If I asked you who in your market has the most listings, has a steady stream of buyers and has closed the most sales this month you’d probably have a pretty good idea. But if I were to ask you how these agents got their clientele, it would likely be speculation.

They’ve been in the business a long time

He’s got priceless connections

She’s a savvy networker

But which agents in your market are getting the most business online? Who is killing it on social media and who is getting an influx of leads via their website? Are these opportunities available for you?

The internet is swarming with people looking to buy or sell a home. According to NAR 92 percent home home-buyers use the internet as part of the home buying process with many sellers also relying on the power of online. There is astronomical opportunity to generate and convert substantial leads using the internet; however, in order to truly see the opportunities present in your market, an understanding of your online competition is key.

So how do you go about assessing your online competition?

A simple google and hashtag search, as well as some keyword research and social media stalking will let you know who you are up against in the online space.

Conducting a Google Search is as easy as typing a few key search terms into Google and seeing who has the top results on the search engine results page (SERP).

Try searching these keywords:

  • Real Estate [Your Town]
  • Home for sale [Your Town]
  • Realtor [Your Town]

Which agents hold the coveted top spots? The first few spots will likely be ads (this will tell you who is paying using the Google Adwords platform). Underneath the paid ads are the organic results. There will probably be some big guns such as Zillow and Realtor.com, but there will also be some agents on the first couple pages. These agents on the first few pages are guaranteed getting some good traffic to their site organically and likely leads too. Don’t see any ads? You can land top page results without spending too much per click.

Doing a Hashtag Search is a way to see which agents are dominating social media. Hashtags are used to filter information on social channels such as Instagram or Twitter. Knowledgeable Realtors® will use hashtags in their posts to reach a wider audience and categorize their content. Go to Twitter and Instagram and search for the following hashtags (no account is needed for Twitter but Instagram requires one):

  • #RealEstateYourTown
  • #YourTownRealtor
  • #YourTown

How many posts show up in a 24-hour period using these hashtags? Which agents are using them?

If there are lots of posts in your area when you search #YourTown but none of them are real estate related, this could present a good opportunity for you to become an authority on these channels.

Facebook Stalking is how you can tell who is using Facebook to create brand awareness and generate leads. Who doesn’t love a good session of Facebook stalking? The art of stalking just entered a whole new level with Facebook Business Page Insights. Don’t have a Facebook Page yet for your real estate business, what are you waiting for? This is online marketing 101, and every real estate agent should have one.

From your Facebook Business Page go to Insights, scroll to the bottom to Pages to Watch. Here you can search agents in your area by name and add them to your watch list. The watch list will notify you of new page likes, changes in likes each week, number of posts and post engagements. In short, you’ll be able to see which agents are active and engaged on Facebook, and which ones are not doing much at all.

Finally, Google Keyword Research can tell you what keywords people are searching for in your area and how competitive it is to rank for these words. This will show you opportunities to rank on words with high search volume and low competition, and reveal which words to use in your website content, or to bid on using Google Adwords.

Simply go to Google Keyword Planner (a Google Adwords account is needed, which is free to create with a Gmail account), go to Get Search Volume and Trends Data, enter the keywords you’d like to search (Real Estate Your Town, Realtor Your Town etc.), select the appropriate targeting and Get Search Volume. Voila! Savvy you now knows how many people are performing specific searches in your area. Use this information to your marketing advantage. Not sure how, ask us!

Knowing what your competition is doing online is the first step to creating a solid digital marketing plan for your real estate business. Want to know what else is needed for a kick-ass plan? Check out this guide on how to create an online marketing plan for real estate agents and seize the opportunity that is waiting for you on the world wide inter web.