In the first post in this series, I covered the 4 Facebook tools and how they fit into your Facebook lead generation strategy.
In this post I'm going to discuss the building of your audience and attracting those all-important “eyeballs” to your valuable content.
You can create the most spectacularly interesting and helpful Facebook post of all time, and release it at the optimal time in the day for your target audience, but without a qualified audience it may never reach anyone.
Building your audience
1. To make a friend, be a friend. Begin by inviting friends you already know: old clients, current clients and agents you've worked with.
Your mother may have told you that all you have to do is be yourself, and you'll have plenty of friends. Social media isn't the elementary school playground. Not very many people will “friend” you or “Like” your page just because your profile and page exist on Facebook.
Most agents do social media all wrong (and that includes the top agents in your office)
The top performers in your office have probably been at this game a long time. They built their network with old school tactics. And when newcomers to social media reached out to connect with people they already knew, they thought of these guys.
These “legends” could literally be doing the very worst things possible in social — like using their Facebook page to blast their listings — and still pick up some friends and Likes. If you don't have a huge network already, that will follow you no matter how badly you screw it up, you can't afford to make all of their mistakes.
Schedule time each week to make new friends. Reach out to local people that have mentioned your content to others, or made a comment. Not all of them may be prospects, but if they love your content, they can help build some buzz.
Begin organizing your Facebook “Rolodex” early. As you develop friends, take the time to place them in Facebook lists, such as friends, family, past clients, current clients, prospective clients and influencers.
Make the time to skim down your wall every day to find conversations you can engage in. The idea is to be helpful, without any selling. Compliment people on promotions, congratulate them on their anniversary, make a recommendation when it's requested… you get the idea. Be their friend. When you make a comment, check the names of others that “Liked” the post or added their comments. It's a good place to find new potential friends.
There are many social media gurus that suggest that having many friends establishes “social proof,” so it's a good idea to indiscriminately friend as many people as you can. In our experience, this is silly as stacking a Rolodex with 250 cards of strangers so it looks impressive on the desk. None of them could be considered leads.
2. Incentivize “Likes”. There is “social proof” value in increasing your Facebook Likes.
Most successful websites use landing pages for lead generation. Landing pages promote an incredibly valuable free whitepaper or ebook, then ask for a name and email address in exchange for the downloadable document.
The incentive may be something like a list of discounted condos or foreclosures in Vancouver, 10 must-have tips for choosing the best Burnaby location for a young family, or 5 things sellers need to know to get the very best price for their North Van. townhome. Buyers and sellers need quality information, and the list is endless. Whatever the subject, the potential upside for the reader must be huge, so the exchange is a no-brainer.
Your list provides you with permission to deliver ridiculously valuable ‘epic' content on an ongoing basis, and the privilege of influencing audience decisions over time. If you aren't building a list, you need to get on it this week. It's a pillar component of any effective lead generation strategy.
Besides list building, there's another way to use landing pages. You can exchange the valuable downloadable document for a Facebook “Like” instead. Because the document is for the benefit of your Facebook reader, you also get to promote it on Facebook (and in other social media channels).
Another way to handle this is to set up a fan gate, with an app like the one offered by PageYourself.
3. Post ridiculously valuable stuff at least a few times a week. What, you may ask, would make this content that valuable? It's all about your audience, and the benefit to your readers.
Smart real estate professionals are helping, not selling.
– Jay Baer, author of the upcoming book Youtility for Real Estate
Take a hard look at your last 10 Facebook posts. Can you honestly say they solved a problem, or provided any lasting value? Were they just mundane updates — or much worse — shameless self promotion and listing announcements?
It may be ego deflating, but your readers don't actually care much about “you,” your commission or the recognition you've received for closing deals. They're hoping you can help “them” at their point of pain. Perhaps they're looking for a new home, because the situation has changed, and they need more space. Or the kids have left home, and they want to downsize. There may an upcoming wedding or a divorce, with a family home to sell, and perhaps two smaller condos to buy. This is your opportunity to be helpful.
Observe the 80:20 rule: post 4 educational / informative posts that are hyper-relevant to your target buyer or seller, or about your local area, to every post that involves your business in some way. Does that mean you can never even mention a listing or a sale you made? Not at all.
It all comes down to how you frame it. Every piece of content must be written for “them” and about “them.” Write a listing announcement and it's considered sleazy advertising. An announcement about a sold property just comes off as boasting and shameless advertising. Who would want more of that in their wall or inbox? Yuck! (There is a place for listing announcements on Facebook: Groups. I covered this in the first post of this series.)
Begin your relationship with each friend by thanking them. If they list with you, thank your clients for the confidence they've placed in you. If a transaction closes, a post that thanks the client, the title company, the closing coordinator, the mortgage broker, etc. is appropriate. And, unless someone objects, tag each person. Humble appreciation goes a long way.
Your prospective clients are interested in outcomes, so they love “success stories” that focus on the client. If you write these as a letter to the client, it's appropriate to ask for specific and relevant referrals at the end.
Every time you have a new listing, a deal goes into contract or closing, or you attend a house warming party, there's an opportunity for a success story that makes your client and team feel good.
Never brag about your achievements but use “we” in describing the things you've accomplished “together.” Success stories demonstrate your ability to help others, your gratitude and willingness share the love you have for the people you work with; and in the process boost your social proof through the roof.
4. Keep your brand (and you are the brand) top of mind. Curate valuable information daily. If you follow successful social media marketers, you'll discover that they're posting all the time. But if you check the credits, only a fraction of the posts will come from the profile author. The rest is content the audience should find very helpful, curated from non-competitive sources.
Why should you curate additional content? Becoming known as an extremely valuable information resource for investors, buyers and sellers of real estate should increase the number of Facebook your followers and friend requests dramatically.
Two of my favorite tools for curating content are Feedly, an RSS feed reader, that permits you to post to social channels, and Buffer. Buffer is a time-release solution that lets you get on with your work, while the posts you selected are published automatically throughout the day on your chosen social media platforms. I enjoy sitting down with my cup of espresso in the morning, while reading my real estate and marketing news feeds. Anything I believe my readers will find helpful is placed in the Buffer.
In the next post I'll discuss ways to move friends through the sales funnel, to become a subscriber you can influence, and then a warm lead that welcomes your call.
Need some help getting systems in place and content developed? I encourage you to take advantage of my 20 minute free coaching call to see how I can help you focus your online marketing.