Personal Branding with Facebook

News Feed Ads

In order to be successful as a real estate professional, you need to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Of all the agents in your area, why should home buyers and sellers work with you? The answer to this question is your personal brand, the unique value proposition that no other real estate professional can offer.

You’ll Learn How To:

Create targeted ad campaigns on the Facebook ads network
Target your ads to a relevant audience
Compose News Feed ads that leverage your unique value
Optimize campaigns for maximum return on investment

So what is your personal brand? Are you the experienced veteran who’s seen and sold it all? The techie with all the latest tools? The tireless negotiator? Whatever you choose, you need to broadcast your brand message to prospective clients in a memorable way. Social media sites like Facebook offer a unique opportunity to connect with sellers online — and with Facebook News Feed Ads, you can extend beyond your existing network of friends and followers to increase awareness of your personal brand.

Task 1: Set Up your Facebook Business Page

Like most of Facebook’s ad offerings, News Feed Ads are associated with business pages rather than personal profiles, so you’ll need to create one of these before you can start advertising.

Part 1:Add basic details

On your Facebook profile, click the arrow button in the top right corner, then select “Create a Page.” On the next screen, you’ll see several options for your business. Select “Company, Organization or Institution,” then “Small Business.” Add 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. Once you’ve chosen a name, click “Get Started” to continue.

Next, provide some details about your business, including your website address and a short description of your business and the market you serve. Then, choose a unique “vanity” web address for your Facebook page, taking care to make it as short and as readable as possible. Choose carefully: this URL can only be changed once.

Finally, add a high resolution photo or image. If you’re an agent, use 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.

Part 2:Complete your profile

Once you’ve entered the basics, 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 make it easy for visitors to get in touch.
  • Long Description: Use this section to expand on you short description and explain to Facebook visitors 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. 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.

Part 3:Invite followers

The last step in setting up your Facebook business page is to invite people to like and follow you. Clicking the “Build Audience” tab in the top right corner of your page, 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. You can also refine your list to include friends from your city, or from a particular network, such as your university.

If you don’t have many Facebook friends yet, or want to reach out to people you know outside of Facebook, you can also share your page with contacts from other services, including email accounts like Gmail and Outlook, email marketing services like Mailchimp, or CRMs like Constant Contact. Simply select the tools you use, then enter your credentials and follow the instructions.

Bonus[Infographic] Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Social Media Marketing

The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Social Media Marketing

New to social media? Use this infographic to create great optimized real estate bios and beautiful profile banners, develop a plan for engaging with influencers and fans, and learn what types of content actually work to get users’ attention.

Task 2: Create Your Facebook Ad Campaign

Once you’ve established a Facebook business page with a solid foundation of followers, you can begin using your page to advertise your business and drive leads to your real estate website. Facebook’s ad system operates at three levels:

  1. Campaign: Your overall ad project, this defines your advertising objective (promote your page, send people to your website, etc.).
  2. Ad Set: A group of ads targeted toward a specific audience.
  3. Ad: An individual ad, including an image, headline, and description crafted specifically to appeal to your target audience.

Let’s start by creating a campaign.

Part 1:Choose your campaign objective

To begin, head to your Facebook profile and click the arrow button in the top right corner of the screen, then select “Create Ads.”

You’ll see several options for campaign objectives. In this case, you’re interested in building awareness of your unique brand among consumers in your area, so that when they’re looking for an agent or home, they think of you first. You could opt for “Page Likes,” but this option confines you to your Facebook business page. Instead, you’re better off driving people to your website, which you can customize to create a unified vision of your brand.

Enter the URL of the page on your website you want users to “land” on when they click your ad. Note that this may not be your homepage, but rather a page with content that’s tailored to your ad and your audience. (We’ll talk more about landing pages later).

Part 2:Define ad set targeting options

To maximize your results, your Facebook ads should target a carefully defined set of users whose characteristics correspond to the consumers you serve (or hope to serve). Facebook allows you to filter your audience in a variety of ways in order to limit your ads’ exposure only to those users most likely to click and convert.

facebook ads manager - targeting

To start, enter your zip code or city into the “Location” field. If your market extends to multiple cities or towns in your area, you may choose to set a radius of 10, 25, 50, or a custom range around a central location. You can also further refine your audience according to their relationship to your area. For instance, you can limit your ad reach to people who live in your area, and exclude those who are only visiting.

