Facebook Business Pages are the gateway between those looking to buy and sell property and other real estate services. A staple of one’s social media presence, these portals to new business leads require knowledge of both the target consumer’s behavior and the electronic landscape.
Helping navigate the digital waters of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Brandon Patrick took his years of closing successful deals in the Middle Tennessee area and applied his skills to a new kind of work. Now helping other players in the property trade, Brandon “beefs up” the social media presence of brokers, agents, and other real estate professionals.
This is Part Three in GREEN’s chat with social media expert Brandon Patrick (of Intervision Media Group), who gives budding property pros his insights on operating a Facebook Business Page to engage the public, create connectivity, and ultimately close a deal.
GREEN: What can you offer about the risks of making a “bad” post, or one that potentially disenfranchises Facebook followers?
Brandon: Well, here’s the thing that you don’t want to do. If you’re not a flamboyant person, if certain things don’t come naturally to you, don’t try to imitate something that you’re not. The things that you say, if they don’t come natural, don’t do ‘em. Be yourself, but do inspirational posts.
So, we’ve got three times a day pictures, three times a day inspirational posts, and two times a day, we want to do something random and strategic. People enjoy things that don’t really even have to do with business.
You can sit there and ask someone a random question. “What was your favorite car in high school?” Or “What was your first car?” You know? And maybe have a picture of the car that you had. Something like that.
Again, of the post, if you can get a picture into it at the same time, it’s always better. Or, you can ask a strategic, open-ended question. “What do you do when you go to a house and you find out that it’s been broken into?” Or, what do you do if you are doing an open house and the house has been broken into?
GREEN: So, the goal of the strategic posts is to create something that allows everyone to “chip in?”
Brandon: The goal is to create engagement. These are questions. It’s like, the other day; I posted for one of my attorney clients. Where it says, “What’s on your mind?” I put, “I really want to know this: what do you look for when you search for an attorney?” We had over 20 people answer the question… and a lot more than that liked it.
What you’re lookin’ at is you want to do something random. “What is your favorite color?” “Do you like ranch houses or two story houses?” Things like that. And then you want to do a strategic open-ended question like: “What do you do when you have clients in your car and your tire blows out?” Or “What do you do when your cell phone shuts down and you’re trying to get in touch with an agent?” Things that are strategic and very random.
Now, we’ve got that. We’ve got three times a day pictures, three times a day inspirational posts. Two times a day we’re gonna do random and strategic questions. Now, two times a day again, we wanna do great resources. And these are helpful articles from places like Entrepreneur Magazine or Realtor Magazine, or Mashable. What you wanna do is, you wanna share outside resources.
GREEN: So people using Facebook Business Pages should share information that’s external to the company, but that creates a feeling of “connectivity” between their brand and the information shared in the resources?
Brandon: Totally. You’re hitting it right on the numbers. And, here’s a story I’m gonna do in the next few weeks. It’s “what do you want to do when someone wants to pick your brain?” And I think that’s huge. But what you wanna do is… share stories from other real estate things, and you wanna give advice on what you’re really good at.
If you’re really good at selling condos, put an outside resource about maybe the uptick of the condo market in Nashville from The Tennessean.
GREEN: The goal being that people want to find as many ways possible to highlight their expertise?
Brandon: Yes. Make sure you give advice at what you’re good at. But you would only want to do that twice a day… It’s kind of like content curation. If you don’t know, if you haven’t written a story, go out there – the easiest thing to do is to go out there and find someone who has written a story. You know, maybe there’s a great real estate investor that’s in Florida. And they’ve written an article on a website. You wanna share that.
But give advice for something that you’re really good at, and get people starting to engage on it. But one of the biggest things that people don’t do; they sit there and they put all this information out. They put out three pictures a day. They do inspirational posts and strategic questions, and so people start answering the questions and… they don’t respond back! And so, that starts conditioning people that you’re not even really engaged in your website.
GREEN: How does someone prevent that problem of creating a Facebook persona that’s non-engaging.
Brandon: We need to talk back. We need to be on there every day, answering. If somebody has a question, answer ‘em back. And it’s kind of like [the other night], when we were at a GREEN meeting and we were doing Facebook Live, and we had a guest there, he put out “So happy to be at GREEN. All of a sudden, one of his friends goes, “What is GREEN?” And then he hit ‘em right back. He said “It’s a real estate investor’s group that does real estate education here in Nashville.” He said “Really liking what I hear.” Then the guy liked the post.
