Facebook, as a marketing tool, isn’t new for most real estate professionals. You have a business page, you post your listings, and you share blog posts from your website. What if you could directly connect to a buyer through Facebook in another way? Facebook’s new Marketplace may be the answer.
You already do plenty for your business with Facebook. Sponsored ads, boosted posts, and Facebook live are part of your social media marketing plan, and of course, it’s where all your listings go. With the advent of Marketplace, Facebook takes aim at the benefits of Craigslist – a place to buy, sell, and trade “stuff” with the safer approach of having some idea of who you’re talking to.
And yes, there may be a way it can benefit your real estate business.
Over 450 million people visit the different buy and sell groups on Facebook each month. In response, Facebook decided to create an easier process for everyone in the Marketplace. To access this part of Facebook, go into your app, tap on the shop icon at the bottom of your app.You can search for products by category, filter your options by price, and search in your area or in another city.
Facebook allows buyers to see the name and profile of the seller and direct message them if they’re interested in the item. Buyers can also save items, much like saving links, to go back to later. Facebook doesn’t get involved in payment or delivery. All of that is handled between you and the buyer. Their purpose is simply to connect everyone so you can work out a deal.
As a real estate professional, you’re already familiar with adding your listings to a website. The Marketplace system is no different. No, don’t get your hopes up, there is no (current) option for a direct feed between Marketplace and the MLS through IDX or another feed. You’ll need to manually add this in, keep track of it, pull it down when it’s sold, and make sure it’s accurate.
The benefits, however, could be enormous especially if you adopt the Marketplace early on. Eventually other agents will figure out this is another place to add their listings, and sellers will begin to demand it, but for now, homes aren’t common for most areas. Getting your listings in now will give you added exposure before the Marketplace gets crowded with other agents and other homes.
You and a potential buyer may also feel a bit safer using the Marketplace, referred to as a potential replacement or at the very least, competition for Craigslist. With less anonymity allowed and easy reporting options through Facebook, both sides can feel a little more secure that everyone is who they say they are. For agents who take safety seriously, you can use an interested party’s information to do a little checking before you agree to meet with them.
Scammers abound on Craiglist, especially in real estate, where innocent would-be renters are swindled out of deposits for fake rentals pulled from sales listings. While nothing may ever put a stop to that problem, the perceived security of Facebook may make that a more attractive option for renters. Putting your listings, for sale or rent, on Facebook could put everyone at ease from the beginning.
Is Facebook’s Marketplace going to make your business explode? Maybe not, or at least, maybe not right now, but having an easier way to give millions of people access to your listings doesn’t hurt, either. Figure it out now while everything is still new, and you’ll be in a better position to dominate the field once the Marketplace picks up in popularity with both buyers and other agents.
Former Communications Director for a local Realtor Association and a big cheerleader for all things real estate related, Michaela is now a full-time freelance writer specializing in real estate and other business industries. When she's not writing the serious business-y stuff, she's likely to be found writing about the hilarity of being a Mom to two rowdy boys.