Facebook can be an amazing platform to help you grow your brand and sell properties.
It is however very dependent on the way in which you showcase this information.
Some companies will spend an awful lot of money on their website and marketing, yet not embrace the social media side of it. Your business Facebook page should be viewed as an extension of your website.
Facebook allows us to reach a vast number of people, and certainly some that we would otherwise have no form of communicating with. Therefore the potential benefits of running a successful page are huge.
Remember that we all know someone, that will know someone else, who is interested in buying or selling a property.
(I had to read that twice as well, and I wrote it).
The more authoritative your page is and the more reach that you acquire, will determine your chances of receiving a referral. Consider what this could mean to you.
My opinion is that a Facebook business page should always maintain a friendly but professional appearance.
It provides an amazing platform to share your views, images and videos. This in turn can really boost the reputation of your brand.
I will discuss with you what you should be sharing on Facebook to maximise your lead potential, as well as tips to create engagement with your audience. All of the information in this guide will be exploring completely free ways to grow your brand and attract leads. I will release a separate guide with paid ad strategies and tips.
All of that information would hold less value without real life examples, so I will show you what other real estate agents are doing well; and how you can replicate that.
Building an audience
A lot of what I will recommend includes how to engage with your audience. For an established account, that should not be a problem. However if you have a new Facebook account or a small audience, here are some very brief pointers to attract a larger following.
To start with you can encourage your local friends to like your page, especially those who are eager to see you succeed.
They are able to help you reach a larger audience by liking, sharing and commenting on your posts. You can ask simple questions like “Can you imagine anyone you know living here?” This encourages both engagement and referrals.
This kind of subtle tone stops you coming across as a pushy sales person.
Another key fact is to engage with others. Your engagement with relevant pages can breed further interaction. Just imagine someone sharing one of your posts, would you be inclined to find out who they are and like their page? I know I would.
So interact with others and give genuine friendly comments when they are due. Think of how many people will see these and potentially click onto your site. This can be for both real estate and other local groups.
One option is to use targeted Facebook ads to promote your page. This is something that I feel deserves a lot more coverage than I would like to provide in this post. I am currently running some ad tests to write a new case study. I will release full details and findings shortly, and give this topic the full and thorough attention it deserves.
As a final tip I would recommend you respond to any comments you receive. If people view you as unengaged or uninterested; then they may refrain from commenting again in future. In this respect I feel it is important to appreciate your audience, and the potential value they could add to your business.
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to increase your audience size is to provide quality and value to your page. Giving people a reason to like and interact with your posts. Let me cover what I feel you should include.
What to post?
There is a general 80/20 rule that is often discussed, which means that no more than 20% of the social media content you publish should be sales based. I tend to agree with this, and would even say that 20% is the very top limit that you should publish.
In the examples I will give shortly, you will see people who are following very similar patterns, and others that are just 100% property sales.
So if 80% of your content should not be sales based, what should you include? The short answer is value.
Let me talk you through what some of that could contain, but the key factor is to keep your content engaging and social.
- Property listings should of course be included. I would keep the details concise enough to attract interest, and encourage people to click through to the full listing. Therefore I would include price, location, number of bedrooms and any important features. Obviously include images of the property also.
Some agents I have seen update their cover photograph with an image of a property for sale, which I do quite like as a free prominent advert.
- Introduce your team so that there is more of a personal connection with the audience.
- Real estate news or trend reports can also be included, without linking to any properties you have for sale. This can be anything to do mortgage news, house prices or even anything home related. Include landscaping or interior design for example. Anything that is your content or posts you could share that would interest and engage your audience. This can also help to show your knowledge in the field.
As one example here is a post I have just made:
As another hint here try to ask questions when appropriate. This can encourage others to join in and give their opinion. I enjoy seeing other peoples thoughts as it shows the post has made an impression on them, certainly enough to comment anyway.
- Discuss your clients (assuming they are happy for you to do so). Congratulating a couple on their new home can show you care and have a personal relationship; whilst also showing that you sold another property. Once again images can be incredibly powerful here if possible. This could be a very strong piece of marketing.
- Community news is something I love to see. It also give local people a great reason to follow your page. Include things like local event details, fundraisers, celebrations etc. This is a fantastic way to show off your neighbourhood and just how much you care about it. Some of the best examples I have seen here are welcoming new businesses to the area, or congratulating a local business owner on their retirement. Ideas like this gain attention and engagement.
This can really help you to be seen as the go-to person for local information, whilst also keeping your brand in people’s minds.
- Local recommendations can be a great way to highlight local products, services or tradesman within an area.
- Fundraising notifications are something that can be great to get behind and throw support to. Not just because it is a good cause, but because you can help get the message out.
