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Owned-and-operated properties are important because they ensure that you are creating the best user experience on the destinations you can actually control. This is a concept that is vastly underutilized by Realtors® and significantly important, if you want to be in business for the long haul.
So because there has been so much worry about the changes Facebook is making to their newsfeed and the way it will impact advertisers. And because we do so much digital marketing for Realtors®. And lastly, because we’re getting so many emails, phone calls and IM’s about these changes and how they’ll affect ad results, I’ve been wandering down a rabbit hole of articles for the past couple of weeks.
I came across a very interesting article on TechCrunch about the Facebook changes and what marketers can do to retool to accommodate those changes. As far as what to do, they’re feelings are pretty much in line with my feelings. I’ve written a blog post about this, and I’ve also shot a video about this, so I don’t think I need to comment on that further. One interesting thing they did cover in their article though as the idea of Owned and Operated Properties. What are these, you ask? Specifically, these are online destinations that the brand owns and controls. For a Realtor®, an example of this would be your blog, your website, or maybe the video channel on your website. Owned-and-operated properties are important because they ensure that you are creating the best user experience on the destinations you can actually control. So what exactly does this mean, and why is this important?
Let’s Start With A Real Life Example
In the article, one example they give is the plight of a Silicon Valley gaming company called Zynga. You probably don’t know the company name, but if you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time, you are very familiar with the game that put them on the map, Farmville. Their game was strictly on the Facebook platform, and they were crushing it. Facebook changed their policies though, and this greatly impacted the ways in which Zynga could reach players and make money. Ultimately it hurt their business. They were stuck wondering whether to re-tool and come up with a way to deal with Facebook’s new policies, or create a stand alone platform that they had 100% control over. The unfortunate part is they were too late to have a fully functioning “OOP”, so the results were a total disaster.
Why Is This Important For Real Estate?
In Real Estate, the only constant is change. Technologies are rapidly changing, you change brokerages, laws and regulations change, and a myriad of many other things on any given month or year. Because of this, you don’t want to “rent your properties”. You want to OWN THEM. Owned Operated Properties are the smartest way to grow your Real Estate Practice. Of course I’m not suggesting that you build all your technology from the ground up. I am suggesting though that you are in control of all your online properties. Make sure your website is optimized. Make sure your blog is up to date. Make sure your video page on your website has the most recent videos automatically uploading to it, etc.
Once you do that, you can then decide how and where you want to advertise your content. For instance, let’s say you just took a new listing, have a great single property website that hangs off your main website, and you want to promote it. You can then go to Facebook, create a slideshow post and link it directly back to your single property website. The call to action telling Facebook users that if they click to get to that site, they can get more photos, property details, price, and most of all, location, is enough to get them clicking, liking, commenting and sharing. Those are all things this new Facebook Newsfeed algorithm is looking for.
Beyond the obvious goal of making your advertising successful, another very important thing has just happened here. You are in control. This Newsfeed update is Facebook “moving your cheese”. This time it isn’t the end of the world, and with some basic content marketing oriented changes, you will come out unscathed. What if the next time though it’s something worse? What if it’s so bad, it becomes like a Zynga situation?
Or, what if Facebook all the sudden falls out of favor with social media users and therefore their advertising platform becomes way less effective? I know it’s a long shot, at least at the current moment, but remember, the only constant is change. If that is the case, and some young, new start up company becomes the platform of favor, if you’ve already been updating and optimizing all your Owned And Operated Properties all along, the transition is going to be easy for you. You can easily start posting and advertising on that new platform, and easily bring all the followers you built up on Facebook, right along with you, as they’ve all been frequenting your OOP properties, so they’ll immediately know you are making this change.
So at the end of the day, the long term take home lesson from all that has been going on at Facebook is this:
Do Not Rent Your Business Footprint
Own your Internet Footprint, keep it updated and keep it optimized, always taking into consideration the best practices of content marketing. If you do, no matter what they try and throw at you, you will not be affected.