Liz Abrams of Abrams Realty shares with Lori Ballen how she became the neighborhood export landing several real estate listings from the social network NextDoor.
Interview with an NextDoor Expert
Liz is co-founder and co-owner of Abrams Realty. She is a mom to 7 kids ranging from age 9 to 21 and a handful of fur babies. Abrams Realty is a smaller but growing brokerage in Virginia Beach with about 30 agents who she also considered family. In Liz’s spare time she enjoys boating and camping with her family.
Serving: Hampton Roads. This includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, and Poquoson.
What Is Nextdoor?
NextDoor is a private social network for neighborhoods. It helps to bring the neighbors together and allow users to know what is going on in their own communities.
It also allows neighbors to reach out to one another and get to make new friends. The private neighborhood site began in San Francisco, California and since expanded across the United States and other countries. Users have found the site to be extremely resourceful and a great way to meet the people who live in the neighborhood.
The private social network was created on October 11, 2011. It has since grown and expanded its usability among neighbors and communities. The social site provides a safe place to keep people up to date on businesses and services in the area.
It is also a great way to keep the neighborhood safe and keep up on the latest issues that may be arising in the area. Neighbors can help support one another on new adventures and welcome newcomers to the community. This site is a fantastic way to keep in touch with all the neighbors on your block and keep informed on the latest news in the area.
Individuals and business owners enjoy using the site because it helps connect local people together.
It is an impressive way to have block sales or parties for the neighborhood. Many people enjoy being able to keep up with the latest news about the other neighbors that they may not have known without the site.
The site helps neighbors know who is moving out of the community and of newcomers moving in. The communication gateway is an excellent service that helps neighbors stay informed on what is occurring in the community in real time. The private service offers several ways to join and stay in touch with your local neighborhood and surrounding communities.
Individuals can log onto NextDoor.com and enter their street address and email.
The individual will be asked to verify their email to confirm that it is a working email.
You can only join the neighborhood you live in for your personal account.
This is why you want all team members setting up their NextDoor accounts.
The good news is that once you set up your business page and earn recommendations, you actually have the opportunity to be visible to other neighborhoods.
Set Up A Business Page
Agency users can also set up a page on the site. It is important to log out of your personal account before setting up your agency page.
- Go to https://nextdoor.com/business
- Choose the Business Option
- Enter your business name
- Enter your address
- Find your business on the list
- Click Claim
- You’ll need a separate email than your personal account to establish your business
- Your phone will be used to verify your business
What if I can’t find my business page on Nextdoor?
After searching for your business, if you can’t find it, you can manually add it. Find the link on the bottom that reads “Add your business to Nextdoor”
Manage Your Page
The business page allows you to add your logo or banner for a professional appearance. Being able to add this to your page can promote your agency and provide an idea of what your agency is about. If you want to insert a logo on your page, then click the camera logo icon on the screen.
Select the logo or banner you want to use and choose upload. You can then find the logo you want your computer and open it.
You are now done adding your logo and banner to your agency page.
You can locate your settings page by clicking on your profile pic in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and select Settings in the drop-down menu.
Name: Nextdoor suggests that you use the name your customers would recognize. This should not include slogans, special deals, coupons or other promotion
Photo: A business logo or professional picture is advised.
Greeting message: Think like a neighbor. Be friendly. Share a bit about you.
Address: This is not your home address, it’s where your business license hangs. While it might be tempting to list your home that is actually in the neighborhood where your personal account is, it is not advised and could be a violation with your licensing division.
Phone number: Please include the phone number where customers can contact you. For those of you focused on Local SEO, remember that this is a local citation. You want it to be consistent with your other citations.
Email address: Please list the best email for customers to send communication to.
Website: List your website here so neighbors can learn more.
Hours: Where appropriate, this is an important section for members to know how and where they can contact you.
Categories: Categories make sure your Local Page is found when members are looking for help specific to your business. For real estate, we have real estate agent and real estate broker.
Your personal page will allow you to create posts and communicate with the neighborhood. This is not a place to sell. Think about how you can add value to the neighborhood.
Nextdoor will give you a link to build your reputation. It will include email, Facebook, Twitter and a link you can share through your other channels. We recently set up an Infusionsoft campaign requesting reviews from past clients and included the Nextdoor Link.
