Are you familiar with Facebook Ads? You know, those pesky things that show up in the right rail of Facebook on your laptop/desktop and within your timeline on your mobile device? Did you also know that the same engine powering those ads also powers Instagram ads, and that Instagram is the fastest growing social network these days (well, other than Pokemon Go, but that’ll fade in a couple weeks)?
As a professional digital marketer, I believe that Facebook Ads are still the best investment you can make in advertising online since you can easily generate over 500% return on ad spend. Many real estate agents have been paying to buy ads on Google for years, trying to appear above the major portals (including my former employer) for those terms to earn those clicks. And SEO? Forget about ranking for terms like [Denver real estate] unless you have a huge budget or are attached to a big franchise.
I reference Facebook Ads many times in my recently released real estate marketing guide, and today we will go a bit deeper to explore why this may be an unspoiled source of potential leads for you.
Real Estate is Personal
Because a house is likely a person’s largest financial purchase ever, it’s intimately tied to their picture of themselves and who they want to be. People prefer to work with those that they trust and are local, and this holds true for real estate agents especially.
People trust those they know and those their network knows. You will often see people asking their networks of friends if they know “a good real estate agent” or if “anyone has sold their house recently and would they recommend someone?”
On Facebook, you can pay to promote your page to a specific audience. By getting more of an audience on your Facebook page by providing outstanding content and information to your ideal audience of homebuyers, you can plug into your ideal customer’s network and provide your customer social proof that their friends also endorse you.
Take for example a site like Outside Magazine, one of my favorite magazines. When I see there in the left that nine of my friends like Outside, I am much more likely to Like the page myself and therefore see its updates.
Real Estate is Visual
My wife and I are just beginning our home search. Like most first time home buyers in our early 30s, we begin our search by finding houses that we think are beautiful. I’ve followed countless interior design sites on Instagram, saved many mid century modern homes on Pinterest, and set up multiple searches for the type of home we want in our target location.
The Internet is visual as well. If you look at your Facebook feed, what do you notice? It’s full of images.
You can use this to your advantage, as Open Listings is above (albeit to work against an agent’s best interest), to inspire your potential customer and begin to familiarize them with your brand.
You’re probably already investing in professional real estate photos for the homes you list. I recommend that you get permission to use these images in promotional materials, then use them within ads to draw in your potential customers.
Real Estate is Data Driven
You have a good idea of the factors that make up your ideal customer – age and income at the bare minimum. Because real estate is local, you also know where they live or where they may be considering moving.
Did you know that Facebook Ads allow you to target ads based on all of the above factors?
For example, did you know that as a Denver real estate agent (for example) you could target millennials who make over $100,000 a year who have recently been in Denver?
The targeting gets that specific.
This ad will reach over 4300 people a day on Facebook and 1700-4500 people a day on Instagram, depending on your daily budget.
Real Estate is Emotional
This point goes hand in hand with real estate as a visual industry. Real estate is emotional. Whether it’s a person’s first home or their third, people become attached to places and excited about new things. With a large transaction such as real estate, they also have those feelings of both fear and excitement.
While emotions should never overshadow solid financials, you cannot ignore the fact that home buying is emotional. Why else would people so excitedly post all over Facebook about finding and buying a new home? Maybe I’m squarely in the demographic of new home buyers, but I see these poses consistently in my personal Facebook feed.
People want to be inspired. They want to be hopeful. They want to dream and move forward in life, being surrounded by beautiful places.
I’m not saying that you should start posting stock photos of beautiful locations with cheesy quotes in front of them. Instead, use the visual and emotional nature of real estate to connect on a heart level with your potential buyers.
People buy because they trust, and building trust through emotional connection is fantastic business.