How big of a deal are realtor review sites?
Did you know many clients who are shopping either for a buyer's agent or a seller's agent won't ever make it to your webpage?
They probably won't even make it to your brokerage's webpage.
Instead, they're far more likely to come across your profile on a major real estate reviews site.
For this reason, you need to claim and take full advantage of every opportunity provided to you on the major and real estate specific review sites that potential clients are frequenting.
If your prospects aren’t finding you, they’re finding your competitors.
Generalist review sites: the big ones
There is just no ignoring Google or Facebook in any industry, and the realty industry is no exception. Here's what you need to know.
There's not much an individual realtor can do about Google Maps. Unless you are literally the only realtor in your office, you're probably not going to show up.
Google My Business focuses on the brokerages, not on individual realtors. And while there are GMB bells and whistles that are really apropos for some industries, they're not terribly helpful for realtors.
This does not mean your broker is particularly tech savvy. You can help yourself, and your whole office, by taking the time to check your brokerage's GMB listing for the following issues:
If all is well, move on to worrying about your individual profiles on the next four sites.
While some realtors make good use of their personal Facebook accounts to move houses, it's important to make sure you have a dedicated Facebook business page.
Sure, Robin Ramsey may be a realtor who posts houses on her friend's feeds, but you also need a Robin Ramsey — Realtor page where people who you don't know can follow you.
More importantly, the Robin Ramsey — Realtor page is going to be where past clients are going to leave reviews. They won't be able to do that on your personal page.
Once you've taken care of that detail, make sure to:
You never know when someone might hit the "Share" button on one of your houses.
One more detail.
Once you've launched your Facebook page, don't let it get out of date. It looks like this realtor did everything right, but stopped updating her page about a year ago.
Thus, if someone finds her through this vector they might have questions about whether she's still in business at all, and might move on to another realtor who seems more active.
If you don't think you're going to be able to keep up with your Facebook page then it might be better not to launch one in the first place. You can always filter review to sites that are not quite so high-maintenance. But if you do have the time, don't leave the money on the table.
Launch the page and keep it running.
Don't forget to actually ask clients for Facebook recommendations.
Realtor review sites: Where clients come to find you
Zillow Agent Finder
Zillow's main claim to fame is its home listings, but it does have an agent finder feature too.
It's also currently capturing more traffic than any other real estate site out there, which means you absolutely want to make sure you're collecting reviews here and staying on top of your profile.
Zillow doesn't make your profile too complicated. There's a little box for basic contact and licensing info.
You don't have to do much more than fill it out completely.
Then there's the rest of the profile, which really only has two sections you have any control over. The first is the about section; the second pertains to past transactions and current listings.
You get a lot of space to talk about yourself, so make the most of it!
Zillow will practically let you write a novella on their site, and that's all to the good. Now you just have to make that information stand out.
One way you can do that is to use your formatting options. What you're trying to do here is call immediate attention to what makes you special. To why people would want to hire you out of the literally thousands of competing options out there.
Of course, not everyone has a bold program like the realtors below (we sell it or we buy it), but there's something that makes you special, some type of person you excel at helping or want to help, something about your approach worth calling some attention to. Make sure you figure out what that is, and call some attention to it!
Notice how your eye travels right to the most important selling points.
By the way, the section is called "About Me," so consider writing in first person. It's warmer and less stilted than third person.Don't forget the value of Zillow reviews.
Keep past sales and active listings up-to-date.
Zillow offers a section both for your current listings and for your past sales. A lot of this information populates automatically, but not all of it does.
For example, "past sales" will list automatically if you were the listing agent, but it won't place the house on the list if you were the buyer's agent. Fortunately, you can go in there and handle that yourself.
Obviously active listings gives you one more place to market your houses, but "past sales" is probably the more valuable section of the two.
Plenty of realtors say they move houses like wildfire. This section allows you to prove that claim.
It's not a bad idea to login after every transaction just to make sure your latest deal is showing up.
246 successful transactions. Solid activity happening at a steady clip. This agent would obviously be a good choice either for a buyer or a seller.
Notice how there won't be any confusion about whether you were representing the buyer or the seller. The information is right there for anyone to see.
