Want to give a boost to your real estate social media marketing? Wondering why your page doesn’t seem to have as many friends and followers as some of your competitors? There’s a chance they might have bought their followers and likes – but before you consider doing the same, heed these warnings about faking it.
We would all like more social media followers; that goes without saying. But when it comes to real estate marketing, the amount of followers you have is not the most important number – in fact, it’s what social us media experts call a “vanity metric”.
The social media marketing metrics that matter
You might think having tens of thousands of followers looks good, but it serves little to no purpose in building the success of your business, if they are not truly your target market.
Ask yourself, how many of the people I am connected with are actually likely to list and sell a property with me?
Remember, only approx 2 to 4 percent of your social media followers will be shown your post in the first couple of hours, and their reactions to it will determine how many additional connections of yours are shown the post thereafter.
Thinking strategically, the metrics that should matter most to you are those that relate to your real estate social media marketing goals, which should be:
- Building brand awareness
- Driving traffic to your website
- Capturing home seller leads
Building a large number of connections can help achieve the first goal – but if these connections aren’t the right people, you will trip yourself up when it comes to achieving the second and third goals.
How buying fake social media followers works
Type a quick search into Google and you will find hundreds of companies offering to help you raise your social media profile by selling you large numbers of followers. These companies generally use two main methods to boost your follower numbers:
1 – Zombie account following
This is used mainly on Facebook. The companies who offer to increase your following for money usually have databases of “zombie” accounts – inactive accounts, often with made up names and inauthentic looking pictures. These aren’t real people; they’re automated bots – and as they don’t have homes to sell, they can’t possibly be any use to you.
2 – Aggressive following technique
This applies mainly to Instagram and Twitter, and is a method where you follow a large amount of people each day, then quickly unfollow the ones who don’t follow you back. This may work in the short term, but it can actually lead to you having your account suspended, as it goes against Instagram and Twitter’s terms and conditions, so it’s definitely not worth the risk.
Also, if any of your prospective clients click on your page to see who else is following you, and they see a load of fake social accounts, it makes you look dishonest and insincere as it becomes obvious you’ve bought your following – and this dishonesty can harm your professional reputation, especially in a business such as real estate where integrity is everything.
Social networks don’t look kindly on fake followers
It’s worth remembering that social networks are being scrutinised more thoroughly than ever due to the problems fake accounts can cause – Facebook has recently admitted to having an estimated 89,000 fake accounts on its platform. Both Facebook and its sister site, Instagram, are committed to removing fake accounts, and will periodically sweep their platforms to remove them. This means that most or all of the followers you’ve paid for will disappear instantly, so you will have spent your money for nothing.
Social networks also have the power to suspend your account if they suspect you of buying followers or using aggressive following techniques. Several popular tools that follow people on your behalf, such as Instagress, have been shut down – if you use tools like this, you could be doing yourself the ultimate disservice, as you could end up losing your account and having to start from scratch.
The difference between real and fake social media friends
Even if some of the followers you have bought turn out to be real, they are highly unlikely to live in your area. The connections you need to build are people who are most likely to have an interest in your business – home sellers and buyers in your neighbourhood.
Remember the real estate agent mantra – location, location, location! Any out-of-area buyers or investors interested in your services can easily find you via your SEO activities rather than social media, so buying followers in the hope that one of them may turn out to be useful is a complete waste of time and money.
In addition, you could end up alienating your real connections and followers. Once companies that sell you followers have access to your account, there’s a risk that they may use it to spam your genuine followers with repeated messages advertising their service or getting you to follow other client accounts of theirs. Your profile then becomes a follower of numerous unrelated businesses. Also, annoying your real followers in this way could cause them to unfollow you, losing you potential business. So, in my view its really not worth the risk.
Remember the power of your genuine social reach
If social networking is going to work for you, you need to ensure that the social media connections you make are real people, that own homes or investment properties in your neighbourhoods. Your social media accounts then become an excellent way for you to keep an open ‘social dialogue’ with these people and continually (and consistently) offer your connections something they want.
The power of friends of friends
Plus, remember the people you are able to reach on social media goes far beyond your immediate friends and followers. If you have useful connections who are interacting with your content, you will also be reaching their friends too. This extended network could easily bring you more home seller leads.
Each of your authentic connections will have real and useful connections of their own – your second degree connections – who will get to see your content via mutual friends interacting with posts. If they then interact with it themselves, all their friends and followers will get to see your real estate brand too.
By connecting with the right people, you can grow an authentic and useful social following – one that actually helps you to achieve your goals of driving traffic to your website and capturing home seller leads. So take your time, be consistent in building the right connections and make it part of something you do on a weekly basis. This could be in line with the call backs you make to prospective buyers at the start of each week.
The people you really need
Buying followers and likes on social media is ultimately a futile exercise and a complete waste of money. It won’t provide any benefits for your business, and it will only make you look good until someone decides to delve a little deeper into your profile to find out who your followers actually are. The minute this happens, you will look like a fraud.
It’s far better to grow an organic network of contacts who can offer you the business advantages you need. Think about who your “real life” business connections are too – not just homeowners, but other local business owners, mortgage advisors, conveyancers, home stylists, and any other businesses that serve the same target audience as you.
By building an authentic social following of connections like these, you’ll see the right numbers growing, so the vanity metrics won’t even matter to you anymore.
Integrity and honesty are two of the most prized principles in real estate – so, let’s aim to stick with them in everything we do!