Posts tagged community building
A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Real Estate Facebook Group
two men networking drinking beer.jpg

Facebook Groups have quickly become THE social media marketing hack to connect with and foster relationships with your target audience.

And for good reason.

Facebook Groups are an engaging way to create genuine relationships with people in your community. And because groups are rarely ever about actual real estate know-how, the agents who maintain them find Groups to be a fun way to market their business.

Facebook Groups 101

// What are Facebook Groups?

According to Facebook:

Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.”

In other words, a Facebook Group is a community group designed to bring people together around a particular topic or interest.

Groups can focus on anything. From online running groups to celebrity fandoms and movie critics, there are Groups for everything under the sun.

// What makes Facebook Groups different from Facebook Business Pages?

The main difference between Groups and Pages is the level of interaction and engagement.

Facebook Business Pages are meant to be informative while the goal of a Group is to be interactive.

Pages are meant to be a public, informational profile about a particular businesses, public figure or entity. Groups on the other hand focus on a topic and the interactions between the individual community members about that topic.

To put it plainly, Business Pages are the equivalent to your business card while Groups would be the natural conversation you might have with someone over a cup of coffee. The business card provides the customer with your professional information while discussion over a shared connection promotes feelings of know, like and trust.

For example, Nikki Klein is a Boca Raton realtor who has grown quite a local following using Groups.

Here you can see her Facebook Business Page alongside the Facebook Group she run called Boca Raton Moms Connect:

Facebook Business Page

Facebook Business Page

Facebook Group

Facebook Group

While her Business Page is all about her real estate business, Nikki’s Facebook Group is about the community she serves - moms in Boca Raton.

And that’s the key to Groups. Facebook Groups are about the community - not your business.

Successful Groups like Nikki’s make it a hard rule of thumb to only post about their business when necessary - which is rarely. Rather they rely on building organic relationships with Group members and just like relationships made apart from the Internet, members in turn learn to know, like and trust first.

Unlike with a Page where people think they’re going to continuously get pitched to, Groups are much more unassuming which leads to people more inclined to join.

Remember: Groups are all about the community behind your topic, not promoting your business.

// Why should I start a Facebook Group?

The benefits of adding a Facebook Group to your online real estate presence are well worth the effort. Let’s quickly list out a few:

  • Community - Groups put you in contact with your direct community, expanding your reach to people you might not have met otherwise

  • Credibility & authority - Groups are a great way to showcase your expertise without coming off as bragging

  • Learning - You get more than you receive. You’ll learn a wealth of information about your audience that in turn improves your content, communications and sales tactics

  • A fun way to market - You get to choose the topic of your group. Many agents find this gives them more incentive to interact and honestly enjoy fostering relationships because it doesn’t feel like a job

  • Endless leads - A well chosen group topic can spell endless leads for you to put your self in front of

  • Referrals & WOM - People in your Group community truly get to know you. This is a chance to build those relationships into your biggest fans

  • Network - Fortune has it that the people in your group are part of amazing businesses themselves and are open to networking

  • Website traffic - With a captive audience at your finger tips, groups can spell out tremendous traffic for your website

Facebook Groups open the door to interacting with your online local community. You get to meet amazing people centered around an interest you enjoy. But as the Group owner, you have center stage.

So while you’re busy working, sleeping, watching your kid’s soccer game or taking that overdue trip to Paris, your Facebook Group is networking on your behalf.

// Knowing when to get started with Groups

Before starting a Group of your own, I highly encourage you to join a few first. Seeing how a group runs will not only give you an idea of how they run but gift you with ideas on how you might want to format yours.

You’ll also see if this is even a good option for you.

While Groups are one of the more fun ways to market, they take time and effort to build. They also take a thick skin - as with anything on social media - Groups leaves you exposed to trolls and the nasty sides of the web.

Sit down with your calendar and schedule in a couple hours a week to posting content and interacting with members.

A good way to work in Facebook Groups is to replace one or two hours a week you would have otherwise spent prospecting and instead dedicate that time building your Group.

