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As a real estate professional today, you have many options to use social media platforms to generate leads and acquire potential customers.

But you can get lost pretty fast in this vast amount of existing platforms and spend a lot of time and money if you don’t know which one to focus on. 

So, what social media platform is best for realtors? 

In the context of effectiveness, considering organic reach decline, costs per acquisition, and audience age groups, the best social media platforms for realtors are YouTube and LinkedIn.

Based only on audience age groups and costs per acquisition again, YouTube and Facebook would be the winners.

In this article, you will learn how I analyzed them and came to the above conclusion. 

What Is a Social Media Channel?

The social and media parts are already in the word “Social Media.”

This is the social part when you can interact with others by sharing and receiving information from them (e.g., other posts, comments, etc.). 

The media part is a bit more obvious. 

Here, it is considered an instrument of communication, such as the internet, and traditional ones, such as newspapers, radio, and TV.

So then social media channels are all types of web-based communication tools that allow users to interact with each other by sharing, commenting, and consuming information.

The most common features of social media are:

 

  • Personal user accounts
  • Profile pages with individual information about the user, such as profile pictures, website, bio, recent posts, recent activity, recommendations, and more
  • News Feeds that update users about new posts of other users.
  • Friends, followers, groups, hashtags
  • Personalization: user settings, profile customization, organizing connections, news feed filtering
  • Notifications about certain information and the choice of which one to receive (e.g., once a connection has posted something).
  • Like buttons and commenting
  • Reviews, ratings, and voting of information (e.g., movie reviews, game reviews, shopping sites, etc.)

    The 9 Largest Social Media Platforms

    Based on the above definition of social media, let’s figure out which social media platforms there are.

    But to avoid getting lost in smaller ones and to use only the rather effective ones (access to the highest potential user reach), I will show you below the largest ones in existence.

    I ordered them first by the amount of monthly active users from high to low.

    Later on, in the next section, I will apply additional filters to find out which one is likely the best one for real estate.

     

    1) Facebook

    This one doesn’t need much introduction because it’s the largest, with 2.6 billion monthly active users (source).

    If you use social media, you probably are on Facebook.
    Some weeks ago, I wrote several larger articles about real estate marketing on Facebook, which you can read
    here and here.

    You can share different media formats on this platform, such as links, text posts, images, and videos.

     

    2) YouTube

    While researching this article, I realized that many sites ignore YouTube as a social media platform. 

    However, according to the above definition, it is not a small one.

    It’s the second largest search engine after Google and the world’s largest video-sharing social media platform.

    It was used by an average of 2 billion monthly active users in 2019 (source).

    In this article you can read about the benefits of using video in real estate marketing.

     

    3) Reddit

    Then there is also Reddit, a social media site where users can subscribe to or become part of different subreddits. 

    Being part of a subreddit enables users to engage with others on different topics.

    Users also often share the latest news from several sources, making Reddit a news aggregator site.

    Reddit has over 1.3 billion monthly active users or visitors (source).

    The largest traffic share comes from the US, the UK, and Canada.

     

    4) Instagram

    Technically speaking, Instagram is also Facebook because not long ago, it was acquired by it. 

    It is mainly app-based, but users can also access their feed via a desktop version on Instagram’s website.

    It currently gets 1 billion monthly active users (source).

    Since its focus is mostly on visuals, users share videos and images.

    Further features include Instagram Stories and the Live feature.

    Most users are younger (32% are aged between 18 and 24, and 33% are between 25 and 34, source).

     

    5) LinkedIn

    As mentioned in my LinkedIn article , this platform is basically Facebook for businesses and professionals.

    It currently has 690 million monthly active users (source).

    Amongst other things, you can share your professional expertise and publish posts similar to Facebook.

     

    6) Pinterest

    A digital scrapbook – that’s what Pinterest basically is. 

    Similar to Instagram, it’s also highly visual, and users can create themed boards and add visuals, such as images.

    There are also shoppable pins that you can create and post, which allow users to make purchases.

    The platform got 335 million monthly active users in 2019 (source).

