There are few people that are more willing to put money behind new and creative marketing ideas as Real Estate Agents. However, the more established successful real estate professionals were a bit slow to adapt to social media, and even slower to start to allocate some of their marketing budget to Facebook Ads. But, oh have they come along for the ride now! Real Estate Agents and agencies are all over Facebook, and while they are full of enthusiasm and mostly good intentions, most are horrible at social media marketing. Not only are their efforts not helping, their social media marketing efforts are hurting their brand.
*(I have advice on how to market on social media for Real Estate Agents at the end of this post)*
Here are the most common mistakes Real Estate Agents and Agencies make on Social Media.
1: They post only when they have a home to sell
Social Media, especially Facebook, is not like Zillow or Trulia, it is not just a billboard to display the home you’re trying to sell. Yes, you’ll want to share the homes you’re selling on social media, but it has to be no more than 1/3 of your content, and I suggest it being less than 20% of your content. Most of your content should be value-added content (content that provides value to your target audience, be it education, humor, entertainment, resources, etc.).
The other issue with only posting when you have a home to sell is that the post will only be of interest to a very small percentage of your audience (those currently considering a new home). Engagement will be lower on those posts, and if it is all you post, Facebook will continue to decrease the reach of your posts until less than 3% of your audience is seeing your posts organically.
Then last, social media is…SOCIAL. You would not walk around in real life only ever talking about the new home you have for sale. Don’t do it on social media. This is especially important if you are branding yourself as the brand or Real Estate Agent verses marketing a company. People select agents based off recommendations and word of mouth, current or past homes for sale/sold, marketing, but increasingly so, and especially on social media, because they find something they have in common or can relate to with that agent. Share a bit of yourself. Add value. Be social.
2. They consistently post low quality video and selfie videos (especially on Instagram and SnapChat)
Social Media is a great way to give a visual and an inside look at homes, but consistently sharing low quality video is rarely a good idea for real estate agents, especially if you’re showing a home. Right or wrong, the viewer will associate the quality of the video with the quality of the service you’re likely to provide. It shows a person who does not take the time to do things right and that does not value quality. If you’re showing a home via video, take the time to produce a quality video. There may be a time where an impromptu video makes sense (though I’d discourage it) but still make sure the video is higher resolution, smooth (no camera bounce/movement) and with crisp sound quality.
Tip: Spend the money to invest in a decent camera and either learn to professional edit video or find someone that can edit the videos for you.
Another problem with videos that Real Estate Agents post is that they often fail to format it correctly for the social network they post on. I’ve seen countless videos sized for Facebook that get posted to Instagram and part of the video is cut off because the networks have different sizing requirements and limitations. This again speaks to the lack of professionalism and attention to detail of an agent. It is sloppy.
Now, on to something some of you won’t like to hear but you absolutely must listen: stop with the Instagram Stories, SnapChats and Facebook selfie videos! Again, there may be a time in which this makes sense, but that will be rare. First, if you’re posting more than a few real-time videos on social media throughout the day, it is an indication to potential clients that you’re not working all that hard and that focus and time management might be an issue. Next, it puts you as the focus. This is especially bad if you’re showing a home. They don’t want to see your giant mug covering 75% of the video, they want to see the home. Sure, if you’re building a personal brand, this may seem like a tool to help grow your brand, but in all my years of experience, 98% of people that post multiple snaps and stories per day hurt their brand (and their life), not build it. Then, going back to low quality, the real-time videos rarely are high quality. A top of the line selfie stick or tri-pod may help, but typically there is still a bit drop off in quality from a professional video.
Tip: Unless you have an actual story, ideally one in which you’ve taken the time to storyboard and plan out, don’t post more than 2-3 times per day on Instagram Stories or Snapchat. Your stories function on a business account should only be used to share very important news or for an actual planned out story. Under no circumstances should it be a tool to document your day.
3. They share all of their Facebook Business Page posts on their personal account
There are people whose personal Facebook account is more of, or almost entirely, a professional profile. This is common in my industry of social media marketing. Much of that is because they are people in which their career makes up a large (I’d argue unhealthily disproportionate) part of their self-identity. You see this too with self-help guru’s/public speakers/life coaches, fitness trainers, and a few other professions. However, this does not work well for real estate agents.