Trulia is the second-most popular real estate site. Unlike Zillow, there's no agent finder. Potential clients can click on agent profiles when they find a house they like. The listing agent will always be on the home profile. Sometimes "premier" agents will be on there too. Those are agents who have paid to show up on listings in certain zip codes.
All this means most of your calls from Trulia are going to be 100% house driven, instead of being driven by those who are searching for an agent first. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just something to keep in mind.
Know how to get in there in the first place.
Fun fact, figuring out how to get into your profile isn't the easiest thing in the world.
Fortunately, I've done the detective work for you, and have located this handy guide that will walk you through the entire thing.
There aren't a lot of crazy bells and whistles, though of course you want to take advantage of every field you get. Most of the neat stuff comes from the next bit, where you stay on top of your listings and some interesting data ends up showing up on your profile as a result.
The graphs aren't just colorful. They're useful, too!
For clients who are "just the facts, ma'am" kind of people these data points are a lot more useful than the normal elevator pitch.
For example, if I wanted to sell my home I might give serious consideration to this agent, who helps far more sellers than buyers and who seems to get some decent prices for her efforts.
Stay on top of your listings.
Fail to keep your activity up to date and the colorful, useful graphs become dubious, greyed out, "we don't know" circles that you don't want on your profile.
This listing is a bucket of sadness which makes the real estate agent, who is probably a lovely person, look terribly shady when she doesn't have to.
Like Zillow, you'll get the opportunity to add both your current listings and your past sales. It's important for you to take the time to do both.
Realtor.com lets potential clients search both for homes and realtors directly too. As the name of the site might imply it probably offers the most space to realtors to help communicate their value to potential clients. And by "the most space" I mean you almost get a mini-website here.
The last thing you want to do is waste this opportunity, so be thorough, and pay close attention to the following three features.
Create a pretty header.
Realtor.com is one of the only sites that lets you dress up your profile this way.
When you create this header make sure you remember it's not just about nice photography. I like the big, bold headline on this one: "Who You Choose Matters!"
The "Over 700 5-star reviews!" selling point gets a bit lost behind this agent's picture. Were I her, I'd have moved that to the right, since we all know what the Re/Max balloon looks like. Still, this header offers a great example of what you can do with this space.
Take advantage of this opportunity to provide lots of information.
Realtor.com has plenty of fields for you to fill out. Some will populate automatically (such as the recommendations field).
Anything that the site prompts you to fill out, however, should be used to its fullest.
This site also lets you format the About section into paragraphs, so don't just leave a big block of text there. Take advantage of the ability to make your words digestible and readable.
Don't neglect the "local expertise" section.
This is a neat section. By linking it to your blog and Facebook feed you can showcase your industry expertise, your area knowledge, and more. Since this is all a big deal and part of the reason why people still need realtors it's smart to take advantage of this capability.
Is every potential client going to do more than scan the feed? Probably not. But you don't necessarily need them to do more than that.
The realtor who chooses to use this feature is still putting together a far stronger profile than the one who does not.
Big picture general advice
There are a lot of review sites out there where you might want to maintain a profile. It would be impossible to cover them all in a single blog post.
Use these two basic principles to make sure you're communicating your value to potential clients on every site you interact with.
Principle #1: See a field, use a field.
If a site offers a field you should make your best effort to fill it out. Blanks look bad on any profile. If something is truly not applicable, at least use an N/A.
Principle #2: Don't be boring.
You lovingly pour descriptive language into each of your listings, ensuring that potential buyers can picture themselves calling these places "home." You need to put the same care and attention into painting a picture of what it will be like to work with you.
Don't fall back on the tired old technique of listing your years of experience and credentials in corporate robot-speak. It's fine to add these facts to your profile, but try to do it in a way that doesn't make you sound like every other tired, uninspired realtor out there. After awhile, your 25+ years in the industry just sounds like more noise.
What are you going to do for the clients in your care that's different today?
In short, make every part of your profile vibrant, lively, and polished.
Like I said, many of your potential clients won't ever bother to move on to your website. This is your one chance to reach them.
They'll either pick up the phone and make the call...or they'll move on to someone else.