Millennials have gotten a bad rap for a long time. They’ve been labeled lazy and irresponsible, but the truth is, they’re some of the most hard-working, skilled and financially savvy individuals. For example, they have more buying power than any other generation — ever. That’s clear from the over $200 billion they spent in the US in 2017 alone.
And with more money to spend, more millennials are choosing to become homeowners. Compared to generations that came before them, millennials spend “three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents.” But they’re not jumping in blindly. Millennials are a researching generation. They research everything from the best tech devices to buy to the best coffee shops to visit. When it comes to buying a house, they’re going to look for all of the cues they can get.
This need for research means that you, as a realtor, have the opportunity to use millennials as an example to cater to the needs of everyone in your target audience — in the places they spend the most time. We’re talking about using Instagram and Facebook ads as educational tools.
Since 91% of realtors are already on social media, take this access one step further and focus in on these social platforms. For example, using Facebook ads makes it possible for you to have direct and open communication with your target audience — not just millennials — and connect with them in a way that resonates.
Advertising on social media means that you can:
- Reach, attract and engage more new customers in the places where they spend a lot of time.
- Give new customers the information they need to make decisions when they’re ready to buy a home.
You can speak to your target audience directly, in formats that get their attention. Let’s look at six ways to create powerful Facebook ads that get noticed and help educate your audience with the information they need to make a smart decision.
1. Collaborate with influencers
Social media is easy to access and use, which has paved the way for people to grow their brands online and become influencers. These are people with popular YouTube channels, Instagram accounts or Facebook pages with thousands or even millions of followers. They’re called influencers because their opinions have the power to influence and sway the people who follow them. They’ve reached this status because they’re perceived as tastemakers in their field.
Using influencers in your ads relies on the power of social proof. This is when the endorsement of a person or business results in an instant boost in sales for the product mentioned. Influencers add validity to your listing and get your audience to take a closer look to find out more.
This collaboration creates a unique way for your audience to learn more about what you offer. It works because influencers act as a voice of trust and authority—not to mention a focal point. It’s easier to get people to take notice when a well-known influencer is front and center.
This ad calls out the fact this home is close to a golf course designed by a popular company. Home buyers familiar with this designer will use association to assume that the home and neighborhood have the same quality. This will encourage people to click on the ad to find out more.
How to collaborate with influencers
Before you collaborate with influencers, you have to know who to approach. The best way to do that is to get to know your ideal customers and their interests. Start by doing the following:
- Create an Instagram or Facebook page and ask past and current customers to like and follow it.
- For Facebook, go to the Ads Manager and click on Audience Insights. When you’re asked to choose an audience, click on “People Connected to Your Page.”
- After you enter page details, the dashboard will update to show you demographics like age, gender and lifestyle. You can also see what other pages your audience like to get an idea of the type of influencers to match with your ads.
When you have an understanding of what your audience is interested in, find influencers who’ll share your content with their followers. Use a free tool like BuzzSumo to search.
- Click on the Influencers tab at the top of the page.
- Enter “real estate” as your search term.
- Sort through the list, find them on Facebook or Instgram and like and follow their pages. Look to see how many followers they have but also how active they are with sharing on their page.
- Engage by adding comments and sharing their posts.
Taking the time to build a relationship makes it easy to ask for their help when you need it. By then they know you and might be more inclined to say yes.
2. Use 360 video or images ads
Instead of relying on 2-D images to sell your ad, use 360 video and images. Buying a house is a massive purchase, so 360 videos and images give audiences the ability to explore the house virtually, compared to only looking at pictures. This way you educate your audience by showing them vs. telling them.
Another bonus, because most people spend 35 minutes on Facebook a day on average, 360 videos and images let them explore homes you’ve listed, without having to go to multiple, physical locations. Saving them time means moving them to a purchase decision that much quicker.
How to use 360 video and images
Use your ad to give a short preview of a 360 video house listing. For viewers to see more 360 videos or images, ask them for an email address in exchange for access. This way you hook them and pique their interest first and then offer to give them more information to help their search.
Use this tactic to grow your email list but also use it to follow-up with viewers based on the videos they watch. For example, if they watch tours for houses with three or more bedrooms vs. tours for two-bedroom condos, send specific follow-up details to help with their research.
3. Use Facebook Live
Since its introduction in 2016, Facebook Live has become increasingly more popular. As a whole, video content makes up 74% of all online traffic. Now you can live stream video from just about anywhere. Facebook Live lets you:
- Get more personable with your audience. They get to know you as a person and not just for what you’re trying to sell.
- Show your target audience that you’re into the same kinds of technology.
- Talk to your audience in real-time and answer their questions.
