Gone are the days when you’d wait for potential buyers to roll in from newspaper advertisements.
As the digital wave has swept the world, more buyers have moved to social media to interact, learn, and weigh their home buying options. And, the majority of realtors are jumping on this trend.
According to The National Association of Realtors, 69% of realtors are using Facebook and 61% are using LinkedIn for professional use.
Since the majority of realtors are already active on social media, why not make the most of it and use these networks as a lead generation tool? Let’s look at the changing dynamic of lead generation, and how to utilize social media as a lead generation tool for your real estate business.
Lead generation is a term that is thrown around in both sales and marketing. No matter what industry or time period you’re operating in, we’re all in the market of identifying and nurturing potential customers, and real estate is no different. The way we generate those leads has evolved. It all begins with the customer.
Most of today’s consumers can’t imagine their lives without social media. It’s ingrained into our society and has disrupted and changed the way we communicate. Because of this, real estate leads are generated in a different way than they were a decade ago. Searching for a home is a different experience too.
For consumers, the internet led to new ways of doing research and, for realtors, it has opened the door to many new opportunities for lead generation and showcasing the latest properties on the market – from virtual tours of houses to apps and websites that can search for homes based on elements as detailed as the neighborhood, house features, and school districts.
Millennials, or buyers under 30-something, now make up 66% of the market for first time home buyers. The tide has shifted as 99% of buyers have moved online to research properties, before contacting a realtor. This means to attract both buyers and sellers, you need to reach out and engage with them online. Social media is the ideal forum to do this in. Here’s how.
Running contests on social media is a great way to build your following and reach, but it’s also ideal for lead generation. It may not be obvious what kind of giveaway would benefit a real estate business, but a well-thought out contest and promotion can be on-brand and generate tons of relevant leads in the process.
Consider giving away tickets for a local event, like a concert, sports game, or play. Or raffle off a voucher for a restaurant in your main area of business. Highlighting local businesses will create a positive brand image, build trust in the local community and position yourself as the authority on the area – and of course if you require contact details for entry, you’ll build up a list of contacts that are relevant to your business.
Think about what might appeal to your target audience. You could even partner with a complementary service or offer home improvement vouchers.
As well as asking for entrants’ basic contact information, think about requiring the answer to a question on local knowledge. Or ask for a photo of the entrant’s dream home or a snap with one of your ‘for-sale’ signs. For seasonal competitions, you could even consider running a competition to find the best decorated house. There are lots of ways you can generate leads through social media competitions, while also staying relevant to your industry, niche and audience.
If you’ve built up a large following or are running a particularly attractive contest, third party tools like Wishpond make it easy to run competitions, collect entries and choose winners on a bigger scale.
You could even consider promoting an offline competition to attract followers to a viewing, like in the example below.
Reactivation is a way to re-engage with people who have shown interest in your business or who have converted in the past. It is often used by e-commerce stores to attract customers who have stopped making purchases. While it’s not likely that many buyers will be making several property purchases in the one area, realtors can cleverly use reactivation campaigns to encourage referrals, build social proof or start a new conversation with those who have attended a viewing but not yet found their perfect home.
Reactivation can be done through email, but running a reactivation retargeting campaign on social media can also be extremely effective. Build a list of happy customers and later retarget them with Twitter or Facebook ads asking them to leave a review, share a post with their followers or to refer a friend – there’s nothing like a positive word within a personal network to generate leads.
Retargeting ads are more likely to lead to a conversion than standard social media advertisements, but normally they target prospects who have already visited your website. However, if you want to add a list of fresh – but still highly relevant leads – to your retargeting list, link retargeting is an effective way to do this.
Use a retargeting link to share curated content, news, reviews and media coverage related to your business or local area and you’ll be able to target ads at anyone who clicks through even if it leads to a third party website.
So, for example, if you shared a Tweet linking to a news article on the latest lending scheme for first-time buyers, you could retarget an ad at anyone who clicks through even though they haven’t visited your website. If you carefully choose the curated content you share, this can extend your reach significantly without diluting the relevance of your audience.
You’ll be able to build out your retargeting funnel faster and without the need to invest a ton of resources in creating original content. It’s ideal for any business already running retargeting campaigns as part of their social media strategy – you just need to add a link shortener with this feature to your marketing stack.
