Your first steps to Social Media marketing in Real Estate and why you should do it.

My wife’s business and testing ground for all my ideas, now a well oiled marketing machine.

Why are we doing it?

This was the first questions my wife Rebecca asked me when I started to devote my time to learning how to use Social Media as a marketing tool about four years ago and later on other technologies, funny enough that is the question I should have asked myself at that time too, If I had I would have achieved much more success early on.

That question is the same one you should be asking yourself today, why am I doing it?

  • Easiest way to reach your target market, with 2.8million active Facebook accounts in New Zealand there wont be many people you can’t reach. That is in addition to all the other platforms
  • Most cost effective way to reach your target market, the level to which you are abel to target, measure, split test and analyse your results is unprecedented and more effective than any other forms of advertising.
  • It is where people’s attention is, more than half of the population report that they are on Social Media while watching TV and the average person checks their phone more than 1500 times a week (it is not to make a call if you are unsure).
  • Builds your credibility as an expert, the first step anyone takes before purchasing anything these days is online research. If you have already established yourself as an expert in the back of their mind you will be well ahead of the game when it comes to decision time.
  • The way people seek out information and make purchases has changed for ever, so make it as easy as possible for them.

How do you get started?

My guess is that you are already dabbling in a bit of Facebook and LinkedIn, perhaps you have set up an Instagram account and a twitter account for your business. From time to time you are posting a new listing on Facebook, you might have tried to ‘boost’ a post on Facebook, you might get some ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your posts but I am almost certain you don’t really know if you are getting any business from it, or what your next steps should be to turn those likes into $.

Been there done that, the situation above is exactly how we started out. We now run Rebecca’s business 100% through digital marketing channels, and have more than tripled her business in the space of a year.

To be truely effective in digital marketing you will need to identify who your target audience is and which platforms are the most effective in engaging them. For Rebecca this has proven to be Facebook.

Here are 6 keys we have found to be very successful in turning social media marketing into active leads and sales (these are not exclusive to Facebook):

Facebook post
  • We always have a hook, in the case of the post above it is ‘New Listing!!’ People scroll quickly through their news feed, so make sure you have have something that catches their eye.
  • We only give enough information to spark interest, usually a couple of practical pieces of information like number of bedrooms, size of land or what ever we see as a particular positive attribute of the property. Enough that people can get a quick overview, keep in mind that this ad is only step one in the process.
  • We always have a link to where they can find more information, in the past we used a link to our agency website but now have our own dedicated website. It is of utmost importance that these links are clickable, keep in mind that more than 75% of people will be browsing using mobile devises so it has to be easy or they will simply move on to the next post that catches their eye.
  • Always use professional photography or even better video. Did you know that Facebook favours video in their algorithm and will show your video to more people than if you use photos. It has also been determined by the Harvard School of business that you can convey the equivalent of 1.2million words with 60 seconds of good video content, so if you really want people to get emotionally involved, try video.
  • Innovate or die, don’t just do the same thing over and over again, surprise people, try new features like Facebook Live, slideshows, perhaps create an animation. Remember if you don’t stand out you are just part of the noise.
  • Spend money, this really should be the most obvious one of all, keep in mind you will get out of it what you put in, just like with any other form of advertising. These platforms are businesses, and huge ones at that, if you want some real results you will need to spend money. The biggest difference from traditional marketing is the ability to target, measure and test your campaigns and engage with your audience like no where else, and you can do it right from your phone.

Be practical

None of this is worth anything if you don’t get a return, so how do you measure a return and what should you measure? A good way of measuring your ROI (return on investment) is to track your conversion. This could be as simple as wanting to know how many people you can get from your post to your agency website listing page. A great tool for this is bitly.com which we have used in the property post above. There are some great plusses from using a tool like bitly.com.

  • It allows you to shorten an otherwise long URL.
  • If you set up an account, you will be able to track how many people click the link through to your listing on your agency website.
  • You will get information about where people who clicked your link were located and may be able to pick up trends.
  • You can collect information about where they have seen your link, if you are using the link on multiple platforms.

If you find that you are getting 10 clicks through to the website for every $10 of advertising you spend that gives you a conversion cost of $1. Ideally you would delve down a bit deeper than that and find out how much it cost you to get an email enquiry or a viewing appointment.

The key takeaways

If you are in Real Estate today and you do not use Social Media marketing you really are leaving yourself terribly exposed. Your customers, regardless if they are 18 years old or 80, be they doctors, lawyers or farmers, shop assistances, male or female, are using Social Media and they are spending more time there than they are on any other media.

You have unprecedented ability to target your ideal customer at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and in an instant.

All you need to do is put in some time and effort, engage with your audience and have fun.

Here is the best part of it, it really doesn't matter how long you have been using social media, what size your business is or how much money you have to spend. You can start right now for free and start to build an audience simply by asking people to like your page. You can run an advert or boost a post for $1, so what are you waiting for?