If you’re a celebrity real estate agent, this article is NOT for you. If you have a team of agents and you sell hundreds of homes a year, this article is NOT for you. If you have a big social media marketing budget and 20 hours per week to dedicate or delegate to social media marketing, this article is NOT for you. You can move along, nothing to see here. Now, for the rest of us — keep reading.
Reading that headline probably made you do one of two things: You either let out a sigh of relief or your blood pressure jumped up a notch. If you’re a social media expert, you probably just punched your screen! Or maybe you’re just curious about Facebook marketing and this piqued your interest.
Facebook.com screen shot
First things first, be sure you understand the distinction between business pages and personal pages. I’m not telling you to leave Facebook. I’m telling 95 percent of you to close your business page or don’t start one in the future. I’ll spare you my opinions about some of the social media experts and their complete lack of understanding when it comes to the daily business life of being a Realtor. They have absolutely no clue. Their advice is awesome for about 2 percent of agents, and for the rest of us it makes zero sense. I guess I forgot to spare you the opinions. Let’s just get down to it.
1. Getting “likes” or fans on business pages
Give me one reason someone would want to “like” your Realtor page? Here’s one: It’s your mom! Here’s another: They know you, like you and trust you. In both cases wouldn’t you just want to have them as a normal friend on your personal page? The reality is, getting page likes is a brutal challenge and it’s the first in a long line of challenges. Until you have page likes, the other brutal challenges below don’t even matter.
It’s difficult to articulate this point but those of you who have business pages are nodding your head right now. You know how difficult this is. Ask yourself this: Do you have time to build a fan base? Do you know what you’ll do with that fan base once you have it? Are you ready to face the challenges listed below.
2. Organic reach
Facebook has drastically changed the way it displays status updates or “posts” from business pages. This means when a business or brand posts, only 1-2 percent of the fan base will see the post. That means if you have a fan base of 200, which would be pretty darn good for a Realtor page based on my research, a whopping two to four people will see that update. Facebook decided recently there wasn’t enough space in the news feed for the business pages. They want you to pay to be seen and who could blame ’em, they are a for-profit business.
3. Sponsoring posts and bogus likes
Great news: You can get that post in front of your fans, you just have to shell out some cash. Now I will admit, Facebook advertising has a good return on investment, in my opinion. For a few bucks you can get that post in front of all your fans. They may not click, like or comment, but they will see it.
This achieves a very important top-of-mind function. This is great if you have a few thousand fans, as it’s a numbers game for bigger brands with bigger fan bases. But for the average agent you’re gonna need to spend a few bucks on every post every day. I know agents, and the fact is most of you aren’t willing to do this. There are a few tricky caveats to sponsoring a post. There is some confusion, but in my research you need to have at least 100 fans for the “boost post” feature to even be available. Also, the advertising module on Facebook has an array of options. The most basic will promote your post to your fans and their friends.
So if you’re OK with shamelessly promoting yourself to the friends of your fans, then cool. If not, you can go the highly sophisticated route of using Facebook’s ad module, which is a little like taking apart your cellphone and putting it back together. VERY COMPLICATED.
Here is a quote from a recent Inman News article about social media marketing for Realtors: “Run a highly targeted ad, using Facebook’s Power Editor, focused on website conversions. The ad should have a strong call to action and drops the lead right into a sign-up form on your website.”
HA! Yeah, OK, I’m also going to hop in my time machine with Emmett “Doc” Brown and race back to 1955 where I’ll invent Facebook and skip being a Realtor altogether!
When you do run ads, be prepared to get lots of bogus post likes and new fans who do not live in your market and may not even be real people. By the way, you’ll be paying for both those likes and the new fans.
As agents, you could argue your most valuable commodity is time. If social media is a part of your marketing plan, you’ve got a decision to make: Will you focus your time being a great Facebook friend to your hundreds, maybe thousands of friends on your personal page? Or will you invest that time on a business page? Remember, saying yes to one thing usually means saying no to another. You could work on staying top of mind with all those people you already know, or you could bang your head against the wall with a business page.
In this digital world we are often judged and interviewed without ever knowing it. Prospective clients and friends have the opportunity to form a perception of you based exclusively from what they see online. What will their perception of your Facebook business page be? Will they see 23 fans, maybe a post from six months ago, and a blank “About Me” section? This is just one more reason I steer 95 percent of agents away from using business pages. They simply don’t have the resources to do it properly.
Something is nagging you. As you read this, you just can’t get comfortable with the idea of promoting yourself on Facebook. You’re terrified you’ll be seen as the cheesy car salesman. This is easy — don’t be that person. Whether you’re cheesy on your personal page or your business page, do you think people really make any distinction? The No. 1 best way to avoid being the cheesy person is simple: Before you post anything, ask yourself, “Would I share this information in real life talking to someone at a barbecue or a wedding?” Would you walk up to someone and say, “Hey, Steve, I just listed 3234 West Walker Street today?” Probably not.
On the other hand, would you say, “Have you seen that hilarious video of the monkey pulling the news lady’s hair?” Totally. I’d say that to lighten the mood and whip out my phone for a laugh. Would you show someone pictures of your family? I would. Would you tell them that you love your career as a Realtor? Absolutely! Your career is part of your life — it’s OK to share both and in doing so people will remember you, relate to you and think of you as a real estate agent!
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