Atlanta Agent (AA): What are some ways that agents can engage with local residents?
Shanell Lightfoot (SL): I think it’s a great idea for all agents to be apart of their local NextDoor community. NextDoor is a free, private social network for your neighborhood, as well as adjacent neighborhoods. Though it is not a place to advertise your services, there are ways to use it strategically to be seen as a local expert or simply as a good neighbor.
AA: What are the benefits to engaging with the community?
SL: Real estate is a sales game. Selling yourself and your ability is what we have to do everyday. The success of your business depends on how well you can engage the community, whether it be through paid advertising, volunteerism, etc. If people in the community do not know you, like you, or trust you, it’s hard to get their business.
Through NextDoor, I’ve engaged several thousand neighbors whom I’ve never met before, simply by encouraging them to get involved with me. I’ve started a blog series and have sought out to interview residents of local subdivisions. With a single post titled “Can I Interview You?”, I received more than 50 responses from folks wanting to help me out from 18 different neighborhoods near me. Their insight on their neighborhood is gold. Prospective buyer client’s can read about current residents’ experiences right from my site. That helps me build credibility and trust with buyers, while showing prospective sellers that I’m an active agent who has outside-the-box-ideas – and is not trying to be overly salesy.
Here’s a recent post I did on a subdivision in Kennesaw with insight from a current resident.
AA: How has technology changed the methods agents can use, when engaging with consumers?
SL: I think technology is a bonus for agents. Those that master it have a leg up, in my opinion. It allows you separate yourself from the thousands of other agents out there. I know I keep mentioning NextDoor, but it’s really one of the best, free ways to stay in front of people.
Beyond NextDoor and personal branding, technology also helps with current clients. Mobile signatures, showing request notifications, CRMs, and Zapier allow me to streamline my business while saving my customer’s time.
AA: Real estate has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years – will this type of engagement become more common?
SL: Technology is here to stay! Customers are smarter, busier, and want more than they did 10 years ago. If you do not keep up, you’ll get left behind. And that’s really sad, because with a little effort, anyone can learn to be technologically saavy.