Boosting without boasting: How to sell yourself as a local expert
Many agents brand themselves as experts. If you've done the work to earn that title, how do you stand out and get noticed?
- Don't focus on your awards and designations — show consumers what you can do for them.
- Social media is a good place to begin sharing helpful, relatable content. Think about what matters to prospective clients.
- Local news outlets are great resources. Pitch ideas and tell producers how you can help with a story, and you might just land an interview.
Becoming an expert in your local real estate market is no small task. You've worked hard to understand local buying and selling trends. You've driven every neighborhood in your region. You know the school districts and public transportations options. You attend city council and chamber of commerce meetings to stay on top of policy and business decisions.
But how do you communicate your expertise to potential clients? Hint: There's more to it than adding "local expert" to your marketing materials.
"You could just go around telling people you're a real estate market expert, but that would come across as braggy," says Jason Sherman, president of the Chicago public relations firm Sherman Communications & Marketing. "Instead of telling people 'Look at me, I made the Diamond Club or the President's Club, tell them how you worked to help 25 families find their dream homes. Be relatable."
That's something Destiny Roxas does well. A member of The Real Brokerage-Dean Aguilar Group in San Diego, Roxas came to the real estate profession from the mortgage industry. As a loan processor and then a loan officer, she began making YouTube videos and Instagram reels. But these aren't boring videos filled with numbers and statistics. Instead, she demystifies types of loans, shares favorite San Diego sites, interviews local interior designers, and occasionally adds in a pop culture-inspired video. A "Clueless"-themed video, for example, helps those bewildered by home loans and refinancing.
Roxas, now a full-time real estate agent with more than 22,000 Instagram followers, continues to post videos and reels. "I might share a cool design feature or a walk-through of a house that needs a total redo," she says. "And sometimes the videos are of a great local restaurant I'm at with my friends or running errands with my mom. Together they share information and they paint a picture of who I am and what's important to me."
There's nothing wrong with posting houses you've listed or sold on social media. But Sherman encourages taking the next step: Post testimonials from buyers or your broker. Critique home remodeling shows. Take video when you walk through properties. Share what you love and what you don't.
"Focus on what differentiates you in your market," says Sherman. "If you have design skills, don't just tell us you're a designer. Post photos or videos of rooms you love and tell us what makes them great. If you're an old-home expert, post information about them — but do it in an appealing, accessible way."
Once you've established yourself as a local market expert on your own platforms, it's time to reach out to local TV stations, newspapers, podcasts and magazines.
Sherman suggests reviewing six months' worth of stories from different outlets and seeing what they're focused on. "Once you know where their interest lies, you can reach out to a producer or editor with three ways you could help them with future stories," he says. "Send them an email that says, 'I've been working in this market for X number of years and I've helped hundreds of homeowners find their dream homes. I'm happy to be interviewed and I'm happy to help you find homeowners you could interview.' Anything that makes their job easier will give them a reason to call."
Sherman and Roxas offered these additional tips for raising your "expert" profile:
Amplify media coverage
When you are featured in the media, post a link on your website and share on your social media channels. Boost the signal of any positive coverage.
Use expert data to your advantage
If you see a new report or study about homeownership, interest rates or refinancing, share that info with attribution and then expand on it. Help people understand what it means. Add perspective. Share why a potential buyer should care.
"People don't want to work with perfect agents. They want to work with agents they can relate to," says Roxas. "I hope people who see my videos or interviews think of me as a knowledgeable agent but also as the kind of person who is going to hold their hand and make homebuying a good experience. I want them to know they can ask me anything."
Hire a pro
Overwhelmed by it all? Consider pooling money with a few other agents and hiring a pro to do some public relations work for you. Remember, being a market expert isn't a benefit if you keep that expertise to yourself.