Facebook marketing makes a lot of sense for real estate investors. It offers REI’s lowest cost per thousand impressions (CPM) compared to both traditional and digital marketing channels. And it’s also the most diligent way to target and track your audience (more on that below).
But Facebook is more than an ad-slinging weapon. REI’s can use the network to connect with clients and other investors. It starts with creating awareness about your business, but once you establish your authority, the opportunities to educate and engage your audience will grow. And this will bring even more people through organic traffic. You know where this is going, right? The more leads you have on your plate, the more transactions you’ll get on your bank statement.
The tips that follow are for those who want to be the first to get to motivated sellers. They are meant for real estate investors who want to improve their existing Facebook marketing strategy, but they can also serve to introduce newcomers who are still on the fence about whether this type of social media marketing is worth the effort.
You need to create a professional Facebook page. We point this out because not all Facebook pages are the same. You are free to use a personal page to promote your business, but keep in mind that personal pages are designed to connect with friends, family, and acquaintances (and have a limit of up to 5,000 friends).
It’s not recommended to mix your personal and professional life offline, and the same applies online. Plus, if you have business-related content next to pictures of you on the beach, your followers might end up being confused as to who you are, what you do, and how they can use your services.
With all that in mind, we’ve broken up our tips on Facebook marketing for real estate investors into several subcategories that should help you orient the sea of marketing.
Even if you haven’t figured out the branding for your real estate business yet, you’ll benefit a lot from adding a word like houses, property, or real estate in the title of your business page. Including a property for sale as a Facebook cover photo will let visitors know what you’re all about.
After that, it’s a simple exercise of building credibility. You know, basic stuff like adding a link to your website, physical address, contact details, business hours, and such. The goal is to make it easy for your clients to see that they’ve landed on the right page. They should immediately know that your name is Joe, you are an REI, and if they want to sell their house to you, they need to click on the blue button.
If you’ve done real estate investing for a while, you can take this opportunity to capitalize on your track record and boast about deals you’ve closed in the past (both buying or selling).
Facebook business pages offer features that are tailored to the needs of professionals, like selling and marketing. There is no upper limit on the number of followers of business accounts (ain’t that nice), and their marketing features differ according to the size of your operations.
For example, small businesses handle their marketing through Ads Manager, while medium-sized and large businesses use the Power editor (which allows you to run several campaigns simultaneously). Before you get to play with these marketing features, however, you need to establish your brand.
Generally speaking, Facebook enables businesses to reach their clients in two ways: through paid advertising (a more direct way of converting) and through organic content (an indirect way of engaging your base). If you go for the logical choice of using Facebook as one of the primary social media channels for marketing your REI’s, make sure to employ both practices.
Facebook ads call for an in-depth view, so let’s first look at your organic content.
Now, some will argue that the doors on free organic traffic on Facebook are closing, however, as long as you produce content that drives audience engagement up, you will benefit from establishing a relationship with your audience.
“’A’ – always, ‘B’ – be, ‘C’ – closing” – that’s what Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross said to a bunch of real estate salesmen (am I revealing my age here?). While this attitude may bring results in offline interactions with clients, it’s not the right way to treat your Facebook followers.
Drop the business goals for a moment and produce content that shows your human side. For example, you can write a post about doing something fun in the housing district (your real estate market). It can be a post about a local park, a sports club, or anything that matters to both present and future residents.
You don’t even have to create such content, rather, you can share and like posts by someone that lives in that area. And if you do enjoy crafting relatable social media content, you can include motivational posts, jokes, memes, and other lighthearted posts.
Don’t forget, the internet enables you, as a business, to have a direct line of communication with your clients. Facebook was one of the first social networks who banked on this and they went a step further by giving you tools to target specific segments of your audience (including demographics) with their ads.
In plain terms, you can choose the followers who will receive a particular message or see your ads in their newsfeed based on age, location, job, and interests (as well as many other audience attributes). However, be mindful of the dangers of excluding potential clients by narrowing down your audience too much. For example, if you show your ad to people based on geolocation (their ZIP code) you might miss out on absentee owners or clients who are planning to move. At the same time, categories like renters, homeowners, and first-time homebuyers will deliver your ad to the right people.
Speaking of, maybe the best targeting category in Facebook marketing for REI’s is the one based on the income level of your audience. This will allow you to identify buyers as opposed to window shoppers. It’s just as important to know that you are dealing with someone who wants to sell a property (weighing available options), and not someone who needs to sell a property. All of this is done in order to get hot leads instead of clients who will waste your time.
There is one drawback to using these types of filters, though – they rest on user generated data or browsing history. So, you can expect a certain margin of error, because people don’t always share valid personal data online.
Another important aspect of Facebook marketing for real estate investors is to track the success of your ad campaigns. Now, not all of us are social media wizards (some REI’s aren’t even tech-savvy), but the platform is easy to use once you get the hang of it.
As a Facebook business page owner, you have access to the following metrics:
– likes or engagement when people like the ad;
– shares or engagement when followers share the ad with others;
– reach or the group of people in your audience who were shown the ad;
– impression or the number of people in your audience who saw the ad;
– comments or the number of comments left by those who viewed the ad;
– frequency or the number of times the same ad was shown to one of your followers;
– click through rate or the number of followers who clicked on the ad to land on a page where they become a lead.
These metrics will reveal if you are doing something wrong, in which case, don’t panic – just take it as an opportunity to learn what works. Testing the performance of different ads is an essential part of online marketing. One of the ways to do it is to split your followers into two groups (A/B testing). You show one ad to the first group and another ad to the second group and see which one yields better results.
