This is part two in a series about lead generation for new real estate agents. You can get leads for free from more places and in more ways than you might have thought possible.
This time, we go digital with Facebook.
Like any new real estate agent, I remember what it was like to be an entrepreneur trying to start her own business.
I took two years to make a run at being a freelance copywriter. While I had done all the groundwork to learn my craft, I didn’t know much about how to market my business. And when you don’t know what you don’t know, learning what it takes to get leads is tough.
I certainly didn’t have gobs of money to hire a marketing agency or a strategist to do it for me. After paying for computer equipment, software, classes, a website, business cards, health insurance, and a sundry of other must-have-items, there wasn’t much left.
Man, I wish I knew then what I know now.
The good news is I have the opportunity to help you with your lead generation, especially in understanding how you can get leads for free.
Recap: How to get free real estate leads
In Part 1, I shared several tried and true ways that new agents can generate leads without spending a dime, including:
- Remind family and friends you’re an agent.
- Introduce yourself to the people in your social circle.
- Exchange names with the people who provide you with a service.
- Reach out to past clients.
- Partner up with related businesses.
- Volunteer, speak at, or attend free community events.
- Write or contribute to articles, podcasts, and publications.
- Knock on doors.
All of these real estate lead generation ideas came with a rationale for why they work and a specific action item that was easy to implement.
What pulls all these ideas together is relationship marketing, and how referral-based businesses like real estate will always hinge on creating and nurturing relationships with your clients. Success depends on your staying top-of-mind so that when someone asks one of your clients if they know a good real estate agent, yours is the first name they think of.
In addition to the eight ways to get free real estate leads that are listed above and thoroughly discussed in Part 1, you can save additional money, find qualified leads, and create and nurture relationships by going digital and using Facebook.
Use Facebook—It’s Where Your Clients Are
Having a presence on all the big social media platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest) is ideal, and you’ll want to put that on your list of goals. But to get started, Facebook is the best choice for new real estate agents looking to get leads for free.
According to 2019 stats provided by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR):
- Among NAR’s members, social media was the tool reported as the best source for generating high-quality leads.
- Of NAR’s members who use social media, 97% use Facebook. (LinkedIn was a distant second at 59%).
When it comes to deciding how to get real estate leads on Facebook, many agents go right to purchasing ads. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you do eventually want to spend some money on Facebook ads, then I recommend you listen to this free webinar about the three ads that will give you the best bang for your buck.
But I promised to give you ways to generate free leads.
First, you need to set up a Facebook business page, and to do that you need a personal Facebook page to link it to.
Unlike a personal page, a dedicated business page will allow you to have unlimited followers and likes. It will also provide you with analytics that show you how your brand is performing on the platform. Facebook doesn’t charge for business pages, so there’s a good reason to take advantage of these exclusive options and features.
You can set up your Facebook business page in just a few easy steps. Click here to watch a video that will guide you through the set up.
Once you’ve got your business page in place, you can use it to generate “traffic” (that’s the layperson’s term for potential leads) in different ways.
Check out these 8 Tips for Starting Your Professional Facebook Page.
Action item: This week, create your Facebook business page. If you already have one, make sure it is optimized with all your contact information, including your business address, phone number, and a knock ‘em dead description of your business and services.
Write posts to establish trust
The best posts will be those in which you write about what you know and are useful to your readers. When you consistently provide high-quality content that your audience values and shares, you begin to establish trust among your readers—and that’s the first step to establishing relationships that turn prospects into clients.
And it’s an excellent way you can start to get leads for free.
Posts don’t have to be 2,000-word articles, and you can (in fact, you should) write them like your talking to your best friend. There’s no need to get anxious about perfect grammar, although I recommend you use spellcheck. And as long as you add your own spin, you can even borrow ideas from other people.
Here’s a tip from the pros: To get greater reach, cross share the content you put on your business page with your personal page, and vice versa (if appropriate). Content on personal pages receive much more organic (non-paid) traffic than business pages. Additionally, ask your friends to follow your business page. It’ll help to build traffic and your network.
If you already have a blog, an enticing and quick post is something called a “listicle.”
Listicles are among the most popular posts because their titles promise a quick read with a limited number of ideas. Examples would be “The 7 Best Budgeting Tools,” “5 Questions to Ask Your Moving Company,” and “The 3 Biggest Home Buying Mistakes.” (Use odd numbers; they attract more attention.)[i]
If you write about what you know, you could kick out a short listicle in about 15 minutes.
