As far as the big players in social media go, Facebook remains at the top of the heap in terms of total users and daily activity. As of September 2020, 1.82 BILLION people log into and use Facebook on a daily basis and it's the third most visited website behind Google and YouTube. And nearly 75% of high income earners use Facebook. And, while social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok are certainly major players, too, with new ones coming on the scene almost daily, Facebook remains at the head of the pack. So, should you have a presence on Facebook as a real estate agent? I'm sure some would debate it but, I say absolutely. There are simply far more positives than negatives to being on the platform. So how do you get started? I'm going to go through the process step-by-step and give you some great tips and tricks along the way to optimize your page specifically for the real estate space.
Facebook Pages: Personal vs. Business - Which Is Better for Real Estate?
I have personally been witness to far more real estate agents using their personal Facebook pages for business than I care to admit. And while you must have a personal page in order to create a business page, using your personal page interchangeably as your business page is both a recipe for trouble and highly inefficient. I'll tell you why.
Using your personal account for your business will most likely fly under the radar with Facebook unless you're reported. But, if you do happen to fall into Facebook's crosshairs and are found to be running your real estate business from your personal account you could have your account closed. However, there are two very important reasons for creating a business page for your real estate marketing: Insights and ads.
Personal Facebook pages do not allow you to run ads for your business and do not offer audience insights. Both of which are highly valuable features to help you grow awareness of your brand and attract your ideal clients.
Setting Up Your Facebook Business Page for Real Estate
You need to have a personal page to create a business page, as I mentioned. That being said, I'm going to assume that's the case before we get into the details. In fact, you may be reading this and already have a business page - which is great! This article will still have valuable information for you to ensure it's optimized to perform as best as it can for your real estate business.
From your personal page, select the "+" sign from the top right of your page. Then select "Page" under the "Create" drop down menu to get started.
You'll then be asked to begin filling out your page information. Namely - your name! For your page name, make sure you use your given name and include what you do as a profession to help you be found easily on Facebook/SEO. I suggest using "Real Estate Agent" or "Realtor®" if you're a member. A caveat, though: make sure you're aware of your brokerage's and/or LLR guidelines for using certain terms. In some instances using "Realty", "Real Estate", etc. in your name can result in fines for presenting yourself as a brokerage if you don't actually own one. If you are part of a brokerage, don't use the name of your brokerage at the beginning of your name to avoid confusion but feel free to use it at the end.
For category, choose "Real Estate Agent". You can add up to 3 categories so "Real Estate" and "Real Estate Service" are also good choices to add. But, at a minimum use, "Real Estate Agent".
The description box gives you a chance to explain what you do and speak to your buyer persona. If you're not familiar with a buyer persona check out my series HERE for an in depth overview on the subject. Include your service area, your profession and how you help your target audience in your description. As you can see here, I indicate my location, that I'm a licensed real estate agent and that I work with first time home buyers and how I help them.
Once you're happy with all this information, click the "Create Page" button.
Facebook should quickly create the page and you should then be asked to add your cover and profile photo. As of this publishing date, the correct dimensions for the two images are as follows:
Facebook Profile Photo Size: 851 x 315 pixels
Facebook Cover Photo Size: 170 x 170 pixels
For your profile image, you can use a logo if you have one - however, as a real estate agent, it's much more important that your audience connect with you on a personal level. I recommend using a professional headshot that's recent and where your eyes are visible, keeping in mind that the final displayed image will be round so make sure to position your image for the best possible result.
Your options for the Facebook cover photo are several. You can use a single image but, you also have the option to use video or a carousel of images. Just keep in mind that Facebook's image carousel doesn't automatically advance the images - the visitor has to manually advance each image so I'd advise to use a static image or video.
Your cover photo is another opportunity to both connect with your audience and highlight the benefits of working with you and add calls to action.
Once you're happy with your image selections, click "Save" on the bottom left of your screen.
PRO TIP: To get the absolute most out of your profile and cover images, add descriptions and links to your website for each. These steps will help to drive traffic.
Completing The Setup
After you save your cover and profile image, you should be taken to your new page with the "Manage Page" menu on the left hand side. We'll go ahead and start filling out the rest of our most important page info. Start by selecting "Settings" located under the "Manage Page" box on the left hand side.