If you or your team help the cause by fundraising or volunteering, this again could create a fantastic photo opportunity.
- Host or highlight events within the region. Do you have an open house you can invite people to? Or is there some other event happening that you could share? Once again this helps you reach out to the wider community and not just potential buyers or sellers.
- Competitions are something I have seen work well previously. One estate agent created a huge Easter hamper, and advertised tickets for sale through their Facebook page. Although all proceeds went to a local charity. Needless to say this created a really nice impression of the company, raised over £450 for the charity; and received many comments and shares.
The key with all of the above is to give people a reason to like your page. Keep it interesting and visual. By providing local value, then post a listing; this may well be seen by a potential homebuyer. Or at least a friend of theirs.
This form of marketing is so simple and cost effective; but it can make a huge impact on your online reputation.
Let me introduce you to some examples which display some of what I have discussed.
I didn’t want to provide thoughts on how to run your account, without providing some examples of what others are doing well.
If we remember to think of Facebook as an extension of your website, it is then easier to view this as another marketing opportunity.
Here is one example that I really like Myrtle Beach real estate. At first glance it appears to be a local guide, but they do sell property.
In the last eight posts I can see, they contain the following themes:
- Light humour
- Property listing
- Real estate news
- Local news
- Local education
- Local news
- Local fundraising efforts
- A fairly personal / light-hearted post
I really like this mixture for a few reasons. They are sharing other people’s updates, which helps them build relationships. Also they could almost be viewed as a local news information point rather than a realtor, due to the information they provide.
This could really strike a positive chord with an awful lot of people, and help them to be viewed as helpful and trustworthy. Imagine the impression which would be made from anyone out of town also; the overriding feeling is one of helpfulness.
Would you consider them as your local realtor? I just may.
They do not simply throw listings at you, which may be one of the reasons for their 65,000 Facebook followers. Assuming this number is genuine, then that is a huge reach for a realtor.
It is however only right that I point out some things that they could perhaps do better. Their post frequency rate is pretty low, with a noticeable gap from 10th Dec to 21st Jan 2016 between posts.
I feel they would gain more engagement and interaction by posting more frequently.
The other area that I would personally stay away from is that they appear to be clear supporters of a particular political party.
Simply due to the fact that this can isolate some quarters, it is something I would choose to stay away from on my own business page, but that’s just my opinion.
Hopefully though you can see the positive areas I have highlighted, which are incredibly easy to replicate.
It is important to me to highlight a number of examples to back up the points I have made. This next example I feel you should look at is from Chad Schwendeman.
Like some of the others examples that I will get to, he is not just a selling machine in terms of forcing listing down your throat. He has also included community news, home improvement tips and also useful apps for homeowners.
Take these two posts as an example:
We have a charity and a fairly personal post, which may interest a lot of people; and certainly show his brand in a good light.
There are certainly some positive examples to be taken from here.
I could provide endless examples here, but let me just post two more to show something slightly different to what we have already covered. Ciminelli Real Estate does well at both showcasing their team and providing local news.
This next image highlights this precisely. They share a historical image of the area, which would certainly interest a lot of people, and a post to declare they are hiring employees.
Once again this is something very positive that people would love to see. Add in a mix of property listings and I feel that could be a nice blend to represent the brand.
Both examples are just 100% listings, nothing else. This is not a page that I would follow unless I was actively looking for a property.
By displaying local news and information, this may well open them up to a wider audience. Remember that we just may know someone who is looking to buy a property. So there are certainly potential recommendations to be made by appealing to a wider audience base.
There is however one very specific thing that Annette does well that I wanted to be sure to point out.
I do not like the listing after listing format, but perhaps it works for her. I do however like the opportunity to showcase your ability to actually sell homes.
After every listing Annette will comment when the property has sold. This can actually make a strong impression, as it looks like she knows how to move a listing.
This is something you could easily incorporate into your own page.
Let’s round this up
The number of strategies here will provide you with real opportunities to continually build a local audience and keep them engaged.
As you discuss the area and celebrate your successes, you can be viewed as the expert within your community. Just imagine the potential warm leads that this could bring you, all for free.
This is a really great way of building your brand and your potential outreach.
In terms of how long this will take on a daily basis, I would say realistically up to 30 minutes. This time investment to me is a no brainer. It keeps you engaged within your local area and gets you noticed.
I would also advise you to stay current. See what others are going and replicate the positive and innovative examples that find. This will certainly help you to stand out.
If you are still sceptical about social media, then stop being so. Get amongst the activity because you are aware that if you do not, your competitors are / will.
Thank you as ever for reading,