Keller Williams associate Kirby Chan, of Newmarket, Ontario, shares how you can leverage Facebook for lead generation and promote your real estate business.
In some offices, Facebook might be considered a distraction. But when appropriately harnessed, the ubiquitous social network can be a powerful tool for lead generation and promoting your real estate business. Just ask Keller Williams associate Kirby Chan of the Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, market center. This past fall, Kirby’s masterful use of Facebook helped him win multiple KW Mobile Appdownload contests.
Kirby got his first taste of Facebook’s potential when he was working as the tech trainer and eEdge ambassador for his market center. During the past three years, he’s turned that tool into a strong business strategy, all of which is based on his personal Facebook account.
“At the beginning, I had to learn Facebook so that I could teach it,” he says. “What made Facebook a viable option for me was how it’s like a database. When they introduced friends lists, I was able to segment my friends into categories and lists. For my business, we don’t see a distinction between friends and clients because our clients become our friends and vice versa.”
Through Facebook, Kirby maintains five friends lists, each with a specific purpose. The friends list functionality allows for post updates to only appear visible to members of a certain friends list, which streamlines communication. Also, the friends list newsfeed will only show the newsfeed from that particular friends list.
“Anyone that’s a potential client and all of my Internet leads go into one bucket,” he says. “Then there’s clients for life, who are extra special because they’ve done business with us. ‑There’s a list to be used with my family. Then we have agent referrals. That’s big in our business, so we treat them a certain way on Facebook. Finally, we have the local sphere, which is where we have our business partners.”
The first list of potential clients and recent friends is the one Kirby focuses on adding to each day through systematic communication.
“In my newsfeed, I purposely look for people I don’t know who are commenting on my friend’s posts, and then I also comment on their posts, engaging them in conversation,” he says. “I’m connecting with a new friend and our mutual friend at the same time, so after the comment, I add that person as a friend and drop them into the recent friends list. Those are the people I start to nurture.”
For Kirby, this nurturing phase of the lead generation process typically does not involve real estate-related correspondence. For example, he wishes five of these friends a happy birthday each day and posts on five different leads’ walls.
“What we found is that posting on people’s walls is one way to get good engagement with them,” he says. “We’ll say to have a good weekend on a Friday or we’ll see whose day we can brighten or who has a celebration we can share in. Babies and weddings are big ones.”
When it comes to updating his own Facebook page, Kirby sticks primarily to posts containing questions to encourage engagement that leads to real estate.
“‘How do you feel about the extra land transfer tax?’ or ‘What are you investing in for your retirement?’ are some examples,” he says. “It’s all about getting them in conversation and engaging them with my status updates. I don’t post any look-at-me stuff. I don’t post my new listings.
Every week, I have one recurring post that says, ‘I’m always looking to give referrals. Who do you know who I can help?’ I’ll always get one referral right after that.”
Even though Facebook has proven to be a powerful tool for Kirby’s business, he will be the first to admit that the social network can also be a dangerous time drain.
“At most, I’ll spend half an hour on Facebook or else it sucks you in,” he says. “You have to time yourself and get really purposeful about connecting with people. However, during the day, it may take five minutes here and there to comment on posts. If people comment on your posts and you disappear, it becomes a ghost town. There’s no engagement.”
These steps have helped Kirby amass approximately 1,700 Facebook friends. That number is impressive, but it becomes more impressive when it comes to the level of communication and engagement he gets from those friends in return. He was able to see that firsthand when he began messaging his Facebook friends directly about downloading the KW Mobile App.
“After you do all this, the beautiful thing is that they all know you and they all trust you,” he says. “With the KW App, I messaged everyone to download the app. The app actually motivated me to get in touch with a lot of people, some of whom I didn’t even know.”
When it came to crafting the message, Kirby stuck to short and sweet, asking “Do you have five minutes to help me?” to create a little bit of mystery. He found that his response rate was about 30 percent. If his friend downloaded the KW App, he followed up by asking if it was okay to check in with them from time to time to see if they had any referrals.
“So many people supported me by downloading the app,” he says. “I won the contest by connecting with all the people I have relationships with on Facebook. After I won, I messaged everyone to let them know, to say thank you and to ask them to help me get referrals, which was an awesome and easy segue.”
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS
Today's successful real estate agents are excellent at building and maintaining relationships in person. But, in this current digital age, it's increasingly important for agents to become skilled at developing online relationships too. Here are simple tips to help you get started with some of the most popular social media sites.
Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Business