Next, you can refine your targeting according to age, gender, and language. These options are useful for niche audiences. Do you specialize in senior living communities? Try targeting users over 55. Do you serve a specific ethnic population? Try targeting a specific language.

If you want to get even more specific, you can use the “More Demographics” menu to narrow your audience according to several categories. Some examples include:

  • Relationship: Limit your ads to married Facebook users.
  • Financial: Target users with a certain income or net worth threshold.
  • Home: Limit your ads to homeowners, people in apartments, empty nesters, etc.
  • Parents: Target users with children.

Part 3:Interests and behavior

In the next two targeting sections, you can continue to refine your audience according to their interests and behavior on Facebook. This includes profile details, liked and followed pages and posts, purchase behaviors or intents, device usage, and more. Here are some examples.

Interests

  • Family and relationships: reach potential buyers or sellers looking to upgrade to a larger home by targeting interests like “Marriage,” “Motherhood,” and “Parenting.”
  • Business and industry: find users who are already searching for real estate information by targeting the “Real Estate” interest category.

Behaviors

  • Financial: Use the “Investments” behavior category to find users interested in investing in real estate.
  • Residential profiles: Target users who are “Likely to move,” or who have recently borrowed from a mortgage lender to purchase a home.

To the right of the targeting menus, you’ll a see an Audience Definition dial that estimates the strength of your target audience. Too broad, and you’re likely to blow your budget on a lot of clicks from unqualified leads. Too specific (red), and you may not get any clicks at all. As you set your targeting options, aim for an audience on the lower end of the green range.

Part 4:Set your ad budget

Finally, it’s time to set your budget and spending options. Like most other online ad platforms, Facebook ads work on an auction system, which means you’re competing with other advertisers for the chance to serve your ad to target users. To maximize your return on investment, you need to decide how much you’re willing to commit, and how Facebook should allocate your funds. Facebook offers two options for setting your budget.

  1. Daily Budget: Set the maximum amount you’ll pay to show your ads each day.
  2. Lifetime Budget: Set the maximum amount you’ll spend over a longer period, which you can set using the start and end time fields provided. (You can also set a specific start and end date for an ad set with a daily budget.)

Next, you can use the Advanced Options section to determine how you want Facebook to spend your money. For instance, you can optimize your ads according to clicks, paying each time someone clicks your ads. This is usually the best option for driving leads, since you only pay when your ads produce results. In this case, however, we’re more interested in creating awareness of your brand, which means we want to show your ads to as many people in your target audience as possible. Because of this, you’ll want to optimize for impressions, paying for every thousand unique views of your ad.

In the past, impressions were counted based on the number of times users visited a page with your ad on it. This basically meant that all visitors were considered ad impressions, even if they never scrolled down to see your ad. Thankfully, with Facebook, you only pay for “viewed impressions,” where your ad actually appears on a user’s screen. (For more information on viewed impressions, see Facebook’s news release.)

Finally, under “Pricing,” decide how much you’re willing to bid for every 1,000 impressions your ad receives. Facebook will suggest a range of bids based on how many people are competing to show an ad to your target audience. Choose a bid within the suggested range to make sure your ad is served. You can always change this amount later.

Task 3: Compose Your Ads

Now that you’ve defined your audience, it’s time for the creative work of crafting the images and copy that will make up your ad. A visually appealing ad that speaks to prospects with a clear, focused, and actionable message about you and your business will make all the difference between a campaign that generates leads, and one that doesn’t.

Here’s an example of a Facebook ad for personal branding:

FB personal branding sample ad

Facebook offers four basic formats for ads:

  1. Desktop News Feed
  2. Mobile News Feed
  3. Right Column
  4. Audience Network

While the Ads Manager allows you to create and deploy all four ad types at once, margin ads have a fairly low conversion rate, and it’s best to separate your mobile and desktop efforts. For now, we’ll be focusing solely on Desktop News Feed ads, so be sure to click “Remove” next the other ad formats.

