When prospecting for real estate leads, few platforms give you as much power as Facebook can. You can segment your targets and even your own friends list to a level that most platforms don’t allow — and as we all know, everyone in the world spends time there.
You already know all this (you spend time on Facebook yourself, after all!) — but for whatever reason, you can’t seem to crack the code when it comes to real estate prospecting with Facebook. And you know you’ve already done the work of getting yourself into their network, so losing these leads feels particularly painful every time you see an “under contract!” post and know you had nothing to do with it.
If you haven’t gotten your real estate Facebook lead generation plan off the ground yet — or you’ve tried but are stalling out and you need a fresh take on your strategy — then follow this plan to help get real, live Facebook leads into your database.
How Facebook Fits Into Your Real Estate Sales Funnel
Buyer and seller leads both go through specific steps in their “journey” to finding you, their new real estate agent. They move from being blissfully unaware that they might ever need a service like yours to making the decision to hire an agent — and they’re walking a well-trodden path.
Facebook will serve you best for capturing leads toward the top of that funnel:
- The future buyers who are still renting and maybe saving up for a down payment
- The future sellers who are perfectly happy in their current homes
This makes sense: By the time those buyers and sellers have moved from “blissfully unaware” to “thinking about it,” if they don’t already have a real estate agent in mind, then Facebook might not be their first stop — they’re more likely to look at Zillow or realtor.com, or perhaps brokerage websites, where there are listings.
But if you can be the real estate agent in mind, then you’ve captured them before they can even think about straying.
Why Filters, Groups and Lists Are Your Best Friends on Facebook
Using Facebook as a business tool can sometimes be overwhelming even for the “digital natives” in real estate — trying to keep your friends separate from family separate from work seems like a full-time job.
But the social media giant has built in tools to help you get a handle on this, including “friend lists.” Facebook has a few pre-built “smart” friend lists that it curates for you (grouping your work friends and high school friends so you don’t have to, for example), but you can also build your own lists.
Start getting your Facebook prospecting act together by creating the following lists for yourself. (Depending on the size of your group of friends, this might take a while, but you’ll quickly see why segmenting your prospects is well worth the effort.)
- Sphere of influence
- Past clients
- Referral agents
- Vendors and support staff
- Top referrers (or “big fans,” if you prefer)
You can use these lists both for advertising and for good old-fashioned networking, 2017 style.
Using Facebook to Connect With Your Sphere of Influence
How do you network on Facebook in an authentic way? A lot of real estate agents struggle with this — and no wonder; it’s a brand new outlet with mostly-unwritten rules.
If that describes you, don’t worry. You’re far from alone in your desire to reach people on a powerful platform that doesn’t seem entirely natural or organic to you.
There are a couple of ways you can think about crafting a strategy to connect with your sphere of influence:
- Find real estate influencers whose work on Facebook you admire and try to figure out what each person does well that resonates with you. Are they sharing stories about their day in real estate? Answering questions for friends and acquaintances? Promoting a free neighborhood networking event? Trumpeting about their latest (truly hilarious) listing video? Ask yourself what you like (and don’t like) about their strategies, what kind of responses the posts get and how you might take what they did and adapt it for yourself.
- Deciding on a strategy that you can think you can stick with and that works for you and then executing it. One example might be Lisa Archer’s “555” technique — every day, for each friend list that she’s created, Archer “likes” five posts, comments on five posts and sends five Facebook messages to different people.
The idea here is to establish yourself as a friendly person who knows a ton about real estate and who’s eager to help your friends at the drop of a hat. Even if someone considers you barely an acquaintance, if you leave 25 comments a week offering suggestions or advice in your sphere of influence, that person will likely remember how helpful you are when the time comes for a real estate transaction. It’s real estate lead-nurturing at its finest!
Finding Leads With Facebook Ads
Finding leads with an ad might very well feel more “normal” to you than prospecting through your sphere of influence — after all, an ad is labeled and exists to entice your prospects to take a specific action.
The first thing you need to figure out is who you’re trying to reach — prospective buyers, sellers or even referral partners — and the action that you want your prospects to take.
- Do you want them to attend your community event or visit your open house?
- Do you want their email address or phone number?
- Do you want them to make a listing appointment with you?
- Do you want them to opt into receiving further communications from you, like an email newsletter?
