10 ways to Market your Real Estate Agency on Facebook

I do presentations, seminars, workshops and training on Social Media a lot, and there are always a number of questions about Facebook and how companies and agencies can grow using Facebook.  Here are 10 opportunities to take advantage of that will help grow your agency on Facebook.

1. Create a Fan Page

This is the most obvious Facebook marketing tool for most companies and agencies.  The problem is that most Facebook pages are not very effective.  You collect “fans” (who are primarily your friends and not really your fans anyways) only to ignore them.  It can be a good idea to set up a fan page and reserve your name (you need at least 25 fans to do this), but beyond that, if you want to grow your agency with a fan page you need to have compelling and consistent content and a clear call to action.  Otherwise you are wasting your time.

2. Creating a Group

Rather than just a fan page, consider creating a group for your agency, as it can be broader and more overarching.  For example, rather than requesting people to fan Howard’s Real Estate Agency, which is rather limited in its appeal, consider starting Cincinnati’s Best Real Estate Agencies as a group.  You will then be the connector for all of the real estate agencies in the city.  Sure they will talk about other agencies, but you will get the benefit of awareness through bringing the community together and facilitating.  You can also periodically promote your own agency too.

3. Facebook Ads

Facebook ads can be a great way to grow your agency.  Facebook ads have a self-service mechanism you can use to set up and target your ad campaign.  Facebook ads are great because you can start with low budgets, analyze results and make changes.  Facebook ads also allow you to target based on profile key words, so they can be more effective than search ads.  Consider promoting special services that your agency provides such as Tax Credit or news on mortgage rates.

4. Facebook Events

Consider setting up an event on Facebook.  When we had our launch party we had almost twice the number of RSVPs through Facebook as we did through EventBrite and non-Facebook promotion.  Next time you are hosting a big open house or event, consider creating it as a Facebook event to drive awareness.

5. Participate in a Group

Rather than create your own group you can find other established groups to participate in.  For example, if you are Howard’s Real Estate Agency there might be a group for Real Estate Agencies in Cincinnati or Cincinnati Real Estate. You can participate in these groups to build awareness.  Be careful not to spam (it is annoying and unprofessional).

6. Participate on Other Fan Pages

Again, you need to be careful not to be irrelevant and spammy, and you don’t want to participate on your competitors’ pages.  However, you may find it valuable to participate in other fan pages.  For example, being a part of a real estate fan page will allow you to see what consumers, who are also members of the fan page, are sharing through links and comments about what they are looking for or complaints, or agencies will promote their own special services and events.  This provides them with exposure to their target audience beyond those who are already fans.

7. Link In Your Other Social Accounts

There are apps that allow you to link your other social accounts in to Facebook including Twitter, SlideShare and YouTube.  Share your other social content on Facebook (where appropriate) to maximize value.

8. Facebook Apps

Consider creating an app for your agency.  For your agency, an app where people can share photos of their new homes or a map of homes on the market might be beneficial for potential homebuyers.  This is a great way to gain exposure while proving something useful and fun.

9. Facebook Connect

Facebook connect allows you to link with Facebook directly from your site or blog.  You can use Facebook connect to integrate with Facebook and gain exposure and encourage your fans to share content on Facebook.

10. Facebook Widgets

Facebook has widgets that you can create and display on your blog.  Widgets are a great way to connect Facebook with your website and they are relatively easy to install.  This is also a great way to increase the number of fans that you have.

Monitoring Social Media for Smaller Businesses

Without question, social media has taken marketing to a whole new level – in 2009, Twitter grew by more than 600% and Facebook by 210%.  To put it in perspective, if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest.   Obviously, social media is something worth catching on to, not only for large brands but for small businesses as well.  While small businesses are not able to have social media “Mission Control Centers” like the ones established at Gatorade, there are a number of tools available to monitor the buzz.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a service designed to send out email updates when relevant Google results surface based on your topic choices.  These free alerts are set up through your Google account and can be sent to any email address you choose.  This tool allows you to keep tabs on developing news stories, articles, blogs and other mediums that might mention your company or topic.

