When you crunch the numbers, your existing and potential clients spend literal years of their lives on Facebook. It’s an effective way to keep in touch with friends and family, follow the news and engage with the local community. It’s also an effective way to search for homes for sale.
Research suggests that 94 percent of millennials and 84 percent of baby boomers are using online platforms, including social media, to find their future homes.
Facebook is one of the best avenues for reaching a market of real estate clients, but with the platform’s recent algorithm shift, many real estate agents are feeling lost as to how they can best utilize Facebook to reach their clients.
While many companies are lamenting the algorithm change as bad for business, real estate agents can actually embrace this change to connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways.
By leveraging best practices for marketing your real estate in the current Facebook landscape, you can add value to your clients’ buying experience, resulting in client success and satisfaction.
Use the following principles for navigating the new algorithm update, to help you create a win-win situation for both yourself and your clients on Facebook.
Stay up-to-date with Facebook’s shifting algorithms
Using Facebook to engage with your clients is tricky to master, largely because the social network is constantly changing. Ultimately, this is a good thing. As the needs of the general population shift, Facebook is nimble in adapting to those needs. That means real estate professionals need to adapt, too.
Facebook’s most recent algorithm shift means that users will see more content from their friends, family and groups — and fewer sponsored posts, advertisements and posts from pages.
At first glance it may look like this will push agents out of the Facebook space; but with the right approach, these shifts may actually help real estate professionals. Those who are willing to put the time into using social media to drive business can put the new algorithm to good use.
Here are some best practices for leveraging Facebook’s recent algorithm shift as a real estate professional.
1. Post high-quality content that adds value
Posting isn’t just about frequency; the quality of your posts can truly set you apart from other real estate agents on social media. Creating effective, engaging posts is the first step in ensuring your real estate business is making the best use of Facebook.
Avoid being the agent who only posts about selling or promoting your properties — there’s no added value to your target market in this approach. Your social media posts should be interesting, varied, informative and designed to engage with the larger community to have a real impact.
How can you make more interesting and personable posts? Here are just a few ideas:
Shine the spotlight on somebody
Consider introducing yourself or some of your team members. Ask for permission to post about a client who recently purchased one of your properties; congratulate them on finding their new home.
Another way to engage with your community is to thank someone you work with, such as a painting company or plumber. Give them a shout out — it’s not only appreciated by the company you acknowledge, but shows your audience that you’re appreciative and considerate of those you work with.
Celebrate local businesses
Take it a step further by posting about other local businesses in the areas where your properties are located, including restaurants to hair salons.
This has a double positive effect: you can forge relationships with neighboring businesses that may offer you referrals in the future, and you provide your Facebook audience with useful tips and information about the area where they may soon (or already do) reside.
Inform, and educate your clients
Informative posts can include content such as blog posts, infographics or e-books that offer advice or financial information — these can be original pieces of content written by you or content from other sources that you’ve found personally helpful.
Your clients will appreciate the personalized, helpful nature of these posts. Whatever kind of post you craft, remember to tag any people and businesses involved, and tag the location to maximize the reach of the post.
2. Leverage photos and videos
Many of the best-performing Facebook posts include photos or video. They’re eye-catching and engaging. When it comes to photos, you should, of course, share high-quality images that showcase the spaces you’re selling. Even better, consider sharing photos in a series to offer short virtual tours of the properties.
Don’t stop there — you can post photos of everything including neighborhood events, a local coffee shop and even your team members’ or clients’ pets. In fact, including fun photos of pets from time to time is a proven way to attract social media followers.
Video is an increasingly popular tool for showcasing properties. Take your clients on a virtual tour of a property that allows them to imagine themselves making a home in the space.
Use video to attract your audience’s attention, and then deliver an enjoyable story that makes them want to see more. Aim for short and sweet — research shows that one-third of viewers will only watch a video for 30 seconds.
3. Optimize your official page
Many of the posts you make will be shared on your business or property’s official page — the hub of your social media presence. Although the Facebook algorithm update means that people won’t see as much from your professional page in their feed, it’s important that they’re still able to find information about you when they need it.
When it comes to your official page, either for your real estate business or a specific property, make sure your information is detailed and up-to-date. Include accurate, current hours of operation, contact and location information.
Your page is where you’ll manage most of your client inquiries, and it’s important to be active in communicating with clients here. In Q1 of 2017, Sprout Social found that only 11 percent of real estate businesses answer incoming messages, so there’s an easy opportunity for you to shine above your competitors in this department if you stay on top of your messages.
If you have an individualized professional page, don’t be afraid to reach out to clients through Facebook after in-person interactions to follow up, share useful information or simply thank them for their business.
4. Join, and participate in Facebook groups
The use of Facebook groups is one area where real estate professionals can be especially successful. Groups offer Facebook users the chance to opt-in to receiving information. When people opt-in, they are more likely to react positively to information you share, rather than feeling like it’s intrusive.
Your first step should be to join groups in the local area, using your individual page (not your business page). This gives you immediate, targeted access to potential clients.
Next, take the time to think about what appeals to each of these groups. What you can offer them through your business and skill set? Write high-quality blog posts on your website that would appeal to these markets, and share the posts in your relevant Facebook groups.
For example, if you join a group about local food, consider writing a blog post about new restaurants in the area on your blog and sharing it with the group. This can offer useful information to readers, drive traffic to your website and spur interest in and recognition of your business.
Success relies on understanding your clients
If you’re wondering whether a new post, photo or piece of content will engage your clients, first ask yourself what you, your family or friends would want to see. If you can’t identify how your post will add positive value to your clients’ lives, scrap it, and move forward with a new idea.
As a real estate professional, you already run primarily on interpersonal relationships and social interactions — this is your specialty. Using Facebook to boost your professional success simply involves adapting your existing skills and approaches to a digital platform.
When used right, platforms like Facebook offer unprecedented possibility for attracting new buyers, drawing attention to available properties and ultimately helping your clients find their perfect home.