A must-have skill for today's real estate agent is Facebook advertising. We’ve seen a huge amount of real estate agents start to post properties on Facebook, but it’s clear that many have no idea how to use it properly to drive home buyer leads. Today, we share the secrets to Facebook property marketing and clearly outline the dos and don'ts.
In today's marketing world, real estate agencies need to be social media savvy and the number one platform on which to generate buyer leads for your properties is Facebook.
But just because you're posting properties to your Facebook page doesn't mean you're doing it well. There's a big difference between a property marketing campaign that works and a so-called ‘Advanced Internet Marketing’ campaign that's a waste of both time and money.
Worst option: Posting just to your Facebook Page
Almost all real estate agents have a Facebook presence now. With that comes the pressure to not only share relevant posts with your followers, but to also advertise your clients homes. The easy solution seems to be to post the properties you're selling to your fans, right?
Very wrong. And there are several reasons why.
Ideally, your Facebook fan page should be where you share your blog posts, engage local homeowners and give them something of value.
The first thing to understand is that the majority of your Facebook followers are local homeowners, your ‘future vendors’, alongside those with an interest in the industry and even your competitors – snooping to see what you're doing! Very few of your Fans are likely to be buyers, so your audience isn't what it should be.
Even if your audience was entirely made up of buyers, if all you're doing is posting on your own Facebook fan page, you've got a very limited readership. Whether that’s tens or hundreds of people, you're missing out on thousands of people on Facebook who don't yet follow you.
Ideally, your Facebook fan page should be where you share your blog posts, engage local homeowners and give them something of value. It’s how you ensure you attract clients to you as a real estate sales agent, and get them thinking of you, and only you, and engaging your services when it’s time to sell.
Melanie Hoole, founder of Hoole.co, says, "If you're just posting to your own fans then you're doing it wrong. Facebook is a great way to reach a huge audience of potential homebuyers, but running your campaign this way, without placing any ad budget behind your post, is a complete waste of time."
Slightly better: Boosting your posts
If you (or maybe your bosses) insist on posting your homes to your Facebook page, the least you should do is boost those posts. This increases the reach of your ads significantly, multiplying your coverage significantly and getting to people who wouldn't otherwise see your listings.
Some marketing companies aim to reach people through this method (or a mixture of this and step one) and while it's okay, it's hardly an ‘Advanced Internet Marketing’ technique. If you do work with someone who operates this way, be sure to double check that they are boosting all your posts, otherwise you'll fall short and into the first group of marketers going wrong.
Melanie Hoole added, "If you are posting ads to your company Facebook page, it's vital that you boost those posts. Even setting aside just $10 per property can give great results."
Getting there: Running ads through Domain
When you post a home online, you're essentially posting an ad. So when you push that onto Facebook it makes sense that you also run it as an ad.
Ads can be targeted to people … who have shown telltale signs that they're interested in buying a home.
The benefit to this is obvious. With Facebook having so much data on its users, adverts can be targeted very specifically. Ads can be set to be shown only to people in a certain age range, who live in a certain suburb or who have shown telltale signs that they're interested in buying a home - or a combination of these and many other factors.
Most real estate agents advertise their properties on Domain automatically. It makes sense too, as many buyers turn to the major property portals first, when they're looking for a home.
Domain offers you the ability to extend your advertising to Facebook, when you are making use of their top end advertising solutions. They place your Facebook ad the right way, but with one drawback for real estate agencies: all the ads are branded as Domain with links back to their site which, in an ideal world, would have agency branding and your website links.
Melanie Hoole says, "Running Facebook ads through Domain isn’t the perfect solution, but it's a very good one. They do everything the right way regarding ads and audiences, and they use the Facebook Pixel to make it even more accurate. The only drawback is that while they're getting your ad in front of all the right people, it's very much a Domain ad."
Best option: Managing ads through your brand on Facebook
The obvious way to improve on this is to do things yourself. If you're comfortable creating ads, making target audiences and tracking ROI, then running your own property marketing campaigns on Facebook is best.
However, for many real estate agencies this is a step too far. If you don't have the in-house expertise or the time for this, you can hire a digital marketing agency to manage this for you who will ensure that you are using your branding effectively. Bear in mind that when you're looking for a company to work with, experience with print marketing doesn't necessarily transfer to online advertising.
Hiring an agency gives you a better ROI than you might first imagine. To start with, it saves you time. While they have their expertise with Facebook ads, you have yours selling homes. By leaving them to take the reins, you free yourself to focus on your strengths.
And because they have their strengths with the online world, they'll be able to run your ad campaigns more efficiently than you. They'll create better audiences for your work and you'll see better results - and less wasted money - from the ads you run.
Melanie Hoole added, "Controlling advertising yourself means you can run things in the best possible way for your brand and business. You'll be able to control your budget, watch your analytics and tweak your audiences to get the best return on investment. Most digital marketing agencies will be happy to run ads with your branding and if they don't, that's a big red flag."
When posting ads online it's important to reach the right people. If you're just showing the same couple of hundred people your ads every week, you're not going to get a huge return on that. You need to branch out by researching, targeting and then building the best audience who are currently active in the market and interested in buying your listed properties, and only then will you understand the fuss around Facebook ads.