Does Facebook work for real estate agents? Is it something that can help you generate real leads?
In my opinion…
First, it’s important to consider that Facebook is NOT a great fit for every business. For example, besides being in real estate, I own a local pet services company where we do things like dog walking, running, and pet sitting. Facebook doesn’t work that great for this type of business in terms of generating new customers (but it’s awesome for keeping current customers and generating referrals).
The reasons for this are many. Chief among them though is that, unlike with real estate, people shop for dog walking services quickly and they’re proactive about it.
This means that they know what they’re looking for, do a search on the internet, and then are likely to give their business to the first seemingly-reputable business they can find. It all happens within a matter of minutes. So, to win in that game, you have to be found exactly when someone is looking for you. That’s where organic SEO and Google PPC come into play.
However, in real estate, we know that this is not at all how things work.
Real estate shoppers aren’t looking for real estate agents. They’re looking for homes or information about homes in regards to selling or buying. Agents enter the picture only after they’ve already done research of some sort.
And, often, agents are only in the equation because that have to be, not necessarily because a home shopper wants them to be.
Plus, we know that home shoppers and sellers don’t start their research on the internet and then buy their dream home 10 minutes later. Instead, the buying and selling cycles are typically drawn-out affairs that last for 3, 6, 12, or even 18 months or longer.
This might sound bad at first. But it’s precisely because of this long sales cycle that helps Facebook be a great fit for real estate agents.
Second, it’s critical to know that Facebook won’t be successful for your real estate business based on the typical “social media” mindset that we’ve been taught for the last few years.
Instead, you should be thinking of Facebook as your “social advertising system” and not as just a place to post your latest open house info and latest community home sale stats.
Indeed, you’re going to have to pay a few bucks to make Facebook work for you as a real estate agent. This “pay to play” mindset makes some people mad because they’ve been used to a free ride for so long. But paid advertising really is the secret to generating real estate leads with Facebook.
You need to forget about the “old days” when you could post something and have 90% of your fans see it.
Now, you’re lucky if 10% of them see it.
That’s why you must adapt to how Facebook is working today.
You’ll need to get used to promoting posts (no, not with the “boost post” button, but with the Power Editor). You’ll need to be able to create ads and “lead magnets” that get people into your sales funnel, email list, and/or into a Facebook custom audience. And you’ll need to get used to building a relationship with these people and following up with them on Facebook, in paid ads, with email, and in other creative ways.
That last point is really where Facebook shines. Remember that this is a place to build trust and a relationship over time.
Where most real estate lead generation systems like direct mail, cold-calling, and pay-per-click ads fail – or, at least break down – is that there’s a lack of relationship building. Getting a complete stranger to trust you these days off of a one-time connection is brutally difficult.
So, face that facts and accept that instant conversions aren’t going to happen for you. No one is going to go from stranger to your customer in 8 seconds.
Instead, embrace the opportunity of building a relationship.
It’s going to take some work, but this relationship-building is where Facebook is different from other lead generation things you can do. And this is precisely why it can work for you as a real estate agent.