WHAT IS FACEBOOK FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS?
Facebook isn't just for friends and family; it's a great resource for growing your business online. What began as a social hangout for friends and family has evolved into a powerhouse for business pages, paid advertising, shops, and more. Here's what you need to know about Facebook for your real estate business.
WHY IS FACEBOOK IMPORTANT FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS?
Facebook has changed its algorithms to cater to user experience, so getting that free traffic by sharing random status updates and photos isn't as easy as it once was. In fact, gaining traffic, likes, and shares is harder that it ever has been. Harder, but not impossible. Here's the deal:
Because Facebook is concerned with user experience AND with the revenue it can gain through services for businesses, the social network has created all new ways to market your real estate business digitally. Although no longer a primarily free resource for gaining traffic for your business, Facebook is still a remarkable tool for business growth, brand awareness, networking, and advertising.
HOW FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS CAN WORK FOR YOU
Facebook has a variety of ways you can market your real estate business, including:
Facebook Business Pages
- Brand Awareness
- Consistency in contact information to support local search
Facebook Live Video
- How to offer value to viewers
- How Facebook Live keeps your posts active in the news feed
- How Facebook Live can market your listings
- How to build your database
- How to drive traffic to your page and your website
- How to build referral relationships
- How to use reviews to raise your rank in search engines
- How to encourage word of mouth advertising
- How Facebook has become a search engine
- How to get recommendations from others
- How to market your individual listings
- How to market groups of listings by price, feature, location, etc.
- How to use Pay Per Click Advertising on Facebook
- How to figure Return on Investment on your Facebook ads
FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGES
Facebook business pages are secondary digital calling cards, following your website. Through the use of cover images, contact information, the about section, photos, and updates, you can enhance brand awareness and encourage audience engagement. User engagement is what catapults your profile into high ranking status.
Search engines are beginning to reward local business, so having accurate contact information is important. Not only is contact information important to draw in leads, but search engines recognize the way your contact information is presented. When thinking of how your contact information is presented, keep the acronym NAP. NAP stands for your Name, Address, and Phone number. For example, if you list your address as 123 Success Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada, then it would be inappropriate to abbreviate elsewhere. 123 Success Ave, Las Vegas, NV, looks different to search engines. If you use parenthesis around your area code in your phone number, or hyphens in the middle, carry that over into any area where your phone number is listed - on your website, on your social networks, on your business cards.
Facebook Live takes video to the next level. Once upon a time, you could record a video, then upload that video to Facebook. Now, Facebook allows live broadcasting. Facebook Live promotes user engagement as well as giving you an opportunity to provide value to viewers.
Providing value to visitors should be your number one priority. If all you're doing is announcing open houses or promoting your listings, your live posts will begin to appear as advertising, causing viewers to lose trust in or ignore your posts.
Providing value to your viewers through Facebook Live isn't as difficult as you might assume. If you're going to market an open house or listing, that's okay - but you can add value to that livestream by adding things such as:
Top Ten Tips for
- Selling a house
- How to prepare for an appraisal
- How to handle multiple offers
- Buying a house
- How to apply for a home loan
- What to expect from the home-buying experience
- How to prepare for an open house
- How to stage your home
- Should you be home during showings
- Selling a house
- Neighborhood Tours
- Video of the schools in the area
- Video of parks in the area
- Video of community resources
- Automobile dash-cam for driving tours of the neighborhoods.
Another fabulous place to garner ideas for live videos are your clients! Whenever a client asks you a question, make that question and answer the subject of a Facebook Live broadcast.
As a bonus, when users like, comment, or share your video during or AFTER you broadcast, the engagement keeps your video in the feed longer where it's seen by a wider audience.
Additionally, you can access the embed code or download your Facebook Live video and upload that video to YouTube or use it in a blog post.
Furthermore, you can send that video by email to your entire buyer/seller audience in your database to build trust and provide value.
To create high-quality in-house Facebook Live videos to promote your real estate business, you don't need to spend a fortune on fancy equipment. A simple ring light, an iPhone, and a tripod can get you streaming live like a pro in no time.
Driving traffic to your Facebook page isn't as easy as it once was. Furthermore, the status updates or image posts are only seen by a teeny-tiny percentage of your over-all followers. Rarely does a Facebook user search for a real estate agent by name, unless that agent was recommended by another Facebook user. However, creating Facebook Groups is a way to encourage networking, create lists, gain referrals, and provide value.
You can create a Facebook group or groups around your niches or specialties. For example, if you're a real estate agent in Henderson, Nevada, you can create a group called something along the lines of "Happy Living in Henderson, Nevada" in which you can share valuable information via lists about things such as:
- Community events
- area schools
- Pet Groomers/Boarding
- Hair salons
- Golf Courses
You can also ask the group members for their input to those lists.
The concept is to laser-target a specific demographic area. The smaller, the better - if it still holds value. In addition to geographic location, you can offer specialty groups such as:
- Military Wives of Henderson
- Firefighters in Henderson
- Soccer Moms in Henderson
- Single Parents in Henderson
The people joining your Facebook group become your tribe. You're building trust, creating value, and it's highly likely those group members will either use your services or refer you as an expert in your industry when the time is right.
A word of caution: When naming your groups, beware of using trademarked verbiage. Using a trademarked title in your group's name could lead to having to add a related admin, renaming the group, or having to forfeit the group altogether.
The best advertising is word of mouth. When a client thinks so highly of your services that they review your page with 5 stars and a comment, you've hit the lottery.
Not only do you gain the benefit of clients sharing their happiness with others, but search engines also recognize the value of reviews.
User profiles also show which pages another user reviews, creating yet another way to drive traffic to your page.
Don't be afraid to ask. When you have a satisfied client, ask them outright if they'd be so kind as to visit (like, and follow!) your Facebook page and leave a review.
Facebook now has a feature wherein users can refer businesses to other users. For example, if a Facebook user asks their friends and followers for the best hairdresser, the responding users are able to add a link to a business page they recommend. This is HUGE. It's also another way to take full advantage of word of mouth advertising.
When a Facebook user asks their audience for the best real estate agent in the area, other users can share your page right there in the replies.
Not only does Facebook promote the use of referrals, but now functions as a search engine. When a user types "real estate agent" into the search bar, Facebook displays the real estate agents closest to the inquirer. This is another reason you should make sure your contact information stays updated on your page.
Facebook's newest gem is the ability to add products directly into your Facebook Business Page via the Shop feature.
Not long ago, Facebook introduced Marketplace, an area to promote commerce and retail sales through the social network. Now, they've taken that to another level by allowing business pages to create their own shop.
You can use Facebook Shop to market individual listings, or to direct viewers to a page in your website with multiple listings based on location, price, features, etc.
Whether you're promoting your page, a group, a product, or a service, Facebook Ads are yet another way to digitally market your real estate business via the social media giant.
You don't need a huge budget to begin tinkering with Facebook Ads. In fact, until you know how to figure your return on investment, it's best that you begin with a small budget while you learn.
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the most effective ways to draw traffic to your website through Facebook.
SUMMING IT UP
Facebook is clearly making it easier to market your real estate business online. Through the use of Business Pages, Groups, Live Video, Reviews, Referrals, Shops, and PPC advertising. Whether you're looking for low or no-cost ways to generate leads, or if you're prepared to invest in paid ads, Facebook is still a reliable resource to get more leads.
Check out The Ballen Method digital marketing curriculum for real estate agents!
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