Set Up Your Facebook Pages
Before you can engage with consumers on Facebook, you’ll need to lay the foundation for your marketing efforts by creating both a personal profile and a page for your real estate business.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to create a Facebook account by registering at facebook.com and following the steps in the setup wizard. You’ll be asked to provide your name, email, and mobile number for verification. Once you’ve verified your account, take some time to add personal details like location, employment, education, photos, etc.
Part 1:Create your Facebook business page
Once your account is set up, you’ll want to create a separate business page to serve as the primary venue for your audience building on Facebook. If you’re an agent, this page should represent you as an individual salesperson. If you’re broker, it should represent your firm or office.
- Choose your page type. Head to your profile and click the arrow button in the top right corner, then select “Create a Page.” On the following screen, select “Company, Organization or Institution,” then choose “Small Business” from the dropdown list.
- Name your page. You’ll want to choose a title that avoids confusion with your personal profile page, emphasizes the service you provide, and the brand you’re aligned with: “Jane Reynolds – Realtor, Keller Williams,” “Pearson Realty Group,” etc.
- Add details. Provide some details about your business, including your website and a description of up to 155 characters.
- Upload a picture. Like your personal profile picture, your business page picture will appear in your posts and news feed. Agents should opt for a headshot in professional attire against a neutral background. If you’re building a page for your entire brokerage, consider using your company logo or name instead. Be sure your photo has a resolution higher than 125×125 pixels—otherwise, it may appear blurry.
Finally, add your page to the Favorites section of your personal profile for easy access.
Part 2:Add details to your Facebook business page
Once you’ve completed these basic steps, you can fill in your profile with more details that will improve your search visibility and offer visitors more insight on your business.
- Address & Contact Info: Enter your phone number, email, website URL, and office address. This will not only make it easy for visitors to contact you through your Facebook page, but also help prospects find you via Facebook’s search function.
- Long Description: This is your opportunity to expand on you short description and explain to Facebook visitors who you are and why you’re the real estate professional they should work with. Consider your strengths and think about what sets you apart from every other Realtor in your area.
- Mission: Briefly outline your goals and demonstrate your commitment to delivering superior service.
- Cover Photo: This is the header image that extends the width of your Facebook page. Your cover photo is an opportunity to grab visitors’ attention. Be sure to adjust your images to fit the space provided (851×315 pixels), otherwise your photo may get cut off. Visit the Facebook Help Center for a full guide to image formatting and dimensions.
- Tabs: Add an Events tab to your business page to promote open houses and other real estate-related events.
Part 3:Invite followers
Finally, the last step in setting up your Facebook page is to announce it to the world. To do this, click the “Build Audience” tab in the top right corner of your screen, then select “Invite Friends.” This will pull up a list of all your existing Facebook friends, whom you can invite to like and follow your page.
If you don’t have many Facebook friends yet, or want to reach out to people outside of Facebook, you can also suggest your page by uploading contacts from your email account, drip marketing platform, or CRM. Simply select the tools you use, then enter your credentials and follow the instructions.
For a more detailed guide to setting up a Facebook page, see our Play: Social Setup with Facebook.
Create Facebook Content
After setting up your Facebook business page, the next step to building your audience is to begin creating valuable content and interacting with other Facebook users.
Part 1:Know your audience
As with any other marketing medium, it’s important to begin with an understanding of what kind of people you’re trying to reach on Facebook. That way, you can tailor your content to appeal to your target audience and ensure optimal engagement.
If you’re a reasonably established real estate agent with an existing client base, you probably already have a decent idea of who your customers are. Make a list of past and current real estate clients and start looking for patterns. How old are your clients? Where do they come from? Are they single, married couples, or families? What kinds of properties, features, and amenities are they interested in?
Use the answers to these questions to sort your target customers into a few categories that will serve as a baseline for your Facebook marketing efforts.
Part 2:What to post
More than anything else, what you post on will determine your success in building a significant and interested audience on Facebook.
As with any other kind of marketing or social content, a great Facebook post doesn’t just promote your business: it creates value for your followers in the form of entertainment, education, or inspiration.
When creating Facebook content, you should aim to follow the “70/20/10” rule:
- 70% of your posts should build your brand with original content that’s valuable to your followers: links to your blog posts, answers to common real estate questions, beautiful photos, etc.
- 20% of your posts should curate content that your followers will like from other Facebook pages or around the web.
- 10% of your posts should promote your business directly with new listings, open houses, testimonials, etc.
Here are some ideas for Facebook posts that will create value for consumers and market your business at the same time.
- Customer success stories: Ask clients for their permission to be featured on your Facebook page. Snap a photo of your client in front of their new home and request a brief testimonial to cite in your post. (You can also congratulate your client, using the @ sign to mention them in your post so that their friends will see it.)
- New and featured listings: Showcase your newest, best, and most unique listings. Be sure to include a photo and a link to the property details page.
