What COVID-19 is Teaching Us About Social Media

5 key takeaways from top agents

Ashley Bledsoe, Side’s Marketing Director, brought some of our most socially savvy partner agents together to explain how they’re using social media to serve as a community advocate, and to support their friends, family, prospects, and clients in these trying times. Learn what’s working for these three exceptionally successful agents and how it’s impacted their overall social strategy. Read below for highlights or listen to the full session here.


1. Connect, Don’t Sell; Being Human Builds Stronger Relationships
All three of our real estate experts agree that organic content posted on social media should be used to nurture connections, not to sell services.

Wilson Leung is a huge proponent of keeping it casual and maintaining a safe distance between being a real estate salesperson and a human connecting with other humans. He says, “I don't want to come across as a salesperson because [my social contacts] are my friends and family.” He encourages his team to keep it personal, too. “Don't say ‘send me your referrals.’ That’s not what social media is for -unless you do direct ads.” 

Instead, he suggests the following approach; “Talk about real estate as part of your life. Take a picture of your child and have your sign in the background. Your posts - while not directly promoting your services - should serve as a gentle reminder to your network that you can help if friends or followers are considering buying or selling a home.”

Zaid Hanna agrees with Leung’s process of tuning down the sales and focusing on presenting your business as a cornerstone of the community. He says, “Go right from the heart. Don't sell on social media.” Nicole Lopez adds, “Really [focus] with the empathetic human nature of what's going on. Consider yourself a resource for your community, and the community will come back stronger than ever.”

2. Now’s the Time: Go All-In on Video
Eyeballs are on screens. In fact, Facebook is reporting a 27% increase in daily active users. So why turn to video to build brand awareness with a (literally) captive audience? 

It gives you an opportunity to really connect and to be a support to members of your community, and to reinforce your human bond. During COVID-19, Zaid Hanna says, “I put more emotion and reassurance in the video. I say everything will be okay; this too shall pass. I remember 9-11 people saying, I will never get on an airplane again. [It’s] the same thing right now. We'll probably go to a restaurant [again], but for the time being, we owe it to our community to say, it’s okay.” Hanna not only publishes these videos on social, he also emails them out to his database.

Nicole Lopez says, “Video gets seen before everything else on social media or on Facebook.” She encourages agents to focus on providing timely content since video is so quick and easy to record on a smartphone. She suggests topics such as first responder resources, or what forbearance is. 

Nicole Lopez says, “Video gets seen before everything else on social media or on Facebook.” She encourages agents to focus on providing timely content since video is so quick and easy to record on a smartphone. She suggests topics such as first responder resources, or what forbearance is. 

But she’s not limiting video posts to the old standbys -  Facebook and Instagram. She’s also exploring video-specific platforms. Lopez says, “As a 30-something, I recently discovered Tik Tok. You would be incredibly surprised by the number of 30, 40, and 50-year-old moms on Tik Tok right now. If you're kind of silly and you like to have fun, definitely give it a try.”

Editor’s note: If you publish lots of videos and other content on Facebook or Instagram, consider leveraging the tools available in the Facebook Creator Studio. This platform provides various ways to organize content by grouping videos into relevant playlists and more. You can also build and schedule posts, and view detailed engagement analytics. Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started.

3. Get Better ROI by Building Timeless Content 
Wilson Leung and his team focus on building two types of marketing content; time-sensitive and timeless, also often called ‘evergreen’.  

While time-sensitive pieces bring on a sense of urgency and may inspire a response, they take just as much time and money to create as an evergreen piece, and are only relevant for a short period of time. Investing resources into evergreen content—which can be shared via blog posts, video, or downloadable assets like whitepapers—gives you a set of tools that can be repurposed for years to come. This approach not only saves you time; in the long run, it also improves your content marketing return on investment. 

For example, Leung’s team is building an evergreen video series called Seven Steps to Successfully Sell Your House in the Bay Area. He explains, “Each independent video becomes part of our drip campaign [for our] database. We turn it on, and instead of just sending texts or reviews, we have more interactive content. Something of value [prospects] can watch and can interact [with] in some way.” 

4. Do I Need a Business or Personal Page? Both. And Where LinkedIn Fits.
The great debate on whether to use your personal social media pages or to focus exclusively on leveraging a business page has been raging for years. The truth is that it depends on your comfort level and how you prefer to connect with clients, as the lines between your life and your work can quickly get blurry. 

That said, Zaid Hanna recommends doing both.  He says, “Personal is for the people you know - friends and family. Some clients will add you, don't shy from that. [On your business page], you don't have to post your children's pictures or your dog's video.” This can make your page a great place to focus more on your business success stories. It also gives you a place to connect with prospects who don’t know you well yet. Another great platform for that? LinkedIn.

Hanna explains why LinkedIn provides another great place to connect with prospects and past clients. The often-overlooked platform just provides another opportunity to connect and stay front-of-mind. He says, “You can actually add your client without saying, ‘I want to see your personal stuff.’ [Real estate] is a business transaction. Even though we try to look at it as personal, there’s a lot of money flowing through escrow.” 

Hanna has experienced great success in making connections on LinkedIn, where he posts his weekly videos, then follows up with connections to see how he can help.

5. Use Social for Good by Leveraging the Power of Community
Nicole Lopez says, “I’m a big believer in you reap what you sow, and without community, we don't have real estate. Right now is the most important time to rally around your community and be there to make an impact in whatever way you can. Be socially appropriate and be a leader, because that’s what real estate agents are. We're community advocates.“

Lopez recently supported her community by building a local page marketing Houston Rodeo and Livestock show vendors, and it’s been a huge success. But that actually wasn’t her first rodeo; she also rallied to support Houstonians after Hurricane Harvey.

“I’m from Texas, and the area where I grew up was very impacted by flooding. I reached out and posted on Facebook, and I was called to do rescue. I created a Facebook page where people were listing where they needed rescue, and I found a guy with a boat. I had the truck, he had the boat, we went out, we rescued people for three days. Do good in your community, and the community will help you back.” 

Hanna has experienced great success in making connections on LinkedIn, where he posts his weekly videos, then follows up with connections to see how he can help.

Big thanks to our partners for sharing their insight! We’re so grateful to have such an amazing network of entrepreneurial agents in the Side family, and we love showcasing their knowledge and sharing their expertise with you. 

About the Panelists

Nicole Lopez | Founder, True Houston

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Nicole Lopez has been a real estate professional for ten years. However, her family has always been involved in the industry. Lopez’s mom works for a new construction builder, and her father is a branch manager for a local mortgage company. She leads a team of nine agents and has dedicated herself to giving back to her community and small businesses throughout the pandemic.

Zaid Hanna | Founder, Real Estate 38

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Zaid Hanna has been in the industry for 16 years. He leads a San Jose, California-based team of 14 - six staff and eight agents. His team did $150M in production in 2019. Hanna is a huge advocate of leveraging video content in his social media marketing strategy.


Wilson Leung | Founder, Own Real Estate

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Wilson Leung leads a team of 13 - eight agents and five sales staff - in the San Francisco peninsula. In addition to providing real estate services, Leung’s team offers property management and transaction management services. In the last two years, they’ve helped over a hundred families buy and sell homes and have facilitated over $100M in production volume.

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