According to recent research nearly 80% of real estate agents are using Facebook to market their practice and properties.
“Social media has definitely become the wave of the future for real estate advertising,” says Mr Singh, a realtor in DLF Phase 2, Gurgaon. “I use Facebook to promote my listings, to market open houses and to notify other agents and the public about price drops and additional incentives. In this economy, I think many agents have embraced the social media world to promote their brand and their listings because its easy and efficient.”
In addition to offering cost-effective methods of promoting properties, Facebook also offers a range of new opportunities to grow and cultivate a robust community of prospective buyers and sellers.
Here are five best practices for using Facebook in real estate marketing.
1. Use Facebook To Connect with Potential Clients
Social media makes it much easier to make a fast, personal connection with people you meet.
“I used to hand out cards or had to ask for a phone number or email address — now I try to remember people’s names so I can find them on Facebook or LinkedIn and connect that way,” says Mr Arora, another gurgaon based property dealer and Head, New Projects and Corporate affairs at a leading real-estate company. “It’s a softer way to connect — instead of sending them an email from my business address, I can connect on a personal level on Facebook and then invite them to my business page.”
On that note, you may want to consider developing a separate business page on Facebook that allows you to target your content and your audience more effectively. To get started building your fan base, Social Media Bandwagon recommends uploading your email database to Facebook once a quarter and inviting everyone to become a fan, and then inviting new friends and contacts as you meet them.
That being said, many agents still opt to use their personal Facebook account for posts rather than setting up a business page.
Mr Arora originally set up a business page on Facebook, but then decided to just focus on building his personal network. “I realized that I just didn’t have time to manage posting in two places, and using my personal network was working just fine,” says Arora. According to him, about 75% of his personal network postings are business-related and include relevant articles, links to blogs posts as well as photos and ads for his listings.
2. Maintain a Consistent Flow of Communication
It used to be that a monthly newsletter was enough to keep your network updated on your business, but with the advent of social media, you now have the opportunity to stay top-of-mind on an ongoing basis.
Singh’s company posts two times a week to his connections — once with a listing, and once with a relevant article or piece of data — and uses an RSS feed to automatically share four to five of his blog posts a week with fans of his business. He also keeps the picture banner on his business page updated with recent properties he’s sold, changing these out every few months to keep it fresh.
“You always know that I’m doing business,” says Singh.
Even if you’re just getting started using Facebook, make sure you’re at least mixing in some real estate-related posts with your personal feed — because your extended network is often your best source of new business. DGM – Marketing and commercial real estate adviser at India Bulls, says that “while you don’t want to bombard your friends on Facebook with your work, the worst thing would be if a friend didn’t know what you do and used someone else, only because they didn’t know you were in real estate.”
Singh agrees “It used to be that real estate agents wore a badge everywhere they went, so people knew they were agents. I teach my agents that they need to wear their real estate badge online,” says Singh.
3. Integrate Facebook Into Your Existing Marketing
In addition to giving people the ability to follow you on Facebook from your website, think about other ways that you can integrate Facebook into your marketing. For example, if you’re blogging, set it up to automatically post each new article on Facebook.
You can also integrate Facebook with your email marketing. For example, you can use Constant Contact’s Facebook app to make monthly newsletter available to friends and fans on Facebook.
“Newsletters can easily get stuck in spam filters, and with all the email people get, not everyone opens the newsletter each month,” says Arora. “This way, I know that my entire Facebook network is also getting my newsletter content.”
When marketing a particular property across multiple channels, Social Media Bangwagon suggests using different lead pictures for each. For example, the listing might show the front of the house, your email might show the kitchen, the Facebook post might show the view and the Facebook Ad might show the garden.
“If the person wasn’t attracted to one element of the home, they might be attracted to something else,”.
4. Consider Using Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads have also become a popular way for agents to market both themselves as well as new properties. To get the most value, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
When designing your ad, Social Media Bandwagon recommends that you write clear, targeted ads with concise text that speaks directly to the audience you will reach.
Secondly, be smart about the image you use in the ad. “People want to see properties, not your smiling face,”. “They’ll also click on graphs if the information is focused, relevant and not available elsewhere.” One of our clients recently conducted a study of the impact of parking spaces on home prices in Gurgaon and used a graph of the data in a successful Facebook Ad campaign.
Finally, consider how you target. I recommend setting up the ads to target your fans’ friends — because the people within your sphere of influence are more likely to become clients and be in your target demographic.
5. Create and Maintain a Professional Image
Be careful what you post to Facebook — pictures of you drinking a cocktail or posts about a wicked hangover aren’t likely to inspire trust.
“Everybody on Facebook is a potential client,”. “It’s critical that you pay close attention to the image you’re creating with your posts and pictures.” In addition to being thoughtful about your posts, I also suggest using Facebook’s privacy settings to specify what content different sets of friends are able to see.
Finally, i also recommend keeping posts positive and informative. The last thing clients want to see is how tough the real estate market is, “Use your presence to educate and inspire instead.”
Are you a real estate agent on Facebook? What are your tips? Let us know in the comments below.