The Key to Facebook Homebuyer Leads
I’m often asked about generating homebuyer leads from Facebook ads. A couple years ago I would have said, “Don’t waste your money.” There simply wasn’t a high enough ROI as compared to options like Google Adwords and home search sites.
As it goes with technology and advertising, things can change quickly.
Social media platforms like Facebook have closed the ROI gap by becoming extremely smart about their users’ interests and behaviors. They’ve combined their massive user data with AI (artificial intelligence) to help advertisers reach the perfect audience. And with over 2 billion registered Facebook users who spend an average of 40-minutes per day on their virtual walls, the face-time is hard to beat.
Although Facebook advertising may seem relatively easy and inexpensive on the surface, it’s not a lead generation cakewalk. You can spend a great deal of time and money on Facebook advertising without generating a lot of new business.
Let’s be clear. Facebook and social media is about connecting with others socially. The challenge with Facebook advertising is the user isn’t asking for it. Advertising on Facebook is a virtual version of sitting around the dinner table when a phone solicitor calls. Annoying your audience isn’t a good marketing strategy. Yet big data and AI are changing this perception if the advertising is done right.
The best advertising in any medium happens at a personal level, with great timing. This correlates well with social media messaging. Great timing in advertising is why a pizza commercial right before the football game is so effective. Now imagine that the advertiser already knows that you want a large pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni, and all you have to do is click a button to order it. No more missing the kickoff thinking about your order and reading off your credit card to a cashier who keeps putting you on hold. In other words, good sales and marketing is giving the right message to the right person, at precisely the right time. And then making the next step in the buying process as easy as clicking a button or saying, “Alexa, order my pizza.”
Facebook knows so much about their users that you can place a message on a user’s wall based on a specific interest or behavior. This artificial intelligence has brought social media to the forefront of targeted advertising, and it keeps getting smarter.
So if you are ready to move some of your Google Adword budget over to Facebook advertising, here are my suggestions. For those of you who have already made the move months or even years ago and this is old news, thanks for being great pioneers. Now get ready for the masses.
The first step is to create a Facebook business page and an advertising account. Here is a quick how-to article (from a solicitor at homes.com) on how to setup your real estate business page.
Believe it or not, Facebook actually tracks those who are “likely to move” as a behavior, and “buying a house” as an interest. A real estate agent can target a geographic area where she works, and match this with all the people in that area that are likely to move and buying a house.
See the homes.com article on Audience Targeting for a short how-to guide, but keep reading to avoid wasting money!
By selecting the right group to see your ad, you could spend less money finding your next client. However, if this is all you had to do, our Facebook walls would be littered with advertising from real estate agents, and Facebook would experience an exodus of users. Facebook will gladly take your advertising dollars, but they are very protective of the integrity of their social media offering. In other words, your ad won’t reach everyone you target; at least not all at once and without spending a great deal of money. The traditional, “use me” or “buy now” ad isn’t very effective on Facebook.
You have to be smart about your Facebook advertising to get a good enough reach and response. Otherwise it’s simply not worth the time and money to find new clients. Here are a few ideas to make your Facebook ads convert.
#1 – Be Social, Not Salesy
The Facebook user that sees your ad didn’t key in a search, “Find a real estate agent near me,” so you have to be a little more clever in your advertising to catch their attention. Starting with something informative or helpful about their specific interest is a better way to capture someone’s attention on Facebook. It’s about being social over salesy.
For example, a person who is likely to move and browsing through their Facebook wall may show more interest in a post that says, “Do you know what your house is worth?” than a more direct ad that says, “I can help you sell your home. Call me!”
Other good social-friendly ads could say, “Paint your house this color and it could sell for nearly $5,000 more” (see ad below); “Is buying better than renting?” or “Are we in a housing bubble?” If you have attended one of our A+ Agent classes, the posts associated with home video showings, neighbor interviews, and community interviews are also great ways to capture the attention of this group without the hard sales approach.
The best Facebook ad strategy is to test several different messages that touch on specific interests and behaviors, and see which ones convert. A repetitive “call me” or “here’s my new listing” ad is typically ignored, and ends up getting very little reach for the money.
#2 – Setup the Conversion
The objective of your ad is to find a new client, obviously, but as mentioned above, the social approach is less direct. You need to take the potential buyer from your Facebook ad to the next step of considering your real estate services. We call this funneling. For example, if you create a Facebook post that states, “Paint your house this color and it could be sell for almost $5,000 more,” you will need to link the ad to a landing page with a well-written article about paint colors and their effect on buyers. An agent website with a blog is a must-have to convert these leads.
In the middle of the your article or blog, place an ad that states, “Staged to Sell: Want to sell your home quickly and get the best price? Call me!” This direct, “call me” ad is now more appropriate and effective. You essentially funneled the most likely new clients from Facebook to your article, and the ad in the article will convert them to a client.
This may seem like an extra and unnecessary step, but its the natural process that a buyer goes through when considering the best solution to their situation.
- I may be moving soon, so I need to get my home ready. – what’s on my mind.
- Here’s an idea to paint my home so I can get more money for it when it sales. – just saw this on Facebook. Looks interesting.
- This agent will stage my home so I get the best price. Maybe I should call her first. – solution I wasn’t thinking about until now.
#3 – Engagement and Friends Matter on Facebook
Facebook likes, shares, and comments is what gets your ads on more walls, for less money. It’s also a way to convert more buyers directly from Facebook as a pure social connection. One of your Facebook ad strategies needs to be increasing your business page likes, and your engagement with those whom you are trying to attract as clients. Those who like your Facebook page are more likely to see your ads, and to see them more frequently.
You can actually target your ads to those who like your page and their friends, which usually results in a higher conversion rate because of the social connection. Posting a variety of social-friendly and informative ads, over the repetitive “call me” ads, also helps to stay on top of your followers’ minds without it feeling like you always have your hand out for new business.
You may find that advertising your company service project and halloween office party gets more response than your lead generation ads, so make sure to mix some purely social posts with your social business-related posts.
Here are some ideas to get more engagement
- Video and images get a lot more engagement. Make sure to upload your video directly to Facebook so it autoplays. Don’t link to YouTube or another video publisher.
- Make sure to take advantage of all the options when uploading pictures and video. Tag everyone in your picture or video, use the location pin if appropriate, use Facebook tags, pick a good title, add captions to your video, add a button that links to your landing page, and add a link to your landing page in your text.
- Use Facebook personally. Check in when you go to an event, restaurant, or other location. Review other businesses and professionals on Facebook. Like, share, and comment on other’s posts. Join the community Facebook groups and pages where you work and have clients. Become Facebook friends with all your clients and past clients.
- Spend more ad money on fewer ads. You will get more engagement from Facebook as your view numbers go up. For example, rather than spend $30 on a dozen ads running concurrently, spend $300 on one or two ads. You can still experiment with lots of different ads, but spread them out or increase your budget. Once an ad hits 10,000-plus view, the engagement and conversions seem to increase at a greater rate.
- Here are some other quick suggestions on how to Boost Your Social Reach.