Tag Archives: John Hellaby

The Massive Facebook Changes and How They Impact Real Estate Agents

The changes from Facebook continue to come thick and fast – but if you’ve been paying attention, they shouldn’t really be surprising.

Facebook’s goal from the outset has been to connect individuals and communities and while businesses have been able to hijack the Facebook algorithm to enhance their own marketing in an organic fashion, those days are fast coming to an end.

The latest changes to the Facebook algorithm are going to mean that businesses will need to pay to play to really see any sort of profitable results.

These changes come in response to “….feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” As stated by Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post on January 12th 2018

As a result Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm is going to prioritize content that comes from your friends, family and communities and will limit the public (aka business, brand and media) content filling up your feed.

So what does this mean for real estate agents who’ve begun to use Facebook to reach their market with greater frequency and engagement than ever before?

It means we’re all going to have to pay to play to get decent results and reach – but that should come as no surprise, it’s been on the cards for a very long time and we all knew (or at least should have known) the honeymoon wouldn’t last.

But there will be princes and paupers when it comes to paying to play as well.

Those who are still producing ads and content that are all about them, that are focused on self serving goals rather than connecting with the community and creating authentic connections with their market are going to lose out. Facebook’s relevance algorithm will limit your reach even when you’re paying for it.

So what does this all come back to? Authenticity – being a real human being, even on your business page and in your ads, in your content.

Remember, it’s the number 1 rule of advertising on Facebook……



Make sure you’re creating content that encourages community and connection.

Facebook Lives are a wonderful way to do this as when you’re doing live video, you’re authentic, warts and all and you’ll also get a helping hand from Facebook as Live receives a bit of a boost to help reach more of your audience and engage them.

It’s now more important than ever to be a real human being on Facebook – not only will it increase your reach, by being human, you’ll create connection and engagement, create community and in so doing you’ll increase your results and your return on investment.

It’s time to be real.

$125,400 in commission and 2 rental properties burned!

Agents are burning cash by not valuing their leads!

“….the leads were poor quality.”

A former client posted this on an ad I was running on Facebook for my current webinar training series and it hit me right in the feels – I HATE not getting great results for my clients.

I’m also the first to preach “don’t listen to the trolls and the haters” – hell I even tell you to run your Facebook page like a totalitarian regime and control the flow of information – but it doesn’t mean that you don’t feel like you’ve been kicked in the ol’ jatz crackers every time someone takes a shot.

So what was this guy a troll or did he have a genuine complaint?

I’ve stewed on this for a fortnight and finally, I cracked it – there was only one way to know for sure and that was to go back and cross reference every lead produced with every property sold in his postcodes.

Now a bit of back story – this agent (who I won’t name and shame, as this isn’t really about them), was with Check My House Price (my lead generation company) for about a month in 2016, they spent $398 on two postcodes before cancelling stating the leads were poor quality.

In that time we generated 27 leads for them – not a bad effort in a tough market.

So was his complaint a genuine one, or like so many agents, had he simply not placed the correct value on the leads?

Here’s what my research found

Of the 27 leads we generated in that month, 4 have now sold for a cumulative total of $4,770,000 – that’s $95,400 in comm at 2%.

Another is currently on the market at $1,500,000 (another $30,000 comm at 2%) and two others have now been rented out.

None of which were sold or rented by the agent who was with us at the time and who was given, through CMHP, first bite of the cherry LONG before any other agent knew these properties even existed.

Now this may seem like a big whinge, but it’s definitely not intended to be that way – the intent here is to illustrate the short term thinking that is prevalent in our industry as a whole and the value of a lead.

On average (nationwide), about 1 in 3 leads generated through Facebook and Check My House Price, sell within 12 months of making an inquiry. Most agents drop off the contact trail after 3 contacts or a couple of months…….

Most of the remaining leads sell within the 12 months to 7 year window.

This is why having follow up systems and valuing every lead, every contact is so vital. Ask yourself, would you spend $1 today knowing it could make you $315 in the next 12 months? Of course you would – yet so many agents will generate a lead, then give up on it when it doesn’t immediately produce a listing.

But lets put this in perspective of this story, would you spend $398 today if you knew it would generate you $125,400 over the next 18 months? Again the answer would be a resounding and ecstatic “YES!”

$125,400 in commission is nothing to sneeze at – in fact if we’re to believe the surveys that go around from time to time, it’s nearly 3 times the average annual wage of a real estate agent.

So why then, do agents throw away leads if they don’t list and sell with relative immediacy?

It’s not a question I can answer for you, but I can tell you stories like the one above aren’t uncommon.

This agent spent $398 and was given the opportunity at $125,400 in commission before any other agent even knew these people were considering selling – but they walked away stating that the leads were “poor quality.”

Within 12 months, 3 other agents had shared in over $90,000 of that commission, while 6 months later a fourth was sitting pretty with a listing due to bring them $30,000.

What that means is that each of the 27 leads generated in that month were worth $4,644.44 over the next 18 months. So every one of those leads coming into your office, what does that make them worth?

