Paul Garcia is a Realtor, and CEO, PG Lifestyle Realty. He resides and conducts business in San Antonio Metro Area. This interview was recorded in person a few months ago and is transcribed below.
Joaquin Rodriguez: I'm here with Paul Garcia. How you doing Paul?
Paul Garcia: I'm doing well.
JR: So just briefly describe to us what you do.
PG: I am a real estate agent in San Antonio, Texas. I help anybody from a first time buyer all the way to the luxury customer.
JR: Cool. Now, how long have you been in the real estate business?
PG: I would say about 6 years.
JR: Since that time, have you noticed or seen social media become a big part of the real estate sector?
PG: Definitely. Social media has many advantages for the real estate agent; as far as pictures, virtual tours, drone footage, previewing. Social media is always a big tool for us realtors just to get the word out for anything (open house, new house, new listing, etc)
JR: Traditionally, before, what was the typical way to place your listings out in the open before the advent of Facebook, instagram?
PG: Open house signs, balloons, a lot of legwork!! As opposed to now just a couple of clicks on your computer, a couple snaps of a picture, and you can put it online and it can reach everyone, as opposed to let's say somebody just passing by or just going to one website with MLS service (eg, trulia, Realtor.com)
JR: Now with the reach that Facebook, twitter, and Instagram have, have you noticed listings getting sold quicker because of the outreach, or is it any different?
PG: Yeah, definitely! With social media, you can go straight to the consumer as far as they may not have to go through their agent, and they can just be looking and find something themselves. It all depends, they may not even be looking for a house, and they see something on social media. It expands your consumer base so much.
JR: What is currently your go-to social media platform for real estate?
PG: I would say Facebook. There's a lot of different tools to use for facebook. It would be my favorite. Instagram is always great. I haven't really gotten with the Twitter way of marketing for real estate, but I would say Facebook.
JR: What would you say has been any negative or criticism of any of the social media platforms?
PG: Not really. I couldn't think of anything. Why would you look at something as negative when all it can do is help you out? There's too many positives to think about any negatives about social media.
JR: How do you target a local audience when platforms like Instagram can reach to many millions of people outside your area; how do you hone in on your audience?
PG: Different [hash]tags, depending on if I do a sponsored ad (which I really don't) but a hashtag here, hashtag there and usually it helps out. Sponsored, I really haven't explored that avenue yet; which I probably need to, but I have not, yet.
JR: Have you spent any ad money on facebook or instagram? Twitter?
PG: Yes, Facebook I have. I mean there's so many different ways in Facebook that they can reach a target audience, its crazy. From income, area, age, many different things.
JR: How would you describe how social media has had an effect on your business? Do you know if it possibly has led to the sale of a house?
PG: I definitely think so, yeah. I mean, you can track with how many people you’re reaching but you never know if it's a certain customer that says something like "Hey, I saw your ad on facebook". So I've definitely received business I don’t know how much because it could have spread to someone else. They could have seen it a long time ago and just kind of kept note of it and maybe contacted months later or maybe told a friend, or tagged friend in a post
JR: I think for myself, just as a little input from my side is that small business to include realtors, I think they do have some concerns about how you can track or realize turnover on the post, to see if it has translated to a sale. In traditional marketing and media, you can tell if something has an affect because it will lead to a particular sale, but in social media you don't if that post or audience in that platform will lead you to a sale. Its tough to track. Very interesting indeed.
JR: Do you think that you came early, late, as far as in your area in terms of social media? Where do you think sat at when you started all your social media for your real estate?
PG: I think I may have been a bit late. I think there's still many more way I can utilize it. Myself, I'm more of a traditional referral guy. I've always had a social media presence, before real estate (for personal). I always benefitted off some aspects of it, but I use it now and know that there's many more ways that I could use it. And, as this year ends and new year starts, I'm going to continue to explore avenues on it.
JR: So you definitely going to ramp up your efforts on social media.
PG: Exactly. Yeah.
JR: Do you see yourself using social media less or more as time goes by?
PG: More. Easily. Easy answer, more. Yeah.
JR: People have shows that they have on HGTV, and a lot of [real estate] people are famous on instagram; where do you see yourself being positioned in this sort of space?
PG: I definitely would see myself growing, maybe take a little a page off of the stuff we see (of course we're not in New York or LA) but you know, Have some that aspect towards my business but still be local, home grown, and be able to cater to my clients here in town.
JR: Is there anything else you can think of that social media can do for you?
PG: Maybe not for me, maybe for the client, continue keep them aware of different trends in real estate. Different things happening in the market whether they're buying from me or not, so they can be informed of different tax laws, different promotions if its with a builder, different developments going on. It can help everybody, even if it's not my client, they can see my stuff and be well informed.
JR: I think that pretty much wraps it up. I appreciate your time, and hopefully we'll see you on the next one!
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