     

    7) Twitter

    I also already discussed Twitter more in-depth in this article.

    It is a text-based blogging platform that allows you to post “tweets” with a limit of 280 characters. 

    This activity is also called “microblogging.”

    As a user, you can stay on top of trending topics and engage in different sorts of conversations.

    The platform got over 330 million monthly active users in 2019 (source).

     

    8) Tumblr

    For some time, I thought this social media platform would go nowhere, but it is still often ignored. 

    But I was wrong. 

    When it comes to self-expression, it is very popular among teens and fandoms. 

    I was surprised that in February 2020, it had a total of 321 million monthly active users (source).

     

    9) Snapchat

    The fourth highly visual social media platform besides YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest is Snapchat. 

    It is also a platform that is in most demand by younger generations.

    You can send snaps to other users and update 24-hour statuses like Instagram and WhatsApp. 

    A Snap is a photo or video you take and send or receive.

    Its focus was first private, person-to-person photo sharing. Still, now you can send short videos and messages, do live video chatting, create caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and share “stories.”

    The difference to other platforms is that once you send a “snap” and your friend watches it, it disappears forever afterward.

    It had 229 million daily active users during the first quarter of 2020 (source).

     

    Social Media PlatformMonthly Active Users
    Facebook2.6 Billion
    YouTube2 Billion
    Reddit1.3 Billion
    Instagram1 Billion
    LinkedIn690 Million
    Pinterest335 Million
    Twitter330 Million
    Tumblr321 Million
    Snapchat229 Million

    The Effectiveness of Different Social Media Platforms for Realtors

    So, let’s ponder further on which social media is best for realtors.

    Since most of the time, when it comes to the question of “best,” the question behind that is “What social media is most effective for realtors?” let’s determine what effective could mean in this context.

    What would make a social media platform effective for realtors? 

    In this context, you could ask the following questions:

    • Which demographic has the largest share in using a certain social media platform?
    • What is the organic reach of the platform? Organic reach means you reach a certain number of people and/or followers by publishing a post without paying for ads.
    • What is the cost per acquisition of the respective platform? The cost per acquisition means how much you would have to spend on average on running ads to convert a user into a lead.

    Let’s start with the right audience as the first filter. 

    Buying or selling real estate is usually not something that extremely young generations are doing. 

    Here, the Baby Boomer generation (read my article on how to market to them here), Generation X, and Millennials are the most relevant.

    Now, we look at the biggest demographic groups using the above-mentioned social media platforms:

    • Facebook: 25-34 years old (Gen Z and Millennials, source)
    • YouTube: 15-56+ (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, source). They are quite equally distributed over different age groups.
    • Reddit: 18-29 (Gen Z, Millennials, source)
    • Instagram: 18-34 (Gen Z and Millennials)
    • LinkedIn: 36-55 (Millennials, Gen X, source)
    • Pinterest: 25-54 (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, source
    • Twitter: 18-49 (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, source)
    • Tumblr: 18-24 (Gen Z, source)
    • Snapchat: 15-25 (Gen Z, source

    Unfortunately, there is little to filter out except Tumblr, Snapchat, and Reddit. 

    These are unlikely “good” candidates for real estate.

    Why? Because the largest user share comprises the young Gen Z generation or younger Millennials outside the age range of being likely to do real estate deals.

    But we can already see that baby boomers are not present in the largest user shares of each platform.

    That doesn’t mean they don’t use them; they are just not part of the largest user group.

    Now, let’s apply another filter to the social media platforms that are now left. 

    This time, we look at the organic reach of each one.

    There are no hard numbers to be found on the organic reach, such as ‘this platform has X% organic reach and that one Y%.’

    Still, there are reports from several sites on the decline of the organic reach of different platforms. 

    So, we can determine when the organic reach decline started.

    From this, we can assume that the more recent the decline of organic reach, the better. 

    It will be just an estimation of the organic reach value of the respective platforms.

