Building a business, and a following: How social media pays off
Agents share how developing their Instagram and other social media channels has been instrumental in building their brand and boosting their sales.
- A mix of personal and professional posts helps humanize agents while showcasing their expertise.
- Video is key, say agents who are making social media work for them.
Destiny Roxas knew early on that a social media presence would be essential to growing her business, no matter her profession.
"As I was going through college, it was very popular to have an Instagram, and there was Twitter and Facebook too," she says. "I realized how useful it would be for companies, because the younger generations typically like to see a social media presence of some sort before they reach out."
Roxas, a San Diego-based agent with Big Block Realty, began to establish herself on social media while working in the hospitality and nightlife industry after college. She continued to refine her presence upon joining a mortgage brokerage as office manager in 2015, becoming a licensed loan officer in 2018.
Now, two years after transitioning into real estate, she is known in and around San Diego for her regular appearances on local television as a real estate expert, and for her popular social media posts. She's on Facebook and YouTube, but it's her Instagram presence -- where she has nearly 22,000 followers — that's the most impressive.
Andy Griesinger, a real estate agent with eXp in Charlotte, North Carolina, has also found success on Instagram and YouTube, though it didn't come as naturally to him as it did to Roxas.
Griesinger was on Instagram, but it wasn't until a Charlotte magazine tapped him as a "rising star" in the real estate world in 2018 — about a year into his commercial real estate career — that he put any emphasis on it.
"I wanted to be sure as many people as possible saw that story, so that was the moment," he says. "I was already on Instagram, so I used it to send out the story. And I just kept doing it and have about 17,000 followers now."
He and Roxas have both positioned themselves as experts in their real estate communities, presenting information on social media feeds that is professional, personal and entertaining.
For Roxas, that includes travel posts, behind-the-scenes looks at her TV appearances, celebratory posts congratulating new homeowners and, in what have become her highest-viewed posts, videos that present real estate information in an entertaining way.
"The '90s have made a big comeback, so I decided to do a 'Clueless' skit, but I made it about home mortgages," Roxas says. "Or the Disney skit we did ... people are like, 'Oh, my gosh, they're doing a Disney thing, let's click on it,' versus just talking about the rates for that day."
Though he hasn't dressed as a Disney princess, Griesinger also finds a mix of personal and business posts makes for a lively Instagram feed. Recent posts have included Griesinger celebrating his 32nd birthday as well as real estate-specific content like tackling burnout or the popularity of walkability.
Griesinger had to teach himself to "work smarter, not harder" when it came to social media, and even more importantly, he had to get comfortable on camera for a medium that puts a premium on video. "You have to put yourself in front of a video camera and hope you don't look like an idiot," he says.
For Roxas, being on camera came easy to her while she learned the more technical aspects of production.
"I was not one of those kids that was super athletic or anything," she says. "I would design websites. I learned how to do the video editing. I taught myself pretty much everything. Then that interest just continued into the social media realm because it played so well into it."
Neither Roxas nor Griesinger hesitates when asked if they think the hour or two a day they devote to their social media accounts is worth it.
Roxas believes her social presence helps her stand out from other agents. "It could be that a listing agent picks your offer over another one," Roxas says. "If they have a sense of who you are and how candid and cool you are, they're more likely to persuade their seller to go with you than with someone else."
Griesinger has also seen tangible benefits to his business. "I couldn't even tell you the number of times I've sold houses directly through Instagram and YouTube," he says. "It's a lot."