Article brought to you by the Tech Helpline, a member benefit of the Kansas Association of REALTORS®.
Online lead generation has created new business for many real estate agents for more than a decade. The major portals alone have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in annual ad revenue selling online leads to agents. Early on, agents who bought leads from the portals generated big business.
But buying online leads from portals has become more and more expensive and can cost $200 per lead. And the national average conversion rate for internet leads is widely reported at only 2-3 percent.
Social media sites, like Facebook, are turning the tables on traditional sources of online lead generation or lead gen.
The old model of lead gen captures a lead, and then you go to them. With a social media channel like Facebook, your future leads are already checking you out, and when they are ready, they come to you.
This shifts the focus from targeting people you don’t know – online leads – to people who know and like you.
The concept isn’t new: historically, most agents generate the majority of their business from referrals, most often from past clients, friends and family, and others in their sphere of influence. Facebook makes this process possible online.
Facebook Lead Gen and Real Estate
According to the National Association of Realtors, 76 percent of members are on Facebook for professional use, and 78 percent use Facebook for personal use. However, NAR says only about one-in-five agents use Facebook to market their listings.
Yet, the opportunity to generate leads from Facebook is enormous.
Facebook continues its reign as the number one social media site. Nearly two billion people use Facebook every day worldwide. And the average time spent on Facebook exceeds any other social site, a whopping 58.5 minutes per user per day.
Engagement on Facebook remains off the charts. Every minute, Facebook users create four million likes, and every second, more than six people sign up for Facebook. More importantly, for agents, 35 million people update their statuses on Facebook every day.
Agents are attracted to Facebook, as it is the easiest and most efficient way to stay visible with their clients, friends, family, and community. The fact is most, if not all of them, are on Facebook. There is no more cost-effective way to use sphere marketing to reach clients and future ones than on Facebook.
Facebook also meets HUD fair housing requirements for advertising as real estate agents must mark boosted posts as a “Special Ad Category” and select “Housing” from the pull-down menu. Facebook won’t approve a real estate ad or boosted post without it. This makes certain agents are complying with fair housing rules that prevent specific geographic and demographic targeting.
Turning the Tables
Perhaps the best part of using Facebook as an agent to generate leads is that in the long run, it is easier. Agents who are most successful in generating leads from Facebook do more than drive-by “liking” of other people’s posts.
The key is to share relevant comments and content. It’s also essential for you to be you. Agents attract customers who are like them, as chemistry is vital in any business relationship. Through Facebook, people in your community get to know you, while your sphere gets to know you better.
It’s also important to be consistent. As a busy agent, it’s sometimes hard to find a way to post to Facebook regularly. One of the best ways to be consistent is to use Facebook to market your listings. This includes paying for “boosted” posts. Paying Facebook to expose your listing post to more people helps your exposure in the market. More importantly, you are delivering value to your sellers by increasing exposure to more potential buyers.
What changes is the way you generate leads. Using Facebook to promote your listings and expose your sphere to you and your business, you maintain top-of-mind awareness. When someone in your sphere is ready to buy or sell, they are more likely to contact you because of your Facebook activity.
That turns the tables because instead of paying someone to send you an online lead and tracking them down to see if they are interested in working with you, Facebook leads are people who already know you. And they contact you, instead of the other way around.
Isn’t that the kind of lead every agent wants?
Final Advice: if your MLS or association offers Tech Helpline from Florida Realtors as a member benefit, you can get technical assistance with Facebook. If your MLS or association doesn’t provide Tech Helpline, encourage them to contact Tech Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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