Face it! You gotta be on Facebook!

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

To market your business successfully on Facebook, you need to understand Facebook’s unique opportunities, and how it differs from other media.

Just as you wouldn’t run a radio ad on television, you shouldn’t market on Facebook the way you’d market in a magazine or on your website.

Don’t “hard sell”: Facebook is a fun social space where people chat to friends, check out photos and videos, and relax. You need to join conversations and become part of a community, rather than being a business outsider who tries to sell aggressively.

Create a human voice: Facebook users like to talk to other people – not to an impersonal business. Whoever manages your Facebook page must be able to write in a voice that sounds real and likeable, using a style that suits your business. They also need permission to express things in their own words, not in the company’s jargon.

Post regularly: Unlike other outlets, social media success is built around frequent updates. A recent report says that smartphone users check Facebook 13.8 times a day, on average, and spend a total of half an hour each day on the social network on their phones. So, some guides recommend posting at least once a day, but the core principle is to post when you have interesting content, and to judge how often your audience wants to hear from you.

Encourage comments and reply quickly: Encourage your audience to respond to your posts or to post their own comments about your business or a topic that’s of interest to them and you. When they do post, respond quickly. Failing to respond will weaken your Facebook friends’ willingness to engage with you, and they will gradually drift away.

Use pictures and videos: Pictures and videos are a major element of Facebook’s appeal. Use them frequently to keep your friends engaged and entertained.

Nurture your relationships: It takes time to build good relationships, so be patient. Engage sincerely in conversations, provide useful content, and develop rewards for loyal customers to help foster positive relationships.

Promote your page: Promote your Facebook page throughout your business so that your social media works hand-in-hand with more traditional marketing methods. Provide your Facebook address on your letterhead, business card and website, in store, in advertisements, and in your email signature.

Use Insights: Facebook Insights can tell you more about the people who like your page. Once you know your Facebook friends’ characteristics, you can tailor your posts and offers to meet their needs and interests.

Here are some great example of industry peeps who’re doing Facebook right:

Seeff Ballito

Donna Sipman (RE/MAX)

Young Estate Agents’ Hub (Acutts)

Private Property

Tim Johnson of Seeff Ballito says:

You need to decide why you want to be on Facebook. Having a page for the sake of it isn’t reason enough. We wanted to focus on the people in our community and some of the places that make it special.

Facebook is not a direct sales tool and should not be used as such. Think about it like you’re hosting a braai. Trying to sell your friends properties the whole time is one way to ensure that they don’t come back. With that said, if you provide a few drinks, a tasty meal and some fantastic conversation and fun, you’re likely to get them back time and time again. They’ll always associate you with real estate and may even ask you questions, but it will be on their terms.

If you want to engage with people you need to give them a reason to visit the page. The question should always be, ‘Is this post going to be interesting for other people?’ Keeping your pulse on what is happening in the community is important and shows you care about the area.

Facebook is a very visual platform, so photos are always very important when posting anything.

You need to find ways of encouraging conversation on the page. Asking interesting and relevant questions or hosting competitions is always a good idea.

You must have people within your office that understand and engage with Facebook on a regular basis. If you don’t have these people, then you need to train them because their involvement will add an important dimension to how content is shared.

If possible, outsourcing the management of your page to professionals is advisable. Having a great page doesn’t just happen. It requires proper planning and even the allocation of some budget to promote posts and reach more people. It will always, however, be up to you to ensure that the content is fresh and relevant.

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