    • Facebook: Start in 2014 (6 years, source
    • YouTube: Reports on subscriber ghosting since 2018 (2 years, source)
    • Instagram: Reports about organic reach decline started in November 2019 (1 year)
    • LinkedIn: Reported organic reach decline since the end of 2019 (1 year, source)
    • Pinterest: Reported organic reach decline since 2018 (2 years, source)
    • Twitter: No overall report of organic reach decline, but reports on an overall decline of active users since 2018 (2 years, source)

    We now get to the last filter, which is each platform’s cost per acquisition for leads.

    But please keep in mind that no leads are created equally.

    The quality of leads depends highly on the type of campaign you are running, your offer, and your copywriting skills.

    It also depends on how you convert them into qualified customers depends again on your sales skills. 

    Unfortunately, doing the numbers game with averages has its limits, so rather consider it a calculated estimation to approach a good basis for making a decision.

     

    1) Facebook

    • Average CPC (Cost per click) real estate industry: $1.81 (source)
    • Average CVR (Conversion Rate): 10.68% (source)
    • CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): $17 (1 divided by 10.68% x $1.81)

     

    2) YouTube

    • Average CPC: $0.3 (source)
    • Average CVR: 14% (source)
    • CPA: 2.14$ (1 divided by 14% x $0.3)

     

    3) Instagram

    • Average CPC: $1.41 (source)
    • Average CVR: 1.08 % (source)
    • CPA: $130 (1 divided by 1.08% x $1.41)

     

    4) LinkedIn

    • Average CPC: $5.26 (source)
    • Average CVR (Message Ads):40% (source)
    • CPA: $13.15 (1 divided by 40% x $5.26)

     

    5) Pinterest

    • Average CPC:$0.8 (source)
    • Average CVR: 5% (source)
    • CPA: $16 (1 divided by 5% x $0.8)

     

    6) Twitter

    • Average CPC: $0.38 (source)
    • Average CVR: 0.9% (source)
    • CPA: $42 (1 divided by 0.9% x $0.38)

    We now have all the puzzle pieces (variables) together. 

    To decide which social media is best or most effective for realtors, I will use one of my favorite tools to make decisions – a decision matrix.

    Only the social media platforms are included after applying the first filter of demographics.

    Further included are the years of organic reach decline and the CPAs. 

    Then, I calculate a score out of that.

    The one with the lowest point wins since I can multiply the CPA with the respective years of organic reach decline. 

    The lower this value is, the better. 

    Why? 

    Because a low score would mean you have a low CPA and a low number of years of organic reach decline. 

    And this would also mean you would have the best of both worlds in terms of chances. 

    You could have better chances to build an organic audience and following and lower ad costs for pay-per-click campaigns.

    Social Media PlatformCPAYears of Reach DeclinePoints
    YouTube$2.1424.28
    LinkedIn$13.15113.15
    Pinterest$16232
    Twitter$42284
    Facebook$176102
    Instagram$1301130

    So, according to the scores of this decision matrix, YouTube would be the winner, followed by LinkedIn in second place.

    Interestingly, YouTube is the social media platform where the major age groups (Gen Z, Millennials, GenX) are most equally distributed.

    And LinkedIn is interesting because it’s also the platform where most millionaires and senior-level influencers can be found and targeted, as I covered already in my article.

    So, based on the analysis I did, I conclude that YouTube and LinkedIn are likely to be the most effective or “best” social media platforms for real estate.

    Not interested in building an audience organically and don’t want to rely on the organic reach? 

    Based only on the costs per acquisition, YouTube and Facebook would be the winners.

     

    Related Articles

    The Facebook Marketing Strategy Guide for Real Estate

    Get a Facebook Chatbot for Real Estate and Reduce Your CPC

    Does Video Help You Sell Real Estate?

    Is LinkedIn Good for Realtors?

    Is Twitter Good Enough for Real Estate?

    How to Do Real Estate Marketing to Baby Boomers

    When You Should Not Do Real Estate Marketing on Social Media

    This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

    Tobias Schnellbacher

    Tobias Schnellbacher

    Author & Founder