First, from a Facebook Algorithm standpoint, you’re killing your page by sharing all of your posts to your personal profile. Most of your friends won’t care about the home you’re trying to sell because they aren’t currently looking for a home. Facebook detects that lack of interest, does their magical calculations, and decides to show your future posts to fewer people. Though, perhaps you have supportive friends that will click like on the post to show support. That may be worse. Most of them aren’t truly interested, may not be in that geographical area and may share little in common with your target buyers. Now, Facebook will go through their calculations and show future posts to people more like those friends. (This is why you never invite your friends to like your Facebook Page unless they are within your target audience. See my older post on this: Don’t Invite Your Friends To Like Your Facebook Page.) This can also affect the reach of your personal social media. If you post frequently about business or share your page posts, it is most likely that Facebook will show your personal profile posts to fewer and fewer people.
Tip: Instead, if there is something from your business page you do want to share, especially value added content, post it as a new post on your personal profile (not as a share). If you do get people commenting and inquiring, you can then direct them to your page, or direct them off line to further discussion.
Next, remember what I said before, it is “social” media. You would not walk around telling every person you know about the home you have for sale or promote your business to them. Don’t do this on social media. You’re not the Bubba Gump of real estate.
Tip: When you have a new home for sale or a post that you think will interest a few friends, reach out to them directly to share it with them. This ensures they see it, gives you a chance to gauge their real interest, and allows for relationship building.
4. They share their Instagram Posts to their Facebook Business Page
Yes, Instagram is owned by Facebook and Instagram allows the option to share a post to your Facebook Business Page. It is easy – one click of a button. You’d think that would be good to do, but it is not. There is no upside besides the ease of sharing the post.
This is a bit controversial, but in the hundreds of accounts I have tested, just over 90% of shares from Instagram to a Facebook Business Page see reduced reach. In the other 10%, the reach was roughly the same. We never once have detected an increase in reach on such shares. Part of this is because of shares in general seeing reduced reach and part is because of the post formatting and optimization differences with Facebook and Instagram.
Tip: Always post directly to Facebook. Do not use a third party posting service or app. Do not use the share function on Instagram. It will only take you a few extra seconds and your reach will be better. Essentially, Facebook wants you to give them content and they give favor to new media content (photos and videos). Sharing from Instagram does not categorize it as new media being added to Facebook, but when you post directly to Facebook, that photo or video is new media added and it experiences favor in the algorithm.
The second issue with sharing from Instagram to Facebook is the formatting and optimization issues. You may experience and issue with photos or videos not fully displaying. Though the biggest problem is the captions. Your Instagram caption is not likely formatted well or optimized for Facebook. First, you may have a bunch of hashtags in your Instagram post that then show up on Facebook. There are rare times in which hashtags can help a Facebook post, but there is almost no time in which it will benefit anyone reading this, especially real estate agents. You may also have content that is several paragraphs on Instagram, and whereas that does not (usually) affect reach on Instagram, it most often does on Facebook. Essentially, if they have to click “read more,” to see the rest of the content on Facebook, its likely your reach will be reduced. (*Note: This does not mean reduced because it is “punished” by Facebook because it exceeds a particular length, but because user behavior is consistently such that people avoid and scroll past longer posts, therefore causing Facebook to then detect the post as not being of interest to your audience and they begin to show it to fewer people).
Tip: Don’t use hashtags on Facebook. Again, there are times they can have benefit, but it is most likely they’ll lead to your posts with hashtags experiencing reduced reach. Post directly to Facebook. Limit the post to 1-2 sentences and if more information is required, direct them to a link for more information.
5. Lack of a Social Media Marketing Plan
This is the biggest issue and the other four mistakes mentioned often flow from this mistake. You need a plan. Too many Real Estate Agents post only when they have an immediate need. They may post 3-4 times over a day or two and then not again for a week. They may post about the same home 2-3 times in a row. I see a lot of agents posting later in the evening, presumably when they have free time, but when most of their target audience is not online. You need a plan, and you need to follow the plan.
