Buying or selling a home is a major life decision. And if you want people to trust you with this, you need to make sure your website has social proof to convince them about your real estate knowledge, experience, and expertise beyond any doubt. For this reason, social proof is one of the most important lead conversion components that your real estate website must-have.
Getting a few reviews on Facebook or Google My Business is not enough. You must explicitly demonstrate your skills, experience, and knowledge of the local real estate market.
In this guide, I am going to explain what social proof is and how successful real estate agents are leveraging it to convert random website visitors into qualified leads:
Social proof: an overview
When prospective real estate buyers or sellers check out a Realtor online, they form an opinion within a few minutes based on what information they find on social media, Google search results, review websites such as Yelp, Zillow, and Trulia, and your own website.
This opinion is what drives them to either engage with you or move on to the next Realtor.
How do you make sure that the buyers and sellers make a favorable opinion about you? How do you build a stellar reputation online? How do you win their trust?
Social proof is the answer to all these questions.
So, what is social proof?
Well, according to Wikipedia, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
It means people want to know what others say about you before they trust you and hire you to protect the largest investment of their life.
Mouth publicity was the only source of social proof until a few years ago, but now the referrals and favorable reviews you get online are even more important.
Does it mean you can use fabricated, fake, or doctored social proof?
If you want the social proof to be really effective, you need to make sure that you can back up any claim you make with verifiable data.
How to make social proof super-effective
There are two aspects of social proof. You have full control over one of the aspects, while you have little to no control over the other.
Let me explain this with an example.
Let’s say you have business profiles on Google My Business, Yelp, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Many of these platforms don’t allow you to control whether or not others can leave reviews on your profile or edit the reviews. So, you don’t have full control over this aspect of social proof.
However, you have full control over your real estate website. You can decide what social proof you use and how it’s displayed.
The quality of your services will determine what kinds of reviews you get on third-party review websites. If you’ve got favorable reviews on the review websites, you can showcase them on your own website. In my opinion, this is the best strategy for making social proof super-effective and trustworthy.
Components of social proof for real estate
Here are some of the most important components of social proof for real estate:
Any social proof backed up by solid data is way more effective than making hearsay claims.
You must use as much data in your social proof as possible.
- How many homes you have sold in the communities you serve
- The total value of homes sold
- Reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Zillow, and other trustworthy review websites. You can showcase the aggregated number of reviews you have received and say something like – ‘More Google, Facebook, Zillow & Yelp Five Star reviews than any other real estate organization in (the city or community’s name).
- The number of clients served
- The combined number of years you and your team have real estate experience
Another important component of social media proof is that your claims should ideally be verifiable.
For example, if you are saying you have received 100+ reviews on Google My Business and Facebook, make sure to provide links to your GMB listing and Facebook page where the users can verify the authenticity of the data.
There are some other smarter ways of authenticating data.
For example, you can display a Google map of your office location. Google will fetch the number of reviews from your GMB listing and display them on the top left corner of the map as shown in the screenshot below.
If you are using a WordPress real estate website, you can use free plugins to pull reviews from your Facebook page and display them anywhere on your website.
People want to know what others say about you. They will trust you more if they find that your past clients were satisfied with your service, knowledge, experience, and professionalism.
When collecting reviews, you can use the power of data authentication to make them more effective.
For example, ask your clients to use as much as data possible in their testimonials.
- A buyer can say how you helped them purchase below the asking price (this will demonstrate your negotiation skills)
- A seller can say how fast you were able to close on the listing (this will demonstrate your quality of being organized)
The power of storytelling in testimonials has been proven beyond doubt in many marketing studies.
A testimonial will be persuasive if there is a story in it.
- A buyer who was overwhelmed because she was buying out of state.
- A seller who sold her existing home and bought another at the same time (how effectively you coordinated the two deals)
Everyone buying a home has a unique story. You can use their stories to make your testimonials convincing.
Visuals (images, infographics, and videos)
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Your social proof will be undisputable if you use visuals to showcase testimonials, reviews, and data.
For example, a testimonial in textual format will be more effective if it accompanies the pic of the client. Videos are even a more powerful medium.
I mentioned before that you should use data to back up the claims about your experience, expert knowledge, and professionalism.
Instead of writing paragraph after paragraphs to convey this data, you can showcase them with nicely designed infographics. Here is an example:
Recently Sold Listings
Have you ever wondered why the websites of so many real estate businesses have a dedicated ‘Just Sold’ page?
Well, it’s powerful social proof.
If you say you have served 1000+ clients, the best way to validate this data is to showcase a list of recently sold properties on your website. You can create a dedicated page for ‘Just Sold Listings’ or display them in widgets on different pages and sidebar.
If an influencer in your community recommends you, it will be strong social proof.
Getting influencers to recommend you will be very effective if you target sellers in your community and try to get new listings.
They will trust you more if a well-known face from the community puts in a good word for you.
These influencers can be anyone – owners of popular restaurants and local businesses or representatives of HOAs.
If you (any of your listings) have been mentioned or featured by newspapers and magazines, you should prominently display a ‘Featured In’ section on almost every page of your website.
If you organize community events or sponsor booths in social events, make sure to use visuals (pics and videos) from these events and showcase them on your website.
Since real estate is a hyper-local business, this strategy will demonstrate your ties with the community. It works as a very persuasive social proof.
Where to use reviews and social proof
For your real estate website to generate leads, you need to have strategically placed call-to-action buttons on different pages and parts of your website.
The best placement for the social proof components outlined above is close to every CTA button.
For example, the page offering a free downloadable eBook should contain social proof. The same goes true for any page or part of the website that asks the visitors to share their contact details or take a desired action (such as clicking a button).
Some other places to use social proof include:
- Website homepage banner
- Website footer
- Landing pages
- Email newsletters
- ‘About’ page
- ‘List with Me’ page
What if you are a new real estate agent?
Well, while you may not have impressive data, you can build your social proof step-by-step.
- Actively participate in community events (organize or sponsor booths in social events),
- reach out to journalists in your area and share with them your views on the latest real estate market trends
- Reach out to friends and family for positive reviews
- Network with local businesses and influencers
- Build stellar profiles on Google My Business, Zillow, Trulia, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and other third-party review websites.
These strategies will help you take baby steps towards building persuasive social proof. For example, if you are mentioned in a couple of magazines or newspapers, this would be your first strong social proof. As time goes by, you will get clients. If you serve them well, you will get authentic reviews that you can use on your website.
Unfortunately, you can’t build social proof overnight.
Persuasive social proof can be the game-changer for your real estate business. You must focus on improving it and then promoting it on your website.
Offer the best-qualified service to each client and go above and beyond to protect their best interest. If you do that, improving social proof will be easier than you think.
Once you have social proof, don’t miss an opportunity to showcase it.
If you want a website that helps you leverage social proof to get more real estate leads, get in touch with us today!