We’ve seen that most people who successfully grow their neighborhood reputation get the word out through multiple channels.
In my interview with Liz Abrams, who won the neighborhood favorite award, she shared how she interacts with other neighbors. From commenting and “thanking” their posts, to sharing her own neighborhood posts, she works to create awareness without “selling”.
If you want to add a file for your message you can choose the icon that is a green camera.
Before submitting your new post, you have the option to preview it. This lets you check your post for grammatical errors and ensure your post is correct.
Once you have ensured your new post is fine to display, you can click the post button to publish it. You are now able to introduce your agency to the new post.
After you have submitted the post on your business page you can also share the post on your social media accounts if you want. It is an optional feature and you do not have to share it on social media if you do not want to.
The neighbors in your area will be able to see your post and examine your agency. This is a great way to meet new people and expand your agency locally.
The NextDoor Site lets residence introduce themselves to other people in the community. People can share up to date news that is happening locally. Residents can keep in contact with other people who may not have a way to interact face to face.
The neighbors can share upcoming events that may be happening in the neighborhood and can create a community sale. It is a great way to share current events that people are celebrating with their friends and family.
You’ll see a lot of posts about strangers in the area, crazy drivers, and crime reports if there are any. It’s definitely a neighborhood watch type of social network.
There are also a lot of “who do you know who” posts. Consider gathering these suggestions and then making a neighborhood guide to give back to your community. There’s nothing wrong with giving out a PDF with a little branding on it.
Neighbors can check on each other in times of need or bad weather conditions. It is a fantastic place to find out about neighborhood get-togethers or community assistance programs.
If a neighbor is going to be out of town, it is a nice way that they can ensure their home is safe while they are gone. Other neighbors can help keep an eye out for unwanted visitors or criminals in the area when they know a neighbor is not home.
Neighbors can find a local babysitter or dog sitter in their neighborhood.
Lost pets can be found quicker when you get the word out to the neighborhood. The private site allows you to do things online without walking around the neighborhood going door to door. It is a fast way to sell candy bars or girl scout cookies for your kids.
There are many possible uses for neighbors to take advantage of when using NextDoor.
Not to be confused with sponsorship, the neighborhood favorite is an award you can’t buy. Winning businesses are labeled with a trophy on their Business Page.
These lucky businesses also earn a Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite sticker to place on their front door (or yard sign, or car sign etc) to let their customers know about their coveted position in the neighborhood.
A neighborhood favorite survey is sent out to the neighborhoods. In order to choose a winner, the recommendations from the closest neighbors are calculated. Next, the recommendations from farther away neighborhoods are added in.
There is also a city level favorites list.
NOTE: Neighborhood Sponsorship is not yet available in all markets
Neighborhood Sponsorships provide real estate agents the chance to promote their area specialty in the neighborhoods they know best.
Your ads will appear in three places:
1. The Digest Email
Your sponsorship will show on top of the Real Estate section in the digest email on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. This is an email that has all of the day’s updates from that neighborhood.
2. Real Estate Section
When a member visits their neighborhood’s Real Estate section on their computer, your sponsorship will display in the upper right corner of that section. On a smartphone or tablet, the ad will appear on the top of the Real Estate section and stay there as a user scrolls through listings.
When a user logs in to scroll the newsfeed, your sponsored ad will show on top of the real estate listings in whichever neighborhoods you buy space in.
How Many Agents can purchase Sponsorship in a Zip Code?
The number of agents able to buy ads in a ZIP code generally ranges from 1- 5, subject to change. This number changes based on how many members there are, how they engage, and what the demand is for that zip code. If more than one agent buys sponsorship in a zip code, the ads will rotate.
Are there Contracts?
At the time of this post, the sponsorships are billed monthly and recurring. At the time of this post, cancellation can be done at any time although you do finish out whatever month you are paying for. Once you cancel, another agent may claim your area.
To manage a sponsorship, log in as your business page. In the left-hand column, find the button called Sponsorship. If you can’t see that, you may not have listed your real estate agent or real estate broker categories in your business page settings.
Real Estate Agents can brand themselves and connect with their local neighborhoods. It allows agents to reach out to people in their community and surrounding area to promote their real estate services. Neighbors can contact the agent if they are looking for assistance in selling or buying a home.
Once a real estate agent has set up their business page, they can begin earning recommendations.