Once here, you'll see a number of sections available on the left sidebar. We're only going to focus on a few key sections and complete them fully.
Under "Similar Page Suggestions", make sure the box is checked to include your page when Facebook gives recommendations to new audiences in their timeline. Your previous information that includes your profession will help with this as well.
Under "Starting a Messenger Conversation" make sure "Show a greeting" is set to "On". Facebook's default message is suitable to start but, you can customize it further by selecting the "Change" button. This message will be displayed in the messenger window when someone first starts a conversation with you.
Page Info Section
Some information in this section was completed in the initial set up. However, in the "General" section, "Username" is blank. If this is a new business page, you won't be able to change this just yet. Facebook requires new business pages to amass at least 25 likes before you can customize the username. Getting 25 likes is pretty easy and we'll talk more about growing your audience later. However, you ABSOLUTELY should update your username as soon as you reach the 25 like threshold. If not, you're stuck with a URL that reads like gibberish making it very difficult to share like the below image:
Having a customized username gives you a simple way to let people find you on Facebook. Choose something relevant to the real estate profession such as, "RealEstateJoeNC", etc. Then you can simply tell people, "Follow me on Facebook at @RealEstateJoeNC." See? Easy. If you want to be even more dialed in, try to secure the same username for all of your social networks to make finding you super-easy.
For your phone number, add whichever number is most frequently monitored.
Pro Tip: Consider creating a Google phone number specifically for this page so you can track all calls coming from your Facebook page. You can find instructions for that HERE.
I highly recommend you use your brokerage provided email or a gmail address specifically for your real estate business. Don't use your personal email address or one that's hard to remember such as, "SlickDaddy2345@aol.com" from college. It may be an email you've used forever, but it's unprofessional and reflects poorly on your brand.
The same goes for the website. Choose a singular location to funnel all your real estate traffic to. Whether it's your standalone agent website or the profile/portal provided by your brokerage, make it consistent.
Add your brokerage/office address in this spot - DO NOT use your home address for this purpose for obvious privacy and security concerns. If you have a specific farm area or areas you're focusing on, you'll have the opportunity to include that information shortly.
Additional Location Details
This section is optional but I recommend filling it out as well.
Now is your opportunity to include your targeted neighborhoods, cities or regions and define that area. You're more than likely focusing on a few areas so I highly recommend filling this out. Just start typing a city or neighborhood and Facebook will autofill with available choices.
You can keep this as "No Hours Available" and hours won't be displayed or you could use something like "Always Open". You can use "Open on Selected Hours" however, this selection may deter a potential lead from contacting you when they decide they want to speak with someone. I suggest the two more flexible options.
Your brokerage should have this as part of their website info. Inquire with your Broker in Charge or more likely your IT department for the link.
Leave this as "Unspecified"
Here is where you can provide links to all the other social media accounts, etc. you can be found on. I recommend including all your other social platforms because - what could it hurt?
Templates & Tabs
Templates allow you to select from a list of various page types with preset layouts to help you optimize your page for your specific purpose. You could choose "Business" but I recommend using "Services" as the most relevant template for real estate agents.
The default tabs for the Services template will now be visible and there are a number of customizations you can make. I'll give you my recommendations for the optimal real estate services set up.
Here are the tabs that I recommend should be turned off:
Shop, Offers & Jobs
Of the remaining tabs, this is my recommended order:
About, Photos, Videos, Reviews, Events, Services, Community
If you're in the business of attracting and working leads (Which as a real estate agent, you should be!), it's important you're on top of activity on your business page to capitalize on any opportunities that arise in a timely manner. For that reason, I recommend your notification settings allow you to get notifications in real time via SMS (text). I recommend your settings be as you see below:
I'm also assuming you have an Instagram account - if not - get one! A blog post about Instagram for real estate is forthcoming but, connecting your Instagram account with Facebook allows you to schedule both your Instagram and Facebook posts from one location which you can read more about in my blog post HERE. Connecting your account is also necessary for including Instagram in any ad distribution you do in the future.