While Facebook Live isn’t technically an ad, you can still use it as a unique way to get your followers to pay attention to the solutions that you offer. In addition to streaming a live video, it’s a great way have real-time conversation with your audience. You can answer specific questions about the neighborhood, the house or even financing options to take the uncertainty out of what can be a stressful search process.
How to use Facebook Live
As you get to understand your audience more, you’ll be able to identify their specific pain points. Let’s say they’re frustrated with house prices in the neighborhoods they prefer, you can set up a Facebook Live chat to give the top five ways to save for their dream home.
The point is to talk about a topic that resonates and then share the solution to the problem. You can also use this feature to check in with your audience while you’re at an open house. Do a quick walk-through and a feature rundown. Viewers in the area might be inclined to stop by because of your promotion.
4. Use Slideshow or Carousel ads
Slideshow ads are a combination of images or video stills that let you showcase multiple listings. Carousel ads are similar but viewers have to click on the ad to see additional content. We’ve found that instead of showing your audience one image of the same property and hoping that it’s enough to convince them to find out more, you should include more than one listing with this ad format. An added bonus is you can use Slideshow and Carousel ads in Instagram or Facebook depending on where your audience spends the most time.
Because over 65% of people are visual learners, an interactive ad gets audiences to stop scrolling and take a look compared to static content. You don’t have to include much copy, just focus on basic listing details for each property. The emphasis should be including information that helps viewers picture themselves in the homes.
How to use Slideshow or Carousel ads
Depending on your advertising budget, this is a good opportunity to splurge on professional photography. High-definition images of neatly staged houses will do more than a few quick pictures on a phone. Professional images will make your ads stand out and help build interest in your audience.
Another approach is to use slideshow and carousel ads for hot properties. These are houses in high-demand neighborhoods that you know your audience is interested in. Perhaps list two or three properties in an ad and share a little more details to get people excited.
5. Promote referrals
Referrals are an effective advertising tool because what you spend on your initial investment is less than what you’ll have to pay going forward. With the right offer, your customers will play a huge role in acquisition.
Consider this: 83% of people are willing to refer a friend but only 29% do. In order to grow through referrals, you have to ask your customers. You might be surprised by how willing they are to help. To take advantage of their willingness to participate in referrals, use Facebook ads that highlight opportunities for new customers to share and get something back in return. For example, customers can get cash back at closing time if they referred a certain number of new customers to you.
How to use referral promotions
To build a successful referral program, you need to first know who your advocates are. These are the people who are the most likely to share your referral. These could be buyers you’ve worked with in the past or even home stagers. They should also be people that your potential customer will trust.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- They should be people who are willing to give you a glowing review
- They have a network of people they can share your services with
- They’re active on social media
When you find advocates, create an offer that solves a solution for them as well. For example, if you work with home stagers, offer to send referrals in your network their way for any new customers they refer.
6. Have fun with the copy
The great thing about advertising on social media is that you don’t have to be formal. For example, Facebook is a place where people go to connect with their network of friends and family. They’re not sending long, formal messages to each other so you shouldn’t either.
You’re speaking to different groups that make up your ideal customers, so talk to them in a way that resonates with them. They’re more likely to want to listen to what you have to say. Use hashtags and emojis to make your copy more relatable and help boost click-through rate (CTR). After all, over 92% of people use emojis in their online communications.
There’s a lot of text in the description, but the fingers pointing down really stand out and force people to look at the red “just listed” banner. It’s just enough pop of color to get someone scrolling through their News Feed to stop and take another look.
How to use informal copy
Run an experiment to see what balance of emoji to text work best for CTR. There’s a fine line here because too many emojis and your ad might come off as too gimmicky and stray from your branding. You don’t want your ads to go overboard in an attempt to “try too hard.” Part of your experiment should focus on getting to know your audience and what they’ll respond to. Have fun adding in emojis, after all, ads made of just emojis doesn’t work for everyone.
Depending on which ad performs the best, create a reference guide to track what your ads should include. For example:
- Only include emojis in the description or tagline or both
- Emojis with characters work best
- Start sentences with an emoji
- Only use the same 10 – 20 emojis in different ad campaigns.
Customize your guide based on the results of your experiment. You’re trying to sell homes, so use emojis to show the lighter side of the process. Selling doesn’t have to be a formal and dry process.
Choose one or two of these tactics to get started. Be flexible as you experiment and don’t be afraid to try something new. The goal is to understand what works for your ideal audience and then build campaigns around that.
If your audience appreciates interaction, use a 360 video or Live video to get their attention. From there you can highlight the benefits of the property you’re showing. Remember, your audience uses your ads as research so the information you provide helps get them closer to making a decision. The more information you can provide in a creative way, the better.