What if the way we currently use social media in real estate was the only thing holding us back?
Over the past decade, we’ve watched the real estate industry adopt social media marketing in a big way. But, many are reporting it’s harder than ever (and more expensive) to win attention.
On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we discuss a social media marketing strategy used by media companies and high trafficked real estate websites to win the game of attention and drive better business outcomes.
One of the most common questions we get asked when people subscribe to the podcast is: “How can we grow our following on social media”. But if we dive into this question a little deeper, what people are really asking is: “How can we drive more business outcomes from my presence on social media”.
At the end of the day, this is why we use any marketing channel. Right? To drive better business outcomes?
Social media can be really fun from a personal perspective. But, if you’re using social media to market your business, my guess is that you want better business outcomes as a result – more leads, more clients, more referrals, more revenue.
One of the unique challenges with social media as opposed to any other marketing channel, online or offline, is the fact that you’re not just competing for attention against other real estate professionals. You’re competing for attention against everything. Funny cat videos, updates from someone’s friends and family, episodes of their favorite TV show or the latest celebrity news. All of those things are your competition on social media and this presents a huge challenge to real estate businesses looking to get cut through with their marketing messages on any social platform.
You’re not just competing for attention against other real estate professionals. You’re competing for attention against everything.
It’s harder than ever to earn attention from consumers online and certainly more expensive, as social media platforms increase the cost of reaching your followers in order to increase their bottom line. Not only that, as more of your competitors use social media, the cost of reaching an audience is only going to increase as platforms give priority to the highest bidder.
So, what should you do?
Well, firstly, you shouldn’t get too hung up your competitors numbers and try to compete like for ‘Likes’. What I mean by that, is just because someone has more ‘Likes’ than you, it doesn’t mean they are more profitable. It just means they have more ‘Likes’. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, selling advertising space on your social media profiles, it doesn’t matter how many ‘Likes’ you have. It’s how much revenue and profit you can drive from your presence on social media that really matters – in business. I’m guessing this is the reason you got into social media in the first place. Right? To drive more revenue and profit?
When it comes to using social media for business, we must not forget it’s a marketing channel – just like your phone, just like the newspaper and direct mail. And just like those other channels, the goal for social media should be to ultimately drive some sort of business outcome.
The first step is earning attention and one of the best ways we’ve found to do that, a strategy used by media companies and high trafficked real estate websites.
If you look at the newsfeed of any major media company, our property portals included, the majority of their posts are focused on driving people away from social media with compelling, useful and entertaining content. Media companies know that by driving traffic to their own website, they get something extremely valuable in return. Something they don’t have on social media – someone’s full and undivided attention.
When someone is on your website, you have their full attention – free of distractions. This is just not the case on social media, where people are bombarded with all sorts of messages from family members, friends and things they care about.
Media companies, and the many real estate businesses who are now adopting this approach, know that by publishing their most valuable content on their own website first and using social media to amplify that content – drawing people to their website – it will give their business the best opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with that person. Instead of being one of the thousands of messages in someone’s social media newsfeed.
Think of social media as the cheese and your website as the mousetrap. What you do is publish compelling content on your website and use social media to amplify, or boost awareness, of that content and bring people back to your platform.
Social media as the cheese. Your website as the mousetrap.
Still use social media to drive engagement on your posts and to showcase your brand, if it makes sense for your business to do so. But if you’re looking to drive more than just engagement, more leads perhaps, consider putting your most valuable content on your website first and using social media to drive people to your own website where you have their full and undivided attention – free of distractions.
The same goes for your listings. By using social media to target ads for your listings to people most likely to be interested in them, and bringing them to your website, you’re getting in front of passive buyers or renters before they go looking on the portals.
Is this easy to do? No. Does it mean you should forget about posting content to social media that lives only on social media? No.
Is getting people off social media, back to your own website, more effective for business purposes than just focusing on ‘Likes’ and engagement? Right now, based on the data, we’d argue it is.
I recently spoke at an event in Melbourne where I shared a case study of an agent who is using this strategy particularly well. An agent in the room interjected and said: “I’ve just looked up this guy on Facebook and he’s only got 2,000 ‘Likes’ and his engagement on each post is not all that great.”
Everything this agent said was true and he had pointed out the degree at which we compare ourselves to the competition in real estate. For many agents, it’s all about ‘Likes’ and getting more of them than the competition.
But what this agent in the room couldn’t see on Facebook, a number that Facebook doesn’t display publicly, was the traffic that our friend in the case study was driving to his website from his Facebook activity and the number of market appraisal requests he generates on a monthly basis – which by the way is between 8,000 and 10,000 unique website visitors and 5-10 market appraisal requests respectively each month.
What if the way in which you view social media, was the only thing holding you back? What if clicks to your website was the most valuable social media metric, not ‘Likes’ and engagement?
If you’re using social media to generate better business outcomes, I would argue that getting people off social media is your best bet to do just that. The most prominent media companies with a social media presence and the highest trafficked real estate websites certainly believe it is.
What do you think?
I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.