In this monthly advice column, Marketing Mastermind Christy Murdock Edgar answers three burning questions from the real estate industry at large. This month’s topic: Facebook and Instagram marketing.
One of the most frustrating things about marketing is that it often feels like you are spending time and money on new initiatives without really knowing how effective they are and how they land with potential clients.
Is your marketing presenting the image you want? Is it too much or not enough? How do you know? All of our questions this month are ultimately about analytics and evaluating your marketing efforts.
Questions of the day
Question 1, from Inman friend Claudine L. Ellis, Chesapeake, Virginia:
How far can you push the envelope in real estate without putting people off? Marketing has to set you apart, and sometimes the extreme gets more attention. Have you seen the billboard “Work with this Realtor and have a happy ending”?
There are as many types of real estate agents (and clients) as there are people, and while some initiatives may seem over-the-top, there are always some clients who will respond favorably to a sales pitch that would be too risqué for most.
Here are some things to consider when judging your content:
- Market: A small town or rural market will probably be less inclined to reward edgier content, as would markets in the Midwest and South. Larger metropolitan areas and those on the coasts may be more easygoing.
- Demographics: Older or more conservative groups will probably be more easily offended than younger clients. If, for example, you are marketing to 20-something first-time homebuyers, you might be able to get away with humor that 50-year-old luxury homebuyers would frown on.
- Image: How do you present yourself in your marketing? If most of your marketing is driven by your big personality and sense of humor, you may be able to get away with saying things that would be out of place coming from a more buttoned-up agent.
The other big thing to consider is whether the humor could be construed as racist or sexist. Not only can the backlash be career-ending, it could create questions about discriminatory and anti-fair housing practices within the brokerage.
Ultimately, you are the best judge of what your market will bear, but it’s best to exercise more caution rather than less.
Question 2, from Karen Clark Carey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
When marketing for real estate, how do you find the balance between reminding people about what you do and providing engagement content consistently?
There are a number of ways to think through this question. One way to create balance is by separating your personal and professional social media profiles. That way you can consistently post professional content on your business profiles while selectively sharing on your personal profile.
If, instead, you choose to keep all of your content under one profile, you’ll probably sacrifice balance to some degree. However, if the content you’re providing is meaningful, entertaining and value-added, your audience will likely enjoy and appreciate it.
Above all, if you choose to mix your personal and professional lives, you’ll get better results when you enlist your friends and followers as cheerleaders rather than unwilling subjects for your sales pitch.
Share your expertise and successes with them, and thank them for their support (and referrals). By bringing them in and making them part of your informal team, they’ll be less likely to see your professional content as an intrusion. Instead, they’ll see it as part of your life.
Question 3, from Jennifer Murtland, Cincinnati, Ohio
The big question is how do you know it’s working? How many likes on your Facebook page do you really need to sell the amount of houses you want? How many videos per week do you really need to do? How many likes, comments, etc., do you need to do? Is social media communication the most efficient and effective way to generate leads?
This is a big question with a lot of layers, so here goes:
The two things to consider here are engagement and analytics. You can do as many videos as you want, but if no one is engaging with them, they won’t convert. In addition, you can get lots of likes because of the quality of your content, but if it’s just pretty without being informative, it won’t get you the results you’re looking for.
When you post content, try to create an opportunity for your fans and followers to talk to you, ask questions or answer questions you’ve posed. When they comment, acknowledge and respond — and try to keep the conversation going by linking to other content or asking follow-up questions.
Next, make sure that all of that engagement doesn’t just live on your social media feeds.
Posts should take them to a robust and well-designed blog, video channel or podcast where they can find more content and engage more deeply. These should link to or be housed on a beautiful website with content designed for conversion and communication.
Instead of thinking of a number of likes or comments, think in terms of a ratio of conversions to comments.
Finally, analyze your engagement and conversion rates — click-throughs, page views and other indicators — and revisit them often.
- What content gets the most interest?
- What font or filter gets the most likes on Insta?
- Is there a difference in growth when you post once a day versus twice?
Focus on a different element each week, and track them, then track month by month as well to see what the trends are over time. Continue to refine and revisit these numbers again and again to optimize the effects of your marketing.
As to your last question, while it’s arguable that social media is the most efficient and effective way to lead generation, it’s certainly the cheapest in terms of both dollars and time expenditure.
Although it takes time to build and maintain a robust and high-converting social media and content marketing plan, you can do it at very little cost. Amp it up with media appearances, cross-promotions and guest blogging or hosting to grow and maximize your impact.
Have a question you’d like answered or a topic you’d like covered? Send your marketing, branding, blogging and social media queries to our Marketing Mastermind at Christy@writingrealestate.com, and she’ll bring you great advice, helpful hints and expert insights.