- Market insights: Share data about local, regional, and national trends for real estate sales, prices, new home construction, mortgage rates, and other relevant statistics.
- Neighborhood insights: Brand yourself as a local expert by sharing articles, blog posts, and reviews on local news, events, and businesses in your area.
- Stunning photography: Share photos that exemplify the most beautiful scenery and architecture of the towns and neighborhoods you serve.
- Behind the scenes: Illustrate your dedication and active status by giving followers a peek into the day-to-day of working as a real estate agent. (Naturally, you should be careful not to include anything unprofessional, or share confidential information about your clients.)
- Home improvement ideas: Use your expertise to share guides and tips about a variety of home and decor topics, whether from your blog or other places around the web.
- Real estate answers: Offer your professional opinion on the real estate-related questions your clients are asking.
- Events: Having an open house for one of your listings? Create a Facebook Event and invite your followers to attend.
- Polls and questions: Encourage engagement from your visitors by driving discussion around interesting topics. You might ask your followers, for instance, to name their favorite restaurant in one of the towns or neighborhoods you serve, or to offer their opinions on a local community issue.
Part 3:Crafting a Facebook post
Great content isn’t the only factor in ensuring your Facebook posts will be successful: you also need to make sure you’re formatting and presenting that content in a way your audience will appreciate.
- Include an image. Research shows that photos account for a staggering 93 percent of brand interaction on Facebook. In other words, you’re far more likely to have someone read, like, share, and comment on your Facebook posts if you include a photo, video, or other visual.
- Keep it short. Research shows that shorter posts get better results, with posts of 80 words or less driving 66 percent more engagement than longer posts. Don’t give your visitors an opportunity to get bored: keep your posts brief and entertaining. When sharing content outside of Facebook, invite followers to read more by following the link.
- Tune your link titles and descriptions. When you share a link on your page, Facebook will use metadata from that page to automatically create a preview with a title, description, and thumbnail image. But this preview isn’t always perfect. For instance, titles are limited to 100 characters, which means anything beyond that limit will get cut off. For best results, adjust your link titles and descriptions and choose the thumbnail that best represents the content you’re linking to.
- Tag everything. One of Facebook’s greatest strengths for any marketer is the ability to tag or mention other Facebook users, groups, pages, places, and events using the @ symbol. People and pages you tag will receive a notification enabling them to see your post. In some cases, your post will also appear on their profile as well as in their friends and followers’ news feeds. By mentioning other users and pages in a tag, you’ll improve your posts’ visibility among their followers.
- Use hashtags. Like Twitter, Facebook allows users to employ hashtags (#) in their posts. A hashtag can connect your post to a broader discussion about a trending topic or news item, making it easier for Facebook users to find you in searches. According to one study, posts with hashtags see 60 percent more interactions on average.
See the Facebook Help Center for more tips on posting to your Facebook page.
Part 4:When to post
There have been countless studies about when and how frequently to post content to Facebook in order to achieve the best results, and each of them draws slightly different conclusions. Nevertheless, there are a few rules you should follow when deciding when to publish your posts.
- Post when your followers are online. Obviously, the best time to publish your posts is when your target audience is most active on Facebook. While this differs from person to person, the majority of Facebook users are most active from 1-4 PM, with Friday being the active day of the week. As you develop your Facebook strategy, experiment with different posting days and times to determine what works best for you.
- Post often. Facebook offers users a constant stream of content from all of their friends and pages, which means that posting once every couple weeks isn’t going to help you stand out from the crowd. Brands that publish an average of 1½-2 posts per day engage twice as many users as those that only post once or twice per week.
- Post regularly. Getting noticed on Facebook isn’t just about having a large volume of posts: it’s also about keeping your page top of mind with your followers by posting at regular intervals. Instead of publishing ten posts one day and none the next three days, space your sharing out at regular intervals to integrate your page into your followers’ routines.
- Use scheduling tools. With a schedule to maintain and so many posts to keep track of, it can be difficult to manage all of your Facebook activity on your own. Plus, chances are you won’t be able to create and post new content on Facebook every single day. Thankfully, there are tools out there that will allow you to create your posts ahead of time, then automatically publish them at scheduled intervals.
BonusScheduling and management tools for Facebook
While there are dozens of apps and tools out there for managing your social media posts and presence, two of our favorites are Buffer and HootSuite.
- Buffer: A simple app that provides a virtual queue you can fill with posts, then stagger publishing times throughout the day. Buffer provides additional analytics on your posts’ engagement and reach, and you can also connect your Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. Buffer’s free plan allows you to queue 10 posts at once. For $10 per month, you can upgrade to the “Awesome” plan, which allows up to 100 posts and adds additional features like automatic scheduling.
- Hootsuite: A more complete solution, Hootsuite allows you to view streams for all of your social media accounts in one convenient dashboard. Like Buffer, you can queue and schedule your posts manually, or set Hootsuite to choose optimal publishing times based on your audience. Hootsuite’s free plan only allows you to schedule one post at a time for publication, while its Pro plan raises the limit to 350 posts.