So what does all this have to do with Facebook, aside from the fact the leads were generated on Facebook?

There is no better way to stay top of mind, to provide consistent touch points and provide maximum value to your future sellers than Facebook.

If you’d like to learn how to maximize your reach, your return on investment and actually get Facebook working for you in your real estate career, join me on my latest webinar by registering at www.fbmacademy.com.au/webinar

SCAM ALERT: Agent & Agency pages are being targeted

It seems that in recent times, scammers have become more and more prolific and there’s no question that the digital age has allowed them to cast wider nets to ensnare unsuspecting individuals and companies.

One of the more recent scams to rear its ugly head on Facebook seems to be targeting real estate agent’s and agency’s pages more than any other.

It’s essentially a phishing scam, designed to send you to a page that looks like a legit Facebook page, get you to login/provide vital information and then take over your account for their own nefarious purposes.

As an admin on dozens of real estate agent and agency Facebook pages, I see this scam popping up on a regular basis – on further investigation, I’ve found these pages are specifically targeting real estate agent’s and agency pages.

The initial contact is made from a page that to the unsuspecting, looks relatively legit – after all it’s complete with Facebook logos and us usually named “Ads Support” “Advertising department” “Page Security” etc. Added to the Facebook logo, it could, at a glance be convincing that it’s in fact a legitimate Facebook page.

This page will then share your page in a post claiming that it’s breached some vital terms and conditions or is about to be disabled. In order to prevent this from happening or fix the situation, you must visit a web address – this address is of course a site designed to collect your login and personal details.

The biggest tell tale sign that this is a scam is that they have to “share” your page in order to get your attention. Facebook send you specialised notifications to alert you to problems and will never share your page or content in order to try and notify you of an issue. See the example images below:



You can see in the left hand image, that while the Facebook logo is used to make it look legit, “Ads Support Notification” had to share your page in order to get a notification to pop up on your Facebook. Where as in the right hand image Facebook simply sent a notification directly to you and that notification carries the entire message.

Even if Facebook need to send you to another location on Facebook due to an issue, the notification will take you directly to that location, it won’t take you to a page and then require you to click on another link.

If you do get a notification that looks suspicious, don’t click any links in it – instead click the “quick help” icon at the top right of your screen when on Facebook (desktop) or the help center icon from the menu on mobile device and ask Facebook direct if it’s a legitimate notification.

If you do come across a scam, report the page directly to Facebook and then block that page and then hide all content from that page.

The fastest way to build your brand and profile on Facebook

The one question I always get asked, regardless of whether it’s at live events or on training webinars in the FBM Academy, is this: “How can I go from a standing start to dominating my area on Facebook?”

The answer is a very simple one – video.

It stuns me that there are still so many agents holding out on the video revolution. Aside from the fact that there are entire social media networks designed purely to allow you to capitalize on video, it just simply doesn’t make economic sense to be holding out.

Recently at the Real Tech event in Queensland, Facebook themselves sent a representative to headline and speak about the changes they’re making to help agents dominate their area.

One of the key take-aways was this – video is king. In fact video is the king, queen, prince, princess, knights of the round table, black night, maid Marion and the Robin Hood of the digital space.

By using video you’ll get “3 times the organic reach” compared to static images – that’s a direct quote from Facebook by the way. What that means is that 3 times the number of people will see your ad for the same amount of money as compared with using static images.

From an economic stand point, that’s pure gold.

(Our testing in the FBM Academy shows that a good video campaign will gain 5x the reach of a static image ad.)

You can get 3 times the coverage, 3 times the exposure for the same budget as what you’re currently spending on boosting your photo based posts.

But wait there’s still more, using video builds your brand and profile like nothing else.

Video provides your audience with everything they need to feel like they know you and in turn, trust you.

By not using video, you’re literally costing yourself a small fortune in extra marketing spend and you’re missing out on massive brand recognition, profile building opportunities and allowing your market place to get to know you.

So where do you start?

Every listing should have a video – that’s the easiest and most cost effective way to start – property video’s are often paid by the vendor as VPA and it allows you to immediately start building your profile, while doing the right thing by your vendors – marketing their property in a manner that will get it in front of the most buyers possible.

Adding to video’s power is the ability to re-market, i.e build an audience of people who watch your video and then make a related offer to them. This could be anything from an invite to the open home or the old school “free appraisal.”

Essentially, with re-marketing, you’re marketing directly to people who have expressed interest in your product, service or content – essentially, you’re preaching to the choir.

Excuses Excuses Excuses.

The biggest concern agents seem to have is that they can’t create professional quality video. When it comes to listings, you pay a professional to do it, which immediately solves that problem.

When it comes to producing general content videos, professionalism can take a backseat to just getting it done. The goal here is to provide value, the quality of your content is vital, while the quality of your production isn’t as important.

One huge tip I will give you – subtitle everything. That way, if your audience is watching your video without sound (as MOST will), the message still gets across!