These actions don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive — you can capture an email address when someone signs up for your newsletter, for example — but you should know what the main purpose of your ad is even if it serves another area of your business. This will help you create something clear, compelling and engaging that prospects will respond to instead of scrolling past.
Let’s say you’re seeking email addresses or phone numbers for potential buyers. You know what you want from your prospects: A valid way to contact them. Now it’s time to think about what you can offer them in exchange.
If you run a Facebook ad that just asks people for a valid email address or phone number, then you’re not going to get a great response. People don’t want to give away something for nothing — not even on social media (maybe especially not on social media).
So consider what you’ve got to offer and then package it for delivery. One very common way to do this is by using a lead magnet with a landing page — your lead magnet is the thing of value that you’re offering your prospect in exchange for information, and your landing page is where your prospect will land after clicking the Facebook ad. The landing page is set up to capture what you want from the prospect and then deliver what the prospect wants — the lead magnet.
Some ideas for lead magnets could include:
- Checklists for buyers and sellers
- Neighborhood guides
- Historic information
- Summaries of legislative arguments or events
- Market reports
- Resource lists for families or pet owners
“Do I really need a lead magnet and a landing page?” you might be wondering. Well, maybe not — maybe your ad is for a celebrity listing you happened to snag and that’s your landing page — but if you’ve been posting listing after listing without seeing any results, then it’s probably time to consider that you’re not offering your friends or followers any value and that’s why you aren’t seeing the clicks and the likes. (The truth hurts sometimes, doesn’t it?)
When you’re sure you’ve got an ad that will get results — lead magnet or not — it’s time to start preparing to pull the trigger.
You’ll have another question to consider now that you’re close to ready: Do you want to segment your audience yourself, or do you want to trust Facebook to do that for you?
The social media giant’s optimization has gotten better, but this might be something you want to test in order to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. It’s always good to be aware that there is more than one option!
When you’re setting up the ad, you can target it using the following criteria:
- Geographic area — You can use both ZIP codes or a mile radius set around a certain midpoint to outline where people will be physically located when they see your Facebook ad.
- Age — You probably don’t want to target anyone under 18, and 25 is probably more realistic for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on the ad, you can tweak the age demographic to serve it to the people you think are most likely to respond, whether millennial buyer or boomer-aged seller.
- Income — This is particularly useful if you’re advertising an open house or a listing and can pinpoint the buyers who could actually afford it.
- Behavior — Facebook has a “likely to move” behavior that it uses to identify prospects that are, well, likely to move at some point in the near future. It just might make sense to add it to your ad filter!
- Interests — Did you know you can target prospects who have indicated to Facebook that they are “interested” in websites like Zillow and realtor.com?
- Demographic categories — The social media giant not only has homeowner demographic categories, but it even has a “first-time homebuyer” category. How perfect is that?
When you’ve nailed your ad content and your target audience, you’ll need to set it up in Facebook (with your budget — don’t forget to think about how much money you want to spend on these ads!). Make sure you’ve got a Facebook pixel set up on your website, too, so you can properly retarget your ads to past visitors and get those messages in front of the most valuable prospects’ eyes as often as possible.
So You’ve Got Some Facebook Leads! … Now What?
Congratulations — you’ve formulated a strategy for how to naturally engage with your sphere of influence on Facebook, and you’ve successfully run your first ad campaign. You rock!
But remember: For your leads, this is the very beginning of their journey through your sales funnel. You did the hard work of getting them into that funnel, so now you need to make sure you’re not letting them fall out of your funnel and into someone else’s.
That means you need a plan for those leads, and it probably starts with your real estate CRM. Get them from Facebook into your database, put them in whichever segment (or segments) they best belong and add them to any real estate drip campaigns or email marketing projects that you’re already using to cultivate your prospects.
Once those leads are in your CRM, you can move them through the rest of your sales funnel, keeping tabs on them as they migrate from the top (“blissfully unaware”) through the middle (“kinda interested”) and out the bottom (“you’re hired!”).
It might seem impossible to wrap your brain around using the most massive social media platform in the world for lead generation — but Facebook works, it’s granular, it’s local and it’s where the people you’re trying to reach spend hours of their week. It’s well worth your time as a real estate agent to nail real estate prospecting with Facebook, and if your CRM is feeling a little empty, then there’s no place like the platform to get started populating it with fresh, interested leads.