It is no surprise that Facebook has become the most used social media site in the United States and much of the world. It is a place that people use to connect to family, friends and in many cases even clients. Even if you have never connected with clients on the site before, it is very possible that employers and clients have looked you up to learn more about you. So in a business like real estate it is crucial that you position yourself to land more business by making your personal account and business pages portray you in the best light.
How does Facebook relate to Real Estate?
Getting started in Real Estate can be tough at first. You have to be driven to go out into the world and build your personal brand and new a list of clientele. For this reason, most new agents make their first couple sales to family and friends after becoming licensed. To become successful in real estate the most important factor is developing your sphere of influence. This includes every face to face interaction that you have throughout your life, but it also includes your online persona on sites like Facebook. Treat your social media accounts like a database of potential clients and influencers that can lead to more prospects.
Clean Up Your Facebook Account
First and foremost, look at your personal profile. If you were a potential client looking at your page, would you feel comfortable trusting someone like you with one of the biggest financial decisions in their life? Here are a few tips on how to make your profile more presentable.
- Remove or hide any posts that are negative, political, religious, or share too much personal information.
- Check your privacy settings. If you want to post things just for your close friends and family, mark those connections as close friends and make sure that when you post something that you only want them to see, that you change that post’s privacy to “close friends”. For posts that are related to your business, make those posts public.
- Your profile picture is always public. You can hide past profile images but your current image will be seen by anyone who searches for you. Make sure that you have a professional image that would attract new clients.
- Still post about your personal life. Make sure that those posts show you being active with your family and in the community. These posts can be public as well. Potential clients want to work with someone who is relatable. If all of your posts are business related you will come off as pushy and too salesman like.
- Job history should be limited on your page. You don’t want it to look like you have bounced around from job to job. People want to work with someone who is passionate and dedicated. If it looks like you aren’t going to be in the industry in a year then it will make it difficult to build trust.
Post to Facebook Daily
Facebook users log in or check their Facebook accounts an average of 17 times a day. If you don’t post often or interact with other people’s posts, the algorithm on Facebook will eventually drop you off of most Facebook users “news feeds”. To avoid this you should post daily. If you have the time and flexibility, I suggest posting 3-4 times a day. This may be harder for some people who haven’t used the site frequently, but it will keep you top of mind and generate more interaction from your connections.
As a guide here are suggestions for what you should post on your account.
- Post an inspirational message
- Post something about your family
- Post about a hobby or interest
- Post about involvement in the community
- Post tips on home care, decorating, or home improvement
- Post about your real estate business
- Coming soon listings
- Just sold announcements
- Just listed announcements
- Under contract announcements
- Open Houses
- Announce classes that you are taking
Grow your Facebook Sphere of Influence
Friends and followers
Now that you have a perfectly positioned account, it’s time to grow your following. Whenever you meet someone who could be a potential client, becomes a client or knows someone that could be a potential client ask them to connect with you. If you are uncomfortable actually becoming “friends” on Facebook, you can ask them to “follow” you. This means that they will only be able to see your public posts. Let them know the value in following you. For example, you post upcoming listings, tips on home care or improvement, and about an interest that you share.
Though it may be tempting to add other real estate agents, it really isn’t necessary unless you are actually good friends or related to them.
Groups on Facebook have become the best way to reach like-minded individuals and people beyond your circle with specific actionable intent. A simple search will provide you with several groups that you can use to network and promote your business. Join local groups to your area and target market. For lead generation, the best groups to join are the buy/sell/trade groups which have their own designation on Facebook. These groups are typically geographically oriented and have thousands of members. When you post to groups you are posting from your personal profile. This is why you want your personal profile to be cleaned up even if you have a business page.
Generating Leads from Facebook
It’s not enough to just be available for clients if and when they need you. Your activity will drive results. Facebook is just the start of the sales funnel. The only way to be effective is to have a way to collect information from leads and to follow up with them. This is done through your personal website. Any posts that you make on Facebook should direct interested traffic to your website. On your website you should have an IDX plugin that allows people to search for properties but in order to find out more information or to contact the listing agent the person should have to provide login information or register. This will give you contact information for the prospect.
Post ads to the Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook
- The ad should consist of a picture of a property, a link to your website or landing page, and text that generates interest in the property.
- To make the post easier to read it’s best to shorten the link. You can use bitly.com or Google’s URL shortener https://goo.gl.
- When you post to these groups, the default is to post a seller ad. Instead pick “start a discussion”. Post the picture first and then add a short description pointing out key features of the property and then ending it with the short link.
- Don’t post in too many groups at once and don’t post in too many groups in a single day. This will get you flagged by Facebook and the posts will be marked as spam and be deleted.
- It’s a good idea to keep track of the posts and groups in an excel spreadsheet to avoid overposting and duplicate posts.
If you don’t have any of your own listings
- Do a general search in the MLS and post for an attractive property.
- In some cases you can ask listing agents for permission to post for their properties.
- Contact builders and ask if you can market their properties.
Have a sales funnel follow up process
- Collect the leads from your website.
- If you can have an automated email sent to every lead.
- Follow up with a phone call.
- For hot leads that are looking to buy in the next 30-60 days follow up several times. If you need a reason to contact them again give them property updates or information on similar properties as they become available.
- For leads that are not quite in the market yet, be sure to include them in regular email campaigns.
- Send emails regularly to your prospects. This can include Monday motivational messages, monthly updates, or even holiday message emails.
- It will most likely take several points of contact to convert a person from a prospect to a client.
Send private messages to your Facebook friends that are clients or potential clients
- Send a message after you connect to someone new. Don’t mention real estate and don’t try to sell them on anything. Thank them for connecting and personalize the message by mentioning something that you saw on their page. Give them a compliment on their family or mention a hobby or interest that they posted about.
- For someone that you have been connected to for a while, you can send a message that introduces you as a realtor. Again personalize the message. Offer to help them spread the word about their business and remind them that if they or anyone they know needs help with real estate to think of you.
- Try to send around 5 private messages each day. It can be a mix of the two types of messages. By sending 5 messages a day you are reaching 1,825 people each year on a personal level outside of advertisement posts.
These tips are just a general guide for making your Facebook profile work for you. Facebook is just one way to generate leads and build your sphere of influence. Depending on your market and focus the results will vary, but aside from joining several organizations and activities it can be one of the best ways to get your name and your brand in the minds of people within your local community.