Were you, like most agents, shocked and scared when you heard that Facebook promises to minimize the reach of business pages and reward organic, one-to-one engagement?
If so, you’re not alone. But as Eric Sachs, with Breakthrough Broker recently discussed in a webinar we sponsored, you don’t have to lie awake at night wondering if your business will tank as the result of one silly algorithm shift.
Here are seven unique ways you can beat Facebook at its own game and continue to win business via the biggest online network in the world.
1. Focus on comments, shares and reactions
As social media guru Katie Lance says, “Social media is not a one-way street. You have to give to get!”
Rather than focusing on how you can get more comments and shares, try first to offer them to the people you engage with online. If something makes you laugh out loud, think, smile or fist pump, be sure to tell the person who originally posted it. The more you chat with your friends, family and sphere of influence online, the more likely they are to remember you when it's time to buy or sell a house.
2. Use storytelling in your posts
When you meet people in person, you hope to keep them engaged and interactive for as long as possible. The same thing goes with online engagement — you aren’t hoping for a cursory like and for them to move on.
To get more meaningful engagement, your posts need to be more meaningful. Start by focusing on telling stories that will delight, inform or entertain. And remember, you’re aiming for comments and real-life engagement, not a cursory like or two.
Rather than posting a simple photo of your buyers or sellers at closing, post the whole story of how the closing went down. Tag the inspector who came through with a last-minute assist, the title agent who was able to fix a minor issue to ensure the close could happen on time, the agent on the other side who helped you to keep all parties calm even as the deal seemed less than solid.
Not only is a story more compelling, it also gives you the ability to tag other vendors who will surely come through with a “thank you” in your comments. It can also be a great way to ask your sphere if they have a story about something similar occurring. Give everyone a chance to relate to you and you’ll stop hearing crickets on your posts.
3. Start a local group
Facebook also mentioned they will be putting a larger emphasis on their group feature. This makes sense because groups are often viewed as a “safe space” where people can share ideas, ask questions and get to know one another without bombarding their entire network.
Now that you know Facebook will boost group posts, what type of group could you create? You can consider a group for your local market area, but it may be difficult to “beat out” an existing group that has the exact same intention (and hundreds of active members who are already a part of it).
If there’s already a large, active group for your area, don't be afraid to get more granular.
Perhaps you can start a group about the best places to meet fellow dog owners for that Saturday hike you love so much, or the best resources for local parents. Just remember that you don’t want to start a group for a topic you’re not naturally interested in. The more likely you are to enjoy posting and engaging in the group, the more likely you are to spend time there and develop relationships over time.
4. Don't be afraid to use Facebook live
Large tech companies love to reward their own technology features, and Facebook is no different. Just as you were rewarded for using Google Plus in 2011, you'll now be greatly benefit from using Facebook Live to post updates.
We know that not every agent will find this to be a tempting option, but there are ways to make live streaming more natural and less like you're trying to become the next local news anchor. Here are some easy “Dos” and “Don’ts” you can follow as you live stream for the first time.
And remember, your audience isn’t as averse to this technology as you are — they expect it!
“It’s not about ego or fame, it’s simply about connecting in the most human way possible — showing your face through the camera on your smartphone. Luckily, as real estate professionals, we have an advantage of being able to share our personal brand stories as a relatable human being, not an anonymous logo. 2018 is more about the agent than the house; start marketing that way.” -- Chelsea Peitz, Author, Speaker, Social Media Coach
5. Ask questions to build engagement
Storytelling is a great way to get engagement, but you may not always have time to write out a long, plot-driven post. On days like this, consider asking simple questions that anyone in your network can answer.
On Super Bowl Sunday, ask what everyone's favorite appetizer is to share. During the Olympics, ask what events people still dream they had mastered. When the snow melts in your northeastern town, ask where everyone plans to congregate that day to celebrate — and mention that you’re out delivering treats to those who respond and are within ten miles of you.
There are infinite ways to engage people online, and millions of questions you can ask to get them to respond. Again, the point isn't to win business by asking an unrelated question — it’s to prove to Facebook that you are a local influencer and they should show your posts to more people in your network in the future.
7. Spend money to boost posts and get more exposure
Facebook Live isn't the only product feature the company wants you to use. Facebook's profits are dependent on the use of ads, and as they prioritize real-life engagement, they’ll also have to double down on pay-for-play ads in order to keep growing their earnings.
While organic reach is the key to building a consistent, engaged audience on Facebook, ads are still the best way to grow your audience and reach new local prospects.
Need automated Facebook ads that match your brand and market area?
Wish you could spend your time on the fun stuff, like storytelling and live streaming, instead designing, budgeting, deploying and measuring the success of Facebook ads?
Let us help you do just that. Reach out now to learn more about SmartTargeting’s automated marketing platform, which targets your top prospects or sphere via online and Facebook ads.