Yahoo Alerts

Just like Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts also a personally designed service that alerts you about content you wish you monitor.  Yahoo! gives you the option to receive notifications about articles and news linked to specific categories such as Health News or Stock Alerts.  Alerts can also be useful in monitoring the news of your competitors and obtain information on their activity.

Twitter Search

Twitter Search is an option specific to Twitter users that allows you to search a keyword or topic and shows all the “tags” or mentions in the Twitter world.  You will see results of what is being said about a specific company or topic that are making people buzz.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is an application for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare and MySpace.   A typical TweetDeck screen is divided into a number of columns, specific to the different social media outlets you wish to monitor.  In each column, you are able to see status updates, tags, tweets, photos and that which you wish to monitor.  Each TweetDeck is specific to the individual user.  The founders of TweetDeck describe this application as being the  “air traffic controller for Twitter.”

Facebook Stats

Facebook Stats can give you feedback on the traffic that your company page is receiving.  You can find this information under Facebook Insights that provides you with a number of graphs displaying mentions, weekly activity, post quality, reviews and a demographic summary of your fans.

Answer LinkedIn Questions

LinkedIn has a segment on their site called Answers that allows LinkedIn members to ask and answer questions in an open discussion forum.  This is a great way for you to establish a credible foundation for your company by answering questions that are relevant to your specific service or product.  By giving helpful feedback and advice, you are giving your company the publicity it needs through these social mediums.

How have you monitored social media?

Facebook Marketing – Getting the Most out of Facebook – The Circuit Cincinnati

Want some more up-to-date Facebook training for 2012?

Don’t worry! We are now offering online Facebook marketing training to give access to our top-rated social media training to people all over the world! This training course is one of our Pin Point Programs, which are newly-launched 90 minute social media online classes about the hottest topics in social media!
***
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting to the Circuit – an IT Networking Group based in Cincinnati. I presented on Facebook Marketing – how to get more out of Facebook. Most of the people in the room were on Facebook, but few were using it as a marketing tool.  Facebook can be difficult for marketers – figuring out the right ways to interact with potential audiences can be tough.  Facebook was created to facilitate social connections – not as a marketing platform. Facebook is the #1 global social network and has over 300 million active users – 50% of whom logon to the site every day.  The Facebook audience is both active and committed to the network. Prior to engaging in marketing your brand or company on Facebook:
  1. Don’t be a dirty spammer. Be relevant. Use channels appropriately. Don’t annoy people.
  2. Real world networking principles apply. Don’t immediately sell people. Don’t get in their face.  Like in the real world you will have no friends.
  3. Give your audience something of value. People do you the honor of following you.  Repay them by giving them value.  It doesn’t have to be financial value either.
  4. Know your target. Know who your target audience is.  If you fan page is comprised of your family and friends it probably isn’t very effective.  Come up with creative ways to engage with your target.
  5. Focus on business value, not activity. It is easy to get caught up with tracking your activity – # of posts, # of fans friends and followers, etc.  The real question is what is the actual business value?
We then covered 4 key ways that brands can leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. 1. Create a Fan Page. This is the most popular way brands and companies are using Facebook.
  • When you create a fan page build a content plan (what you will post when)
  • Use photos and videos to engage – post yourself and encourage fans to post
  • Provide valuable information
  • Be a resource for questions
  • Run a contest
  • Integrate Facebook as a syndication and engagement platform for offline campaigns
  • Use insights and analytics to track effectiveness and value
2. Create a Group – Create a group about something related to your product that people are interested in and passionate about.  Also, participate in relevant groups to get your brand out there. 3. Create an Event – Facebook events can be a great way to engage with your audience.  If you are having an event, creating a Facebook event increases your exposure and lets attendees see who else is going. 4. Facebook Ads – Facebook ads work best when they are targeted.  Target your ads as specifically as possible and you can get great results.

Any other thoughts or comments?

News: Most Popular Facebook Fan Pages

Want some more up-to-date Facebook training for 2012?

