Before Facebook, we had Craigslist. Posting our ads in the real estate section and waiting for the responses to roll in was the game. For me at least, this was a cornerstone of my business in New York City at the time.
Nearly none of the skills we learned during that time translate to social media sales in today’s world. Since the Marketplace section was added to Facebook, it has helped some of us continue without adapting, but is that progress? I don’t think so.
Social media is not about sales at all, and that’s where most real estate agents miss the mark. They are trying to close a deal on their timeline. It doesn’t work that way.
Here are four key elements that raise your effectiveness on Facebook.
Facebook has always been about engagement. Recently, the powers that be raised the stakes on engagement by shifting the algorithms — again. For some, this is a big problem. For others, it is business as usual.
Facebook is designed for interaction not voyeurism. Real estate agents have a tendency of inviting people to their party and expecting everyone to show up.
When an invite to someone else’s party hits our inbox, we decline the invitation. Be it open houses, classes or comments, if you never go to anyone else’s party, don’t expect them to come to yours.
Engagement is a primary element to relationship building and, ultimately, sales on Facebook.
Putting the link to your “new” and “great” listing as you tell your clients that you are “marketing” their home is an outdated practice, and it’s not even marketing at all. It adds no value, and value is a key element in effective marketing.
However, using your listing to showcase things that buyers need to be aware of adds great value.
Using the pictures of the new roof on a house you just listed to illustrate the importance of how an old roof can negatively impact a real estate deal adds value.
Market the how and the why — they will see the what.
Think variety, it keeps your Facebook followers interested. If every post we see on your timeline is asking a potential buyer to “check it out,” it’s a slow decline of effectiveness because these posts are repetitive and simply don’t add value.
Mix up your content, and focus on what the person reading the post will need or want. If you don’t know what they need or want, ask them.
If you are going to engage in someone’s comment, read the post carefully. Pay attention to what they are saying, and try to determine what they are looking for. Likewise, pay attention to what others are saying about the post.
Let’s say someone posts, “My agent is a jerk.” This may seem like chum in the water for us real estate sharks, but it could be a big misstep if you aren’t paying attention.
The first comment on that post may be from the agent who just sold their house adding to the sarcasm by saying, “I’m sorry I got you $10,000 more than list price. Congrats!”
Now, your “Call me, I’m the best” comment three lines down seems pretty silly.
The world of Facebook moves fast. Things are updated at a lightning pace. You have to pay attention to what is going on, how old the post is, who has replied and the context surrounding it.
Forget about your business page
We have entered the world of Facebook being great for networking. I use it, as I’m sure you do, to meet other agents, learn about other markets and keep tabs on our industry. These are all appropriate.
What is not appropriate is the friend request that once accepted is immediately followed by the invitation to “like” that person’s real estate business page.
In fact, these business pages are, mostly, just other places that the agents put links to their listings. They add zero value to anyone except the agent.
If you treat your business page like your own page and add immense value, you can bridge the gap and build your audience.
Share a post from your business page to a conversation about a certain topic where you add value. This brings awareness of your page and contributes to the purpose of the engagement.
If all you are looking for is a large volume of people to see your listings and like your business page, I hate to tell you, but nobody cares.
As we continue to use technology to help our industry, we have to stay on top of our own evolution. We will never be perfect. We will always have to sell. Those are truths in real estate.
How we do business on Facebook is one of our biggest opportunities. We have to start adding more value to improve our public perception.
In a world that is skewing toward AI, automated transactions and the do-it-yourself mentality, we have to realize one constant in the human condition: no body likes to be sold to.