Part 1:Facebook ad ideas for personal branding

Unlike buyer ads, which are designed to sell homes, personal branding ads are designed to sell you and your unique value as a real estate professional. That means you need to decide what that unique value is. Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Property type. Do you specialize in condos? Beachfront properties? Historic homes? Foreclosures and distressed properties? Whatever your bread and butter, work this property type into your ad.
  • Neighborhood. Instead of targeting your entire market generally, sell your hyper-local expertise in one or a few of the neighborhoods where you do the most business.
  • Testimonials and referrals. If you have a lot of positive reviews, or earn most of your business through referrals from existing clients, consider using quotes from your satisfied customers as social proof for framing your ad.
  • Consumer type. Whether you cater exclusively to sellers, or work with lots of first-time homebuyers, try writing ads for the consumers that you connect with best and work with most.
  • Performance. Numbers often speak louder than words. If you’re lucky enough to beat the stats in your area for average sale price, time on market, or deals closed annually, use these figures to back up your story.
  • Tools and teams. Do you enlist the most recent technologies and a staff of assistants to get the job done for your clients? Or do you value a more intimate, personal touch? Give your prospects a glimpse of the resources they’ll have at their disposal while working with you.
  • Background. Chances are good that real estate isn’t your first, second, or even third job. Instead of hiding this fact, embrace it. Try using the skills you learned from your previous careers to sell your unique experience as an agent.
  • Personality. Above all else, your personality is what sets you apart from every other real estate professional. Are you a comedian? A stone-cold professional? A style junkie? Whatever your passion or temperament, sure you create an ad that’s true to that identity.

Part 2:Visuals

While it has long been a popular venue for sharing images, Facebook is more visual than ever. To engage your audience, you’ll need a vivid, high-quality image that sums up your business and shows users that you’re a real estate professional worth hiring. While Facebook allows you to search Shutterstock’s selection of stock photos, you’ll get more attention and better results by making your own custom images. (If the landing page you’ve chosen for your ad already contains an image you want to use, the Facebook Ad Manager will automatically retrieve that image from the link you provided.)

Facebook offers two options for News Feed Ads: single image, and multi-image. Since this is our first ad, we’ll keep things simple and focus on the first option.

There are a variety of image-editing applications you can use to create your Facebook ad images. Alternatively, you might consider hiring a graphic designer to design your ads for you. While this may lead to higher up-front costs, a higher-quality ad will give you a better return on your advertising investment in the long run. Either way, make sure you follow Facebook’s format and content guidelines:

  • Sizing: Facebook recommends that ad images be uploaded at 1200 x 628 pixels (a 1.9 to 1 ratio), though your actual ad will be smaller in the wild. If you select an image that doesn’t meet these dimensions, it may end up cropped or blurry.
  • Text: Since you’ll have the opportunity to incorporate text in other parts of your ad, Facebook’s policy states that your ad image may not include more than 20 percent text. If you’re concerned about the amount of text in your image, you can test it using Facebook’s Grid Tool.

See Facebook’s support article for more ad image specifications.

As for the substance of your ads, your visuals will vary depending on your value proposition and the consumers you’re targeting. Still, here are a few general tips for elements to include.

  • Headshot or portrait. Remember, you’re trying to convince prospects that you’re someone they’d want to work with. One way to do this is to humanize your business with a headshot or portrait photo that showcases both your personality and your professionalism. Instead of pulling an old photo from social media or your digital camera, invest in a high-quality headshot or portrait by a seasoned photographer. Use a white or neutral background to make your photo more versatile and easier to edit.
  • Company logo. Whether you run your own shop or work for a franchise, your company logo is a crucial part of your identity and will bolster your credibility with Facebook users. Be sure to include it in your ad.
  • Your brand promise. While your ad will have a headline and description, Facebook users shouldn’t need these to understand what you’re selling: they should know that the instant they see your ad image. Consider incorporating a recently sold listing, a distinctive landmark in your area, or some other beautiful photo or graphic that viewers may recognize or connect with.
  • Style and colors. If possible, your ads should reinforce the creative elements of your existing brand presence, including colors, shapes, and font styles. That said, your ads also need to draw your audience’s attention away from the rest of the content on their News Feeds, so you should avoid using Facebook’s blue, white, and gray color palette. Instead, opt for vivid, eye-catching colors. Above all, make sure everything is easy to see and read.

