Tough circumstances call for extreme adaptation. The creative, flexible, motivated agents who pivot and persist will come out of the other end of the COVID-19 crisis with a stronger foundation for growth and they’ll be able to bounce back more quickly. Because real estate is an industry of service, we have seen agents and brokers adapting to the circumstances and supporting their communities in some incredible ways.
While the typical in-person activities that drive brand recognition and lead generation are off the table (open houses, community events, sports games, etc.), we’re discovering that there’s a wealth of virtual opportunities to tap into.
There are those who blame resources and those who are resourceful.
Here are a few creative examples we’ve seen of real estate professionals creating “win-win” situations. Helping out their communities while continuing the networking and brand exposure that is essential for their business.
Throw a Virtual Poker Night
Who doesn’t love a good game night? This is the perfect opportunity to bring people together for some much-needed fun. Invite your colleagues, friends, and network and promote the invitation on your business pages and social media. The good news is that it’s 2020 and there’s an online version of almost anything you could possibly think of. Online group poker games have been around for years.
There are a few ways that you can leverage a poker night to support your community.
- Charge a reservation fee to join
- Have a percentage of the buy-in go towards a cause
- Encourage players who are enjoying a beverage to “virtually tip” to support the hospitality industry
Ways to “Virtually Tip” or Support the Restaurant Industry
- 1. Google “Virtual Tip Jar” and your city. More than likely you’ll find a platform where you can Venmo or PayPal tip bartenders and service staff in your community.
- 2. Many local restaurants have established crowdfunding pages specifically for their staff. If you have a favorite local restaurant, search their Instagram, website, or send them an email to see how they are accepting donations.
- 3. Join the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), a national movement that formed to save the local restaurants affected by COVID-19.
Not a big fan of poker? Throw a different virtual game night. Group game apps are skyrocketing in popularity with everyone confined to their homes and seeking social interaction. If trivia or Pictionary are more your speed, there are ways to play those virtually as well!
Tools to Check Out: Poker Stars, HouseParty
Host a Virtual Happy Hour
Zoom & FaceTime happy hours are the new norm. We are truly social creatures and the popularity of these apps and virtual social gatherings are all the proof that you need.
We love this idea because it’s simple and surprisingly fun. (If you haven’t enjoyed a virtual happy hour with friends or family yet, we encourage you to start!) Just like with the virtual poker game, you can promote this happy hour in a few different ways. Maybe you host one for just your team plus their spouses. Another could expand out a bit further to include other contacts in your sphere of influence. Perhaps you throw a neighborhood “block party for a cause” and promote the happy hour in local Facebook groups.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to look very far to find a worthy cause right now with nearly every industry facing the strain of the crisis. Because of that, there are endless possibilities for giving back to your community.
Here are a few ideas for your virtual happy hour:
- Encourage happy hour goers to virtually tip
- Invite a local musician to kick things off and share their Venmo/PayPal information for tips
- Ask for a donation-based ticket to join and donate the money to a cause
Support Local Businesses with a Gift Card Giveaway
One of the best ways to support local businesses right now is through gift cards. They get the money immediately, and the credit is redeemable either online or in-person at a safer time. This is the perfect opportunity to support those local businesses and generate some engagement on social media.
While other means of lead generation are certainly suffering, social impressions are up. (In a major way.) Simply because so much of our daily lives have moved virtual and everyone is online or on social media around the clock. They’re watching the news, they’re working remotely, they’re looking for a distraction.
Use that engagement to build relationships, share information, and support the community. Share a simple graphic (using a tool like Canva), encourage people to like the photo and comment to enter, and randomly select a winner. If you have the means to supply the gift cards yourself, consider doing a weekly giveaway for the month of April.
Partner with a Shelter for a Pet Foster & Adoption Drive
Shelters are seeking homes to foster pets right now as current conditions are causing safety concerns for shelter staff. If you have a social media network to leverage, consider reaching out to a local shelter to see how you can help. They may be willing to partner with you to raise awareness and encourage adoptions or foster homes.
Organize an Instagram Live or Facebook Live to explain the foster/adoption drive and provide the right resources and information. You can also encourage those who aren’t able to foster or adopt to donate to the shelter instead.
You’ll help out the shelter workers, the animals, plus…who doesn’t want photos of kittens and dogs in their social media feed right now?
Host a Children’s Virtual Story Time
Families with children are having a particularly tough time right now balancing work (or loss of work) with their children being home from school. A lot of parents are having to quickly adapt to not only keeping their kids safe and healthy but also entertained. (If only we still had the energy of a stir-crazy 5-year-old.)
If you have your own kids, this is a good opportunity to connect with other parents to offer an hour of reprieve in their evening. Not a big storybook reader? If you don’t want the host the storytime hour yourself, consider reaching out to a local library or community playhouse. You can host the event through Zoom and let someone else take the floor for the performance.
Looking for ways to add another layer of community support? Consider buying the book from a local bookstore and purchasing a gift card to give away to an attendee.
Host an Informative Webinar or Podcast
As a real estate agent, you are an incredibly valuable resource in your community. And right now, people want content. They want information, data, guidance, and encouragement. You can offer that as the trusted expert in your community.
Your friends and neighbors aren’t in the trenches of the housing market like you – they’re not staying current with Inman News, Keeping Current Matters, Tom Ferry, HousingWire, etc. They’re not on the webinars, in the forums. But you are!
You can use that wealth of knowledge and be an educator for your community. Consider hosting a weekly webinar or podcast to help answer questions and provide real-time updates for your local market.