Part 6:Facebook comments
Your posts are only the first step to building a solid audience on Facebook: you also need to engage your friends and followers via commenting. The more proactive you are in engaging your followers and visitors directly, the more likely they’ll be to follow your page and take the next step. Here are some tips for commenting on Facebook.
- Always respond. If you’re fortunate enough to have visitors who comment on your posts, show them that you care and you’re listening. Whether it’s with a thoughtful response or just a like, respond to every post. If you need more time to answer a question, let them know that you’ll get back to them as soon as you can.
- Be timely. Do your best to respond to comments on your page immediately. Wait too long to answer, and your followers may get distracted by the next page and move on—or, worse, assume you don’t care about what they have to say.
- Don’t delete negative comments. Sooner or later, every page gets a critical post from a dissatisfied customer. While you may be tempted to contain the damage by removing a negative post or comment, this will only tell your followers that you’re not willing to listen to your customers and make things right. Instead, acknowledge the commenter’s feelings, apologize for the inconvenience, and provide your contact information to continue the conversation offline.
- Comment on other people’s posts. Don’t just wait for other people to comment on your posts. Watch your friends and followers’ pages and comment on their posts. Show that you’re interested, and you’ll get more interest in return.
Part 7:Tracking results with Facebook Insights
To get the most out of your Facebook page, you need to be able to measure the impact you’re having on your audience: which posts did best, who interacted with them, how, and when. This will help you create better, more targeted Facebook content that earns more likes, comments, and shares.
Facebook offers its own analytics tool, Facebook Insights, to help page owners understand their audiences and track their posts across a variety of metrics. To access your Facebook Insights dashboard, head to your page, then click “Insights” in the top left corner. To start, you’ll see an overview of your page with a range of data on your page from the previous week, including how your last five posts have fared. You can also monitor your competitors or other pages you’re aspiring to by adding them to your “Pages to Watch” section.
From here, you can view data in specific categories:
- Likes: See who has liked your page over time, and where likes are coming from (mobile or desktop, ads or organic, etc.). You can also see how many people have unliked your page, and when. This can point you toward posts that may have turned off some of your followers.
- Reach: See how many people have seen your post, whether they liked it, clicked it, or let it pass by. Here, you can see how many people have hidden your posts in their feeds—another indication that you’re sending them the wrong message.
- Visits: See how many times your page has been accessed, as well as how many times each of your page tabs (timeline, overview, photos, etc.) has been viewed. You’ll also see a graph of external sites that have sent visitors to your page.
- Posts: In addition to a deeper look at how each of your recent posts are performing, this tab provides a breakdown of the days and times of day that your fans are online—a useful feature for scheduling your posts. You can also see which kinds of posts (links, photos, or statuses) performed best.
- People: See a breakdown of the demographics of your followers (as well as users you’ve reached and engaged) according to gender, age, and location.
Use the data gathered by Facebook Insights to determine who your target audience members are, which posts they like best, and when to publish them for maximum exposure.
Promote Your Facebook Page
Once you’re producing a steady stream of content and actively engaging with other Facebook users, you can begin the task of driving new followers to your Facebook page from other sources and media.
Part 1:Online Strategies
The easiest way to drive people to your Facebook page is to incorporate it into your other sites, profiles, and pages on the web.
- Marketing Website: Start by including a link to your Facebook page in the header and footer of your real estate marketing website. For Placester Website users, adding Facebook to your website is simple: just head to the website settings tab on your Placester dashboard, select “Social Media,” and enter the URL of your Facebook page in the space provided. You can also promote your Facebook page on your website by including it in the copy of your Contact and About pages.
- Other Social Networks: Announce your Facebook page with posts on all of your other social networks. You may need to post multiple times over the course of a few weeks for optimal impact. Be sure to include a link to your Facebook page in the profile section of every network.
- Email: Once you’ve created your Facebook page, let your contacts, clients, and prospects know by emailing them a link and asking them to follow you. Then, include a signature or footer section in every email, inviting leads and clients to like your page.
- Blogs, Comments, and Forums: Using Facebook Search and other methods, do some research to find out which blogs and forums your target customers visit and consume. Maintain an active presence on these websites, commenting and posting regularly with insightful commentary and useful advice. Include a link to your Facebook page at the end of every post or comment.
Part 2:Offline Strategies
Finally, you can also build your Facebook audience by promoting your business page offline, both in print and in person.
- Business Cards: Prominently display a URL or QR code that leads to your Facebook page.
- Direct Mail: Include your Facebook page URL in the contact information on all your direct mail print flyers.
- Office: Include your Facebook URL on printed informational pamphlets and signage throughout your real estate office.
- Conferences & Conventions: Invite people you meet at events and gatherings to look you up on Facebook. If you’re fortunate enough to be giving a talk, be sure to use the podium to your advantage.
Looking to take the next step toward generating leads on Facebook? Check out our Play: Attracting Buyers with Facebook.