Note that each image you add to the Facebook Ads Manager will create a new ad.

Part 3:Facebook ad copy

Once you’ve created an attractive ad image that’s optimized to fit your value proposition, you can supplement your message to users by adding copy.

    • Headline (25 characters): The title of your ad. Briefly describe the value you’re promising (“Your Guide to Brooklyn,” “Boston’s Modern Realtor”). Use clear, direct, actionable language.
    • Text (90 characters): The standard Facebook post body text that appears above the box with your ad image and title. This is where you’ll expand on your message. For instance: “Nobody knows the North Shore better. Call today for a free consultation!”
  • Call-to-action button: This indicates the action you want users to take when they see your ad. Facebook offers several options for CTA button text. What you choose depends on the value your ad is promising, but “Learn More” is probably the most versatile and appropriate choice here.
  • News Feed link description (200 characters): Located in the “Advanced Options” menu, your link description is an opportunity to offer even more detail about you and your business. “A 30 year veteran born and raised in Belltown, John Smith is your local guide to the downtown Seattle real estate market.”

For more advice on designing and composing your ads, check out Facebook’s guide: Design ads that work on Facebook with these 10 tips.

Part 4:Publish your ad

Once your ad’s image and copy are finalized to your liking, you’re ready to publish your ad to Facebook’s network and start getting clicks.

To see a summary of your campaign, click “Review Order.” From here, you can either edit your campaign details, or click “Place Order” to submit your ad for approval. Facebook Ads are usually reviewed within 24 hours, though it may take up to 2-3 days. If your ad isn’t approved, you’ll receive a message detailing any issues. (See Facebook’s Help Center for examples of acceptable and unacceptable ads.) Once your ad is approved, your ads will go live to your target audience.

Keep in mind that unless you meet the targeting requirements you’ve set for your ad audience, you won’t see your ad running on Facebook. If you want to view or edit your ad going forward, return to the Ads Manager.

Task 4: Optimize for Clicks and Leads

The Facebook advertising process doesn’t stop when your first ad goes live. To ensure you’re maximizing your budget and earning both clicks and conversions, you’ll need to optimize your landing pages and track and adjust your ad campaign settings, as well as the ads themselves.

Part 1:Landing pages

While your homepage is a fine introduction to your business, people who click on your ads are looking for something more specific. That is, these people want answers to the questions that got them to notice your ad in the first place. If they can’t find them when they reach your website, they’ll simply leave. Instead, you should be using targeted landing pages with content and lead capture forms that are tailored to each campaign.

There are a variety of techniques for creating ad landing pages. Some tools allow you to build landing pages on the fly that automatically adapt based on the ad users have clicked. However, these are quite complex to implement. A simpler, but still powerful, option is to create a custom landing page for each campaign.

For instance, let’s say you want to target one of your campaigns to potential buyers, and another to sellers. For the first campaign, you could direct Facebook users to a search results page, with listings matching the specific neighborhoods mentioned in your ad. For the second campaign, you could send users to a “For Sellers” page, with a download link for an ebook full of useful information about selling a home.

