Social Media for Real Estate…Facebook or Instagram??
We recently received a great question about social media platforms on our Instagram page. Which is better for a real estate company or a broker; Facebook or Instagram? Some of what we will discuss will carry over applications for about any business, but for the sake of this post we will concentrate on real estate. We will give the pros and cons of using these platforms, but specifically for both real estate agents and agencies and try our best to declare some sort of a winner if one exists.
Facebook for Realtors
Let’s first look at Facebook. As most, if not all, realtors and real estate agencies are local businesses, we can somewhat ignore the fact that there are 1.5 billion users. But you can also know full well, there are very few places on the internet where you can reach literally thousands of potential customers in your local market on a daily basis.
It’s worth noting that 79% of all adults who are online use Facebook. And of that pool of online adults, 81% are urban dwellers, 84% are in prime home-buying ages of 30-49, and 77% of those have household incomes of over $75,000 annually. But how are you going to reach these people?
That’s a big challenge for any business, let alone a realtor in a local market. From a social media perspective, what you don’t want to do is use Facebook as nothing more than a billboard for all your listings, or how great you are at selling houses to reach potential sellers. Think in terms of the 80/20 rule…80% of your content should be informational, educational, and engaging. Content ideas could include how to get your first loan, how to prepare your home for the sale, feature cool things about the neighborhoods and schools, what improvements to consider, the importance of curb appeal, and so on. The remaining 20% should then could be about your listings and properties. But again, don’t be stale and impersonal. Use your personality, be human, be transparent, be social, and most importantly encourage conversation and respond back to people in a timely manner. Most importantly, use images and video whenever possible. Even Live Stream a property tour.
Now for the downside…Facebook has been slowly killing off organic reach and impressions for businesses of any kind for a few years now, and it’s only going to get harder to get your content in front of people. So, you are going to have to allot some of your marketing budget towards some sort of advertising on Facebook. There is no two ways around it. You will have to advertise and spend some money, but also know Facebook ads work when done effectively. The clicks are generally cheaper than Google, as are CPMs (Cost per 1000 Impressions). You can laser focus your targeting to neighborhoods, zip codes, income, interests, and other targeted demographics. You can also test multiple images and ad copy to find what resonates with your base, and repeat what works.
- Huge User Base, and most log on every day.
- Slightly older demographic.
- Higher household incomes.
- Great way to be more social and likeable.
- Fantastic customer service opportunities.
- Great place to advertise.
- Great Audience Insights, and Page Insights
- Organic(Free) Reach is dying a slow death.
- Need to be consistent and regular with your postings (1-2 posts/day)
- Time consuming developing new content
Instagram for Realtors
Instagram offers a huge opportunity to reach a whole new demographic, a younger client base with a high majority being under the age of 30. But also a much lower household income. Only 32% of adults use Instagram regularly. Here again, use the 80/20 rule of showing great content and educational content to self-promotion and listings posts. A potential challenge, but also a way to distinguish yourself from others is that you really have to focus your attention on quality, as in quality images and videos, but also on highlighting lifestyle and emotions. Think about who are reaching and what they care about. This demographic might have more interest in seeing people having a great time at a nearby brewpub from the property listing as opposed to the type of blinds in the house. This millennial generation who really jumped on Instagram is more about experiential things like neighborhood vibe, and hip places to eat than others. So Instagram can really be a great way to showcase everything happening around the homes, as opposed to only highlighting the features inside the home. But with Instagram, you get the added benefit of being able to reach way more people, and generate a lot more engagement than other platforms do. You can tap into the reach of celebrities, even sharing or showcasing huge homes of the richest people. Sprinkling in content of the extremely rich will play much better than Facebook. Highlighting and tapping into people’s positive emotions when they close on a home for instance, will play very well on Instagram
The downside of Instagram is that it will most likely be more work to do it effectively and consistently. You need to invest in good camera equipment or have a great phone, and not post anything that looks “stocky” or not unique. Low quality images, stock looking photos, and poor videos will do more to detract people than attract them. You also cannot post directly to links of properties as you can with Facebook unless you pay to do it. You need to use imagery to create a story and tap into emotions that highlight experiences and lifestyles, as well as creating a feeling people get when they sell or buy a new home. And while Instagram is getting better by the day and is top choice with its advertising, I would still give a slight edge to Facebook in the paid realm.
- Reach a new demographic, younger clientele.
- Much better organic reach and engagement, 58x times more than Facebook per follower.
- Only about Images, video, and some “stories”.
- Great way to create experiential marketing in addition to just showing houses and homes.
- Great place to highlight everything outside and around the home like the neighborhood and local businesses.
- Can be way more fun to use than other platforms.
- Fun place to showcase yourself outside of working, being more transparent.
- Ability to geotag all images with an address…or a property listing.
- Ability to use more general hashtags to reach a new audience.
- Smaller User base, 1/3 that of Facebook
- More time investment to do it properly and separate yourself.
- Advertising platform is good, but not as good.
- Analytics and Insights not as robust.
Facebook or Instagram?
So, is there a clear winner for realtors? I think a lot of it has to do with your clients and potential clients. It has something to do with your own personality. You need to factor in some marketing dollars to make both platforms perform at their best, although Instagram has the edge if you have zero budget.
I would consider these as well if you have to choose one platform:
If time is on your side, and you have a relatively good way of being creative and know how to take good photos go with Instagram.
If time is not on your side, and you have at best, time to make 1-3 posts per week, Facebook might be your choice.
If you have no money from which to add to your social media efforts (but you should find some) I would say Instagram.
If you have some money, even $50-100/month on ad spend, Facebook is the choice.
If your neighborhoods are generally upper-class, and on the more expensive side, Facebook gets the nod.
If you have reasonably priced neighborhoods and listings, in hip parts of town, Instagram gets the nod.
Final Conclusion: Use both platforms and make the time or hire the time from an agency, invest in creating quality images and videos, put aside some advertising dollars, don’t be afraid to let people into your personal and business worlds, don’t get too pushy on the sales side, be able educate and entertain, and most of all BE SOCIAL. When time permits mix in Twitter and Pinterest as well. Good luck and please comment on what has worked for your real estate business.
Author: Eric Graham, Marketing Manager- iWeSocial