Want a strong dose of reality? Are you sure? Because this is going to sting: In my opinion, the vast majority of agent Facebook pages are about as useful as a billboard in the desert. In fact, I’d bet that somebody, somewhere has scientifically proven my opinion as a fact.
I realize that’s harsh, but I see it daily with my own eyes. Most of them look like an abandoned wasteland of listings and inspiring quotes. So please pardon my directness, agents, but most of you are doing Facebook wrong. Completely wrong. That’s ok, though, because you and I are about to fix that.
And by “wrong”, I’m not implying that you’re lazy or incompetent or less than a stellar marketing expert. Rather, I mean that chances are good you could probably squeeze a little more juice from your efforts. As in — more fan engagement. More self-branding. And most importantly, more clients.
Let’s be clear, though — this “fix” won’t involve any super-ninja tricks or top-secret hacks. Instead, what I’d like to “fix” is your mindset and overall Facebook strategy. But first, I want to verify my hunch that you even need any “fixin’” in the first place. Does any of the following sound familiar?
- You have few Facebook fans. Under 250, say.
- The bulk of your fans are friends and family (or what I call “obligatory likes”)
- You have low reach statistics (i.e., they’re not seeing what you post). Facebook provides this information in your Page Insights.
- You’re tempted to scrap your page altogether because you get better engagement on your personal profile.
- You struggle with generating good content to post.
I could go on, but I’m willing to bet that at least some of this resonates with you. If so, you’ll appreciate this blueprint of how one REALTOR® has solved these problems. And not just simply “solved them”, mind you. She’s actually leveraging Facebook as her sole means for acquiring new clients. More on this in a moment.
Adjust Your Mindset
Before we dive in, let’s put Facebook marketing aside for a moment and talk about marketing in a broader scope. The reality — at least in my experience — is that buyers and sellers have become desensitized by hollow, boastful claims that an agent is “the #1 real estate expert in (insert town here).” Perhaps statistically you really are the top dog in your area, but that fact alone probably isn’t enough to seduce the masses into seeking you out.
Times have changed. We now live in a culture of massive ad-blindness and ADHD. People can’t possibly consume, digest and react to all the marketing messages that clog up their news feeds on a daily basis. To get noticed, you have to evaluate your value proposition in a different light and make adjustments to grab people’s attention in the noisy social environment we’re living in.
Determining What They Really Want
Statistically speaking, buyers and sellers need real estate assistance only once every seven years. We all know this. Therefore, much of your marketing falls upon deaf ears because it isn’t timely or relevant.
Obviously, every agent craves the ability to engage the maximum number eyeballs and ears at all times, so do this you must broaden your appeal to the general public within your area.
Broadening Your Appeal to the General Public
Below are the three things that bind us all as humans. They’re what we all crave. Connect with people on these levels, and you’ll probably bag more business than you can possibly handle:
- Entertainment – Lighten up, because people love to escape. To laugh. To be entertained. It’s human nature, right? We all love to socialize with others and take a mental time-outs from our lives. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that if a person is considered a hub for entertainment, he or she will command people’s attention?
- Utility – Be useful to people. People love to consume information that’s relevant to them (particularly on a local level). They like being “in the know”. Thus, it stands to reason that providing valuable content outside the scope of real estate is good way to endear more people to you.
- Compassion / Kindness – (to be discussed in detail at a later time)
Delivering the Value
If you follow my Facebook page, The Lighter Side of Real Estate, it should come as no surprise that I believe Facebook is the perfect vehicle for delivering the value described above. However, my Facebook page is hardly a model for you to follow because my audience is you, the real estate agent (as opposed to buyers and sellers like you’re after).
Here’s another model you shouldn’t follow — the “me me me” model or the “listings listings listings” model. Instead, by focusing on something that lies on the periphery of real estate (like your local community at large), you’ll enjoy infinitely more reach and success. You’ll enjoy more success because you’ll command more attention. And you’ll command more attention because you’ll have corralled people together in one place who all share a common interest.
Not to mention, you’ll have an evergreen supply of content to feed them, which I’ll explain below. And if you employ the right amount of tact, you can pepper that content with your own real estate information to establish yourself as the authority in the area.
