With one of every five page views on the Internet pointing to Facebook, it’s no surprise that the savviest real estate professionals are exploring IDX-compliant Facebook feeds designed to target the huge market of prospects who are active on social media.
Studies have shown that a majority of these prospects are browsing Facebook for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, allowing for ample opportunity to connect. Additionally, according to the 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, upwards of 40 percent of these social buyers and sellers will find their Realtor through a referral – offering another compelling reason to make sure your business is Facebook friendly.
From ‘time drain’ to ‘indispensable distribution channel’
Historically, few REALTORS® have had mild opinions on the issue of marketing on Facebook. Those in support of Facebook marketing claim that it paid off and helped the agent close dozens of deals while those against it argue that the only thing that was accomplished was wasting hours of time futilely networking and advertising with no payoff.
Until recently, managing targeted advertising and crafty messaging in an attempt to drive prospects to the website where your listings actually reside was about all you could do on Facebook. Today, many of the largest and most technologically-savvy MLS boards are jumping aboard the Facebook train in support of its potential. The Council of MLS (CMLS) recently announced display approvals for listings data safely embedded in search tools on Facebook pages. This solution allows the MLS boards to maintain the security and integrity of their listings while also facilitating agent and broker demands for secure, IDX-compliant Facebook solutions.
San Diego based Z57 Inc, a real estate internet marketing and social media solutions company, is at the forefront of this new technology – offering agents inexpensive, fully branded and effective Facebook solutions. Z57’s product line includes attractive, customizable Facebook business pages that feature built-in IDX search, home value tools, school and community reports and more through a partnership with real estate information provider Onboard Informatics. The IDX search operates as a framed plug-in, which allows users to search listings on Facebook while simultaneously allowing listings data to reside entirely on secure severs behind the scenes.
Z57 client Michele Kreinheder, a REALTOR® out of Long Beach, California, said “I recognize that using Facebook in real estate marketing is a long-term strategy. The goal is to offer a constant stream of information to your clients and prospects so that you stay at the front of their mind. It also allows you to provide information on your business and community along with a glimpse of your personality. You want them to like you enough to pick up the phone and give you a call. One day, I had a woman that I had never met post ’If I ever need a Realtor, I’d choose you,’ on my page and that felt great!”
In addition to providing Facebook IDX solutions, Z57 recently launched PropertyPulse – an all-in-one platform designed to simplify social media management that is accessible from any device with an internet connection. PropertyPulse offers busy agents a user-friendly, convenient solution to managing a successful social media marketing strategy – allowing them to spend less time on the computer and more time focusing on work in the field. PropertyPulse is broken into four main categories – content, marketing, academy and analytics. The content section gives users access to an attractive Facebook design gallery where they can select and change the look of their cover image and tab designs at any time to keep their fans engaged. The marketing section allows users to access an interactive calendar where they can view and schedule one-time and recurring posts to both Facebook and Twitter – making social planning easier than ever.
The academy section provides integration with the Z57 Academy Campus – an online learning platform that offers clients 24/7 access to real estate specific Facebook marketing training. Finally, the analytics section provides interactive, up-to-the-minute analytics so agents can easily identify which social strategy elements are producing the best results. With PropertyPulse, busy agents can manage their social media marketing in just minutes a week.
Aligning online goals with offline fundamentals
Many prospects will surf from an agent’s business website to their social platform in order to get a clear understanding of who they may be working with, making brand consistency an important element in generating business. Since referrals are such a huge part of driving business in real estate, it is crucial to make sure your agent brand presence is not only consistent but also that it is aligned with your offline business know-how.
“We use our personal profiles to reach ‘friends’ and ‘friends of friends’ for referrals, but we don’t actually post very often about business,” said Melanie Piche of Bosley Real Estate Ltd, who, with her husband Brendan Powell, deployed a custom Facebook strategy in their business. Together, they’ve closed 17 deals directly from Facebook. “People are ‘friends’ with us on Facebook because they want to connect with us socially as friends.”
Supplementing your website and Facebook business page with a content strategy that engages your prospects will help you carve out a unique niche online. Z57 provides the tools and the training you need to successfully marry your marketing and social networking. In addition to custom Facebook solutions, Z57 also provides access to one-on-one training with a social media strategy expert along with tons of follow-up content to help you become a master in the art of social networking in business.
To learn more about Z57, visit http://www.z57.com/.