The goal needs to be getting as many recommendations as you can from neighbors all across the market you serve.
Also, the more recommendations you get in a particular neighborhood, the higher you will rank in each neighborhood’s Recommendations section.
NOTE: Your comments will be shared with the business unless you uncheck the “Share my comment with the business” box.
When you sign in to Nextdoor with your business account, the first thing you will notice is the “Your reputation” screen. This is a score of how many recommendations you’ve received, and then how many neighborhoods can see your business Page because of those recommendations, and the total neighbors that make up those neighborhoods.
The Neighborhood Reach map indicates which neighborhoods on Nextdoor can see your Local Business Page and how many recommendations they can see as well. It also shows you which neighborhoods your recommendations were given in. The more recommendations you receive, the more neighborhoods you will appear in. And the more you receive in one area, the higher your placement in that neighborhood.
NextDoor is a private site but is simple to join. People who have already joined can send an invitation to other members of the community via postcard, which Nextdoor handles with no charge.
You’ll see a map after clicking Invite so you can locate who still needs an invitation.
A person can choose to send out an invitation to the people who live in the neighborhood. If an individual does not receive an invitation there is still a way to join this amazing site.
What not to do
A NextDoor site is a great place for Real Estate Agents to find more business and connect with communities. Real Estate Agents are not allowed to create a personal account in neighborhoods they do not live in. An agent can not create a personal account in the neighborhoods they sell homes in.
The personal account must be for the agent’s personal address in which they live and reside. An agent who tries to set up a personal account in neighborhoods in which they do not live can result in penalties or deactivation of the account. An agent who wants to use the private site as an expanded commercial site will need to create a local account page for that kind of business usage.
A real estate agent cannot use their personal account to post home listings to other neighbors. They can not post MLS lists on the site and flood newsfeed with them to conduct more sales. It is okay for a residential homeowner to create a selling post to add to the classified section of the page. This can only be added one time and should not be multiple postings of the same residential listing.
An agent cannot post open house dates on newsfeed but can do so in the event calendar section of the site. This keeps the newsfeed from being spammed and filled with unnecessary items that are meant to be posted in other areas of the site. In order to do this, it is important to deselect the announce to neighbors to prevent it from being posted in the newsfeed. Agents are prohibited from showing a neighborhood that is listed on the site to potential customers who are looking to buy a home in that location.
Real Estate Agents have several ways to promote and share listing information on NextDoor. The agent can create a local page to use for their agency. It allows users to input the company logo and banner to promote their business. A Neighborhood Sponsorship can let agents place listings on the site to promote the residential listings for sale.
If an agent does not live in the zip code that they are posting in, they can still see the information on the real estate section of the site. A branding listing allows people to ask questions and places the information in an ad on the page. Neighbors can endorse that ad and it appears near the ask a question area on the page.
An agent can pay a set fee to become a sponsor of a specific zip code or community. This is a useful feature because real estate agents can be placed in the newsfeed, regular emails, and top listing options for neighbors to see. It provides exposure and can help increase real estate sales in the future.
It also provides your name to neighbors who may be thinking of selling or buying a home in the near future. Your name will be the one they think of when that real estate decision is made. This can help increase the number of sales and promote your name to other people in the community that are interested in real estate.
Real Estate Listing Marketing is still developing on NextDoor. Stay tuned for more.
Geographic Farming is a creative way to build clientele and expand the business. Agents have successfully used NextDoor to do this because it focuses on neighborhoods, communities and zip codes. Agents can choose the zip code they want to build their business in and begin reaching out to those in the neighborhood.
Agents can create an open house in that area and reach out to potential clients who attended. A good real estate agent can listen to the needs of the neighbors and keep in contact with them to fulfill their real estate needs. Being able to reach a bigger audience in the community is what makes NextDoor the prime service to use. It lets agents reach out to a bigger pool and provide information to that audience.
Being able to grow relationships with potential, current, and former clients is a fantastic way to grow your geographical farm. The more people that you get to know, the better opportunities you have for the future.
Even if some of the connections that you made are not ready to buy or sell now, that does not mean they won’t reach out to you in the future. Other contacts may know someone who is looking to buy a house or wanting to sell a home. These leads can not only grow your geographical farm but help to make you a high-profile agent in the area. The use of NextDoor can help you accomplish a large collection of prospects and can ensure that you get more business.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.