Innovative Facebook Real Estate Marketing: Advanced Steps for Agents
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
When using Facebook, real estate agents can’t rely on a “set-it-and-forget-it” mentality. As with any other real estate marketing strategies, agents need to add new tactics to the mix, remove ones that don’t work, use new resources to improve their processes, and stay current on the latest features, updates, and announcements that come from Zuckerberg and Co.
To ensure your real estate Facebook page actually generates new leads and business, instead of just likes, comments, and shares, you need to be active on the social network and take advantage of everything it has to offer.
Use these tips, tricks, and tools to augment your Facebook for real estate strategy and get more leads moving through your inbound marketing funnel.
Ask your existing followers what they want in a real estate Facebook page.
Canvassing isn’t just something politicians do. It’s also a viable method for agents to learn more about their audience — specifically, what kind of content do readers like?
You can be general with your questions, like “What types of blog posts do you most enjoy reading?” and “Do you prefer consuming written content or more visual content, like infographics and videos?”
Or, you can be more overt with your inquiry and relate your questions to your Facebook page, like “What kind of home buying and selling information do you typically search for online?” and “What would make you want to watch a real estate listing video?” to improve the odds of getting straightforward answers that inform your content creation.
Ask your fans and followers these questions and their general perceptions of your brand through online surveys, polls, and questionnaires (which can also provide you with detailed responses to be used in testimonials). Of course, you’ll likely think of new questions over time that you never thought to ask originally, so add those that can give you a better concept of what needs changing and adjusting in your Facebook strategy.
The real key with these messages — and getting the responses you need to make your Facebook page more efficacious — really lies in personalization. Don’t just list the questions and say “Answer soon, please.” Instead, write a few paragraphs explaining your intent and why you’re contacting the person in question (e.g. “You’ve liked several of my posts, so I figured you’d be an ideal person to speak with for this.”).
Learn the best days and times to post your real estate Facebook content.
Look at your editorial calendar for your real estate social media marketing and then compare it to 100 other agents’ calendars.
Okay, this would be a drastic waste of time, but the point is if you actually sat down and compared and contrasted each, you’d notice not a single one looks exactly the same. That’s because every brand and professional’s Facebook presence is unique
Facebook Insights (more on that below) and your Google Analytics can give you the most accurate data regarding which posts perform best, and on what days and at what times they tend to get the most traction.
Let’s say you share a particular type of blog post once a week (for example, a weekly roundup of local events going on in your community).
By publishing these articles on different days and times over the course of a few months, you can gather data from the aforementioned services for each post to see just how successful they were.
Sure, sometimes there aren’t any major differences in traction for your status updates based on when they go live on your page, but if you publish a steady stream of original content routinely on your page, there are bound to be at least some articles, graphics, videos, and other pieces that show vastly different numbers when it comes to generating traffic to your site.
Even the tiniest change to your real estate marketing plans can lead to far greater engagement and lead generation figures, so leave no stone unturned and you may end up improving your website goals every month … as long as you continually incorporate links to your site in the content, of course.
Optimize your Facebook real estate page’s multimedia — especially listing photos.
It’s just not enough to throw a picture of your latest listing up on your Facebook for Business page. Rather, beautiful real estate photos that highlight the most attractive areas of the homes you represent should be accompanied by details about those listings — asking price, square footage, room totals, and noteworthy features, to name some.
Put yourself in the shoes of prospective home buyers searching online for their next home: Wouldn’t seeing a photo collage emphasizing multiple attractive elements of a listing and relaying a brief but informative description of the property be more appealing than just a single photo without any details included?
Moreover, your real estate videos need to have “pop” to engross your Facebook audience. What this means is adding graphical overlays, musical cues, high-definition video quality, and an overall theme and message. Even if you’re just showing off one of your listings, there needs to be a narrative built around it.
For instance: Do you represent a home for sale that’s in a neighborhood or community with historic structures and buildings? Highlight those aspects of the area along with the property itself to bolster your selling point. Does your most-expensive listing offer plenty of amenities, like a swimming pool and tennis court?
Show people taking advantage of them: leisurely diving into an in-ground pool or a duo playing a singles match and volleying back and forth.
Educating consumers through visual content has proven to be advantageous for professionals and brands in just about every industry, especially as it relates to their online marketing efforts, so put an extra focus on creating appealing imagery and recordings (or at least hiring the right graphic designer, photographer, or videographer to develop them for you.)
Request “referral friends” through existing leads and clients on Facebook.
You’ve heard of referral leads, but this differs slightly in that you ask your existing followers to connect you with one or more people in their Facebook inner circle who have discussed buying or selling. Feel free to reward anyone who offers up a name or two (by “reward,” we mean buy them a coffee — nothing outlandish). Users may be more willing to do this than you think, given they have friends, family, and colleagues they know are in need of representation or are searching the market.
Requesting connections such as these needs to be done very carefully, particularly for those you are friends with on the social network, as you don’t want to appear too pushy or desperate.
A single private message on the platform is all you should send to individuals:
- If you haven’t spoken to them recently, remind them of your relationship (e.g. “Hey [name here], I don’t know if you remember but we connected at that local BBQ a few months back.”).
- If you have been in touch with the person lately, ask how they and their family are doing (e.g. “Hope everything is going well for you. Have your kids started back up at school yet?”).
Personalization and humanization of these messages is imperative — otherwise, you’ll come across as a spammy salesperson.
Hold contests, promote videos, and conduct polls with Facebook apps.
