In an industry where word-of-mouth and traditional advertising channels have long been the bedrock of lead generation, a divisive narrative exists about social media.
There’s a persisting belief, especially among some seasoned agents, that social media is merely a playground for brand visibility. But what if this long-held notion is more myth than reality? What if, in the digital age, social media has evolved into an indispensable tool for real business outcomes?
Breaking Down Old Beliefs
There seems to be a lingering hesitancy among some agents—often those with many years in the field—to fully embrace the digital wave, particularly when it comes to social media. Let’s delve deeper into these beliefs that are more than just notions; they’re borderline myths.
Firstly, the idea that social media is only beneficial for brand awareness is an outdated concept rooted in a time when social platforms were in their infancy or perhaps by those who have spent thousands of dollars on social platforms with very little return. Indeed, social media was initially more about connection and less about commerce. However, as these platforms matured, so did their functionalities and algorithms, facilitating more targeted advertising and user engagement beyond just ‘likes’ and ‘shares.’
The second misconception that’s tough to shake is that social media can’t generate viable leads. But we’re not just challenging this notion; we’re outright debunking it. The data and case studies in this article clearly show that social media isn’t just a supplementary tool—it’s increasingly becoming a cornerstone of effective lead generation strategies in real estate.
The Portal Paradox: Rethinking Where ‘Real’ Buyers Are
Now, one may argue that agents tend to allocate more of their budgets to major property portals because that’s where they believe ‘real buyers’ are found. It’s a notion grounded in the idea that portals are the serious platforms for serious buyers. But let’s dissect this belief for a moment.
What our research and data are demonstrating is that social media has become a tool that allows agents to engage potential buyers before they even make it to these portals. Think about it. Social media platforms are where people spend a significant amount of their time (roughly 2 hours per day on average here in Australia). It’s where they go for news, entertainment, and yes, even property browsing, especially when intriguing listings pop up in their feeds.
By advertising on social media, agents have a unique opportunity to capture the attention of would-be buyers early in their search journey. It’s almost like meeting them at the door before they enter a crowded room full of competing voices. By the time these buyers make it to the portals, they’ve already had a meaningful interaction with your brand and listings. The chance to build that early rapport and stand out in a crowded marketplace can make all the difference.
Thus, the new paradigm we’re presenting is not merely about shifting ad dollars away from portals to social media, but re-evaluating how each platform serves a distinct role in a multi-faceted marketing strategy. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your approach, embrace the full suite of tools available, and watch how social media can significantly contribute to achieving tangible, business-critical outcomes.
The Power of Numbers
For example, our social media advertising platform called Advance, which is exclusively available to our website clients, integrates directly with Meta’s APIs to enable seamless promotion of listings on Facebook and Instagram in just a few clicks, without having to get bogged down in the constantly changing Facebook Ads Manager interface. We’ve found that social media ads are phenomenal for generating real business outcomes. The data we collect shows not just the number of likes or shares but real, tangible metrics like:
- The number of email enquiries received directly from an ad
- The number of people attending open homes after viewing the ad
The Key Elements
It’s not just about slapping an ad online; success depends on various factors:
- Ad Design: Image ads consistently generate more leads and attendees at open homes than video ads.
- Audience Targeting: Custom audiences, such as those who have previously enquired on listings or attended open homes, outperform geo-targeted ones.
- Quality of Landing Page: Where you direct your traffic is crucial.
- Budget: The more you invest, the better the outcomes.
Show Me the Money: ROI Matters
The proof is in the pudding—or in this case, the ROI. The average spend on our platform has seen a significant uptick, moving from around $50 to between $250 and $500 per campaign. And it’s no wonder. Agents are now adding social media packages in their pre-listing kits, thereby transferring the cost to the vendor but also providing them with high-value opportunities for exposure.
Why Not Just Stick to Portals?
One might argue that property portals offer social media advertising products too. However, these platforms drive traffic to their websites and take a considerable cut of your ad spend. With a platform like Advance, all traffic gets directed to the agency’s website, ensuring that agents can track every interaction.
In this campaign for a property on the Gold Coast, the property garnered 26,387 impressions, 1,850 clicks, 1 email enquiry, and 27 open home attendees in just 10 days, on a budget of $350.
This Sydney property generated 22,808 impressions, 2,109 clicks, 7 email enquiries and 5 open home attendees in a week, with the same budget as our example above.
These results indicate that social media’s reach and efficacy are not confined to specific markets. It works universally if you concentrate on the right creative elements, the right copy, and, of course, the right tools.
Paid social media advertising is fast becoming a necessary supplement to traditional property campaigns. While you can deploy these types of campaigns directly through platforms like Facebook and Instagram using Business Manager, a specialised tool integrated with your agency’s website can offer nuanced insights and tracking.
It’s time to acknowledge the transformative power of social media advertising in real estate. In this evolving landscape, can you afford to be left behind?