Click here for some super easy tips for writing a great post.
Action item: After you’ve got your business page, write a listicle of 5 things about a real estate topic you know a lot about. As an alternative idea, create a list of FAQs for your business and post that to your page.
Share and show you care
If you aren’t into writing and want to save some time, you can also use Facebook to share information your future clients would find useful.
All you need to do is find something of interest like a story featuring ideas for interior design or maybe a summary of local laws about pet ownership. Here’s another tip from the pros: Follow Facebook pages that share “viral content” and reshare the videos and posts that make the most sense for your audience.
The point is to provide more value, and if you can do it by sharing other people’s ideas, that’s okay. Sharing still demonstrates you care about your audience.
What did that take? Three minutes? Easy-peasy.
Try to be consistent about how often and when you post.
There are some optimal days and times to post to Facebook and other social media platforms. A good idea is to write or collect several posts, and then use a scheduler to schedule and automate their distribution.
Action item: This week, or as soon as your business page is up, find three articles that would be of interest to your prospects. Select three different days and times, and post one shared item on each of them.
Use Facebook Live and put the real in real estate
It’s fun, and you can use Facebook Live to broadcast video and establish yourself as the expert in your community. You might take a walk in a neighborhood making sure to capture and comment on homes, local business, schools, and parks (don’t forget the dog parks!).
You could also use Facebook Live to launch a virtual open house, provide a tutorial for home buyers, or host a Q&A.
And it doesn’t have to be all business. It is social media, after all. Consider hosting a virtual coffee break or happy hour.
You can also go live at a community event—offer commentary, get people to talk with you, and invite others to join in! Imagine the goodwill you’ll generate by promoting other organizations’ events.
The thing to remember about Facebook Live is that it’s not meant to be a polished movie production. In fact, the more authentic it is, the more real you appear to be and the more people will engage and respond.
If you’d like to see how easy it is to shoot a Facebook Live session, then check out this short Stay Paid episode that our podcast team streamed live on Facebook, and enjoy a good laugh.
Action item: This weekend, shoot a Facebook Live session during an outside activity. It doesn’t have to be anything glamorous. You could talk a walk, ride a bike, mow the lawn, plant flowers (and talk about the importance of curb appeal when selling a home). If you’re engaged with other people, be responsible about social distancing and wear your mask—remember your audience loves authenticity.
Build a community and create a group
Groups are awesome for bringing people with the same interests together and building relationships. It’s not a place to sell your listings. Instead, you want to chat with the group; be professional but be yourself. Make it a habit to answer questions and respond to all comments, even the ones that aren’t flattering.
Your group could be related to real estate, but it doesn’t have to be. The best idea would be to make the group about an interest that already exists among your clients and prospects. It could be about baking or cooking, bird feeding, DIY repairs, pets … the possibilities are endless.
Action item: Review the information you have in your database and see if there is a common thread among at least some of the people in it. If there isn’t, use your new Facebook business page and post a question asking your followers about their interests and hobbies (and be sure to share yours). If there’s enough there, consider creating a Facebook group.
Get the most from your social media
Facebook is an extremely valuable tool for new agents looking to get free real estate leads. But Facebook isn’t restricted to new agents. Anyone looking for free leads can benefit from using these ideas.
Even if you are only maximizing its free features, using Facebook can be very time consuming if you’re going to do it right. And if there’s one thing new agents seem to need more of, it’s time.
I believe you should use all the free resources you can. But I also know that a wise investment can be worth far more than the initial cost. And that’s especially true in real estate where one sale can pay for many years’ worth of marketing.
At ReminderMedia, we offer a product called Branded Posts. It makes using the power of Facebook and other social media platforms to connect with your clients and prospects practically effortless.
With more than 5,000 quality articles personally branded with your photo, business, and contact info and accompanied by a lead generation form, you pick the articles you want to post, click “Share,” and that’s it.
You can use the free Facebook Scheduler to schedule your posts in advance—planning as far in advance as you’d like all from within one product. No toggling back and forth between Facebook and a third-party scheduler that’s typically too confusing to be worth the time and effort.
[i] Baker Marketing Editorial Team, 3 Powerful Reasons for Using Odd Numbered Lists in Your Blog Post Titles, Baker Marketing, March 13, 2013, https://bakermarketingservices.com/2013/03/3-powerful-reasons-for-using-odd-numbered-lists-in-your-blog-post-titles/.