Maybe you’d be surprised to learn that different calls to action, seemingly trivial details (like the color of the button), or the time of day you choose to send your ad campaign will give you different results.
This is where you become technical about executing your Facebook marketing strategy. Walk the walk as others before you did – and succeeded. In essence, here you use human biology to your advantage. The eyes lock on moving objects, so using video content or a carousel ad is a no-brainer. Let’s talk specifics.
If you haven’t already, invest in a good camera and put it to work. Whether you show your track record of past customers to the audience, or you are simply trying to get their attention – you won’t make a mistake if you opt for a short video. In fact, photos and videos generate better engagement than text.
You can also hire professionals to create photo and video content for you. Sometimes, a less than perfect image, i.e. one taken with an affordable camera (or phone camera) can get more attention, because Facebook posts are designed to connect friends and family who use those types of gear. Don’t overdo it though, because a grainy image, a poor-quality video, or illegible text in video content will attract the wrong kind of interest.
From a very early age, we are conditioned to follow lines, arrows, and underlined text, so use this to your advantage. As an REI, you are likely to post photos of properties, so make sure you include brightly colored lines that emphasize a favorable feature (let’s say, the orientation of the house, its maintained entrance, or some of the amenities). Also, you can use strike-through text to make people take a second look at your message.
If done properly, it will entice your audience to figure out what the catch is. This is kind of what billboard marketers do in the physical world when they purposefully place an object that exceeds the billboard’s frame.
Facebook campaigns aren’t always about generating leads (though catching an extra lead is always nice). Sometimes, the goal is to grow the number of your followers or to increase engagement. Make sure to include a concise call to action within the post, so that your followers know what they should do.
The actual call to action can vary, depending on your funnel. You can ask them to like the page, to join your group, to attend an event, to buy your course, or to visit your website. Don’t miss an opportunity to include a call to action into virtually any post. It also plays into psychology – if your audience wasn’t hooked the first time, they may well do what you want them to the next time around.
Speaking of being persistent, go for the occasional remarketing to latent followers. If past visitors expressed interest in your content at one point, you might get them after a while by using this technique.
Now, you have to be realistic with your expectations when you remarket. Receiving the typical abandoned cart email for an impulse purchase (‘We saw you had your eyes on these shoes, so we will offer them to you at a discount’) is quite different from receiving a repeated offer to sell your house to an REI. For some of your clients, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and the stakes are higher. Precisely because of that, you should revert to remarketing to your base, but do it with moderation.
And if your goal is to simply boost audience engagement, remarketing might do the trick.
(Need help getting this set up? Our team can do that for you! Jump on a call with us today and we’ll get you started.)
How often do you get involved in the discussions on your Facebook page? One of the central goals in Facebook marketing for real estate investors is to get the engagement of your followers. So, if that’s what you’re after, it’s only fair to offer yours in return. You probably know that mirroring plays a role when you close a deal in person. This is simply the digital equivalent of building rapport.
Once you have an audience, you ought to energize them. Sometimes, followers only need your attention at the moment and you should be fine with that, because you don’t know at which point the relationship will bring you a referral.
Now, you can have different Facebook groups – one for motivated sellers, other for fellow REI’s, and so forth. You should comment in these groups, provide opinions and advice, share strategic insights, and boast (tastefully) about your experience with successful practices.
Speaking of creating the illusion of offering something exclusive – do a Facebook live-stream session. This means that you are streaming video and engaging with followers in real time. It can be a simple Q&A session with motivated sellers or an interview with a colleague. You can create a virtual open house event and a property tour, particularly since travel and free movement are curbed these days.
Engagement metrics will show you if this is working (views, comments, reactions, etc.). It’s not for everyone, though – some are camera-shy, others have privacy concerns, so only do this if you are comfortable with sharing everything a live camera could catch.
It’s really easy to create a poll through your Facebook business page. Polls serve more than one purpose. To begin with, you are establishing your authority on the subject by asking people to share their present pains or their future aspirations with you. Then, you collect and keep their answers, which will be handy for making assessments about relevant issues, both at present and in the future. Ultimately, you will gather enough data to spot trends – this can help shape your marketing strategy and even your long-term business plan.
People are used to sharing data online, particularly if they believe you have the solution. If your initial Facebook polling efforts don’t bring satisfactory results, you can introduce an incentive to increase followers’ participation. It can be as simple as offering a free ebook or a comprehensive guide (for example, a guide to appraisal of damage to property).
You are dealing with real estate, so you don’t need us to tell you that social proof is an asset. Facebook allows you to ask for reviews from your followers. While this is a double-edged sword (some reviews will, in fact, be negative), if you put in the effort, your customer satisfaction score will be high. And for those who leave bad reviews, you can get a fresh opportunity to address the issue, maybe even potentially rectify it.
Testimonials help build trust and they make it easier to connect with your audience. Plus, you are allowed to boast about the motivated sellers who’ve chosen you as the real estate investor they’ll sell their house to.
For the longest time, only people who could afford to have a marketing budget (eg. for TV ads) could become investors in real estate markets. If we set aside the issue of raising capital, which can allow REI’s to invest other people’s money, the costs of marketing were high and created an unfair advantage for, basically, rich people.
Marketing through social media platforms has helped bridge the gap, so now even small businesses can enter the market. And Facebook is one of the most simple social media platforms for the marketing of REI businesses.
Do you have to market on Facebook to be successful? Not really. But it’s very likely that your competitors are already doing it, which leaves you with little to no choice if you want to remain in the game.
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