This is another place to optimize your Facebook page for your business goals. Facebook allows you a wide variety of options for CTA (Call to action) buttons to direct your audience to take action. As a real estate agent, you have a number of viable options such as "Book Now" if you have a showing app or similar, "Call Now" which allows you to input the number you prefer to be reached at. "Send Message" which allows the visitor to send you a Facebook direct message and one of my favorites for agents, "Use App". Most real estate agents have an app that allows your clients to search home information in real time wherever they are - it's also a lead collection tool. Use this option if you'd prefer to capture those leads via your app.
Growing your audience
Now that you have your business page set up, it's time to let folks know it exists! Generally, my advice will always be "Quality over Quantity" in terms of your audience volume. These days, organic reach is low on most all social media so you want your core audience to be engaged and active on your page. However, in order to be able to start getting data about how your content is received, you need to have an audience. So let's look at ways we can get your audience growing right away.
Inviting friends, family, past/current clients
Invite your entire group of friends from your personal page. That number is only limited by the number of friends you have: 10, 100, 1,000. If every one of the friends from your list likes your page, great! But don't stress if that's not the case. Some folks may not be interested and that's ok! As I mentioned, it's "Quality over Quantity" and you want folks who'll be your cheerleader and not passive members of your page.
To invite friends from your personal list, look for the "Set Your Page up for Success" window on the left side of your page, find "Introduce Your Page" and select "Invite Friends" as seen below. If you've already set up a page and are reading along to optimize it - look for the ellipsis (three dots) on the upper right hand side of your published page to access "Invite Friends".
Once there, you'll see a window with your entire list of Facebook friends to invite. Simply check the boxes of specific people or choose "Select All" to invite them. I'd also recommend checking the "Also send each invite in Messenger" to increase the chance they see the invite. When you're satisfied with your list of invitees, select the "Send Invites" button and away they go. You can come back to this list in the future to see who has liked the page and who hasn't to target them in one of the other ways below.
Send an Email
I also recommend sending an announcement email to your email list as well - you may not be friends with some people on Facebook or it's another way to ensure they see the invitation. Keep it short and simple and make it easy for them to perform your request by providing the link to your page in the email.
Here's the text so you can copy/paste if you'd like - or create something on your own that works better!
"Hey [First Name] I wanted to reach out and let you know about my new Facebook real estate page. It would mean a lot if you'd check it and and give me a like! [www.facebook.com/username] While you're at it - could you recommend my page to your friends, too? I'd really like to reach as many people who I might be able to help. Thanks so much, [Your Name]"
Announce from your Personal Page
I always recommend to market on your business page, but it doesn't hurt to post work-related info on your personal page every once in a while to remind friends about your business. You could get some belated likes or shares from those that haven't done so yet.
Organic Sign Up
Make a habit of using a sign up sheet whenever you hold a public event such as open houses, seminars, etc. and ensure that part of your follow up includes asking them to like/follow your page. Your follow up should always be soon after the event so they remember you and are more willing to oblige.
Contests & Sweepstakes
Holding a contest, giveaway or sweepstakes can also help grow your audience and lead pool. Antavo or Wishpond, and others offer ways to get these set up and collect contact info. Make sure you understand the regulations for real estate agents and Facebook in regards to contests, etc. before you start.
Taking part in any social network should always have one focus above all others: Building relationships. It's crucial that you take the time to engage with the audience you do have. Doing so accomplishes several important things: It helps you get to know your audience and helps them get to know you. It lets your audience know that you're actually listening and interested in what they have to say. And engaging with your audience tells Facebook that something important and valuable is happening with the post and will push it in front of more people.
Some agents don't like having reviews on their page - but those agents are the ones with histories they most likely don't want public (if you get my drift). Ask your past clients to leave a review on your page to help build your trust factor with potential new leads and thank them personally when they do.
Not only are Facebook ads extremely cost effective if you set them up and run them correctly - they are also an effective way to grow your following and generate leads. I have a post about Facebook ads for real estate agents in the works but, you can always get in touch if you want help setting them up and running them effectively.
The Ultimate Goal
Having a Facebook business page is ultimately about connecting with your ideal clients, providing value to them by way of education, assistance and entertainment and being top of mind when they or someone they know need the services you provide. But you also want a well-established platform to reach even more people with advanced techniques such as highly effective Facebook ad campaigns. I'll delve into more advanced Facebook techniques in a future blog post.
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