The Social Media Update 2016 by Pew Research Center found that nearly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%), or LinkedIn (29%). The data is useful to give real estate agents an idea of how social media impacts purchasing behaviors, as well as to understand which channels perform better for advertising. Even more importantly, 79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook.
In a series about advertising for real estate pros, today I will focus on Facebook.
Facebook should be among the first choices of networks to place ads, but Instagram gains popularity too. Yet, it is easy to run ads in parallel on Facebook and Instagram, since the two are owned by the same entity and interconnected. As I've already pointed out in a previous article, it is vital to use Social Media to increase your real estate brand, mainly because 92% of home buyers use the Internet to search for real estate.
Ads play an important role in these searches. While not necessarily effective immediately, ads can boost your ROI faster than traditional content campaigns and PR. Where Google Ads are expensive, Facebook ads seem to deliver more value for money. But there's science in creating ads that convert on Facebook. You must use copy (text) and images to deliver a strong message that appeals and addresses a basic need, or your ad will fail. Also, the old rules of advertising, including "repetition is key to attracting a buyer’s eye," still apply, today more than ever because buyers are easily distracted, not necessarily by other offers, but by other types of content.
Successful entrepreneurs know how to maximize good content. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, you can turn any type of content into an ad. You can "boost" a post to attract more eyeballs, and you can define, or better said, "refine" your audiences by location, age, and interests. These are all good things, although, the more filters you add, the more money you have to pay for your ads. Yet, identifying the right buyer personas translates into faster revenues.
A concrete example of content that can be turned into an ad on Facebook is a video. Let's say you publish a video showcasing a new listing. Introduce the said video with a short description highlighting the main benefits for the buyer, then boost the post.
If you target your boosted posts right, you will notice a large number of "actions" like link or ad clicks, likes, shares, and comments. Facebook assigns a "relevance score" to ads getting more than 500 impressions, which is a rating of 1 to 10 based on how your audience is responding to your ad. The higher the score, the more relevant the ad. Relevance scores also matter because they influence how much value you gain from the money you spend on the ad. Also, ads with low relevance scores do not reach as many potential buyers as they should.
Before targeting Facebook audiences you should identify your buyer personas:
"Marketing a property as a lifestyle rather than a set of rooms and a number of acres is a subtle but really important distinction," explains Kevin Namaky eloquently in a response to a post by David Meerman Scott.
Buyer personas should also be considered when you target your ads with Facebook. Create highly custom, granular audiences for each ad you plan on Facebook. Make sure you exclude from your campaigns people who already like your page to prevent them from hitting the “Hide ad” button to get rid of it."Hide ad" is negative feedback, which will lower your ad's relevance score and reach. What's even better is that Facebook lets you know when your ads could be performing more, so do optimize your target audience every time you need to by editing the campaign. There are many other hacks to improve your relevance score to consider.
Like everything on social media, your ads should be honest and genuine to gain interest from the public. Ads that are focused exclusively on sales usually fail, unless they feature an amazing dress for pennies or a novelty gadget that will impress your neighbors. So plan ahead and remember to address a human need before anything else, and your Facebook ads will be successfull.