5 Marketing Tips For Realtors: Navigating Facebook’s News Feed Changes In 2018

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If you haven’t seen or heard about Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent “news feed” announcement on Jan. 11, there are big changes coming that WILL inevitably impact your personal and business pages.  (To view the full announcement, click here.)  

In this post I’m going to share my personal thoughts on the “gist” of this big news, what it means for Realtors who utilize Facebook as one of their top marketing tools, and provide 5 tips for navigating these changes moving forward.

First, let’s start with summarizing the announcement

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal mission for 2018 is to take the Facebook experience back to its roots. If you recall, Facebook started out as a platform that prided itself on bringing people closer together. It was a place where college students connected, families stayed in touch and shared personal moments, and old high school buddies reunited and conversed about the “good ole days.” Three simple adjectives that formed the foundation of this revolutionary platform - connecting, sharing and conversing. But somewhere along the way it became less about connecting, sharing and conversing, and more about talking, selling and promoting.

Zuckerberg went on to say, "but recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content—particularly posts from businesses, brands, and media--is crowding out the personal moments."

Instead of your news feed being filled with your best friend’s wedding photos or birth announcements or your cousin’s epic climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro, it is flooded with videos showing dancing cats, the latest calorie busting “tasty” recipes (side note: those are my favorite!), exhausting political rhetoric (both fake and real) and of course the barrage of weight loss gimmicks, fasts, fountain of youth pills and fitness contraptions. Okay, there is some good relevant content in there too, but you get the point.

What Does All This Mean?

According to Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, here is a breakdown of the changes that are coming that will impact your business/brand page  – some as soon as February:

  1. Posts from friends and family will take precedence over business/branded content

  2. Video will get less watch time. Meaning: you'll see less passive (pre-recorded) videos in your News Feed (i.e., how-to-videos, real estate listing videos, video testimonials, etc.).  According to Mosseri, "video is, primarily, a passive experience. You tend to just sit back and watch it. And while you're watching it, you're not usually liking, or commenting, or speaking with friends."

  3. Posts with links to external pages like your blog, website, news, etc. will get less visibility

  4. The new updates will impact all posts from people, pages and groups (so if you thought, ok no biggie, I’ll just post all of my business content over on my personal profile, think again. Or conversely, if you thought starting a group might be the savvy workaround to getting your posts seen, remember, these also rely on posts from people so are susceptible to the new News Feed algorithm)

Now What? Is There A Solution?

According to Mosseri, “Facebook will reward posts that spark more meaningful conversations and interactions between people.”

So what does that mean for you and me? While many marketers are calling this the Facebook Apocalypse or Facebook Zero, I for one am over here doing a little happy dance and welcome the changes with open arms. Organic reach has been dying a slow death for the past couple of years, so this announcement comes as no surprise. I’ve long coached my real estate clients to be more thoughtful in their content approach – not focusing so much on the quantity of posts but the quality of posts.

Create videos and posts that help, not sell…that inspire not annoy…that educate not dictate…that celebrate not pontificate. Posts that create community and encourage feedback and engagement because social media is meant to be social.

That being said, all is not lost and the sky is not falling. Facebook will continue to be one of the most utilized marketing platforms for reaching your target audience, so here are 5 marketing tips for Realtors looking to navigate these new algorithm changes:

Tip 1: Get Strategic (Seriously). Instead of posting 3-5x a week, look at posting 1-2x a week and then spending a few bucks to boost that post so that as many people within your target audience actually see it. As Realtors, you have the enormous task of guiding people through one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. Whether buying or selling a home, the process for many can be stressful and overwhelming, and you often find yourself in the role of counselor and therapist. Take those counseling sessions and 9pm panicked phone calls, and turn them into meaningful posts that help alleviate concerns for many vs. just one. Better yet, go live if it’s a question or concern you receive regularly!

Tip 2:  Learn to Love Facebook Live. You’re going to need to get serious about your “Facebook Live game.” Passive - meaning, pre-recorded - videos (yes, this includes listing videos, but more on that later) will receive less organic visibility. Consider mixing Facebook Live videos into your content marketing plan.  According to Mosseri, “live video leads to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” 

Now if the thought of going live gives you immediate sweats, trust me, you’re not alone. But as your mom and dad always said, “practice makes perfect.”  The more you make the effort to go live, the more comfortable you’ll become with the “awkwardness” of it. Instead of looking at that screen and thinking to yourself, I hope I don’t mess up or sound silly, forget all of that! Imagine you’re on a FaceTime or Skype call with an out-of-town client - keep it professional, but conversational. You’ve got this, I promise.

Tip 3: Incorporate Facebook Ads into Your Budget. While posts and passive video will receive less visibility in the organic ranking of the news feed, creating ads for your featured content will be one of the only reliable ways to target your ideal audience while driving traffic off of Facebook to your website without being penalized. As part of the overall “optimization” of your listing video, you should already be creating a blog post on your site that features your listing video as well its specific key search terms (Paradise Valley Home For Sale). Not only does this create a better funnel to capture leads and showing requests, home valuations, etc., but it also increases traffic and unique visitors to your site, while ensuring Facebook’s buddies - like Google, Yahoo and Bing - join the SEO party.

SIDENOTE: (If you’re not yet incorporating video into your content marketing strategy, I strongly encourage you to read this post by our friends over at HUB Media Company). Trust me, one meeting with these guys and you’ll be hooked.  https://hubmediacompany.com/real-estate-milestone-videos/)

Tip 4: Use the ‘Pin to Top’ Feature:  “Pin to Top” is a very underutilized tool within each page post that can have big impact when anyone lands on your page for the first time.  Make sure that your most important content or post is the one being featured at the very top of your page. An upcoming Open House, a Featured Listing Video, a Lifestyle video promoting the areas you specialize in...this is all very “pinnable” content. Make sure the content you want people to see first is front and center. (See image below for example)
 

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Tip 5:  Get Acquainted with Messenger: Moving conversations into Messenger will be a huge trend that will allow you to nurture leads and sell. A couple of simple things you can do immediately if you’re not already is go to your Facebook Settings and in the left-hand column select Messaging and your Messenger Settings will display. Make sure the three following prompts are all marked YES: 1) Prompt Visitors to Send Messages 2) Help People Start a Conversation with Your Page 3) All of Your Response Assistant Messages are turned on and a little personal message included (see image below for example).
 

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In the ever-changing world of online marketing, it’s important to stay up-to-date. Facebook’s news feed adjustments are likely to make a positive impact on the consumer experience and Realtors who evolve with the platform will reap big rewards.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to visit our website or send us an email at hello@onyx-communications.com.