Facebook is one of the most widely used social networks in the world. Recently reported to have over 300 million active users, Facebook is quickly becoming THE social destination for online users. With so many existing active users, and new users signing on each day, the amount of opportunity for acquiring new clients, friends and business contacts continues to make Facebook an essential component of an effective online marketing strategy.
With just about every real estate transaction starting with some type of online search, real estate professionals, home buyers, sellers and investors all rely very heavily on the Internet when it comes to completing a real estate transaction. Now, with the advent of social networking, it is more important than ever that real estate professionals get involved with the most beneficial social communities. Facebook is one of those communities and we are going to let you in on some effective tips to use Facebook to market your real estate business.
Real Estate Marketing with Facebook
Sending virtual pokes, throwing virtual sheep and battling virtual zombies aside, Facebook is an amazing platform for marketing any business, especially real estate. With over 300 million active users, real estate agents and brokers are sure to be able to find new clients through the vast network of home buyers, sellers and investors that use Facebook.
Before you can effectively use Facebook to market your real estate business, it is important to embrace the network for what it is and use its features and reach to your benefit. To help you get to this point, we feel the need to debunk some myths about the platform so you can sidestep any distractions that may be keeping you from using Facebook effectively.
Facebook Myths for Real Estate Marketers
MYTH: Facebook is only for high school and college kids.
FACT: The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is that of those who are 35 years old and older.
TIP: It is important to remember as well that everyone knows someone, who may know someone, who is interested in buying, selling or investing in real estate. The more authority, respect and credibility you are able to amass on Facebook (and other networks) the more likely someone else is to find you and refer someone they know to you.
MYTH: Prospects and clients can see personal / private information (photos, posts, etc) and may be turned off by what they see.
FACT: This is in part true, but only if you allow them to. One of the best things about Facebook is that you CAN control who sees what and when. Facebook allows its users to select very specific privacy settings to control which people can and cannot see certain content you provide.
TIP: The easiest way to control who sees what is to start a Facebook Fan page (in addition to your Facebook Profile). Once you have a Fan page you can keep all of your business related contacts here and still allow all of your friends and family to see your personal information on your Facebook Profile.
MYTH: You have to have thousands of friends for Facebook to be beneficial for marketing.
FACT: While having a large network of friends and fans can most certainly be beneficial it is not required for Facebook to be useful for you. If the demographics of your limited friends and fans make up the exact target demographics you are looking for, or if they are key influencers in their online and offline communities, then fewer of these will be far more valuable than thousands of people you barely know.
TIP: To attract the right type of friends and fans to your Facebook Profile and Fan page(s) you MUST publish interesting, relevant and useful content. The main reason is because you have to get people to engage with your content and if it is not interesting, then you can be sure people will not be interacting with you or sticking around long to see more.
Other Reasons Why Realtors Should Market on Facebook
- Social networking on Facebook is FREE
- Interacting with others on Facebook can be fun (and addicting)
- There are over 300 million active users
- Over 6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day
- More than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day
- An effective Facebook marketing campaign can take less than 5 minutes a day
Top Facebook Tips for Real Estate Professionals
Assuming that you have already setup at least a profile for yourself on Facebook, we are going to jump right in to some of the most essential and effective uses of Facebook to market your real estate business online.
If you are not one of the 300 million people already on Facebook and need help getting started, then feel free to check out these great video resources and get involved with Facebook today. You can also leave us a comment below or send us an email to [email protected] if you need more help getting going.
For the purpose of this blog post, we are using a Boca Raton Luxury Real Estate specialist that has truly embraced social media, specifically Facebook, to help his business continue to grow. Keep up the great work Philip!
Setup a Facebook Fan Page
Although we encourage transparency as much as possible, we understand that some people / companies prefer to keep their personal and work lives separate. Fortunately, Facebook understands this as well by allowing for Facebook users to create Fan Pages for themselves and their businesses.
The main difference between a Fan Page and a Profile Page is that a Fan Page collects fans while a Profile Page collects friends. The functionality and features of both are very similar, but if you are looking to compartmentalize your business world from your personal world, then a Fan Page is the way to go.
Get a User Name
Facebook allows users to get more SEO friendly user names for their Facebook profiles and fan pages. Signing up for a user name makes the URL of your page or profile (1) more SEO friendly and (2) easier to remember for other users.
The catch with user names is that if you have a fan page, you cannot get a user name unless you have at least 100 fans. So, get some great content on your fan page, let your friends know about it and then sign up for your own SEO friendly user name.
Connect Your Twitter Account
Ever since Facebook opened up its doors to the development of applications from third parties, we have seen some fantastic features come out of Facebook. One in particular that we personally love is an application that connects Twitter to Facebook.
If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, then click here to setup your Twitter account. If you already have a Twitter account, then we highly recommend that you check out one of the following applications that allows your Twitter updates to be posted on your Facebook profile and fan pages and vice versa:
Update all of your social media accounts from one place!
Selective Twitter Status
Update your Facebook profile and/or page(s) with this simple application where you simply add #fb to the end of any Twitter status you want posted to Facebook.
* You must setup the application first for this to work
Connect Your Blog
One of the most important things you can do to get the most out of Facebook is to consistently post great content on your Profile and/or Fan Page(s). Without providing interesting, unique and useful content people will not be enticed to want to follow you or become a fan of your page. Worse yet, people will not be encouraged to interact and converse with you, which is ultimately the whole point of social media in the first place.
Posting a lot of different content in a lot of different places can most definitely be time consuming and tedious. Fortunately, there is a fantastic thing called RSS (real simple syndication) which allows content to be syndicated to other places on the web.
With Facebook, there are multiple applications that will allow you to pull in your blog posts from your real estate blog right onto your Facebook Profile and/or Fan Page(s). Here are a couple of our favorite RSS Readers to pull in your blog content to your profile and/or page(s):
If you do not have a real estate blog yet, then make sure to check out our blogging tips to setup and optimize your real estate blog.
Use Facebook Ads
Gaining traction on Facebook can be a daunting task if you are just starting out. As mentioned above, if you are not posting great content frequently, then you are going to have a very difficult time getting people to want to be your friend or fan. Fortunately, there is another option.
Facebook allows for its users to create ads that display their message to other Facebook users. This advertising on Facebook is something you will have to pay for, but compared to other paid search marketing platforms like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, Facebook ads are rather inexpensive. Best of all, the ads can be specifically targeted to your key demographics.
If you are looking to gain more fans, friends or just need some more eyes on your website, then we highly recommend Facebook advertising. That said, there are a few things to be aware of:
- You can, and will, waste money if your ad campaigns are not setup correctly.
- Facebook ads are still relatively new and users are not 100% accustomed to them yet so click through rates are still comparatively low.
- Don’t be intrusive or annoying with your ads. Users already complain about Facebook recommending dates to them just because their status says “Single”.
Getting the Most Out of Facebook
Facebook truly is a great platform to help you grow your real estate business. Gone are the days where you could just put up a website that let people search the MLS. Consumers demand much more today and Facebook allows you to connect to these people on a much more personal level, thus leaving them without that feeling of trying to be sold or tricked for their name, email and phone number.
There are still very few hard statistics on the actual ROI from social media like Facebook. However, we are willing to guarantee that if you talk to anyone who has really invested their time and effort into making social connections online (like Philip Smith), that the return they are getting has been worth those few extra minutes a day spent online.
Stop procrastinating or being skeptical about social media and get involved! If you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will. As always, we are here to help as we love seeing how real estate professionals continue to innovate and use the Internet to set the standard for so many other industries. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions that you would like to share. Simply leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].