agent, you need to convey to people what kind of real estate agent you are.
Are you someone who cracks jokes? Maybe you specialize in rentals or vacation homes? Or perhaps you’re no-nonsense and super direct. Showing who you are and flaunting what you believe in helps convey who you are, and this helps you bond with your prospects and shows how trustworthy you are in the process.
2. Branding makes you recognizable.
There’s a theorem in psychology, called the Mere Exposure Effect, that states that people prefer things they’ve seen before simply because of surface-level familiarity. This applies perfectly to branding and especially real estate agents, as your headshot and logos are prime parts of your brand.
3. It helps differentiate you from your competition.
What makes you special? Can prospects tell from your Google business profile or your real estate website? That’s because you haven’t focused on your personal branding enough. Personal branding allows you to showcase, front and center, what sets you apart. Create that unique value proposition, too. This can help set you apart from other real estate agents. Are you a top closer in your area? Do you sell above asking price more than half of the time? Find a favorable statistic or a skill you have and FLAUNT it. Don’t be shy.
Essentials of personal branding:
- Find your focus.
- As a real estate agent, you can broadcast your expertise in your area or your impressive tenure — find what makes you you and hammer it home. Often times, being a real estate agent with a high level of expertise in a certain area is enough, but make sure that’s expressly clear.
- Get a headshot. If you don’t have a professional headshot, get one ASAP! It’s crucial you appear approachable and professional. Use the same headshot on every site, business card (physical and digital) and social media network. Personal branding is all about instilling a memorable image, so sticking to things like your headshot is absolutely imperative. If your agency has a logo, you’ll want to have that on your website as well.
- Be real. If you’re insincere in your marketing, people will see through it. Be as genuine and relatable as you can while still conveying how knowledgeable you are. For example, if you haven’t been a real estate agent for very long, don’t try to pretend you have. Turn it into a positive, rather — you’re new to the scene and already helping clients find homes and bringing a new energy to the area.
- Find your color palette. Having and incorporating a unique set of primary and secondary colors into your website, photos and general branding is a fantastic way to set yourself apart. This is what brands do. It’s why, for example, when you see red and yellow, McDonald’s springs to mind. It’s subliminally become second-nature to much of America due to mere exposure.
- Think of a quick tagline or slogan that summarizes who you are. Since branding is all about association, the more touch points you have for people to remember you, the better.
- Develop a tone. The voice you use when writing your content and the way you speak in the videos you post help convey the type of person you are. Are you authoritative and knowledgeable? Are you tech savvy and efficient? Are you friendly and approachable? Find the voice you’re most comfortable with and stick to it.
Places to have a presence:
- Facebook. As the social media site with the most registered members in the world, Facebook is a no-brainer for marketing. It’s important to post organically to your sphere and then run ads against people who live in the community you’re operating in, so make sure to make the most of both organic and paid reach.
- YouTube. Ever watch a video online? Odds are it was on YouTube, the second-most popular social media site and the one with the most registered and unregistered users. Here, you can and should post videos of content of your choosing: selling tips, what consumers should look for in a house they’re buying, etc. It’s a great way to show your face, prove you’re active and give people a sense of who you are.
- Google. The world’s most-used search engine allows you to run ads and also manage a business profile that shows up in SERPs. The latter takes up the right side of the screen with a panel devoted to your business. You can include your personal branding — your headshot, logo, slogan — and also publish photos and content posts to show your expertise and successes with past clients. This is a great place to meet high-intent leads when they search for you.
- Instagram. This super-popular social media site, which has a user base that skews younger than Facebook, is a great place to make your presence felt: You can create and broadcast original eye-catching content, videos to reinforce your brand and more. Post organically and run ads.
- Quora. This little-known tip can help you cement yourself as a true real estate expert. Quora is a site devoted to question asking and answering — answering in particular is a good way to prove expertise. Search for questions about home buying and selling, and if you can answer questions, particularly about the area in which you operate, that’s best. If you post with your name, it’ll show up in Google search results, reinforcing your expertise to prospects who search for you.
- LinkedIn and Medium. Post blog-like articles on these two sites to showcase your expertise on real estate and your farm area. If you can create thought leadership content on these sites, the articles will be more likely to get shared.
- In person. Show up at local farmers markets, volunteer events, community events and projects. Hand out promotional items that have your logo, slogan and website URL on them (tote bags, water bottles, keychains and the like), wear an outfit that is on-brand (maybe even a t-shirt that has your slogan on it) and get to know members of the community through friendly conversation. Don’t expect everyone you speak with to turn into a client. Letting people meet you in real life is a great way to get your name out there and reinforce the marketing you’ve done elsewhere.