If you’ve been in the real estate business for more than a few years, you know “people skills” are the most important part of being an agent.
But these days a lot of those smiles and handshakes have been replaced by emoticons and “like” buttons.
Facebook has transformed the way people interact. Real estate agents are taking advantage of the social network and flocking to Facebook to make a name for themselves locally and to generate leads.
Over one billion people “like” something on Facebook an average of 3.2 billion times every day. A business presence on Facebook makes you part of these conversations and gives you access to the most powerful kind of marketing—word-of-mouth recommendations between friends. But setting up a page and attracting “fans” isn’t enough.
Here are several ways you can boost your real estate business via Facebook:
Ads. Compared to other paid search marketing platforms like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, Facebook ads are affordable. With a Facebook ad you can target and reach a very specific audience. Geographic targeting is easy to do with Facebook Ads. You can take advantage of built-in demographic filters such as gender, age, education and interests to refine and improve targeting. As for the content of the ads themselves, don’t simply advertise your services. Offer special reports geared to your area, home-buying tips for new buyers, or informative articles about the local attractions. These added-value offerings build your brand and help build referral networks.
Search. Don’t forget to use Facebook’s search function to find people moving to your area. Searching a phrase such as “moving to Dallas” will give you an up-to-the minute look at whom you need to target. Be sure to check results in the “Public Posts,” “Posts in Groups,” and “Posts by Friends” links (in the left sidebar).
Your business page. Anybody and any business can set up a Facebook page. It’s easy to do, and it will give you a place to post your listings and promote your events. Make sure it looks professional and that it conveys all the elements of your brand (including your logo). Some agents use their personal Facebook page, but it is almost always a better idea to have a separate page for your business.
Find your friends. Did you know you can upload your email database to Facebook and invite everyone you know to become a fan of your page? It’s important to find new friends and contacts through the online social network, but don’t forget to reach out to people you already know. Comb through your Rolodex and use the names and email addresses of your real-world contacts to build a huge online fan base.
Groups. Facebook allows you to create and join groups of like-minded individuals. You could join (or start) a group of contractors, a group of buyers or sellers, or even a group of prospective clients who are interested in a certain type of property. Use the “message” and “chat” features for negotiations and for promoting new listings and open houses.
Connect your social media profiles. Ever since Facebook opened its doors to third-party applications, many that connect Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and others have been developed. Use one of these applications to send messages simultaneously across all platforms. Now you can truly be everywhere at once and stay front and center in your market.