Facebook groups have exploded in popularity in the past few years. For nearly every topic you can think of, there is already a Facebook group. But have you considered the benefits of starting your own group? Create a Facebook group with a specific theme, topic, or audience in mind, and it can become a great tool for both networking and marketing.
What’s the best part about your Facebook profile – other than the cat videos? It’s connecting with people. You’re Facebook friends with people you haven’t seen since elementary school and real estate colleagues from across the world you’ve never met in real life. It’s a powerful way to stay in touch with people and express your own values.
In a Facebook group, you’re able to talk directly to people with a common interest. Instead of being the person who sends an email once a week (or day), you become a living, breathing person that others can relate to.
A Facebook page is good for a lot of things, and a group shouldn’t replace your page, but let’s be honest. Your page is seen by about one percent of the people who have liked it unless you boost a post or advertise. That’s great for your listings and your company, but what about you as the agent?
Groups, because they connect real live people with profiles, have much higher visibility. Even members who turn off the group notifications will usually see posts from the group in their newsfeed. The more people engage in the group and post questions, information, and links, the more often the group appears in members’ feeds. They can see you and the group and you didn’t have to spend a dime.
It’s likely that your group might be a bunch of homeowners in a specific neighborhood that you farm. They may or may not be looking to sell their home any time soon. But as you know, once they are, they’ll have a million questions, concerns, and doubts. All it takes is one person with a question to start a conversation between you and a dozen other people.
Each time they have a question, members of your group will have an easy resource to get good information. Long before they decide to buy or sell, they’ll already know that you can answer their questions, know what you’re talking about, and how well you communicate.
Once you decide where your focus will be, you need to create the group. The first step is to name it and create the settings – open, closed, or secret. Open means anyone can see members and posts. Closed means that non-members can only see the members but not posts. Secret groups can’t be seen at all except by members.
After you have it set up, it’s time to invite people in. Blog about it. Post about it on your Facebook page and profile. Send an email out inviting your email subscribers to join. Don’t expect huge numbers overnight (although it’s always a nice thought). Slow and steady growth is good. Whatever you do, don’t just add people from your friends list. It’s a bit like being spammed and upsets people.
Once the group is active with a few members, you’ll probably have to spend some time sharing information, starting conversations, and getting people involved. Give your group some time and before you know it, they’ll start their own conversations, help each other, and engage with you on a consistent basis.
Facebook groups shouldn’t replace all of your marketing efforts, especially not your Facebook business page but it can be another tool to build your business. When used in conjunction with your newsletter, blog, page, and other online marketing, you can create a community of people who know and trust you. Groups are another way to position yourself as an authority in your local real estate market and generate high quality leads.
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.