5 tips to liven up your social presence — from Lori Lightfoot’s digital strategist

As deputy director of digital strategy for the office of the mayor, Kikora Mason is tasked with making Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot the most digitally savvy mayor in the country. But as a web marketing expert, Mason recognizes that social media skills are equally applicable in every field. That’s why she attended last week’s Titans of Industry: Women in Real Estate conference, to address the room full of agents with tips for invigorating their online presence.

Mason acknowledged three truths about the internet: It is a large space, there is a lot going on and that is not going to change. That can leave most wondering how to stand out. And for that, Mason has five guidelines, or, as she calls them, “The Five Rs.”

Kikora Mason at the Titans of Industry event

Be real

Above all, Mason advised, don’t talk like a robot: “Have fun and be a human in this space,” she said. Content needs personality to attract clients, Mason explained. “You don’t want to be stiff in the way that you communicate.” As an example, Mason cited the actor Amanda Seales who plays recurring character Tiffany on HBO’s “Insecure.” Throughout the course of the series, Seales gained a considerable internet following for her fresh takes and natural presentation.

Be relatable

“You’re not just selling properties, you’re selling experiences,” Mason said, flexing her understanding of the Realtor brand. But selling an experience requires building trust and connecting with your audience. To do that, she suggested hosting Instagram live sessions with other professionals, creating direct-to-camera Q&A videos and using Instagram Reels, the platform’s fairly new recording and editing program.

Be responsible

Most agents are well aware, at this point, that they need to be careful what they say online. “Nothing in the digital ecosystem goes away,” Mason said, going on to reference the two well-known, but very different, examples: comedian Kevin Hart and Jamal Simmons, Vice President Kamala Harris’ communications director. Both men found their careers jeopardized due to decade-old tweets. “You’re not just representing yourself [when you post], you’re representing your company,” Mason said. She encouraged doing regular scrubs of your social media and, if still you’re unsure if something whether appropriate, get a professional opinion.

Be recognizable

Though most of Mason’s tips included more tangible strategies, being recognizable does come down to — as she put it — “a certain je ne sais quoi” or pleasing quality that is difficult to describe. To attain that, Mason suggested that agents consider how their social presence will help them stand out in a crowded space. “What is something that keeps people coming back to your profile?” She encouraged attendees to ask themselves.

Be rich

“In each post, make clients feel like you’re only speaking to them,” Mason said. It helps to be visual and immersive and to imbue the work with personality whenever possible. And to achieve that, Mason offered some surprising advice: “If you have to spend more than 15 minutes thinking about what will go into it, it’s probably a bad post.” While remaining responsible, Mason cautioned, “Avoid overthinking.”

Speaking to Chicago Agent after the conference, Mason also provided additional insight for cultivating authenticity. “What helps is knowing the things you want to focus on in your social media content. It comes off unnaturally when folks are not prepared to enter the space, so they’re thinking on the fly.” But social media doesn’t work like that anymore; the medium has evolved and there is strategy around all of it, she added.

Realtors in particular, Mason said, should choose three areas to focus on when posting. Agents understand their market specialties like the back of their hand, so let that confidence and expertise be a guiding light. “When you know what you want to talk about, it’s easier to be authentic,” Mason explained, noting that it’s still important to have some fun. Using digital platforms to both showcase work and attract new clients is a key aspect of marketing, she said. “Maintaining an engaged audience takes work, but you have to relax,” she said. “If you’re talking like a robot, it’s all for nothing.”

More specifically, Mason’s emphasized the significance of doing this work on Instagram. “Insta and video content is the now,” she said. “And even if it’s uncomfortable, [agents] should be pushing that.” As the most visual platform, Instagram is home to the largest percentage of social media users, and Mason believes that the core demographic of the real estate audience is on there. Similarly, Mason pointed out, the app TikTok is effective at cultivating communities based on personal interests — there is a real estate audience there too.

Edutainment is here to stay! How to incorporate IG Reels, TikTok and YouTube Shorts into your 2022 plan

Katie Lance

Have you noticed a big trend in social media these days? American illustrator Peter Catalanotto coined the term “edutainment” in the 1990s while teaching students about writing and illustration, but I also think it’s so relevant today for Realtors in this day and age.

It’s hard to ignore the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels and even the new YouTube Shorts.

When it comes to social media and real estate, I’m often asked, “What is the best type of content to create and post?”

As I’ve always said, I think it’s important that agents and brokers create content not just for the sake of content, but there is a tremendous value in building a content library that goes with you wherever you go. Social media is rented ground.

So, how can Realtors and real estate brokers employ the use of edutainment when it comes to building their brand, generating business and promoting their listings?

First, I think it’s important to understand why TikTok and Instagram are so addicting for many consumers. This past year-and-a-half there has been a tremendous amount of angst and noise in our news, and to be honest, I think it’s refreshing to a lot of us to watch short-form entertaining videos.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t also create these types of videos for your business.

What do all these videos have in common? They’re all short-form — under one minute in length. In fact, the faster the better.

Here are three edutainment ideas:

One: You don’t always have to be on camera

Good news, right?! The next time you have a new listing, take out your phone and record five to 10 2-to-3-second clips on your phone. This might be a short clip of the kitchen, the backyard, opening the front door, walking to the home, etc. Your voice does not need to be on camera, and you don’t need to be on camera. Now, on your phone you have a handful of clips of that house.

Open up TikTok or Instagram Reels, add some trending music and a little bit of text, and voila — you have now created a quick and simple piece of content, informative but fun and playful.

As a bonus tip, you might even add your brand colors or logo.

Two: Tell a story of a milestone

I love using my 1 Second Everyday app to capture a 1-second clip throughout the course of a year. You can use this to create a quick video highlighting the progress of a year, but for real estate you might use this tool to create a quick video showcasing a local community, or a home being built, or the process of getting a home on the market.

I love using this app in conjunction with the Videoshop app to speed up the video, and with using 1 Second Everyday, even add pictures or videos to create something fun and engaging, as the music through Instagram reels or TikTok, and again you’ve created something fun and creative.

Three: Share a quick tip

What are questions you get asked all the time that you could answer in less than 30 seconds? Brainstorm a list of 10 to 15 quick tips that you could give when it comes to your community, relocation, moving, listing a home, buying a home, etc.

When you go to record each video, instead of recording it all the way through, record a few clips separately. You may record a quick introduction, then two or three points, and then a separate clip for the ending. Then, open up Instagram Reels or TikTok, upload each one of those clips, add a little bit of text and voila — there you go!

Now you’ve created a great piece of content that’s quick but also extremely helpful and can help establish yourself as an authority in your local area.

The key to incorporating edutainment into your content in 2021 and 2022 is getting a plan together for planning, creating and editing and then distributing your content.

Don’t forget that Instagram reels and TikTok can be shared outside the platforms. I love sharing our content to our e-mail database, as well as sharing them on other platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, even Pinterest. I would love to hear from you. Are you creating edutainment? Let’s connect over Instagram @katielance, and let me know!

Katie Lance is the author of #GetSocialSmart and founder and CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, a social media strategy firm and founder of the #GetSocialSmart Academy.