Does Social Media for Real Estate Work?


I was on the phone with a client this morning who said, “I know I’m totally behind the eight-ball with regard to social media for my real estate business. I hear of people getting leads on Facebook, and I know I’m not doing what I should be. But, to be honest, I don’t know what it is I should be doing… and if it even works.”

My client isn’t the only one. I talk to Realtors all the time who have this vague sense of urgency surrounding social media for real estate, but they have absolutely no idea what to do or where to start. Even worse, they aren’t sure it will even work. So, is social media for your real estate business worth pursuing? And if so, what should you be doing?

It Works If You Work It

Instead of burying the lead halfway down my article, I’m going to come right out and tell you now: social media works for real estate… if you work it… correctly. Just like anything else in life, it can be well-suited for some people based on personality or commitment and it can completely flop for others.

I’ll tell you right now, if you sit down for 5 minutes a week, toss something on Facebook, then wonder why you haven’t made $6,000 from a closing, you’re living in a fairy tale. Have you ever done anything that took 5 minutes a week to make a $6,000 commission? If so, stop everything else and do only that forever because that’s $18,000 an hour.

If not, read on.

Social media for real estate, like all other forms of marketing, takes commitment and consistency. You have to be willing to dive in, head first, and swim in the deep end from the get-go. Try stuff out, give it your best shot; you’ll do some really awesome stuff, and you’ll do some stuff that totally flops. (And if you have us in your pocket, you’ll minimize the flops and maximize the awesome.)

What Works on Social Media for Real Estate

I’ve been flipping and flopping on social media for years now, and I’ve found there are two main things that work on social media for real estate.

But first, here’s a very non-exhaustive list of what doesn’t work:

  • Endless post after post of only listings
  • Posting every flyer you receive for every listing you’ve ever sold
  • Hiring a service for $50/month to post boring information that nobody cares about
  • Only posting links to stuff you didn’t write
  • Posting nothing about real estate
  • Posting only about real estate
  • Never tagging any person or page in a post or photo
  • Posting once a month
  • Posting twenty times a day

Now that you have that in your head, here are the two things I’ve seen that do work: extremely personalized posts and social advertising.

Extremely Personalized Posts

The people who are following you on social media are doing so because they know and like you. So, you should be giving them what they want: you! Some good examples of stuff that’s all about you and your business are:

  • Photos of you with clients at closings (and tagging the clients!)
  • Photos of you showing homes
  • Videos of you giving tips on buying a home
  • Videos of you giving a home tour
  • Photos of you doing charity work with your real estate office (and tagging the charity!)
  • Posts of gratitude for recent referrals (and tagging the referring person!)
  • Links to a charity you support
  • Links to your most recent, very informative, highly relevant blog post

All of the above post ideas are personal items that have to do with you and your business. This is information your social media fans won’t find anywhere else because it’s unique to you. Notice all of the above posts are pieces of content or links to content where you are the origin of the content.

Now, of course it’s perfectly fine to sprinkle in a link to a local news article touting how great your market is doing. It’s also okay to post a link to your newest listing. But these posts are the exception to your regular posts. They are to be used very sparingly. And, don’t expect these posts to be the ones that get you the referrals. They simply help showcase that you know what the hell’s going on in your area and industry.

Social Advertising

The other type of post that does well on social media may or may not actually be a post—social advertising. Social advertising (on Facebook anyway) involves two types of content: promoted posts and actual ads.

And they work for two reasons: they are cheap and they’re not being heavily utilized by the real estate industry.

Remember, you do have something valuable to offer people. You have listings and you have the expert market knowledge that people need when they’re buying and selling. Using targeted social ads, you can showcase both your listings and your expertise in a very real and direct way to the exact people who are looking for these things.

Social ads work like this: a highly targeted ad on Facebook leads someone to a highly targeted landing page that gives this person a little more information than the ad did. It then allows them to do one thing: fill out a contact form to request even more information. Then, it throws them in a follow-up email campaign to keep them engaged while you work the lead on the phone.

That’s it.

This is at the heart of any successful online advertising campaign. It’s not new and shiny. It’s not rocket science. It’s social ad to landing page to contact form to follow-up campaign.

I can guarantee that you’ve been in this exact type of funnel before. Think back to a time when you clicked on an ad for some new-fangled real estate marketing tactic that was going to change the world. It took you to a landing page with more information and a contact form. It may have even offered to send you a free ebook for entering your email. You entered your email and received your ebook, then got a series of emails after that for a few weeks.

Voila. Online advertising in action.

Before You Start, Think About Your Goals

Now that we’ve reviewed the two main types of social media that works for real estate, let’s talk about why you would use one or the other (or both).

It’s all about your goals.

You may have noticed that these two types of social media strategies work for two very different audiences and are for two very different goals.

If you run your business by referral and you want more referrals from your network, extremely personalized posts are for you. They help people get to know you better. They resonate with people who already know you and their immediate circles. (We’re at 2 degrees from Kevin Bacon here.) They’ll help people who are referred to you know if you’re a good fit or not.

People who don’t know you at all, or have no context for knowing you (i.e. they don’t have a friend who does), aren’t going to care at all about your extremely personalized posts… because they don’t know you!

If you’re interested in finding new clients that you don’t know, who aren’t referrals, then social ads is the way to go. These ads are going to be seen by people who have likely never heard of you before, but who likely do need your listings or services. You have to be good at immediate follow-up and working colder leads. Social ads are a great way to expand your real estate business into new areas.

Wrapping Up

OK! Hopefully by now you have a very good grasp of what does and does not work on social media for real estate.

We’ve seen that extremely personalized posts are the ticket for referral-based businesses. The great thing about social media for real estate using personalized posts is that it’s all about you. This actually makes it easier becuase all you have to do is be yourself! You do you and you’ll be fine.

I’ve also told you about social ads and how this is a very inexpensive and underutilized way to find new potential clients on social media who you don’t know but need your listings and services. If you follow the program correctly (ad to landing page to contact form to follow-up campaign), you will get new clients.

So tell me, have you successfully implemented either of these strategies? If so, tell me in the comments!

Now, go be social! (And congratulate yourself, you just read 1,500 words!)

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