Now see, if this guy was a real estate agent – this guy was a mortgage lender – but if he was a real estate agent, he could sit there and direct message him and say, “Man I learned some really great stuff about real estate investment. Have you ever thought about doing this?” Or “Do you own real estate property now?” Things like that. And then he can start engaging with him “behind the scenes.” Does that make sense?
GREEN: So, the successful implementation of a Facebook page involves asking as many engaging questions as possible, following up with the individuals interacting on the page, and selling both the lifestyle and expertise of your brand in an effort to sell the product?
Brandon: That’s correct. Be active on your Facebook page. Don’t be a “secret agent,” as they say. Because the whole thing we’re trying to do is we’re trying to build our Fan Page base up. We do that by throwing out great content.
And lastly, we want to develop relationships. People want to work with people that they like and trust. The sad thing is that in real estate, I saw a statistic several years ago that seventy percent of people who purchased a home forgot their agent’s name within one year. They need to be working these resources – if you’re sitting there working with an investor, you don’t want to sell one property. They should be good for four or five properties or at least four to five referrals to other people. People that are investors know other investors. People hang out with people that do things the same as they do.
GREEN: Would you say that it’s not the fault of the consumer that the real estate agent’s name is forgotten? That it’s the fault of the agent for not effectively promoting themselves?
Brandon: Yes. They’re not effectively following up. This happens all the time with real estate agents because real estate agents are the world’s worst at it. They sit there and they go make six, ten, fifteen thousand dollars on a home or more. You would think that that person would best friends ‘em. People go out with them in cars, the buyers do, you know. The real estate agent’s buying ‘em meals, and they’re really into that client until they buy that house. Then, once they close on it, the people never hear from ‘em again.
And people are thinking “Well, I’ve got a friend that’s in real estate”… and they never hear from ‘em again. People typically buy houses every five to seven years. You don’t want to be the agent that they forget about. That’s the reason we want to develop relationships, because every client should be a lifelong client. If you’re buying with a 25 year time span, you’re probably buying at least four to five houses. So rather than be a one-time transaction agent, this is how to be a five-transaction agent.
Also, they need to be able to refer people out. If you’re doing a great job, why sit there and leave these people after the closing? A lot of times, what happens is agents will take people out because they know they’re gonna make the big commission. They’re gonna make fifteen, twenty grand on a house. So they “wine-and-dine” em’, they treat ‘em like they’re their best friend. They invite ‘em over during the process of buying maybe to watch football, and then after the closing happens, all of a sudden the agent disappears. This is how we make more money; we cultivate better sales.
GREEN: If the goal is to build long-term, healthy relationships between the consumer and the real estate professional, would it stand to reason that there could be other viable content outside of a sale that impacts the consumer? In our previous discussion, you mentioned sharing resources related to the business’s expertise, but what about advice on general home-ownership? What about practices that could save money on home repair, utilities, and other things of that nature? Couldn’t those be used by real estate agents to stay in the forefront of clients’ minds?
Brandon: Yes, and I’m gonna show you how to get a long-term client real quick. And this is something that you can do that will help so much.
Let’s think about this: Every business is constantly looking for a replacement of customers that die, that aren’t in the area, or that end up looking at different companies to do business with. That’s just the “name of the game.” It’s a lot more expensive to replace customers than it is to keep customers happy in the long run. I would challenge people… go to your favorite heating and air conditioning company or your favorite plumbing company and say “If I could get you more business, would you be willing to offer my customers a coupon for your services?” Or go to your favorite restaurant and do something similar. But always get them to sign an agreement. If you’re putting out coupons… put out a coupon for free dessert. Every restaurant is looking for new clients. So, the restaurant owner is naturally going to say “yes” if someone is going to come in a purchase a meal. Because, the margin on a free dessert is nothing.
But then you can say “Have a free bowl of ice cream on me, Brandon Patrick, Realtor, Re/Max, at this restaurant.” That’s a win-win. You’ll look great in the eyes of your clients, the restaurant owner’s happy, and hopefully that develops your relationship.
GREEN: So what you’re saying is that businesses can not only co-opt a deal to generate cross-promotion, but that in general, they should be working together to create a support system for each other?
Brandon: Yes. Make it a win-win.
Those interested in hearing more social media tips from Brandon Patrick – as well as soliciting his services – may visit his website for Intervision Media Group. Brandon also speaks frequently at GREEN’S weekly Investor Club Meetings, which may be attended physically at the GREEN HQ or through teleconferencing.