There will seldom be a time when a post is so time sensitive that it has to go up right away. The rare exception might be a last minute open house (though if you find yourself hosting a lot of last minute open houses, you have bigger issues). The biggest problem I find with a lack of planning is a lack of content, especially value added. If you plan to post 4-5 times per week, coming up with that amount of content can seem daunting, but if you take the time to plan it out, it will take you as little as a half-hour a week. This will allow you to plan value added content and to have specific days in which you’ll share promotional content (photos/videos of homes for sale, open house announcements).
Tip: Set aside an hour to plan your week of content. Sunday night may work well. Schedule your posts for the week. If something comes up during the week, ask yourself if it absolutely must go up as soon as possible, and if so, post it in place of a schedules post. However, you’ll most likely find it can wait until next week and you can work it into the early part of next weeks content schedule. Remember, quality content posted at an optimal time within a good mix of other types of content will experience significantly better reach.
Suggested Facebook Business Page Posting Schedule for Real Estate Agents:
Monday Morning: Motivational or Humor Post. The goal of this is to start the week with a highly engaging post, drawing people to your page. I suggest boosting it to a targeted audience (make sure to select people that don’t already like the page).
Monday Afternoon: Promotional Post – Photo/Video of Home for Sale. You’re positioning this post to capitalize off the traffic and new page followers your more engaging morning post is delivering.
Tuesday Afternoon: Value Added Content. If you have a blog with informational posts on the real estate market in your area, home buying tips, new home decorating ideas etc., this would be ideal. If not, find third party sources to share. This is about providing information of value to your audience. Note, this post is also positioned in the afternoon, giving your Monday posts a full day to maximize their reach.
Thursday Morning: Community – Value Added Content. This is a second value-added content post for the week but with it focusing on something within your target geographical area. Maybe it is a new story that is big that week in your area, something about a local sports team, or a local feel good story. You’re adding value and showing an interest in the community. Also, this is a post likely to be shared by local people who likely have a large percentage of their Facebook friends being within your geographic area.
Friday Morning: Promotional – Open House Advertisement. Use this time to promote your weekend open houses. You’ll get the best results advertising open houses 1-2 days before the open house. This is the right blend of enough time to see the post and plan to attend without it being too far away that people forget about it.
Weekend Post: Personal Post. Share something from your life. Maybe its a photo of your family doing something in the local community. Maybe it is a post about a 5k you ran, or a post about a local coffee shop you stopped in. Give people something to relate to and show a bit of your personality and life.
Facebook Page Social Media Marketing Content Tips for Real Estate Agents:
- Keep most of your posts to 1-2 sentences . DO NOT put a full home listing in a post. The notion that people need to see all the information in one post is not backed-up by the data nor is it sound marketing. People know how to get more information if they are interest. Include a link to the site listing (but upload photos first so its categorized as an image post not a link post – you’ll get more reach). Do not include emojis. The little home emoji may look cute but in most cases you’ll hurt the reach. Keep it simple. Post quality photos of a home with a catchy headline and then focus on 1-2 features/benefits of the home. *Note: Facebook has been tightening the grip on what they allow in Facebook Ads, especially when advertising a home. The more text you have in your posts, the less likely your ad/boost will be approved.*
- Don’t post self-congratulatory posts about selling a home. Instead, ask the clients to write a recommendation on your page. Let others brag about the great work you’ve done. If you wish, you can share their recommendation/post with text in which you congratulate them on selling the home. Make it about them. Don’t add a call to action or self-promotion to it.
- Dedicate a portion of your ad budget to boosting value added posts. Most Real Estate Agents use all of their ad budget on Ads and Boosts of homes for sale only. This is an opportunity to get your brand in front of people within your target audience and to grow your page following. Be very specific with your target audience or else this may backfire, but if done right it can be a huge benefit and only cost you $25-50 a month to see big benefits.
- Don’t over-sensationalize your sales pitch or the home. 99% of you aren’t selling anyone their “dream home.” Nobodies dream home is a 2 bed 2 bath 1,500 sq foot 175k home in lower to middle class america. People see through that cheesiness. Give the post a catchy first line, but after that, get to the facts. Your buyers are looking for something to meet their needs, they don’t need you to sell them a dream. You’re not a reality tv star millionaire mansion selling realtor.
If you are a Real Estate Agent or Agency that is looking for some help with your social media marketing, reach out to me. If I can’t be the one to help you, I can point you in the right direction. firstname.lastname@example.org
– KP KELLY