It’s probably safe to assume that by now, you’re well aware of the changes Facebook has made in relation to its news feed algorithm.
If not, consider yourself late to the party. On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement that one of Facebook’s main focuses for 2018 would be to reemphasize ‘people’ as core to the values of their platform.
While beneficial to individuals using Facebook for fun, who have felt bombarded by an onslaught of advertising and fake news, the promotion of more personal content over everything else sent brands into a frenzy. How would business pages fare when put up against these types of changes? Would it even make sense to market ones’ business through the platform anymore?
The reality of the situation is, no one really knows what the long-lasting effects will be at this point. And in the eyes of some, these changes aren’t necessarily impactful when compared to the ongoing evolution of Facebook that’s already been taking place for years.
To quote our good friend and marketing professor Mark Schaefer:
“So the implication of this announcement is, if you knock it out of the park, your content may reach 1 percent of your audience and if your content is not engaging, it will be zero. In reality, nothing has changed”.
What do these latest Facebook News Feed changes mean for your real estate business?
One of the biggest takeaways you should garner from Zuckerberg’s announcement is that the days of organic reach are no more. Of course, Facebook has been trending towards this for quite some time. Just check out this chart below by Convince & Convert which shows the sharp increase in Facebook’s stock price the last time they limited reach for brand Pages on Facebook. While you’re busy complaining that Facebook is changing the rules yet again, Facebook are laughing all the way to the bank.
From 2011 to 2015, organic reach for businesses has decreased steadily by 4-10 percentage points a year. In 2018, that reach now sits at less than 1 percent, which in reality, is not much more than 0.
If the phrase ‘pay to play’ is not in your vocabulary when it comes to Facebook, then it’s probably time to rethink your marketing outlets. Facebook is a business after all; a business with goals, internal performance metrics to hit, and a bottom line to remain conscious of. Using the platform as a real estate agent or agency should be thought of as an investment, complete with a reasonable budget and overall strategy surrounding your efforts.
1. Focus on creating quality content if organic reach is still important to your business
Facebook Ads expert Jon Loomer reacted to the news of the platform’s changes with a reminder for all marketers to focus on content that matters.
“Don’t forget that your audience is human. Create good content—in whatever format is best—that they’ll want to consume. That they’ll find helpful, educational, or entertaining”.
Say you’ve been regularly posting 8-10 times a week on your real estate company’s Facebook page. Those posts have included everything from new listings to community events. Look back through your analytics for posts’ performance. If the engagement has been lacklustre, it won’t help your business one bit to continue with the status quo.
Facebook is going to be prioritising person-to-person posts and with this, more quality engagement on branded content. Even with an ad budget, your sponsored content will need to resonate with audiences in a way that makes them want to do more than just ‘Like’ and move along. For this reason, it’ll work in your best interest to pair down the number of posts being created for fewer, higher quality content that strives to encourage comments and shares.
When it comes to social media, the louder you shout, the less you’ll sell. Be aware of what you’re saying as a business and how that then relates to your larger goals.
The louder you shout, the less you’ll sell.
2. Get Savvy About your Ad Audience(s)
With your quality pieces of content in tow, it’s time to familiarise yourself with Facebook’s ad management platform. Instead of just hitting ‘Boost Post’ on your real estate company’s Facebook page and hoping for the best, go behind-the-scenes and let yourself get comfortable with audience targeting.
For as much as Facebook will reward content that’s getting a lot of engagement, on the other end of the spectrum, they’ll penalise material lacking in engagement. This means you’ll become less likely to appear in front of desired audiences in the future if the content you’re pushing out to them through ads isn’t yielding results.
Furthermore, if your audience are clicking ‘Hide Posts from this person’, this is a red flag to Facebook that your Page is ‘spammy’ and your reach (paid and organic) will suffer. Because of this, it’ll serve in your best interest to regularly review the results of every organic post and ad campaign to see how people are interacting with it – positively and negatively.
In some cases, it may not always be a factor of your content being of poor quality; it could, in fact, be a result of poor audience quality. Experiment with the variety of targeting characteristics Facebook makes available in Ads Manager, such as different demographics, location, interests, and behaviours. There are so many more people to be reached outside of your business page’s existing fans, so get to know them and who your content is most likely to resonate with. Our Agent Marketing Cloud platform makes this a breeze!
3. Incorporate Live Video Whenever Possible
It’s no secret that Facebook has been attempting to develop a stronghold in the video broadcasting arena. They are trying to become a major player in broadcasting with the release of Facebook Watch, an on-demand service offering original video content alongside a handful of their partners. These recent changes to the Facebook news feed will surely play a part in trying to elevate its use among users and spark further investment from brands.
With this in mind, Facebook is sure to reward businesses creating engaging Live video broadcasts by expanding their reach to more users. In applying this to your real estate company’s content strategy, be mindful of when it might make sense to employ this sort of format amidst your other efforts. Rather than just posting a weekly blog for example, consider doing a blog and weekly recap of real estate trends in your local area using Facebook Live.
Worst comes to worst, you can always change direction and explore other concepts should your original idea prove not to yield positive results. And while the Facebook news feed changes mean re-emphasizing the power of Facebook Live in your marketing efforts, you shouldn’t feel the need to do everything Live, all the time. Find the right balance and remember that again, strive for quality above all else.
Do Facebook’s changes still have you feeling frazzled and unclear of how to proceed?
Watch a more in-depth video on what’s next for the marketing efforts of real estate agents using the platform in this video.