By Erica Campbell Byrum
One of the greatest tools in a real estate pro’s marketing arsenal these days is their Facebook page, whether they rely on their personal account or a creative business page.
Even if you thought your Facebook page was doing well in the past, you may have noticed some changes in 2014. That’s because in December, Facebook made algorithm changes that affected all pages, and it slid under the radar of most users. According to Facebook, the new ‘rules’ were designed to rank and display content to support the notion that ‘people want to see more relevant news and what their friends have to say about it’ versus news feeds congested with the latest meme.
The re-configured algorithm resulted in a decrease in the shared links, pictures and posts that one normally would see when logging on to the site. For most Facebook pages, a significant decrease in total reach was the result and a ‘pay to play’ concept is now the best bet to get your message seen.
This is huge for marketing your brand because fewer views reduces the chance that a potential client can discover you. When users see a post for free, whether shared or on their news feed, it’s referred to as “organic reach.” When users see a post because you paid for additional exposure, it’s called “paid reach.”
Before the change, Facebook page admins relied on two metrics: reach and engagement. This was calculated from data Facebook collected of people viewing posts, the number of likes collected, comments and shares. It didn’t matter if users paid for people to see it, if their friends shared it or it was just ‘liked’ in the news feed. Basically if a user didn’t utilize “like, comment, or share” posts very often, Facebook made those pages less likely to show up in their feed.
Despite changes being in place, there are still ways to get ahead with your page. The easier way will cost money, but for those looking to save a few bucks, a little work can help you improve your page organically.
With over a billion users, Facebook is still the most popular social network for both businesses and individuals, so even with the recent changes, your posts will still be seen by a great number of people, you just need to learn how to keep those numbers rising.
In order to successfully navigate Facebook’s new landscape, one needs to comprehend how its users interact with the page and how the news feeds work. According to a recent press release by Facebook itself, there are three ways to improve your feed.
1) Create “Likable” Content: The more your fans “like” content on your page, the more often your posts will show up in their feed. If your Facebook page’s reach has decreased, it probably means you need to work on presenting relevant content with a natural, non-spammy tone.
2) Improve Reactions: If your post shows up in some users’ feeds but is ignored or marked as spam, your post is less likely to be shown to more people. Focus on engagement, repeat tactics that have led to your Facebook friends liking your content. Test different times of day to determine when your posts are more likely to be seen and liked, and most importantly, quit using memes!
3) Be Aware of Content Types: If a particular user has a tendency to like videos or photos posted by your page, then they are more likely to be shown that type of content on a regular basis. Sustain that exposure with helpful content, post at the right time and don’t cram your marketing “schpeel” into their feeds. For an agent, this means not just discussing new listings, but publishing content about a variety of things—be it books, pets, hobbies, and more locally-inspired subject matter, such as events and neighborhood happenings—to get more likes and shares.
In the meantime, turn to Homes.com’s new social media suite, Homes.com Social, designed to help you engage with more prospects, protect your online reputation, control the conversation and drive leads. And, visit our blog for real estate professionals for more marketing best practices.
Erica Campbell Byrum is the Director of Social Media for Homes.com and ForRent.com.