A panel of real estate PR reps and social media influencers told ICNY attendees to remember that the brand is you, the cameras are always on, and whatever you do, avoid talking politics this election year.

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What can agents do to level up their social media strategy in 2024? Remember that the brand is you, the cameras are always on, and whatever you do, avoid talking politics during this election year, panelists said during an Inman Connect session on Wednesday entitled “2024 Trends and Tactics in Social Media and PR.”

Despite a challenging year for agents in 2023, many still succeeded. President of PR firm Lion & Orb Audie Chamberlain said an agent client of his, Rob Thompson in Palm Beach, attributed his million-dollar increase in sales year over year to successful deployment of social media and video.

Meanwhile, Alexia Umansky of The Agency said that maintaining positivity and determination was crucial to get through tough times, recalling her father, Mauricio Umansky’s, strategy during the Great Recession of buying out pages of ads in the LA Times as other agents were stepping away from their marketing spend. That year, he became one of the top agents in the state of California.

Sydney Miller of real estate marketing firm Upgrade moderated the session.

Audie Chamberlain

“[PR is] just two things,” Chamberlain said. “One: how people see you. Your image. Think about social media; it’s how they see you at this conference. And two: it’s how they feel about you. Your reputation. Are you someone who’s trustworthy?”

“There’s a saying in PR,” he added, “it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Chamberlain said that two examples of great PR included Barbara Corcoran’s rags-to-riches story and The Agency’s reputation for not just being a real estate company but also a community member with frequent volunteer projects.

As a real estate social media influencer (she has 360,000-plus followers), Umansky said she realized much of her own brand awareness has come out of her parents’ fame. Umansky’s mother, Kyle Richards, has been a main cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills since 2010.

“I always had this pressure to be more than this girl with the famous mom,” Umansky said. “And I put that pressure on myself to add value.”

Alexia Umansky

Umansky added that she enjoys educating others on social media and having them learn with her as she takes some of the first steps in her real estate career. Therefore, some of her social media content features topics like escrow and contingencies, but also more down-to-earth topics like her mom’s lasagna recipe.

“I like educating people and I like people to learn with me,” Umansky said. “I’m very honest with where I am in my career. A lot of my clients are also first-time homebuyers and we learn together.”

Umansky also shared how she works to convert those digital relationships to face-to-face ones. Recently, the new agent started up a cocktail event that she hopes to make quarterly called “Adulting is Hard.” Over cocktails, attendees can learn something new about a real estate-related topic. So far, she’s hosted events about how to build a good credit score and how to save and invest.

“I’ve made myself this safe space for people to come,” Umansky said. “And it’s really cool.”

Chamberlain praised the strategy as “very actionable.” He noted that “Everyone in the room can host something like this … “Speaking to [contacts in person] is going to build business.”

Sydney Miller

Looking ahead further into 2024, an election year, Chamberlain advised agents to “avoid politics at all costs.”

“You don’t talk about politics or religion unless it’s at the dinner table or with someone you have a certain level of trust with,” he added. “It leads to nothing good in PR.”

Chamberlain also advised agents to “Remember that the camera is always rolling,” and to behave like someone is always watching, as well as to embrace AI tools like ChatGPT.

Umansky recommended agents use the Insights tool on Instagram to better understand your target audience on social media and in general, to pay attention to what’s trending on social.

“The product is you,” Miller reminded agents in closing. “The product is not the listing.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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