Forum Marketing for Real Estate: 3 ways to Attract Leads by Answering Questions Online
Imagine building your own forum, similar to “The BiggerPockets Forum”. Well, that’s a stretch. The point is, with Facebook groups and forums, building your own network isn’t such a big deal anymore. Imagine if you could build such a network of people who trust you as an authority? A much wider personal network. You’ll be surprised at the amount of sales opportunities that fall into your laps.
You need a Bigger Network
You know the old “reach out to friends and family” idea. It doesn’t fill the gap anymore. For most people (myself included), we don’t have a “big” personal network. If we do, we don’t always have people seeking our services. Or at least, not at the moment. Time is of the essence. We need to make sales.
So, what do we do? We need to build a new network. A much bigger one. That means, if I were seeking people who needed to stage a home, I search out places where folks who need to stage a home hang out. If I come around a lot and I offer considerable value, then people start noticing my face. If I keep offering value, responding to their comments, being around a lot, they check out my website, order my service. They’ve become part of my new personal network. And that’s the idea with Forums and Facebook groups. They’ve made it easier to interact with potential buyers and answer the questions they have.
And even though you can’t monetize your audience on platforms like Quora or City data, accumulating a great number of views on your posts can potentially be a consistent wellspring of traffic to your website. Apart from the SEO advantages, when you give out real, valuable information, you garner the attention of the right audience.
Where to start Forum marketing for real estate
Quora is a question-and-answers website launched by Adam D’Angelo, former Facebook CTO in June 2009. It has grown to a large community of 100 million active monthly users. Hence there is a great opportunity to not only get a lot of views to your answers but also connect with other professionals. Answers on Quora are usually in the form of blog posts.
Since 2003, City-data has been a valuable source of information on US neighborhoods. City data displays stats about US cities – relating to real estate, relocation, colleges and more. But they also have a highly traversed forum – over 1.5 million active members. For city specific searches, city data forums tend to come up on the first page of Google. This presents a chance to get your answers featured on the first page whenever someone searches for city-specific information.
Biggerpockets real estate forums present a chance to network with local investors and other professionals. These forums are arguably the most active real estate forums online. And it’s not just for investors. There are active real estate agent forums, where realtors can discuss marketing strategies and ask questions from other licensed agents.
Real estate investors are always looking to work with Realtors. There are also periodic real estate investment meetings and events. This might be a good place to connect with people in your farm area and build your portfolio.
Forum marketing tips for real estate agents
- Create Insightful posts.
Don’t provide half-arsed answers. You want to interact with people on topics that you’re passionate about or have a lot of knowledge about. And don’t just be generic in your answers. Be inventive. You can make a quick search to gather ideas but make sure your answers present your unique take as it applies to the question.
- Ask smart questions.
Forums are good learning platforms. It’s not just about answering other people’s questions. Ask niche-specific questions on trending real estate topics. This can help you establish connections with authority figures in real estate. When asking these questions, keep them simple but smart. Use proper spelling, grammar, and capitalization. Forums allow you to get enlightened; see other people’s perspectives about important issues as they apply to your business. So try to put your best foot forward and make your questions worth answering.
- Stop Self promoting.
There are so many people online, and you’re anxious to spread the word about your business right away. Don’t! Aside from the fact that you may be instantly banned from the forum, it’s interruption and people hate it. You need to take your time to interact with interesting posts and people, build relationships and be helpful. Instead of blasting out sales pitches, work on your profile and make it catchy. If you provide enough value, more people would check you out. That’s your chance to make a good impression.
Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
Facebook Groups: Facebook, over the years, has been an incredible asset for marketers. Groups present a way to create awareness for your brand- even if you’re a beginner. You can also learn actionable insights from the pros to help you scale. Think crowd-sourced advice from a variety of experts, networking events and sometimes just banter. One good Facebook group to join is Lab Coat Agents, which explores “the science of real estate”.
LinkedIn Groups: The basic purpose of LinkedIn is to help grow your professional network. As a member of a LinkedIn group, you can make new business connections, learn insider tips from professionals and establish yourself as a local authority. A good starting point would be the ‘Inman – Smart About Real Estate‘ group which has more than 90,000 members.
How to capture targeted leads through a Facebook group
With social media groups like Facebook groups, there are two ways to go: either create your own group, share your own content and make your rules. Or join an existing group, leveraging someone’s following to share your content and build your brand. Obviously, the latter is easier as it would take considerable time to build a following. But the idea shouldn’t be building a following that doesn’t convert but growing your email list through your Facebook group. For that, you’ll need to create your own group.
Yet, there needs to be a balance between providing valuable information and generating conversions. Of course, if you’ve not been providing value, most people won’t pay attention when you try to get them to sign up for something. Anyway, here are four ideas by Nate McCallister of SocialMediaExaminer for growing your email list through Facebook groups:
- Post Links to a lead generation page: You create a lead magnet – something that solves a problem for prospects, then post something about this on the group. Members who would like to access the information fill out a simple form on an existing page.
- Set up questions for anyone who requests to join your group: If you’ve created your own closed Facebook group, you’re allowed to ask three questions of anyone who wants to join your group. You can make one of these a request for an email address where you promise to provide free, valuable information. These emails should be imported to your CRM tool for lead nurturing.
- Create an attractive group cover Image for your lead magnet: Make a good impression by designing a high-quality image for your offer and put this up as your group’s cover image.
- Add a Call to Action in the Facebook Group description: Your Facebook group description can be seen by people who aren’t even in your group. You’re allowed to add a link to a landing page or resource. If you make your call to action catchy enough, your group description should provide a consistent stream of new leads.