Remember Nikki with the mom Group in Boca? She has closed $14million in sales thanks to her Facebook Group.

With numbers like that I would say Groups are worth the time investment.

Getting Started with Facebook Groups

Getting started with Groups is free to do. All you need is a Facebook profile to begin the process.

// How to choose a Facebook Group topic

First things first, what will your Group be about?

What I like about Groups is the endless possibility of topics. From exercise groups to community events and local interests, your Group can be about anything.

Choosing a topic can be a bit difficult. While we want to choose something fun and interesting, we also need to make sure the audience numbers are there to support the Group towards growth.

Otherwise you risk capping the group out at only a few dozen or hundred members. We want to ensure the topic is one that can grow.

We also don’t want to make our group too broad where we’re pulling in people from all over the world. While it’s great to have a group with thousands of followers are, it doesn’t do anything to help your real estate business.

Here’s the winning topic formula:

YOUR CITY/GEO-FARM + YOUR INTEREST/HOBBY/TOPIC

The possibilities are endless with this formula along. For example, I live in South Florida and I love to scuba dive. I could make the Facebook Group ‘South Florida scuba divers’.

I fully support and encourage using your favorite hobby or interest as a great place to start a topic brainstorm.

Why? Because you’re going to voluntarily show up to perform that hobby anyway. Being able to consistently show up for your audience is where quality marketing takes hold.

Your day is full as it is. The last thing you want to do is add one more work task to it. So don’t. Instead engage in that activity you love. Not only will you meet new people within your community to join you on these leisurely pursuits, but you’re doing something good for your business in the process.

Here are a few ideas to get your brain going:

  • [YOUR CITY] Garage Sales

  • [YOUR CITY] Mom Meetups

  • [YOUR CITY] Beer Lovers

  • [YOUR CITY] Runners

  • [YOUR CITY] Crime Watch

  • [YOUR CITY] Bookclub

  • [YOUR CITY] Green Thumb Gardeners

  • [YOUR CITY] Volunteers

  • [YOUR CITY] History Buffs

Your assignment right now is to make a list of at least five Facebook Group topic ideas.

// Think of a name

Don’t underestimate the power of a name. It can mean the difference between being found and disappearing into Internet limbo.

If you follow the formula above of [YOUR CITY] + [HOBBY] and can get the name to a T, stick with it. This will be a dead ringer for organic search results within Google and plainly spells out what your group is all about.

If it’s taken, you may want to either narrow your topic down even more, add a personal take or rethink the topic all-together.

For example, if ‘Boise Mom Meetups’ is taken maybe narrow in more by focusing on working moms. Group names such as ‘Boise Working Mom Meetups’ or ‘Boise Mompreneurs Unite’ not only capture the audience but also connect more powerfully with the target audience.

// Create the group

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of setting up a group.

Login to your Facebook dashboard. In the top navigation bar you’ll see ‘Create’. Click on ‘Create’ and then click on ‘Group’ in the dropdown bar.

step-by-step facebook group real estate setup_01.png

A pop-up will appear. You’ll need to add a little bit of information about your Group.

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Input the name of your Group and add a couple friends who will be interested in joining the Group. You can always add more people later but during setup you have to at least add one person.

Next you’ll be asked what type of Group you want to create.

  • Public: Anyone can find the group, see who's in it and what they post

  • Closed: Anyone can find the group and see who runs it. Only members can see who's in it and what they post

  • Secret: Only members can find the group, see who's in it and what they post

I recommend creating a Closed Group.

Your audience will still be able to find your Group but all posts will be kept private. This creates a level of exclusivity that entices people to join your Group because in order to see your content they have to. Otherwise they could absorb your content without actually joining the Group.

A Closed Group also gives you another level of control in monitoring the Group and keeping it safe & enjoyable for your members.

The last step on this page is to check the box for ‘Pin to shortcuts.’ Your Group will now be pinned to your Facebook dashboard for quick access.

Only thing left to do is click ‘Create’ and voila! Your new Facebook Group is born.