Don’t worry! We are now offering online Facebook marketing training to give access to our top-rated social media training to people all over the world! This training course is one of our Pin Point Programs, which are newly-launched 90 minute social media online classes about the hottest topics in social media!
***
Ever curious which Facebook Fan Pages are the most popular? Wonder no more – AllFacebook publishes a list of the most popular Facebook Fan Pages.  While it is easy to jump to conclusions from these numbers and congratulate the winners, there are a number of questions to be answered first. Were the fans added organically? Many big brands run Facebook ads to acquire fans – getting a ton of fans through ads is not as valuable as fans who seek you out to join. Are you driving value from your fans? Having a bunch of fans is great, but so what?  How are you engaging with your fans and continuing to drive value – for them, not you.  How do you provide value to your fans? popular facebook fan pages chart

Anyone else have thoughts on this list?

7 Mistakes Companies Make on FaceBook and how to Avoid Them

Facebook is big and getting bigger with over 300 million active users of which over 50% are active every day. While Facebook is clearly an engaging platform for users to connect with friends, marketers have struggled with how to use the massive audience on Facebook to build their businesses. Here are the top mistakes that companies are making on Facebook.

1. Not Starting with a Strategy

Where most people go wrong with Facebook is not starting strategically.  Like many social media tools (and any kind of marketing for that matter), a solid strategy at the outset is key to success.  Who are you trying to target, what is your message, how will you reach them and what is in it for them? To Overcome This: Take time before starting the page to understand exactly who you are targeting and what your message is.

2. Focusing on the Number of Fans/Friends/Followers

Despite its lack of real relevance, many people focus on the number of fans or group members that they have.  Get over it.  I have met with a number of clients who have said “we need to get on Facebook because our competitor has X number of fans and we hardly have any”.  The number of fans doesn’t matter – it is how you engage them.

facebook-coke-vs-pepsiHow to avoid this: Don’t let your manager use numbers as a key metric.  It isn’t difficult to get fans or followers, but it isn’t relevant.  Explain that a balanced approach helps measure what really matters based on your strategy.

3. Lack of Creativity

It isn’t just about creating the asset – the page, the event, the ad campaign.  It is about the creative execution.  To engage on Facebook you need to have a strong creative execution.  What is the content for the page? How does it ad value?  What is exciting or interesting for your fans/friends/followers? A successful Facebook strategy requires a great creative execution – run contests, communicate with members, share photos and videos, do something interesting. A great example of this is the Petcentric fan page – they have photo contests with voting that keeps fans coming back for more. petcentic-fan-page How to avoid it: Do creative brainstorming. Spend some time and energy coming up with an exciting creative plan for your Facebook assets.  Build a content plan.  Create promotions.

4. No Fan Engagement

Lack of creativity leads into the next point – no fan engagement. Many companies create a fan page, invite their friends or buy ads and then forget about the page.  An effective Facebook strategy actively engages fans. To Avoid This: Build a content plan that is relevant and engaging to your audience.  What will you post when?  How will you engage and encourage your fans to post?  What is in it for them.  Build an engagement plan, not just a page.

5. Not Monitoring Discussions

Nothing looks worse than fan pages where the company is not active and responding to their fans.  Monitor your fan page for activity and respond to relevant questions or comments. I was once on a fanpage where fans were questioning the company policy.  The company didn’t respond and looked weak. How to Avoid This: Monitor your facebook page regularly and have someone who is empowered to respond on behalf of your organization.

6. Not Owning Your Fan Page

A number of companies have issues where their fan page is created and administered by an actual fan, and not the company.  The issue is that fans assume that fan pages are run by the company, and expect the company to play an active role. While having a real fan own your page may not immediately present issues, you can’t predict when, why or how issues will arise. How to Avoid This: Contact the fan who created the fan page and try to get the page back.  You can always work through Facebook, but that may upset the original owner (who is your biggest fan afterall).

7. Not looking at Analytics

Facebook fan pages now have insights and analytics.  You can see how engaging your page is.  This is a great tool to understand what is effective and to continuously refine and improve your Facebook fan page. Analytics will help you understand what is working and what isn’t. How to Avoid this: Look at analytics and make changes based on them.

Last updated by at .