Then we have Facebook Live – the ability to go live and broadcast to your audience on the spot, no scripts, no cuts, or fancy footwork – it’s pure live action and you’re in the hot seat. This alone sounds terrifying for many agents and I do understand that. But I’m also going to say, “It’s time to suck it up cupcake!”

If you can speak in front of half a dozen buyers at an open home or auction, then you can definitely do Facebook Live! Simply pretend you’re having a video call with your best friend or your kids, it’ll help remove the nerves.

The power of Facebook Live, is that when you go live, Facebook sends a notification to your friends/likes list that you’ve gone live and that they should join in – i.e preparing your audience for you.

It’s immensely powerful.

Leave the ego at home

Firstly, to those agents who are doing video – well done! You’ve taken a massive step to building your profile, growing your brand and really connecting with your market place.

Now, lets tweak what is happening before it becomes “the norm” and get better results from our videos.

Your face isn’t not what your market wants to see – yes you should be on camera for an intro and if you’re giving video tips live, your face is all you’ve got to show in most cases – that’s fine.

But if you’re doing a listing preview or a sales result video or even a listing walk through – no one wants to see your face any longer than they have to. Video is all about “show don’t tell” – if we’re looking at your face, then you’re telling us when you should be showing us.

Make sure the property/primary content gets the spotlight!

Remember you’re not getting on video to “look like an expert” – you’re getting on video to “demonstrate that you are an expert.”




How Facebook is redefining the traditional “Farm Area”

Facebook is redefining the traditional farm area with data

It’s been a monster week for announcements from tech giants when it comes to real estate.

Facebook has entered into Australian real estate (and real estate the world over) in the most agent friendly manner we’ve seen in a while – handing the power back to agents when it comes to marketing properties digitally.

Meanwhile Amazon (in the USA at least), are doing their bit to help agents generate business and leads with a new referral system based (seemingly) on merit.

But the impact of these announcements actually runs a lot deeper than just another headline about an industry shake up.

In fact what Facebook’s offering brings to the table is a pairing of automation with laser-like targeting, something that LJ Hooker have picked up on and are now looking to capitalize on in a major way with their latest technology offering for their agents.

While I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of their offering, what I will say is this – they’re saying all the right things and for all appearances demonstrating that they understand the value of data.

One core part of a recent article on the Real Estate Business website says it all:

Mr McTavish said that the built-in intelligence of the system allows it to ring-fence and retain its intellectual capital.

“With most digital outreach campaigns, you’re handing over data which is ultimately used by that digital service supplier or portal in other campaigns.

“Data is the lifeblood of any agent and introducing third parties dilutes the current and future potential of the data, and even worse, leakage of data…..”

“Data is the lifeblood of any agent…” That’s it right there, your future, your profit, your career is in your data. It would seem that LJ Hooker understand that intimately and are doubling down on it- and rightly so.

As we move forward in this new technological age, data is king and most importantly it will be data, not geography that is the primary factor in defining your “Farm area.”

That’s not to say geography won’t play a part, lets face it, few agents want to drive 3-4 hours to list and sell a property, but the once strict geographic boundaries will become very very blurred.

Already agents have the ability to capture and consistently re-market to anyone who comes into contact with their content, website, videos, Facebook page and or apps. Once they’ve been captured they become part of your “digital patch.”

The digital patch concept is one that employs a number of the tools within the Facebook marketing platform to turn your ads, content, website and videos into a beacon for interested buyers and sellers. Once they’ve engaged with your ads/content/website/videos, they’re part of your marketing patch for at bare minimum, the next 6 months. This will give the agent power to advertise not just via Facebook but essentially have their ads follow their potential client all over the internet and social space.

Set up correctly, it allows an agent to turn every listing, every piece of content, essentially everything they do in the digital space, into a lead magnet.

Damien Misso’s digital patch allows his brand and offer to appear whereever his audience are. In this case, an article on the McGregor Vs Mayweather fight scheduled for August 26th.

In this new digital world action equals interest.

Think about your own usage, the ads you click on, the posts and articles you engage with – you simply don’t click, don’t take action unless you have some level of interest in that content and learning more about it.

As a result, every single person being added to your digital patch, regardless of the content they’ve engaged with, has some level of interest in real estate. From there, you are able to re-market to them and further filter them through to buyer and seller calls to action.

It’s this digital patch that will become the dominant focus of successful agents moving forward for three core reasons:


  1. Once it’s set up, it will run almost automatically with minimal interference from anybody except when it’s time to update content.
  2. It will generate both buyer and seller leads consistently
  3. The massive reaching impact it will have on your personal and company brand


In this example, Damien’s brand and offer has found it’s way into a popular app based game. Where ever his audience goes, his brand and offer can be there.



But none of this is speculation – this concept is already being implemented by FBM Academy students with stunning results being produced regularly, in the form of consistent leads and massive lifts in personal and corporate brand recognition.

With 16 million Australians on Facebook each month and more capability to automate, target and market to these people, being put in the hands of agents every single day – