5 minute read

Let’s take a trip back in time to 2004.

It was a Leap Year to start, and for all intents and purposes, the year Facebook was introduced to the public at roughly 8 features strong. No Business Pages, no private messaging, no news feed—ah, to yearn for simpler times.

What we’ve come to know as our Facebook of today is hardly recognisable when compared to its early beginnings.

However, with some of their newest changes underway, Zuckerberg hopes to bring users back to those early day use cases. No longer will the network aim to simply consume as much time in a user’s day as possible; rather, it’s willing to trade out quantity for the quality of time spent.

Facebook’s announcement of their major changes to the news feed is being realised through a number of tweaks to the network’s algorithms. The ‘quick-and-dirty’ impact for your real estate business is that Facebook has solidified itself as a pay-to-play distribution channel with an emphasis on engaging content. Meaning, if you don’t have money to spend on Facebook, or don’t beleive you should have to pay to reach your followers, you may as well give up right now.

And along these ‘quality content’ lines, as most recently detailed via the network’s Newsroom, is a change in how it approaches local news.

Facebook News Feed to Feature More Local News

As part of their 2018 mission to make Facebook better connected to the ‘well-being’ of its users and society, they’ve released a series of updates to better prioritise local news. The company states:

“We are prioritizing local news as a part of our emphasis on high-quality news, and with today’s update, stories from local news publishers may appear higher in News Feed for followers in publishers’ geographic areas. This change is one of the many signals that go into News Feed ranking”.

These efforts are a direct response to much of the criticism Facebook received in 2017 over fake news, clickbait, and spam accounts. In better surfacing smaller, niche publishers based on location, the network hopes to foster not just a user’s sense of global community—but local as well.

What does this all mean for real estate agents?

Now, more than ever, your focus should lie in bolstering the quality of your ‘owned’ digital channels rather than encouraging people to follow a Facebook Page. Build the quality of your content off Facebook so as to increase your credibility on Facebook. In doing so, you can leverage the channel’s hyper-focused changes to better drive traffic and conversions to your real estate agency website.

Embrace the Power of Video

Video has proven itself a power player in the world of social content time and time again. When done well, it captures attention in much greater length than that of a caption paired with an image. And because of this, Facebook has indicated that video—especially live video—will continue to be given greater consideration in news feed rankings.

All of this to say, if you haven’t yet incorporated video into your content marketing efforts, the time to do so is now.

As it pertains to local news for real estate, this could be approached in a number of ways. Consider, for example, networking with key members of the community (i.e. business owners, school officials, young professionals, etc.) for the sake of featuring individuals on a weekly Facebook live chat.

Image Property from Brisbane is a great example of a real estate team who don’t just talk the talk, but they walk the walk when it comes to engaging with their community.

As a real estate business, you serve as a stepping stone towards not just the purchasing of a house, but the making of a home. Building out that story from the angle of community can be incredibly powerful. Use it to your advantage in developing Facebook content that’ll not just be seen in the news feed, but engaged with as well.

Build a Website Worth Driving Traffic to

An indicator for local news rankings in the news feed will most certainly be engagement. While this begins on the social platform itself, it ends on your real estate website. And if your website isn’t up to par with a visitor’s expectations, it’ll cause a ripple effect for the authority of content that’s surfaced in your local Facebook community. The less people want to engage with your content based on previous experience, the less likely it is to be seen in the future.

Your website becomes the foundation of your online presence. You want anyone, who finds you via Facebook or otherwise, to inevitably end up on it. As a channel that you have ultimate control over, you have an impact on visitors’ experiences and the related perception of your business, allowing you to guide them towards an ultimate end goal.

Get Involved in the Local Community

Building a strong presence offline is just as important as the one you build online, especially as far as Facebook is concerned. Their own emphasis on better catering to local groups should inspire you to develop the types of cross-promotional opportunities that can get you seen through as many local outlets as possible.

This may mean pitching to local news channels some of your highest performing blog posts as longer form features. When attempting to leverage the power of these types of outlets, it’s not necessarily about starting from scratch. If you’re already creating relevant content for your own website, blog, LinkedIn channel, and so on, repurpose it in a way that helps Facebook’s news feed changes work in your favour.

Back to Its Roots: Facebook Prioritises Local News in Feeds

Facebook has certainly come a long way since those early ‘poking’ days, and for those most willing to evolve alongside it, are continued opportunities to drive business.

Have you already begun to feel the impact of the Facebook’s news feed changes? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Josh Cobb

Phone Number: 0427 184 183

Email Address: josh@stepps.com.au

Stepps was founded by Josh Cobb in 2014. Josh has advised more than 100 brands since starting the company and hundreds of agents who have attended his workshops. He is the host of the popular Real Estate Pros podcast, oversees digital strategy for top performing real estate agents and teams, and travels the globe with several international speaking engagements each year.

Recently, Josh was named as a finalist in the 2017 REB Awards for Industry Thought Leader of The Year and the winner of  Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 – Marketing, PR & Events.

In addition to web development and digital strategy consulting, the company also runs Stepps Media, a fast-growing education company that produces an iTunes top-ranked podcasttraining events, email and webinars.