National Association of Realtor (NAR) statistics show that 51 percent of buyers found the home they eventually purchased via the internet. In contrast, just 7 percent found theirs because of a yard sign or open house sign. Creating a buzz for your listing brings more people not only in the door, but also to you and your business. Such prospects can become clients even if they don’t like the home being shown. An active online strategy makes an open house more than just a casual tour of a property.

With social media continuing to become an essential tool in the agent’s toolbox, the opportunities to combine online channels with open houses has grown. Here are some tips for using social media to promote and stage a successful real estate open house:

Show the House Before You Show the House

You may already be posting pictures of your listings on your business’s or agency’s website, which is a best practice. Adding these pictures to social media in advance of an open house helps generate excitement for your event and delivers information about your listing more directly to your followers—especially ones who may not be actively visiting your website or who are only half-heartedly in the market. Moreover, you can post a few pictures at a time in advance of the open house and answer questions asked in comments, as well as follow up with people who like your posts.

As you take pictures to eventually post to social media, remember these best practices:

  • Find a balance between showing as much as you can of rooms or exteriors and posting pictures that are too small. Remember, prospective buyers likely will be looking at these pictures on their smartphones, so post photos that adequately show off the property without requiring much zooming.
  • Take pictures on a sunny day; make sure interior photos are also well-lit.
  • Shoot photos from doorways, about chest-high.
  • Don’t overwhelm your social media posts with too many photos. In other words, don’t upload 10 pics at a time on Instagram when 2-3 will do. Tease followers just enough to want to visit the open house.

Tell a Story

Instagram Stories allow you to post pictures and short videos that, unless otherwise designated, disappear in a day. Stories appear at the top of users’ feeds and are more likely to generate notifications to users. Take advantage of this tool by posting pictures or video walkthroughs ahead of the open house. Be candid yet professional, and highlight what the home has to offer and why followers should come see it in person.

Go Live

Instagram Live and Facebook Live let you live-stream video that often produces notifications and appears on the top of your followers’ feeds. Posting live video on the day of the open house can encourage visitors who might have otherwise stayed at home on a Saturday. Again, you don’t want to show everything about the home—just enough to pique viewers’ interest.

Timing Is Everything

Unlike an agent’s permanent website that can be updated but is still more of a static entity, social media channels represent a moment in time that you deliver a message. When promoting a real estate open house, that timing can make or break how successful your efforts are in attracting people to your event. Posting too far in advance doesn’t provide immediacy; posting too often can just get annoying. Promoting the open house with one post a day, starting no sooner than a week before the event, is a good strategy to generate excitement and encourage engagement from followers. Vary the pictures and messaging of each post, and be sure to monitor your posts and reply to any comments and questions. Also, be active posting the day of the open house as a final invitation to your followers.

Being Social Beyond Social Media

Social media is a great tool for promoting the lead-up to a real estate open house and getting people to visit the event, but you still must ace the open house once they arrive. Being personally social when you meet prospective buyers is as important as the social media actions that brought them to the open house in the first place. The home you are showing might not be the one a buyer is looking for, but making a good impression could turn prospects into clients who trust you to sell their existing homes or to be their buyer’s agent. Some basics to remember when staging the open house:

  • Ensure you have business cards, a sign-in sheet or iPad app, and fact sheets visitors can take with them.
  • Offer light snacks, desserts, and water or fresh lemonade to welcome visitors.
  • Open shades, drapes, and doors to let more natural light into the home. Turn on lamps and overhead lights.
  • Play soft, soothing music.
  • Light scented candles to create a pleasing aroma (but avoid using chemical air fresheners such as Febreze, which smells, well, too chemical). Citrus, vanilla, and pine are good, neutral scent choices. If you prefer not to play with fire, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies or apple pie offer a scent that smells like home and provides  a double benefit of taking care of dessert.

One final tip: Keep posting about your real estate open house after it concludes. Thank everyone who attended, repost details about the property, highlight video you took that day, and invite followers to contact you for more information. Open houses, and the tips we’ve included here to promote them on social media, are as much (if not more) about meeting and impressing people for future opportunities as selling the home being shown. Social media is a long-term strategy, not just a tactic before open houses, so take advantage of your channels, create conversations, and connect with followers at every turn.

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