A REALTOR® Who “Gets It”
I recently stumbled across a real estate Facebook page which caught my eye, and I would later learn it was administered by a REALTOR® in California. Realizing that Facebook marketing is a weak point for most agents, I messaged her in an attempt to pick her brain. She graciously agreed, and we later spoke by phone. Suffice to say that what she revealed blew my mind, and so here she is — under the spotlight — for you to emulate all that she’s doing right.
The Vital Stats
- Page: Huntington Beach Homes & Happenings
- Administrator/REALTOR®: Erin Martin | Her Agent Website
- Number of fans as of 2/5/14: 9,300 (on the dot)
- When she began: January, 2013
- When she “got serious”: March, 2013
- Initial investment in Facebook ads: $300
- Daily investment of time: Approx. 2 hours
- Attributable GCI from the page in 2013: $120,000
What Erin is Doing Right
Actually, from all appearances she’s doing everything right. Let’s see…
An insane amount of local eyeballs glued to a medium that she gets to control? Check. A popular (in some cases, addictive) source of entertainment and utility for her followers? Check. Perfect execution of leveraging herself as the local real estate authority? Double check.
And with $120,000 GCI last year from this page alone (emphasis, alone), I’d say this is a Facebook page you’d be wise to model. On a regular basis, Erin enjoys the luxury of fans messaging or calling her for help with their real estate needs. So let’s dive into some specifics of how she’s been able to enjoy so much success.
How Erin Accrued Her Fans
In the beginning, Erin chose a dollar figure spend on Facebook ads ($300 in her case), and she rolled the proverbial dice, not really knowing what to expect. Obviously, she gained some fans, but the key for her was hooking them with valuable content. It wasn’t long before she began seeing fans roll in organically. To date, she estimates her total ad spend at around $2,000.
If you’re unfamiliar with how Facebook ads work, don’t worry because she didn’t know either. In fact, she still doesn’t consider herself anywhere near “expert status” on that matter. The ad interface if fairly intuitive and easy to navigate. (NOTE: If you’d like to really dig into the subject of Facebook ads, my personal “go-to” authority on this topic is Jon Loomer).
What Type of Content Erin Posts
Naturally, being a community page, all of her content is centered around Huntington Beach. The content varies widely, and here are just a few broad categories:
- Traffic reports
- Local event reminders
- Public safety information
- Local business spotlights
- Missing pet alerts
This is just a handful of topics, and it isn’t all inclusive. I would recommend visiting her page and seeing for yourself.
How Erin Manages Content
These days, Erin is lucky to have an engaged audience who actually posts content to her page. In many cases, all she has to do is click “repost”. This way, the pains of creating or curating content don’t fall entirely on her shoulders.
In the beginning, she started out by “liking” several other local pages, and she simply reposted their content. These days, she spends roughly two hours per day managing the page (that’s cumulatively — like everyone else, she frequently pops in and out).
How Often Erin Posts
Lots! Over a dozen on some days — just depends. So disregard any “expert” who’s told you a certain magical number (especially if that number is only once or twice per day). The reality is that with Facebook’s recent algorithm chances, fewer people are seeing posts made by pages, so the more attempts you make, the better. The bottom line is that if your posts are relevant to your audience’s interests, feel free to post away!
How Erin Infuses Real Estate Into the Page
As you might expect, the vast majority of her fans don’t fall into the “ready to buy or sell now” category. And that’s ok. The name of the game for her is to stay “top of mind”, which is easy for her to do when several thousand locals are visiting her page daily.
Her advice is simply to be sensible with posting about yourself or your listings. With as much total content as Erin posts, she can post real estate related content multiple times weekly without the risk of being too overbearing on her fans.
You’ll definitely want to complete the “about” section with all of your real estate contact information. Although you want to avoid beating people over the head with a real estate stick, don’t be bashful about declaring yourself ready and able to help if they need it. Balance is the key. Again, I would simply visit her page and poke around a bit.
Facebook can be an absolute goldmine for networking and client acquisition, but only if you play your cards right. Ditch your instinct to use the medium as a distribution platform for yourself and your listings, and focus on giving the community what it really wants. If you control the eyes and ears of the community, you can easily position yourself as the real estate authority in your area and reap the rewards as Erin Martin has.