How one real estate agent built a local community of over 28,000 members using Facebook Groups
If you have ever thought about starting a Facebook Group for Real Estate, now is the time to do it!
I am a Real Estate Broker in Northwest Montana and have been all in with social media marketing for the past 3 years. Three years ago, I started the first of 4 Facebook groups for real estate in my area.
During this time, I had been spending a lot of time on Facebook. I was working on my business page, and experimenting with different lead generation ideas. I started noticing different “Classified Ads” or “Garage Sale” groups that were taking off locally. Thousands of people were joining these groups, so I started researching real estate groups that I could find around the country.
At the time, there were not many real estate groups. There were plenty of real estate business pages but not a lot of groups. There were none at all in my area!
I started a local group in my area called “Flathead Valley Homes For Sale or Rent”. As soon as I started the group, there was instant growth. In less than 1 week there were over 100 people that had joined.
To get my group started, I just made a few posts on the local “Classified” groups in my area. I invited people who were looking to buy, sell, or rent. Another thing that I did in the beginning was to message the FSBO’s on Craigslist. I asked them to join, and post their home in the group. I was able to get a lot of new members that way since it was a win-win. They were able to get more free exposure for their homes. Who doesn’t want that?
With those initial strategies, I had 5-20 people joining per day organically. I never ran any ads, on Facebook or anywhere else. To this day, the groups continue to grow organically. Right now, I have 9132 people in my local group. That is almost 10% of the population of the Flathead Valley!
Once the local group took off, I started thinking bigger. I can sell real estate anywhere in Montana, why should I limit myself to my local area?
This is the time that I started the other groups in Billings (the largest city in Montana), Missoula, and Bozeman. I started the group in Billings months after I started my local group. The Billings group quickly surpassed my local group and at this time there are 13,958 people in that group!
I have met and made agreements with agents in the other towns that I have started groups. Any leads that I get from these groups, I send as referrals to the local agent.
How are my Facebook Groups doing?
Currently, the total member count in all four groups is 28,590, and growing daily. This means that 2% of the population of the state of Montana is a member of one of my groups! How would access to 2% of the population of your state help your business?
Here is the best part. I am the only Montana Realtor in these groups aside from my referral partners. Since the beginning, I have made these closed groups. This means that I have to approve anyone who tries to join.
I wanted total control of the groups. I did not want these groups to end up being full of other agents posting their own listings or messaging members of the public who have posted their own properties in the group. The success of these groups is because the members feel like it is their own group. Nobody is pressuring them at anytime, it is all about providing information and help when needed.
These groups work very well for me. I do not post a ton of listings or pressure anyone trying to sell their own home. I provide information. I do a weekly promotion for my Podcast in the groups, and I try to post an article about buying or selling once a week as well. I have done a Facebook Live “show” in the groups where I talk about various issues that come up with buying or selling. Sometimes, I will post real estate questions or quizzes to generate engagement.
I have also done Facebook Live Open Houses that I post to the groups. I have actually had people contact me after one of these, and tell me that they want me to list their home because they have been “watching me on TV”!
Right now, these groups are now providing me with approximately 50% of my real estate business. That is pretty good for something that has cost a grand total of $0!
These groups work for any type of business. Your business already has fans, you just need to get them all together!
Remember, this is part of the long game strategy. These groups did not become huge overnight. It will take some work to create a group where people like to engage. I am always experimenting with different posts and Facebook Live topics to generate more engagement. Remember, it is never too late to start a Facebook Group, so what are you waiting for?
-Written by Will Friedner
*Will Friedner is a Real Estate Broker with Glacier Sotheby's International Realty in Whitefish, Montana, and the founder of MontanaLifeRealty.com. He has written many articles and has appeared on multiple podcasts talking about Facebook Groups for Real Estate. He is also the host of The Montana Real Estate Podcast.