If you’re a seasoned real estate agent or broker, you know the basics of what it takes to get referrals. You have to provide excellent customer service during and after the transaction. You must earn your client’s trust—and work hard to keep it. And after closing, you need to continue a steady flow of “touches” to stay top of mind.
Recently, I found myself wondering: What can you do on Facebook to help drive your referral business?
A lot, as it turns out.
Read on to learn how to use Facebook to stay top of mind, provide value, enhance relationships, and build trust...all in the name of generating referrals.
Stay Top Of Mind
In a previous blog post (2 Major Factors That Determine Whether Your Clients Will Give You Referrals) I highlighted how some clients' memories of experiences are often shaped by just a few isolated moments. When many of us look back on an experience, our lasting impression isn’t formed by everything that happened during the transaction process, but rather by what happened at the peak (the most intense moment) and the end.
That means these two factors—the peak and the end—can be leveraged at just the right time on social platforms.
Facebook is a great addition to your "staying-top-of-mind" and peak end rule efforts. Connect with leads, clients, fellow agents, and vendors on Facebook. (You can be friends through your personal profile, or, if that makes you uncomfortable, you can just invite them to Like your business page.)
Post somewhere between once a day and once a week, and voila!—you’ll be right there in their newsfeed. And don’t let it be one-sided—Like and comment on your Facebook friends’ posts, too. They’ll be flattered to see that you’re still interested in what they’re up to.
If you’re posting nothing but selfies and rants about politicians, people are either going to ignore you or unfollow you (“unfollowing” is when they’re still friends with you but they no longer see your posts in their newsfeed—yikes!). Either way, they’re not going to remember you when their friend asks for a real estate agent recommendation.
Be worth following. Provide value. Share; don’t sell.
Whether it’s on your personal page or your business page, share things that are relevant to your business and your audience, and that are informative and interesting—things like:
- Real estate news
- Tips for first-time buyers
- A great photo of one of your listings—but don’t link it unless someone asks for it. (Instead, comment on the cool design or the staging you did.) This tip comes from a great blog post by Tony Sargent, Associate Broker at CORE.
- DIY home improvement tutorials
- Best of… lists for your city (Best Restaurants, Best Parks, etc.)
- Stories of your clients doing cool things in the community
Goodlife Luxury’s business page on Facebook is chock full of high-quality content (and a lot of it is from third-party sites!):
There are differing views on how to build relationships in today’s digital world. One expert suggests that, although technology can’t replace real-life connections with people, it can be used to enhance our relationships.
For one thing, you can use Facebook to stay connected to people you would otherwise lose touch with. Old classmates, former work colleagues (from that time before you took the plunge into real estate), the people who used to live next door before they moved across town—even if you haven’t talked to these people in ages, you can still maintain a connection.
Another way to use Facebook to enhance your relationships is to learn valuable little tidbits of information about people through the stories, photos, and videos they post—learn about their hobbies, how they spend their weekends, who their family consists of, etc. Just as in real life, be sure to listen more than you talk. Pay attention to what people are sharing.
This is the big one. Trust is, above all else, what really leads to referrals. And Facebook is a great tool for building trust.
If you’re comfortable using your personal profile to connect with clients, agents, and vendors, you can let them see past your real estate life and into your personal life. Let them see the real you. Share photos of your family vacation, your favorite recipes, the occasional inspirational quote, and even that cat video you thought was so funny.
As cheesy as it sounds...be yourself. Be authentic. (So if you think inspirational quotes are dumb, don’t post them—because that wouldn’t be authentic.) Authenticity builds trust. You don’t have to be a brilliant marketer; you just have to be real.
You can be real and authentic on your Facebook business page, too. Obviously, you don’t want to share a million photos of your dog there, but go ahead and throw in a few fun posts to show that there’s a real, authentic human being behind your business.
DIGGS does a great job of keeping it real on their business page with posts like this:
The great thing about using Facebook to drive referrals is that it’s pretty darn easy. If you’re already someone who is fairly active on Facebook, it’s just a matter of being a little more intentional about what you post, how often you do it, and who you’re connected with. Then, just be authentic and post away!
And you know what? If you despise Facebook, and think social media is a waste of time, that’s cool too. Let your assistant run your business page, but don’t force yourself to start posting snapshots of your dinner plate and quoting Abraham Lincoln on your personal profile. If your heart’s not it in, it’ll come off as phony, and it will work against you.
But if you're game, Facebook can be an extremely valuable tool for staying top of mind, providing value, enhancing existing relationships, and building trust...all of the things that lead to more referrals.