Posted by: housingdabble | April 15, 2011

Katy Perry is not an Estate Agent

If you have a Facebook account no doubt you will be as amazed as me if you go to Katy Perry’s fan page and every few second hit the refresh button. I monitored the growth over 90mins this morning and her likes increased by 2,000 – that’s around 1 new follower every three seconds!

(I didn’t spend the full 90 mins on the page, but I’m sure I could have forced myself to)

So many businesses, including estate and letting agents, have read somewhere that they must have a Facebook page with stories of raving fans and increased engagement with clients and so have blindly create a page for their business in the hope of getting a piece of the action.

But unless Katy Perry is planning to open an estate agency, I’m not sure how any agent will be able to replicate this kind of response – in fact the proof is in the pudding with very few agents making any ground in this area.

I’ve said many times before that there aren’t many people out there willing to become fans of estate agents and so the vast majority of estate agency Facebook pages have a handful of “likes” which normally reflects the number of staff, friends and family the particular agent has.

Despite efforts to put interesting articles and information onto their pages (Putting aside those who are using it to list their properties – even worse), most agents seem to be struggling to produce a significantly engaged audience.

So how can it be done?

When trying to create an audience you need to try and work out what they are interested in seeing or hearing. The community you want to attract are those living in your local area, so you need to consider what information needs they have that you can fill.

As the general public only move home on average every 6/7 years, there is only a small window in time that your local community are interested in your listings. That’s not to say that Facebook can’t help you with listing sharing if done correctly, but if you choose to make them the focus of your page you are not properly considering the needs of your audience and any interest you do generate will be short lived.

So you have to ask yourself, what information that I can provide that is of most interest to my local community. My view is that there are two main areas of interest:

– The value of their property

– Community news and information

The value of their property

Whilst we only move every 6/7 years we are always interested in the the current value of our biggest asset.

Despite not being an agent for around 8/9 years, many of my fiends still regularly ask me how much I think their homes are worth because they always want to know and they see us as having our fingers on the pulse. So naturally, if there was a page my friends could visit that provided them with a reliable market report for their local area, they would be interested in following it.

How have prices been effected in my local area/street? Have some areas fared better than others? What is the % drop for the region from the 2007 peak? What can I aspire to buying next? How might prices change this year?

Community News

The second area is the local communities and events. The best estate agency managed Facebook pages I’ve seen are community event focused. I say estate agent managed, because they are not actually called “Joe Bloggs & Co Estate Agents” but rather named after the community topic and simply managed by the agent.

They thrive on the fact that they are run by people who understand and care about the local community and can be a genuine source of knowledge. There is definitely a demand for this hyperlocal content as demonstrated by Rightmove’s move to create Rightmove Places.

Hyperlocal content is local news and events from within a well-defined community or area, created by residents of that community. It is growing in popularity, partly because it is what people want and probably more importantly it is increasingly becoming what Google wants as it continues to improve the relevance of the results they present to us.

This type of content covers stories and issues of interest only to people in a very contained area, for example, places to visit, restaurants, where to get your children’s hair cut, community group meetings etc.

The benefit for the agent of creating a Facebook page of this type, is the ability to link the relevant community articles to your agency blog to be read in full – Thus fulfilling a whole load of benefits to your business.

If you can provide the right type of information, you will find that people will revisit your page, they will comment on your posts and share them with their friends.

These is no doubt that Facebook can be a powerful tool for estate and letting agents if the strategy is well thought out and some serious time and effort is put in to it.

So if you’re going to jump on the Facebook page bandwagon, consider your audience, identify what you can give them that they really want and find a way of delivering it that will also benefit your business.

If all else fails you could try and hire Katy Perry as a trainee negotiator… now there’s a thought!


  1. Agree with the facebook issue completely, we’ll have a look into restructuring ours. Blogs with relevant local and property news seem to be more popular though.

  2. Spot on, as always, Ben.

    We spent a almost year experimenting and looking at facebook before setting out exactly what we wanted to achieve – and just as importantly, what it could actually deliver – for our lettings business, Young London.

    The result is a facebook page that focuses on existing tenants, rather than trying to fish directly for new business. We might not have as many page fans as Katy Perry (yet!), but they’re relevant ones and are interacting more than we’d expected at this stage.

    The page gives them hyperlocal info about their nearby cafes, restaurants and independent retailers, exclusive discounts that we put together, news about our real-world social events (with the resulting photos that they might not always remember!) and recommendations from other tenants of the best in their area.

    It’s a small, but useful element of our focus on ‘creating communities’ that aims to form longer-lasting, deeper relationships with our tenants. Feedback from tenants is great, especially for our ‘welcome drinks’ events – perhaps because London can be a slightly lonely/daunting place to those new to the city and it’s great to see neighbours that we’ve introduced at events become friends with each other on facebook afterwards.

    It’s early days, but we’ve already significantly boosted our referral rate and the amount of new biz generated through referrals. It looks to have impacted the average length of tenancy and the % of tenants that are moving to another Young London property.

    So, while facebook isn’t ever going to be a brilliant source of new business in it’s own right, I think it’s a fantastic tool in our marketing armoury!

    – Oh, and if you want to see my photos of Katy Perry’s latest gig, they’re on my facebook page!

  3. […] agents now have a company Facebook page and as I’ve commented recently, there are still very few examples of agents getting any real traction in terms of fans. There are […]

  4. Spot on, again, Ben.

    We spent a long time experimenting and looking at facebook before setting out exactly what our client wanted to achieve – and just as importantly, what it could actually deliver.

  5. […] agents now have a company Facebook page and as I’ve commented recently, there are still very few examples of agents getting any real traction in terms of fans. There are […]

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