Gated content refers to premium online material, which requires users to enter their details into a form before they can access them. They can include white papers, e-books, articles and videos. The form often asks for a name and email address, but can even ask for a contact number and, if your content is in-demand, it’s a really effective way for estate agents to generate leads.
While the current generation of first-time buyers do their research online, it doesn’t mean they don’t need the expertise of an experienced realtor. It can be difficult to find reliable, up-to-date and accurate information online, particularly in niche areas like real estate, so people will be willing – and often glad – to share their personal information in exchange for this specialized knowledge. While many home buyers no longer directly contact agents for advice, it is possible to create a climate online that will help potential buyers, foster trust and drive leads.
Create a white paper or an ebook with tips for selling your home or a guide on how to set your home’s selling price. Then promote this content organically or with paid advertising like you would with any other blog post. Pin it to the top of your social accounts, promote it with your cover photos or create custom tabs for your Facebook page. A slick promotions procedure will see an influx of leads and if the content is evergreen is can be used again and again.
Facebook profiles are often overlooked by marketers, but it’s important to optimize them so that they contain a relevant CTA and generate leads. A ‘contact us’, sign up’ or ‘shop now’ button takes very little effort to implement and once it’s done, it can catch leads over time who are interested enough in your business to check out your social media presence. Here’s some inspiration for your Facebook page design.
Dynamic ads look like any other ad on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger, but instead of creating an ad for each property added to your site, you can simply create a template that automatically pulls images and details for the uploads you’d like to promote. Dynamic ads also make use of your site’s Facebook pixel to retarget ads at people who have already engaged with you online.
So the latest offering available can be promoted to people who have recently been on your website house-hunting or reading your brand’s curated content.
Alternatively, Facebook’s dynamic creative ads feature allows you to upload multiple images, videos, headlines, messages and CTAs, then Facebook will determine which combinations are most effective and best for ROI. It takes the guessing out of creating advertising copy and can save a lot of time.
The visual focus of Instagram has obvious benefits for real estate marketers – it’s ideal for showcasing properties and creating a lifestyle image around your estate agents. This article provides some great insights into how realtors are using Instagram for both branding and lead generation. One pro who is interviewed explains how one tag in a new home-owner’s Instagram post lead to three more sales from their friends.
While marketing on Instagram can be constrained because of its continued limit on linking, it is still worth investing time and resources in. If you do manage to build up an audience of 10,000 followers, this will allow you to drive traffic to your website directly from your Insta Stories and provide a huge boost to traffic and leads coming from the platform.
If you still haven’t reached the 10k figure, use branded URLs to link in Instagram stories, posts, and images so your audience can easily type the URL into their browser if they want to find out more information.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms streamline the form-filling process so much that it can only help marketers collect leads. It makes it super easy for prospects to share their information, because the forms are pre-populated with the details contained within their LinkedIn profile.
While you may not need to target people based on their profession, the information provided – including job title, workplace, education and location – provides a rich dataset on each lead. It is a definite must-use if you’re using InMails or content as part of your LinkedIn ad campaigns.
If you want to target people in a particular area, it makes sense to go local with your lead generation activities. If that’s the case, it’s a given that you’ll geo-target your social media ads in order to maximize their impact and reduce ad spend.
With Twitter’s advanced search function, it’s also possible to perform a geotargeted search to find relevant leads to reach out to. Often, people who are house hunting will share this news on social. If this is the case, you’ll be able to find them at just the right time and reach out with a helping hand, advice and an invitation to find out more about your business.
Whether you record an event you’re hosting or simply go live from your office, hosting a helpful and informative Q&A will bring relevant leads out of the woodwork. Similar to ebooks and whitepapers, people are likely to go out of their way to find reliable info, so consider whether it’s best to host a webinar which requires filling out a sign-up form or to just open up the floor up all your followers on Facebook or Twitter.
Create content for both buyers and sellers and afterwards you’ll have great resources that you can continue to use for lead generation.
While real estate marketing has changed significantly in recent times with the number of channels to manage significantly growing, with some smart tweaks and changes to your social media strategy, you can generate and manage leads effectively.
Author bio: Louisa McGrath creates content for Rebrandly, the tool empowering marketers to create links which showcase their brand name and build trust with their audience. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.