Ninety-seven percent of real estate agents use Facebook, and for good reason — having and maintaining a Facebook page is important not only to keep up with the competition, but also to generate brand awareness.
What many agents don’t realize, though, is that having a Google business profile is just — as if not more — important. This article will explain the two, delineate the differences, and explain why using both is key to your success as an agent.
What’s a Facebook page?
A page is a free-to-run public profile on Facebook, often representing an organization, cause or public figure. Pages grow with likes, as opposed to friends, and ads are a great way to garner more traction. As an agent, you’re able to show off houses you’re selling, boast about recent sales, share local blogs or real estate tips, live broadcast video and more.
Facebook is fantastic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s got a lot of monthly active users — 2.38 billion, to be precise. Whatever your prospective clients are doing, they’re likely spending at least some of their time on Facebook.
Even if you didn’t deem it necessary before, you’ll need to start posting if you want to keep abreast with your competition.
Also, the ads are cheap. Like, really cheap. Check out this chart: It costs $0.25 to reach 1,000 people through Facebook ads. Compare that with the $32 it takes through a newspaper or even the $0.75 through LinkedIn.
Lastly, the combination of agents’ increasing reliance on brand awareness and Facebook’s massive user base makes the site veritably useful for business pages. According to Facebook itself, two-thirds of surveyed Facebook users across the globe say they visit a local business’ page at least once a week.
All of those factors explain Facebook’s popularity among real estate agents, but it can’t be the only place where you’re trying to connect with new clients. Facebook is a social media network, not a listing site, so leads are often lower-intent — as you’d expect from passive scrollers — and require a bit more nurturing.
And that’s exactly where a Google business profile fills the void.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google business profile allows you to manage and improve how you appear on Google, over Search and Maps. You can present the information that prospects need to contact you, such as your phone number and website, and literally put your business on the map. Check it out.
As you can see, this New Orleans cafe has a professional-looking panel on the left-hand side of the Maps page, a prominent profile in the Search view and a third-place spot in “three-pack” view — all containing every detail consumers could need.
Showing up high in Search, being featured on Maps and having your profile right at the top when people search for you are key steps in looking legitimate, and that absolutely applies to real estate agents.
Google’s greatest advantage is hyperlocal search queries. According to NAR, “69 percent of home shoppers who take action on a real estate brand website begin their research with a local term, i.e. ‘Houston homes for sale,’ on a search engine.”
That’s huge. And it means the leads you get from Google will probably be way further along in the buying process than those on sites like Facebook. That makes complete sense, since these prospects are actively typing terms into a search engine and intentionally looking for homes or agents.
So which one is more important, a Facebook page or Google business profile?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, surprise: You need them both. Facebook is key for brand awareness. Even if prospects find your page on Facebook and don’t buy a house from you immediately, they will think of you when the time is right. The more you’re plastered over the sites they’re on, the more legitimacy you’re granted. The site also favors paid content, so running ads from your page should be your modus operandi.
Google is key for both brand presence and generating leads. If you don’t have a prominent side panel when your name is searched or you’re not on Google maps, you’re going to lose a lot of potential business. Google is also the perfect place to get those high-intent leads. According to Chitika, Page 1 of Google gets 95 percent of the traffic.
Both are key in letting prospects know you’re both technologically up-to-date and active. Many agents already view maintaining Facebook pages as a no-brainer. Google is just as much of a given, and it’s only growing. Make sure you’re investing in both of these, and if you can outsource it, even better — this is an area of your digital marketing that can’t be overlooked, but also could be managed by a third-party to save you time.