When I started in real estate back in 2001 at the age of 31 I was one of the youngest people in real estate in my market.
Eleven years later, I am still one of the youngest.
As the Broker and Manager of my company, it’s sometimes hard to convice the agents who are older than me that social media and Facebook are here to stay. It can be even harder to convince them that it’s something they need to embrace if they are going to stay in business.
In real estate terms Facebook can be best described as a farm.
Back in the day most real estate agents had what are called “farms.” A farm was a subdivision or a street that an agent faithfully sent postcards to every month, year in and year out. Sometimes the agent would even walk the neighborhood, knocking on doors and handing out flyers, or spend an evening every quarter cold-calling.
The idea was to build trust and brand awareness with the people living in a certain neighborhood.
It was called a farm because it took awhile to plant the seeds and see sales grow.
Agents were very territorial about their farms.
Times Have Changed
In those days it was hard for consumers to get real time information on sales. These days the information is generally free and easy to find. So with the exception of a few diehards still mailing out there, the traditional real estate farm is dead.
Facebook has arrived in real estate to fill that role, among others.
But unlike the traditional real estate farm, the home buyers and sellers have to opt in. They find you. And they are no longer confined to a certain geographical area, or a subdivision.
The cool thing is that you get to see your customers’ faces now, instead of just an address on some mailing list.
The Dos and Don’ts
On a scale of 1 to 10 for exciting things to talk about (10 being the most exciting), real estate comes in at about a 1.5, barely edging funeral plot buying and whole life insurance.
So any post you make on Facebook or any other social media platform really has to be relevant to the person in the market today, it really has to answer the current real estate issues they are facing on the ground, and most of all it has to be interesting.
It also has to be transparent.
In the first company that I worked for it was office policy that you never put addresses with the photos of the homes you were selling. This forced the consumer to call in to get the address. And the agent’s role was to torment these poor people on the phone, wheedling as much information out of them as they could while trying to secure an appointment.
Consumers HATED that.
If you try to hide the information behind a gate like that these days don’t expect to generate any business.
Do just the opposite instead, answer the questions as clearly and as frankly as you can.
Property vs. Opinion
The thing that will get the real estate needle to move the strongest on Facebook is a new property listing or price change. That being said, those are things you want to add sparingly.
Think of them as the spice. A little goes a long way, add too much and you will ruin the dish.
If you keep posting properties on your page day after day, the consumer is going to opt out after day five, thinking, “None of these properties are for me, this page is worthless.”
But if you have good content that answers their questions, they will find something of value most days and stay with you. And the properties you do post are like an extra special look into the real world of real estate.
Keep Posting, and Keep It Fresh
Have you ever looked up a restaurant online, found their Facebook page and saw that the last post was six months ago?
The first question that goes through my mind is always, “Are they still in business?”
So if you are going to engage in social media, you have to post a few times a week.
It’s a Spint, Not A Marathon
While my company, St. Augustine Team Realty, has generated some pretty quick sales as the result of our social media efforts, it’s generally not the rule.
What I’m saying is: You Still Have to Do It But Don’t Expect Quick Sales.
Instead think of it as a place where you can build trust and brand awareness with the consumer. Just like the old real estate farms.