Yesterday I told you that my husband/real estate partner, Brendan Powell, and I generated 17 closed transactions strictly because of Facebook. I clued you in on the strategy we used to facilitate genuine engagement. Today, we’ll talk business.
4. We used all four Facebook products. Yes, Facebook has four products and we have a strategy for each:
- Facebook Pages: To be honest, the Pages product isn’t nearly as effective for Realtors as it is for businesses that have ongoing active relationships with their clients. In real estate, people spend: months online thinking about buying or selling; a few weeks picking a Realtor; a few months actively in the market; then they stop thinking about Realtors until they want to sell in five-plus years. As people move through the cycle, their interaction with real estate-related online content naturally varies. When someone stops interacting with your page (for example, after they buy), Facebook will stop sharing your content on that person’s news feed. Forever. In fact, I’d bet that most of your Page posts are seen by fewer than 20 percent of your fans. Ouch, I know, that hurt to hear. We tailored our Pages strategy to mirror the stages of a client, and we actually manage three pages:
- MyPad targets first-time buyers — people who will likely be in the market in the next 18 months. On MyPad, we share basic buyer information, market updates, neighborhood scoop and unique listings. (www.facebook.com/mypadtoronto)
- HouseProud targets people who already own a house: It’s a way of keeping top of mind with our past clients (possible sources of referrals and repeat business) and a way of connecting with future sellers. We share content about home maintenance, refinancing, selling, etc. (www.facebook.com/houseproud)
- The BREL Real Estate Team –– This is our brand page, which is mainly about us and general information about the real estate market. It’s primarily made up of past condo clients and friends, and its primary purpose it to remind people that we work in real estate. (www.facebook.com/thebrelrealestateteam)
We invested in Facebook ads. In 2011 we spent $2,800 on Facebook pay-per-click ads and sponsored stories in an effort to target people we didn’t know. We advertised our Facebook business pages and linked to custom pages on our website. Our ads resulted in three deals to three total strangers. And with commissions averaging $10,000 per house/condo in Toronto, we considered $2,800 to be a good investment. We started a Facebook group for other area Realtors: Toronto Real Estate 2.0 is a place for Realtors in our area to share ideas around technology and social media. It’s also an excellent place for us to build our personal brand with our colleagues and get their referral business. (www.facebook.com/torontorealestate2.0) We use our personal profiles to reach “friends” and “friends of friends” for referrals, BUT we don’t actually post very often about business. People are “friends” with us on Facebook because they want to connect with us socially as friends — after all, we’re charming, funny and easy to share a beer with. The good news for our business is that the people who are most likely to refer us to their friends want to refer people who are charming, funny and easy to share a beer with.
5. We measured. Facebook Analytics is our friend. It tells us what content our fans like and when to post. I’d never have known how callous our fans were had I not seen the high click rates on our Worst MLS Photos posts — and to think I thought our fans wanted thought-provoking content! You’ll never know where to spend your time and money if you don’t measure your results.
6. We remembered the fundamentals of our business: knowledge, experience and expertise. Those 11 clients we found through Facebook? They referred six other clients to us in 2011 (and another three in 2012, but who’s counting?) It doesn’t matter how many fans you have on Facebook or many clicks your ads get: If you don’t deliver the experience your client expects, you won’t get repeat and referral business. And I predict that no matter how important social media becomes to the real estate industry, repeat and referrals will ALWAYS be the cornerstone of our industry.
Final tally for 2011: 3 solds to strangers met through Facebook ads; 3 solds to fans on our business page; 5 deals attributed to personal profiles (3 ‘friends of friends’ who we first connected with on Facebook and 2 from our extended sphere); and 6 deals from referrals from those 11 clients. Is Facebook a waste of time for our real estate business? I sure don’t think so.