Most real estate agents don’t need convincing when it comes to the value of using Facebook and Instagram to grow their business. You can build a business account on these platforms within minutes, enabling you to engage with the hundreds of millions of homebuyers using the platforms.
The true challenge lies in what comes next: turning your business pages into lead generation machines. Building digital ads on Facebook and Instagram is harder and less intuitive than building traditional ads. For instance, you contact an outdoor advertising company to place a billboard or a media agency to place a radio ad. However, real estate agents controlling their own Facebook and Instagram pages have to build, execute, and manage digital marketing campaigns themselves. You could hire a digital advertising agency to run ad campaigns for you, but you’ll pay a premium and lose a degree of responsiveness.
Luckily, you don’t need to become a digital real estate marketing expert or hire one to take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s remarkable advertising capabilities. Use these three tips to build impactful Instagram and Facebook real estate ads to stand out from the crowd in 2022 and beyond.
1. Pay to boost posts to your existing followers
Facebook and Instagram allow you to boost a post to increase your post’s visibility amongst your followers. You can hand Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta a few dollars and increase your update, picture, or video post appearance frequency in your followers’ feeds.
To see the value of boosting posts, you must first understand the concept of organic reach. You may think every single one of your followers on Facebook and Instagram sees each of your general social posts. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of your followers (and occasionally their friends) see your content in their feed.
Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta restricts the organic reach of business page posts. Organic reach simply means the number of people who see the content a business page posts in their feed without paying for wider distribution. Facebook business pages achieved 100% organic reach at the time of their inception in 2007, meaning every follower saw every post. Now, that percentage hovers closer to a meager 2.5%. Only two or three followers will see your posts on Facebook and Instagram for every 100 followers you have.
The act of boosting a post increases this percentage dramatically. Even a few dollars expands your post’s reach considerably, as you can see in the image below:
The account used for this screenshot has only a little over 500 likes. This means spending $8 over the period of a single week increases visibility for a post from roughly 12 people to as many as 335 people. Visibility for this post jumps from 2.5% organic reach rate to a potential 67% paid reach rate for a bit more than a dollar a day.You can boost a post easily by following these simple steps:
- Locate the post you’d like to boost on your business page
- Click the “Boost post ” button
- Select a call-to-action button (if any)
- Determine your targeted audience
- Choose the amount of time you’d like to boost the post
- Type in the amount of money you’d like to spend
Not every post deserves a boost. Spend your ad money smartly and boost posts that:
- Inform about an important upcoming event like an open house
- Have strong ROI opportunities, such as a post about a current listing
- Have already organically achieved a great deal of engagement in the form of “likes” or comments
- Contain a call-to-action (CTA) that draws readers back to your website
2. Become familiar with Meta’s Ad Manager
You shouldn’t spend your social media ad budget exclusively on boosted posts. If you work the same fishing hole every day for long enough, eventually you’ll run out of fish.
That’s where Meta’s Ads Manager comes in. Ads Manager allows you to build ads and manage campaigns that reach new prospects on both Facebook and Instagram. Even a basic understanding of the Ads Manager’s essential functions will help you take your ad game to the next level. These functions include:
- Choosing new or existing collateral. Ads Manager allows you to upload fresh images to create a brand-new post. Alternatively, you can choose to use a post already published on your business page and add a CTA that brings prospects directly to your website.
- Custom audience targeting. Meta allows you to select an audience for your ad based on demographics, geographical location, and even interests. These ad-targeting options help narrow your focus to your users in your market with the highest likelihood of requiring your services.
- Ad campaign creation. Ads bring the best return when used in conjunction with each other over long periods of time. Meta helps you build and maintain a campaign centered around your specific advertising goals, like building brand awareness or driving real estate leads.
- Performance analysis. Ads Manager provides real-time data on how your ads perform once they launch. The tool keeps track of important statistics, like how many times people saw your ad (impressions), unique link clicks, and the average cost per click.
3. Embrace the art of video
Social users love videos. 88% of them want more video content from brands. This preference for video extends to social media advertising, where video ads fuel a 48% better sales rate than static ads. It also extends to Meta itself. The company’s own own algorithm boosts high-engagement content — and it’s hard to find a better engagement magnet than a good video.
Facebook and Instagram offer several ways to build ads using video, including:
Videos help highlight your unique product. Well-done video ads convey your brand and personality better than static ads. The inclusion of movement, sound, and narrative proves more engaging to prospects than a simple picture and a bit of ad copy. Much like static ads, video ads can be built and distributed to new prospects through Ads Manager. You can also boost existing video posts to build credibility with your existing followers.
Success on Meta’s social apps boils down to its algorithm. Per the company itself, Meta’s algorithm favors video ads that:
- You produced yourself
- Are not duplicate videos
- Keep users watching until the end
- Aren’t clickbait
Conventional video ads work wonders, but there are other ways to take advantage of video on Facebook and Instagram. 82% of social users prefer to engage with a live video rather than a social post. Use a live video stream to introduce viewers to your team, conduct a virtual open house, or host live real estate Q & As with your followers.
A handy trick for getting the most out of live video involves boosting. Pay to boost a “virtual showing” of a new listing the week before the open house. You should target the boost at local users and set it to expire at the conclusion of the open house. This timely, targeted boosting increases the likelihood of a good turnout.
Facebook and Instagram Stories are videos or photos users post to their pages that only last 24 hours. Meta based the concept on Snapchat’s Stories feature, which may explain its popularity with younger users: 59% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z users watch Instagram stories regularly.
Facebook Stories appear above your feed as vertically-oriented rectangles with the user’s profile image.
On Instagram, Stories appear as circles above the photo grid.
Video stories must run shorter than 15 seconds in length. This makes them perfect for quick, intimate snapshots of your professional goings-on, including:
- Highlighting special features of your listings
- Capturing snippets of community events
- Offering a sneak peek at your office culture
You can boost Stories or turn them into full-fledged ads. These paid Stories display to users as they watch other people’s Stories. Pro tip: when creating a Story you intend to also distribute as an ad, include a link back to your website as a CTA to maximize your ROI.
Then there’s Instagram Reels. The rise of rival platform TikTok resulted in Meta’s creation of the short-form video feature in 2020. A Reel video can be up to 60 seconds in length and doesn’t disappear after 24 hours like a Story. This makes them the perfect medium for building educational content for your followers. Use your authority in the real estate space to create videos that address frequently asked questions like:
- The mechanics of buying and selling homes
- What to look for in a real estate agent
- Up-and-coming neighborhoods in your area
Instagram Reels aren’t boostable at this time. However, they can be added to a campaign as separate video ads. Additionally, Meta’s algorithm currently prioritizes Reels in an effort to combat the growing popularity of TikTok. You can track the performance of your Reels videos using Instagram’s Insights analytics tool to determine which types of videos provide the highest engagement.
Consider what happens next
Social media platforms are invaluable as a means of building awareness and driving engagement, but they shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your marketing efforts. Ads should send prospects to your website to drum up new leads and sell houses.
This means you must consider where your ads link customers to on your website. You need to maintain your website with the same vigilance you use to cultivate your social media presence. Don’t waste resources on paid Facebook and Instagram ads until you have your website and landing pages updated with current pictures, content, and contact info.
The stress of buying a first home drives one-third of prospective homeowners to tears. Your brilliant social media ads will build trust with those looking to ease the pain of homebuying.