It doesn’t matter where you start with your social media marketing or paid advertising activities, in the end, it will always come back to audiences and data. This is where BuddyBid is helping agencies of all sizes, including McGrath, with their real estate marketing and social media advertising.
Making sense of your Big (Customer) Data
In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about Big Data – information on audiences and their online behaviour that marketers are using to make their advertising activities more relevant. A lot of real estate agents have bought into this concept and the technology that facilitates it, as a means of improving their property marketing. But is it really delivering the results they need?
Neil Campbell, Founder of social media marketing platform BuddyBid, feels that a lot of technology players have promised the world but delivered very little in terms of tactical data solutions.
Neil advises, “The question is not just; how valuable is your data? More importantly, it should be how long is your data valuable for? There is so much customer data available to real estate businesses that its degradation rate is very high.”
Neil’s team at BuddyBid work with an alternative concept, which they label “Data Care”. This gets conversations started, with businesses of all sizes, about what they are actually doing with their data on a day-to-day basis. The BuddyBid team can then illustrate the longer-term value that can be gained from their customer data if it’s used correctly.
Do KPIs throughout your real estate business align?
The structure of real estate businesses can present a real challenge when it comes to getting the most out of customer data. The larger the real estate group, the less well-aligned the KPIs are likely to be throughout the whole organisational structure.
One real estate business facing this challenge head on is well-known real estate brand McGrath, who is a BuddyBid client. Therese Tarlinton, General Manager at BuddyBid, works closely with the brand and finds there are often disparities between the needs of different divisions of the business when it comes to customer data.
“It’s pretty challenging,” she says. “At Head Office and Board level, the KPIs are completely different to those needed by the offices. And at McGrath, there are both company-owned and privately-owned franchises, which have completely different sets of KPIs again.” She goes on to explain that this can be a real problem when it comes to real estate marketing. “The value proposition of social media advertising data and the level of data quality it can bring to your business is phenomenal. The main challenge, however, is what different stakeholders in your business want to achieve with it.”
A complete social media marketing solution
For a large real estate brand like McGrath, a Facebook property listing service like BuddyBid is the ideal solution. It not only gives their network a convenient way to promote their vendors’ properties but also allows for greater audience engagement with the overall McGrath brand.
Through the creation of Facebook Advertising Audiences, the brand message can be unilaterally promoted by everyone in the company. BuddyBid enables everyone across the McGrath network to sell properties on Facebook and at the same time build an audience for their own brand marketing, be it agent, agency or corporate brand needs.
This ability to build Facebook audiences, at all levels across their entire real estate network, is what attracted the McGrath corporate team to the BuddyBid platform. The next challenge, therefore, is to deliver on the vastly different sets of KPIs for the McGrath brand as a whole.
Understanding the untapped advantage of a Facebook audience
Therese goes on to explain that, “From a Principal’s perspective, they want Facebook audiences at either a local suburb or regional level so that they can connect with people living in certain neighbourhoods, and engage with them around topics that are of interest to their communities. Real estate agents, on the other hand, are less interested in agency branding activities – they’re focussed on getting their next listing, and quite rightly so!”
BuddyBid is spending a lot of time educating and enthusing McGrath’s agents about Facebook advertising, as ultimately it will fall to individual agents to convince vendors that this is where their property marketing dollars should be spent.
The challenge thereafter is helping the network understand the untapped advantage they have with their ready-made custom audience built by BuddyBid. Because it’s the audience you capture through your property campaigns that enables your broader real estate marketing activities on Facebook to become more effective for agents and Principals than ever before.
The size and scope of custom social media advertising audiences
Custom audiences grow, then plateau and remain relatively consistent in size. This isn’t a bad thing – it simply indicates that you’ve reached the maximum number of potential home purchasers for your neighbourhood.
Your Facebook audience will also be continually refreshed and updated. Buyers who have found properties will no longer be targeted with your ads, instead, they will be replaced by new home seekers entering your data pool.
This is illustrated by Realestate.com.au’s audience, which hasn’t grown significantly in the last few years. By comparison, Domain.com.au has only managed to close the gap between its audience and REA’s. Their monthly unique website visitors indicate that there is approx 6 million people in Australia ready to make a property transaction at any given time. And when we hop across the ditch to visit our Kiwi counterparts there’s a further 585,000 more property purchasers for Australasia in total.
Neil explains: “What we see happening with our clients’ custom Facebook audiences is an entry and churn element, which is actually a good thing, as it indicates that we are constantly reaching potential home buyers and sellers that are currently active.”
Marketing properties successfully to a custom Facebook audience
An audience of potential buyers still needs to be kept engaged with your personal or agency brand, even when there are no properties listed that they’re interested in. The best way to do this is by creating and sharing relevant and informative content that assists them on their home buying and home selling journey.
Content marketing is something that BuddyBid is not responsible for – it provides custom Facebook audiences and shows them property listings on behalf of its clients. The rest is up to the agents themselves. But content marketing doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. A could of simple examples of relevant content that gives the user value could be:
- Market updates and changes to government rules and regulations – these will be of particular interest to investors.
- Evergreen content relating to home renovation, maintenance and styling – these will be of interest to homeowners when they are not looking to transact.
Find a content partner to help you leverage your Facebook audience
Neil highlights that real estate agents and agencies should not only partner with companies like BuddyBid, which provide distributed Facebook property listings but engage a creative agency [like Hoole.co!] to manage your social media marketing content. Real estate brands need to think beyond property listings alone and provide value for your entire audience all the time.
These external agencies can harness your Facebook audience to promote your brand and remarket your property sales services or property management services to vendors and investors alike. This is a clever technique because once your audience members have purchased a property, many of them will need to sell their existing home. And the natural next step for a property investor is property management support to rent it out.
Therese agrees. “Having a content marketing program that’s continually ‘on’ will help you to acquire more listings in the long run because even when the market is quiet, you continue to keep your brand visible to homeowners across your entire suburb. Then, when the market picks up again, you will be the most recognised local real estate brand with a strong reputation.”
Having a content strategy alongside your property listing strategy is something BuddyBid sees as integral to the way Facebook marketing will evolve into the future.