Optimize Your Facebook Group for Business Success

Congrats on your shiny new Facebook Group! Now it’s time to optimize it for business success.

Jumping into your Group for the first time, this is what you’re going to see:

step-by-step facebook group real estate setup_03.png

You can get pretty creative with customizing out your Facebook Group but there are a couple place you’ll want to put your focus on first.

// Group Description

On the righthand side, click on ‘Add a description.’

The description shows when people join your Group so we want to make sure this is filled out and entices people to join.

step-by-step facebook group real estate setup_04.png

Below the description is an area called ‘Location.’ You’ll 100% want to add the location to be included in local search results.

// Cover Photo

Now we need to add a ‘Cover Photo’

You’ll want to add a photo that relates to the topic and tone of your topic.

Scroll on over to one of many free photo stock shops. You can try Pexels, Freepik & WikiCommons just to name a few.

Download a high-resolution version of the photo you choose. The Facebook Group dimension size is 1640 x 856 pixels and your image will need to be able to fill that space, otherwise you risk it looking pixelated.

Once you’ve chosen & downloaded your photo, click on ‘Upload Photo’ and add your replace the default photo with your chosen image.

step-by-step+facebook+group+real+estate+setup_05.jpg

I found a beautiful image of Harpers Ferry from Wikicommons and uploaded it to my new Group. You can drag the image around and resize it to fix it appropriately in the frame.

Once you get it to a place you like, click ‘Save Changes.’

step-by-step facebook group real estate setup_06.png

At this point, the basics of your Facebook Group are set up and it’s pretty much good to go!

// Advanced Facebook Group Optimization

We don’t want to stop optimizing just yet. There are a few more advanced ways you’ll want to optimize your Group.

Beneath the Cover Photo click on ‘…More’. A dropdown menu will appear. Then click ‘Edit Group Settings’.

step-by-step facebook group real estate setup_07.png

Let’s walk through a few key settings and put them to work for us.

Group Name

Under ‘Group Name’ you’ll be able to edit your group name if for some reason you ever decide to do so.

Now, next to the name you will notice a blue icon. This is the icon that will appear next to your Group. However, this is the default setting and most Group moderators never bother to edit it. Click on the arrow next to the icon and choose a new icon that matches the tone of your Group for an extra boost to stand out.

Group Type

There are a few different ‘Group Types’ to choose from that will affect the layout of your Group.

  • General: Grow and manage your group with the standard set of group features

  • Buy and Sell: Create and manage sale listings

  • Gaming: Link group to a game & host tournaments for members

  • Social Learning: Organize posts into a unit or series of units that members can see

  • Jobs: Get templates with job salary, location and hours. Show a list of all open jobs

For most Groups, I recommend staying with the ‘General’ settings until you build your Group out more. Once you have the hang of Groups, you may decide to organize your Group more specifically if it falls under one of the above categories.

Description

We’ve already filled out the ‘Description’ but it’s possible to optimize it further.

The description is a good opportunity to add more information about the Group including what members can expect, weekly posting events, promotion opportunities, rules and even a little introduction to you.

Tags

Tags help Facebook categorize your Group and help people find your group who may be looking for it.

Linked Pages

This is a BIG opportunity to promote your business.

You can link your Business Page to your Group as a moderator. You’ll then be able to post, comment and interact with Group members on behalf of your business. Also, your business will be displayed prominently across the Group’s main pages.

Another big benefit is ads. By connecting a Business Page you’re able to promote your Group with ads if you decide to do so.

Web Address

Right now your Group URL looks something like this:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/316036766003767/

This does nothing for you in organic search. Click on ‘Customize Address’ and create an SEO-friendly URL.

For example, once I filled in the Web address my URL is now

facebook.com/groups/harpers.ferry.garage.sale


And that’s it! You’re all set up.

Time to let the real fun begin of promoting and engaging with your Group. Once members begin to accumulate, you’ll start seeing engagement take off.

So tell me, do you have a Facebook Group you want to share with our community? Leave a link below in the comments.