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, which social media platform is best for real estate?
In the context of effectiveness, taking into consideration organic reach decline, costs per acquisition, and audience age groups the best social media platforms are YouTube and LinkedIn.
Based only on audience age groups and costs per acquisition again YouTube, but also 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?
There is the social part and media part already in the word “Social Media”.
When you can interact with others by sharing information and also receive information from them (e.g. other posts, comments, etc.) this is the social part.
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 particular 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, or shopping sites, etc.)
The 10 Largest Social Media Platforms
Based on the above definition of what social media is, let’s figure out which social media platforms there are.
But in order to not get lost in smaller ones and for the sake of using 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 further filters to find out which one is likely the best one for real estate.
This one actually doesn’t need much of an introduction, because it’s the largest one with 2.6 billion monthly active users (source).
If you use social media, you probably are on Facebook.
On this platform, you can share different media formats such as links, text posts, images, and videos.
During my research for this article, I realized that many sites ignore YouTube as also being a social media platform.
However, according to the above definition, it is and by far not a small one.
It’s the second largest search engine after Google and the largest video-sharing social media platform in the world.
It was used by an average of 2 billion monthly active users in the year 2019 (source).
You can read in this article of mine about the benefits of using video in real estate marketing.
Then, there is also Reddit to mention, which is a social media site where users can subscribe or become part of different subreddits.
Being part of a subreddit enables a user to engage with others on different topics.
Users also often share the latest news from several sources, which also makes Reddit kind of a news aggregator site.
Reddit has now over 1.3 billion monthly active users or visitors (source).
The largest share of traffic comes from the US, the UK and Canada.
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 mostly share videos and images.
Further features include the Instagram Stories and the Live feature.
Most of the users are a bit younger (32% are aged between 18 and 24, and 33% between 25 and 34, source).
As already mentioned in my article on LinkedIn, this platform is basically Facebook for businesses and professionals.
It currently has 690 million monthly active users (source) and amongst other things, you can share your professional expertise and publish posts similar to Facebook.
A scrapbook gone digital – 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).
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).
For some time, I thought this social media platform would go nowhere and 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 to find out that in February 2020, it had a total of 321 million monthly active users (source).
The fourth highly visual social media platform to mention 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 similar to 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, but now you can send short videos, messages, do live video chatting, create caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and share “stories” that are broadcasted to followers.
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 Platform Monthly Active Users
Facebook 2.6 Billion
YouTube 2 Billion
Reddit 1.3 Billion
Instagram 1 Billion
LinkedIn 690 Million
Pinterest 335 Million
Twitter 330 Million
Tumblr 321 Million
Snapchat 229 Million
The Effectiveness of Different Social Media Platforms for Real Estate
So, let’s ponder a bit further on the question of which social media is best for real estate.
Since most of the time when it comes to the question of “best” the question behind that is rather “Which social media is most effective for real estate?”, let’s determine what effective could mean in this context.
What would make a social media platform effective for real estate?
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? The organic reach means you reach a certain number of people and/or followers just 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, most relevant are the Baby Boomer generation (read my article on how to market to them here), Generation X and Millennials.
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 not much to filter out, except Tumblr, Snapchat, and Reddit.
These are unlikely “good” candidates for real estate, because the largest user share consists of the young Gen Z generation or younger Millennials outside the age range of being likely to do real estate deals.
But what we can already see is that in the largest user shares of each platform, baby boomers are not present.
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 on 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 organic reach, such as ‘this platform has X% organic reach and that one Y%’ but there are reports from several sites on the decline of organic reach of different platforms.
So, what we can do is determine when the organic reach decline started.
From this, we can assume that the more recently the organic reach decline has started, 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 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 the cost per acquisition for leads of each platform.
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, and how you convert them into qualified customers depends again on your sales skills.
Doing the numbers game with averages, unfortunately, has its limits so rather consider it as a calculated estimation to approach a good basis for making a decision.
- 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)
- Average CPC: $5.26 (source)
- Average CVR (Message Ads):40% (source)
- CPA: $13.15 (1 divided by 40% x $5.26)
We now have all the puzzle pieces (variables) together.
To make a final decision to conclude which social media is best or rather most effective for real estate, I will use one of my favorite tools to make decisions – a decision matrix.
Included are only the social media platforms that were left after applying the first filter of demographics.
Further included are the years of organic reach decline and the CPAs.
Then, I calculate points 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.
Because a low pointage would mean that 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 also lower ad costs when it comes to pay per click campaigns.
Social Media Platform CPA Years of Reach Decline Points
YouTube $2.14 2 4.28
$13.15 1 13.15
$16 2 32
$42 2 84
$17 6 102
$130 1 130
So, according to the pointage of this decision matrix, YouTube would be the winner followed by LinkedIn in second place.
Interestingly and coincidentally, YouTube is also the social media platform were 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, by the analysis I did with average marketing numbers, I conclude that YouTube and LinkedIn are likely to be the most effective or “best” social media platforms for real estate.
If you are 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.
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