Those are just a few of the purposes Facebook apps can serve. There are also apps that allow for lead capture form creation, ones that showcase reviews, and even appointment-scheduling apps — the latter of which is a perfect means to get followers’ contact info straight into your inbox and customer relationship management (CRM) database and a way to quickly and efficiently advance them through your sales funnel.
Some of the best apps to download and use for your Facebook real estate marketing needs include:
- Heyo: One of several app suites in the Facebook marketplace, Heyo offers tab features that can help you host contests, showcase promotions, and offer deals to your audience. Think of it as a landing page extension of your real estate website.
- Woobox: With more than 20 Facebook tools, including a “fangate” that shows different content to fans and non-fans and a quiz-creation feature, Woobox has several solutions that can amplify any brand’s marketing on the social network.
- Pagemodo: Creating a sleek, stylish Facebook Business Page becomes a cinch with this app. Its custom tabs allow for easy lead capture, while its “Suggested Posts” feature helps businesses find the right content to curate and share.
Provide personal recommendations to your most qualified Facebook prospects.
General contractors, electricians, plumbers, dentists, dry cleaners — you can probably roll off at least a few suggestions to Facebook friends regarding the best of the best in these respective fields (and many others). When you see that leads and even past clients you’re connected with on Facebook are looking for assistance in finding the best vendors to work with and places to shop and eat, be the first to offer your suggestions. Going the extra mile with real estate leads is hardly a new concept for agents, but it’s still one that needs to be executed consistently.
Of course, you can’t go the extra mile if you don’t have anything to offer your audience. Build up your connections by networking regularly in your market. For example, if a convention for home remodelers is taking place in your area soon, make an appearance to hand out business cards, shake hands, and talk with construction companies, renovators, and other professionals. This will allow you to make recommendations to leads and clients with confidence since you can vet each pro you connect with (in other words, ensure they’re appropriately certified and well-reviewed).
Every piece of your own content you share needs to lead back to your website.
Some real estate agents use social media solely as a medium to enhance their brand awareness and get people to notice and talk about them. One reason seemingly every agent needs to use social networks, however — including Facebook — is to garner more tangible results for their business.
Routinely engaging with your fans and followers, and sharing others’ content to get more eyes to your Business page, are the tactics you need to employ, but the endgame is the same for each of these tasks: Getting Facebook users to your website and viewing your business information, area pages, and listings — essentially any page on your site that includes a way for you to get more information from your visitors.
As social media automation service Buffer notes in this blog post, the first and foremost thing you need to create the perfect Facebook post is include a relevant link. If your post explains information about a busy commercial street in your town with lots of interesting shops and cafes, add a link leading back to a neighborhood page on your site that further explains the area. If a status update features a brief summary of a blog post you wrote recently, send users back to the original article on your site and ensure the page is optimized with a lead capture form.
Promote your real estate Facebook presence in every other facet of your marketing.
In an ideal world, all you would need to do to widen exposure to your Business Page and increase page views and post clicks is hit publish. We don’t live in such a wonderful world, though, meaning you have to use other outlets to promote your content. One channel you should take advantage of is email marketing. Sending emails through your drip campaigns for different lead lists allows you to measure which of your contacts most enjoys your content and, in turn, adjust whom you share certain content with.
Your Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and other real estate social media accounts offer additional promotional means for you to spread word about your Business Page and the specific activities you perform on it, like holding contests and offering gated content behind forms. Creating blog posts that feature your most noteworthy and informative status updates, tweets, and other social media posts from a given week or month on your website can bring attention to all of your social media profiles. Use an app like Storify to streamline a mix of these posts in the order in which you prefer to tell a story around a given subject matter.
Comb over your Facebook page’s analytics featured on the Insights page.
Spending time evaluating the important metrics for your account is the only way you can develop a better approach for your presence and spend your valuable time creating content that resonates and translates into friends and followers spending time on your website. This includes — but is not limited to — clicks on links and videos in your posts, your published content’s reach, and the click-through rate of your ads.
For instance, if posts you produce don’t lead to the number of clicks to your real estate website that you set out to achieve, or those who click and end up on your site don’t stay for long, it’s a clear-cut sign you may need to address both the copy and images you use in the post itself, select more relevant links to include, and better optimize the pages you send clickers to with more information and value (e.g. more listings, more info about listings, better listing search functionality, etc.).
Advance your Facebook real estate advertising with more detailed ad targeting.
We can’t talk about making the most of real estate Facebook pages without discussing how to develop and optimize ads on the social network. Hopefully you already have several real estate advertising ideas in play on the site (or at least in mind for future ads). Either way, using Facebook’s ad platform is one of the premier ways to target the right people online and get them flocking to your website. Location, demographic, interests, and behaviors are the core criteria for determining who should see your Facebook real estate ads, but the social network constantly adds new targeting filters and functions that help brands reach even more niche prospects who closely meet their customer persona criteria.
Another way to take your Facebook real estate advertising to the next level is using Custom Audiences, which allows you to upload contact information for existing contacts to whom you would like to target your ads.
Add email addresses or phone numbers for contacts in your CRM who you think could lead to new business into your Facebook ads setup and you will be able to share super-targeted ads with them.
As with pay per click for real estate, setting a strict monthly budget for these ads and monitoring their progress closely is a must, but the rewards that can be reaped and the lead-generating time that can be saved are big.
Learn more about how to generate real estate leads from Facebook in our in-depth webinar.
Published on June 11, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.