Facebook is all about friends, but it’s amazing how many real estate agents feel like ‘friends in need’ when it comes to social media marketing. It’s now essential to include Facebook as part of your property marketing campaign strategy, but how?
There’s no need to despair, when it comes to promoting your property listings – BuddyBid could be the Facebook friend you’ve been looking for!
Your new property marketing buddies
I recently caught up with BuddyBid’s Founder, Neil Campbell, and General Manager Therese Tarlinton, to find out about their property focused Facebook advertising solutions.
BuddyBid is a social media marketing company that helps businesses find and transact with customers within Facebook. Riding on the back of its previous successes in the fields of mortgages and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), it is now applying its tried and tested formula within real estate. Its Facebook property listing service, launched at the end of 2016, so far, has been very well received.
How BuddyBid works for real estate marketing
BuddyBid provides real estate agents with a convenient means of tapping into the vast consumer audience of Facebook to promote vendor properties. Don’t be mistaken into thinking it is another portal listing service, because it’s not. BuddyBid works solely as a distributed listing service within the confines of Facebook, ensuring that Facebook users who are in the market to buy a property in your area are the ones most likely to see your ad.
BuddyBid supports real estate brands from two succinct viewpoints
1 – Corporate
BuddyBid enables real estate head offices, of large franchises or independent groups, to provide a Facebook marketing solution under their own brand to their network of agents. It’s an excellent time-saving mechanism for many of the larger real estate groups, who may be marketing as many as 50,000 properties each year.
2 – Real estate offices and agents
BuddyBid simplifies the Facebook marketing activities for an agency and its individual agents. Giving agents the chance to get their clients’ property noticed on Facebook, and at the same time supporting both the agent and office in building localised audiences for future brand related marketing activities.
How does it differ from social media marketing with a portal?
Unlike a portal’s Facebook package, where you are renting their audience for a fee, BuddyBid enables you to build and shape your own audience, and to keep them for your broader brand marketing needs.
BuddyBid targets consumers on Facebook that indicate they are interested in property promotions. But once an individual property campaign is complete, you get to keep that audience for future marketing messages.
This is fantastic because you can promote your next property listing to those same home buyers and investors, alongside prospect within that audience for new properties to sell.
Retain control of your real estate brand on Facebook
BuddyBid also differs from many other social media marketing options for real estate by enabling your branding and corporate messaging to remain completely under your control.
BuddyBid’s role is to take your existing classified property listing content and distribute it as smartly as possible within Facebook. Making sure each property advertised is being seen by the right demographic and people who are actively looking and ready to buy.
Beyond your property promotions, the rest of your Facebook content marketing strategy is still firmly in your own hands.
Neil is keen to stress that “we are not a social media content strategy. The beauty of BuddyBid is that we have outputs that can help your content strategy, by providing you with a custom Facebook audience that you create through your BuddyBid property advertising activities.”
Find the right Facebook audience for your real estate brand
The beauty of creating a Facebook audience is that it’s continually refreshed as consumers enter and leave the property market. It’s therefore highly reliable and will never go stale.
On the flip side, your Facebook Fan Page followers and your own real estate database will include a lot of people who have used your services in the past but are not necessarily in need of them right now. This audience can be kept warm with content marketing strategies that focus on their interests whilst they are between property transactions.
BuddyBid’s property advertising solutions make sure that your property ads are only seen by people who actively want to buy a property at the present time. This audience will continually update and refresh as people enter and leave the property market.
This also means that the rest of your followers are not constantly bombarded with ads for properties that don’t interest them. It leaves you free to continue to engage these people by posting other, varied content that offers value to your followers and builds trust in your brand, rather than your Facebook Fan Page simply becoming a property advertising channel.
Who is using BuddyBid’s property marketing services so far?
According to Neil, “The opportunity to build an audience for your brand is the number one benefit” of BuddyBid, and this is what has convinced the CMOs of a wide variety of real estate agencies to give the service a try. Current clients include real estate giants McGrath and LJ Hooker in Australia, and leading New Zealand agency Barfoot & Thompson, which has 50 percent of the market in Auckland.
However, BuddyBid is also achieving significant success with what it calls “the sophisticated DIY real estate agent” – typically Generation X-ers who have built small teams around them. What’s interesting is that it’s often not the agents at the top of the leader boards who are most keen to make a success of social media marketing. It’s more likely to be agents further down the rankings who are hungrier for business success and see the potential of a Facebook audience for growing their local market share.
Who is set to benefit most from Facebook social media marketing?
BuddyBid works best for agents or agencies that couple their property marketing with a content marketing strategy. These people take their brand’s Facebook marketing to its full potential by proactively promoting themselves, posting regular varied content and engaging with followers.
BuddyBid streamlines the property listing process and creates ready-made Facebook audiences for finding home seller leads. But it’s also helping to educate real estate agents about how Facebook works, and what they should and shouldn’t be doing on the platform – namely, social media marketing best practice.
Understanding social media advertising
According to Neil and Therese, one of the biggest challenges they continually come across is that their real estate clients simply don’t understand what Facebook is all about.
“Real estate agents keep wanting to see their own ads in their Facebook news feeds,” they explain. “This is probably because they’re used to being able to locate and review their own property ads easily on the real estate portals or in the newspaper. They think that if they can’t find their ad easily on Facebook, that nobody else can, either.”
In fact, the opposite is true. The Facebook algorithm shows ads to the users who are most likely to respond to them – in the case of real estate, potential home buyers. There’s no benefit for a real estate agent to have their own property listings shown to them. Facebook is actually doing the right thing here, but many agents are still uncomfortable with this concept.
So BuddyBid now gives real estate agents the option of posting their Facebook ads to their own timelines, even though this is defeating the objective. As Neil explains, “The key challenge is getting agents to understand that Facebook advertising is all about creating a distributed property listing, not a portal listing.”
Your social media marketing needs to please everyone
Keeping your brand engaging and community-focussed is the key to maintaining a consistent presence in the minds of your Facebook followers. The last thing you want your Facebook Fan Page to be is a continuous property advertising channel, that will turn people away.
You can only achieve social media marketing success by posting varied and useful content on a regular basis – your followers can gain no value from seeing endless lists of properties you’ve already sold.
If you want, you can feature your best “showcase” properties on your timeline, preferably the type of properties you want to win more listings for. The rest of the time, learn to trust that the Facebook algorithm is showing your ad to the people who are most likely to become your new clients. And, this process can become much easier now there’s a new Buddy to help you out!