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75: Josh Cobb: What The Latest Facebook Changes Mean For Real Estate Agents

By |April 21, 2016| No Comments

According to the Public Relations Institute of Australia, there are 15 million active Facebook accounts in Australia and the average user spends one in every five minutes a day on Facebook. That’s 4.8 hours every day.

The latest statistics from Facebook themselves show that almost half of those Facebook users only ever log in from their mobile device – up 21% year on year. Which means by this time next year, we could see two-thirds of people on Facebook using only their mobile device to log in to their account.

For you as a real estate professional in the age of “mobile first”, the latest changes at Facebook open up a whole new set of tools to market and operate your business more effectively and more cost-effectively than ever before.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we’ll explore three big changes to Facebook aimed to help improve the customer experience and marketing of your business.

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Starting as a social network for college students in February 2004, Facebook today is on a mission to swallow the internet. Yes, you heard that right. Facebook wants you to do everything on the web from inside – you guessed it – Facebook.

Now while some might argue this has always been the case, the latest changes to Facebook’s search, messaging and video applications make it easier than ever for people to live inside Facebook when they’re searching the web, purchasing products or services and, of course, interacting with family and friends.

According to the Public Relations Institute of Australia, there are 15 million active Facebook accounts in Australia and the average user spends one in every five minutes a day on Facebook – 4.8 hours a day.

The latest statistics from Facebook show almost half of those Facebook users only ever log in from their mobile device – up 21% year on year. Which means by this time next year, we could see two-thirds of people on Facebook using only their mobile device to log in to their account.

This is a number you certainly need to be thinking about in your business right now. With more and more people using their smartphone as the only device for searching the web and interacting with brands – all from within the Facbeook platform – it’s no longer optional to have a mobile-first approach to your marketing and customer service, it’s compulsory.

Companies such as Uber and KLM Airlines are already offering their customers the ability to submit inquiries, book tickets and lodge support requests all via the Facebook Messenger app. In fact, these companies believe in the platform so much, they’ve significantly scaled back their communication teams for phone and email support and some are even starting to close these departments down all together in exchange for customer support via Facebook only. The research these companies have published so far into consumer engagement is not surprising. Their customers are loving the convenience of using one channel for their personal and professional engagement – Facebook.

Just last month at its annual developer conference, Facebook announced its latest changes to the Messenger app. One of which is called Businesses on Messenger.

Next time you log in to your company Facebook Page, in the bottom left-hand corner of your messages you’ll notice a small QR style image.

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Click on it and you’ll get a Facebook Messenger code that can be used on your website or any marketing material for people to contact your business directly via Facebook Messenger – either with text, uploaded files, images or even video.

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You can setup an automatic welcome and an automatic reply for when someone has submitted their comments.

We’ve seen property management companies use this already for handling repairs and maintenance requests from their tenants – and their tenants love it. Why? Because instead of communicating on a channel that we prefer – such as email, phone or via forms on our website – tenants are now communicating with their property manager on a platform that they prefer.

A senior property manager of a large agency who is using Facebook Messenger in this way recently said this to me:

“Offering support via Facebook Messenger is the next important step to provide our tenants the best possible mobile experience and reduce the amount of phone calls and emails to our office.”

It’s not just property management that benefits from these latest changes to Facebook, but salespeople and BDMs are in the driver’s seat with some amazing new technology and marketing tools now available – more specifically, with Facebook video.

Facebook have made it clear to the world that they want to be the number one video platform on the web, surpassing YouTube.

Some of you who are posting YouTube links to Facebook might have noticed that the amount of people who see those videos has dropped significantly. That’s because Facebook favours video that is uploaded directly into Facebook.

What that means is simply this – if you’re uploading video directly into Facebook, more people will see your videos.

Facebook Live is now available for personal profiles, Facebook Groups and Facebook company Pages – giving your audience the ability to watch you live as you record your video directly from your smartphone.

We’ve seen real estate professionals use this particularly for open homes, auctions and private viewings for a select group of people.

Once you’ve recorded your live video, it sits on your profile or page so you can embed it on your website or share the link with your clients and prospects.

In 2016, video is no longer optional when it comes to marketing yourself or your agency. Video allows your prospects to get to know you before they meet you and it reminds your current clients of why they chose you as their agent in the first place. Facebook video just happens to be a powerful medium for you to become the trusted authority in your local market.

While Facebook Messenger and Facebook Live video are two of the biggest additions to Facebook’s platform, probably one of the most overlooked changes is that you now have the ability to search the web and visit websites from within the Facebook app without ever having to leave. Previously, you would need to open up a web browser to access external links or search the web, but not any more. Now, you can use Facebook just like you would Google.

So there you have it – three big changes to Facebook to help improve the customer experience and market your business.

You’ll be hearing much more about Facebook Messenger, Facebook Live Video and Facebook search. So check them out, see how you can leverage these tools in your business and please, do it before your competitors do.

Good luck.

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