The most effective sales tool is interaction — not automation
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will overhaul the algorithm for the platform’s news feed, gearing toward “meaningful social interaction” and away from what it deems “relevant content.”
Why is this important for real estate agents and brokers?
Social media expert Katie Lance published her thoughts on the news feed change, writing that “real estate has always been and will always be a people business. The best way you can use your personal Facebook account as a real estate professional is to be interested in others; be intentional about being interested in your clients.”
Yet many of us believe that Facebook is the place to peddle our wares, not just in real estate, but in nearly every industry. We have grown accustomed to posting videos of our latest listings and watching the “likes” roll in.
Although that may have worked in the past, this is not what Facebook considers a “meaningful social interaction.”
As marketers, real estate agents have to adjust and step up their game if they want continued success with Facebook as a business tool.
When the shift from a transactional to a relational business strategy happens, it’s painful.
Why? Because you can’t just throw money at relationships and expect returns. You have to invest time and energy and approach people with a certain level of care to build a trusting relationship.
I equate this to mall kiosks.
Nothing against them, but people who work them are less concerned with creating an overall experience for consumers than they are with getting our $10 in exchange for a new phone case. The investment to create an experience would be more than the return they would get on their product; they are transactional businesses.
An agent’s social media strategy should be an overall experience for the consumer — and a transparent, honest and clear picture of what you are about.
If you’re looking for the best route, consider a strategy that involves a consistent mix of your listing posts or closing table pictures with value-driven information and engaging problem-solving sessions.
The biggest strategy change should be showing that you care about more in this world than real estate. Post things that are in line with your core values and varied in subject matter — topics that relate to what you are about in your business, but that aren’t explicitly real estate-focused.
You have to contribute
Our egos are at play in the Facebook world. We believe in a level of celebrity that says “people like us, we don’t have to like them.”
The new algorithms aim to correct this behavior.
Most of us expect everyone to come to our party while we decline every invitation to go to theirs. In the real world that would be incredibly rude, but on Facebook, it indicates an unspoken level of popularity. It won’t work that way anymore.
Looking at what other people are posting, liking that post and commenting on it will become a lifeline for staying visible. Likewise, responding to comments on your own posts will be equally as important. This is a true and meaningful interaction in the eyes of Facebook.
Content is a big word these days in regards to marketing, and Facebook is continuing its focus on original content.
Links to articles, YouTube videos or anything that pulls a user to another website will continue to be less relevant than your own Facebook Live videos, recorded videos, posts and shares.
Facebook wants the exclusive to you and your friends.
Acknowledging the harm of passively consuming content on social media has been a breakthrough for the company. Thus, it shifted back to its original ideology of connecting people.
The upcoming algorithm adjustments are said to foster human connection. The more people you interact with and contribute to, the more visible you will become in their news feed.
The Myspace syndrome
Assuming you remember Myspace, there was a big problem that developed — one that, in hindsight, could have been solved had the study of social media usage been at the level it is today.
The personal aspect of Myspace disappeared, meaning, it became more about discovering new friends than keeping up with old relationships. Everything became an advertisement for something or someone new.
Myspace became “muddy” when it created more sellers than buyers. We saw ample postings and publishings to Myspace but very few real connections.
It was like watching only the commercials on television. There was nothing to anchor us to something familiar. At that point, it was game over.
Facebook has said, in response to the new algorithms’ criticism, that connecting with each other is the most important thing it can do. No one would voluntarily use a platform that was a constant stream of ads. Myspace proved that.
Real estate companies shudder every time the words “algorithm change” come across the wire. Rightfully so. It means that the things that were working for the business might not work anymore.
I believe that’s a good thing for us all. We have to stay in tune with connections and not get complacent about our value to the industry.
Modern technology has removed the need for much of the interaction in a real estate deal. Whether you hate it, love it or feel indifferent toward it, the simple truth is that the most effective sales tool is interaction not automation.
Kevin Hoover is a Realtor with eXp Realty – Myrtle Beach.