Here are a few more tips for building great landing pages:

  • Invest in a great website. A real estate website that’s ugly, outdated, or not mobile friendly won’t win converts. Before you spend money on advertising, make sure you have a professional-quality real estate website with IDX search and a mobile-friendly design.
  • Don’t bait-and-switch. Don’t promise anything you and your business can’t deliver: make sure your landing pages contain content about services and results you can actually offer your leads.
  • Include a lead capture form. Converting leads is about building relationships, and the first step to building a relationship is getting a visitor’s contact information via a lead capture form. Be sure to place your form “above the fold,” so that visitors don’t have to scroll down to see it. Don’t ask for too much: Stick with a simple form that asks for basic details like name, email, and phone number. Remember to add your conversion pixel so you can track these transactions.
  • Provide a clear call to action. The goal of any landing page is to convince your visitors to perform a specific action: sign up, log in, fill out, download, call, etc. When building your landing pages, make sure that your call to action is simple, concrete, and prominently displayed. (For more on how to craft an effective call to action, check out our Academy post: Calls to Action That Generate Real Estate Leads.)
  • Create value for visitors. If you really want leads to create an account on your website or provide their contact details, try giving them something valuable in return: an email newsletter with your best real estate tips, for instance. Not only will leads leave your site with something tangible, they’ll have proof of the expertise that only you can offer.

For more insight on landing pages, check out our guide at the Academy: 12 Real Estate Website Lead Conversion Tips and Tricks.

Part 2:Fostering audience engagement

Remember, your ad is not just a static image with a link and some: it’s also a Facebook post, which means your viewers can like, share, and comment on it just like any other post in their News Feed. By encouraging users to engage with your ad, you can increase your reach and make others more willing to indulge their curiosity.

  • Always respond to comments. Show commenters 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. To find out about comments right away, make sure you’ve enabled email notifications.
  • Be timely. Because your ads are also posts, you should treat them as such by responding to comments quickly. Wait too long to answer, and your followers may get distracted by the next post or ad 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 business receives a critical post or comment from a dissatisfied customer or prospect. While you may be tempted to contain the damage by removing a negative comment from your ad, this will only tell viewers that you’re not willing to listen to your audience and make things right. Instead, acknowledge the commenter’s feelings and provide your contact information to continue the conversation offline.
  • Keep the conversation going. If you’re fortunate enough to have people commenting on your ads, you should try to get as much mileage from them as possible. Ask follow up questions and tag commenters’ names to ensure they receive your response. Even negative comments offer an opportunity to hear suggestions for improving your ad or linked content.

Part 3:Track results with Ads Reporting

Once your ads are underway, you can view reports on their performance from the Ads Manager. Simply click the menu arrow in the top right corner of your Facebook page and select “Manage Ads” to see a dashboard with stats on campaigns, ad sets, and individual ads. You can also filter your results according to date range, as well as status (Active, Scheduled, In Review, etc.) Your Facebook Ad Reporting dashboard tracks various key metrics at each level, including:

  • Results: The number of website conversions you’ve earned.
  • Cost: The estimated average cost of each conversion, based on the number of clicks your ads have received.
  • Reach: How many people saw your ad.
  • Spent Today: How much you’ve paid for a campaign’s placements that day.
  • Total Spent: How much you’ve spent over your campaign or ad’s lifetime.
  • Frequency: The average number of times an ad was shown to each person.

To see more detail on any campaign or ad, including graphs of performance over time, simply select it from the list provided. You should monitor your Ads Reporting dashboard regularly to see which of your ads are producing results, and which are not. If, for instance, your ad is getting very few impressions, you should consider increasing your bids or adjusting your targeting options. If your ad is getting lots of impressions, but no clicks, you may need to edit your ad to make it more compelling. To turn a campaign or ad on and off, simply click the blue toggle switch next to its name.

See Facebook’s support page for more information on using Ads Reporting to monitor your campaign performance.

Part 4:Testing and refining your ads

As you continue to fine-tune your Facebook ad campaigns, you can begin to do testing to improve lead engagement and conversion. For best results, you should always create multiple ad variations within your campaigns. This gives you multiple chances to find the ad recipe that will resonate most with your viewers.

To create a second ad in your Facebook campaign, simply upload a second image on the ad creation wizard (each image creates a separate ad with the same copy), or click “Create Ads” in the top right corner menu and select your existing campaign. For optimal insight, try creating ad versions with slightly different headlines, colors, or layouts, as well as ads with completely new images and text. By tracking which version gets the most clicks, you’ll hone your design approach and gain a better understanding of the message your prospects want to see.

For more information and resources for advertising on Facebook, see the Facebook Ads Guide.