Oct. 12, 2018.
It’s a jungle out there for loan officers and realtors. Not only is the social media landscape (and algorithm) always changing, but it’s hard to find an effective social strategy that will generate the most leads in the least amount of time.
You can start your social media game strong by learning how to leverage and acquire more free leads in our three-part series: The Ultimate Real Estate Social Media Guide Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Once you’ve mastered the basics and some of the more advanced steps outlined in our free guide, you can test drive the tactic we used to get 19,000 Facebook likes in one minute.
Need more prequalified buyer referrals? Become a Cornerstone Realtor Partner and connect with a loan officer near you.
Why creating engaging social content generates free leads fast
Brands aiming to be noticed on social must pay attention to trending topics and find ways to apply the trends to their respective industry. Buzzsumo’s 2018 Content Trends Report shows that in the last few years alone, social competition has greatly increased. Social shares dropped 50 percent from 2015 to 2017, and changes in the Facebook algorithm cut down on the amount of organic traffic referral and engagement for brands and publishers.
With more competition for your audience, sharper social strategies are needed to get noticed. A good example can be seen in our recent response to the head-scratching IHOP name change. After we saw the news, we tailored the trend to our industry and leveraged more than 19,000 likes in one minute.
How did we do it?
- Cornerstone’s Social Media Coordinator watches trending items on Twitter daily.
- She jumped on the IHOP name change, adapted it to our industry, and worked with our marketing team to turn content around quickly.
- We defined our audience and purchased the ad spend before publishing the trending content.
What did we accomplish?
- We created a friendly connection to our audience, who might otherwise find mortgage uninteresting.
- We displayed our company’s creative marketing — making the statement that the name doesn’t matter but being an expert in our field does.
- Our brand awareness increased as we reached a mass audience very quickly in an engaging and memorable way.
The breakdown: How we tapped the need and gained 19,000 likes in a minute
To engage your audience on a trending topic, you have to act fast. Here’s how to make our strategy work for you:
1. Choose an audience.
Once our IHOM post was created, we wanted to distribute it to an audience it made sense for. We decided a fairly broad audience would be ideal, so we chose an ad type to match. Since the post was a mockup of IHOP’s announcement of changing to “IHOB,” we wanted to target people who would enjoy similar memes but also still stay within the spectrum those who would enjoy Cornerstone or mortgage lending.
2. Create a Facebook ad.
The ad was set up as an Engagement Ad, as we wanted people to engage with the meme through likes, comments, and shares to support the brand and get the Cornerstone name in front of potential new customers.
3. Narrow the audience.
Our primary Facebook audiences were those interested in mortgages and homebuying. We chose:
- Purchase Behavior> Mortgage Online
- Demographics> First Time Homebuyer
- Demographics> Homeowners
- Interest> Home Decoration & Design
- Interest> Home Décor
Other Interests included> Mortgage Calculator, Financial Adviser, and Home Improvement.
4. Set the demographics.
For our targeted demographics, we chose people ages 21 and older. Typically, we wouldn’t target our ads to people at 21 years old, but we knew this audience would be old enough to be interested in homebuying but also young enough to relate to this type of content.
Then we made sure to leave the audience open to people in our regional service areas. For example, we set the audience scope at Austin, Texas (+ 50mi); Denver, Colorado (+ 25mi); Santa Monica, California (+ 25mi); and Seattle, Washington (+ 25mi), among others.
5. Set ad spend.
The results from our Facebook ad were fantastic: We paid an average of $.06 per result on this campaign with a reach of over 100,000 people and over 115,000 impressions. Our ad targeting and ad spend paid off with a Facebook post that received 19,000 likes in one minute.
What did we learn?
- Demographic targeting can make or break an ad’s success. In the mortgage and real estate industry, the demographics you target are going to be highly important and may depend on the type of content you’re sharing.
- Pay special attention when targeting interest/behavior on Facebook. For example, if you’re targeting an audience to get a better rate for a mortgage refinance, you probably won’t include a first-time homebuyer demographic. This audience doesn’t own a home yet and will be a new buyer.
- Target the demographics that make the most sense to the ad. An ad for home décor in a new home may be segmented to first-time buyers looking to furnish, while a home upgrade, garage, or workshop ad will most likely target homeowners. To keep your advertising inclusive (and compliant), you can learn how to adapt to more than 5,000 ad changes Facebook made after the recent HUD complaint.
People want to be a part of what’s happening and giving them that information keeps them coming back for more.
It’s a bonus when there’s a trending topic that many people don’t understand. That’s your chance to break it down into bite-sized pieces and help your audience feel educated and knowledgeable. At Cornerstone, we do this with sometimes hard-to-decipher mortgage terms. Helping your audience feel smart will go a long way to win their engagement with and loyalty to your brand.
The goal of your content is to add value to your audience’s life. This could be educating them, making them laugh, motivating them, or connecting with them on some other emotional level. You can include testimonials, facts, anecdotes, and anything else you can think of to grab attention and provide something of value. Even with social shares down, Facebook remains a major content channel and is closing the gap with YouTube in terms of video viewing. The 2018 HubSpot Digital Consumer Trends Report found that most users are looking for funny, entertaining, and informative content — and 61 percent of people want to learn something from what they watch and share.
Not just content, but quality content (meaning, it’s engaging and accurate) is the real driver of success on social media.
This can come in many forms — blog posts, videos, infographics, images, and more — but the bottom line is it has to be something that people will pay attention to and share with their followers. More shares mean more reach, and more reach means more followers for your page. As you continue to engage with your audience and jump on the latest social trends, you’ll gain leads without paying and, often, without trying.
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For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.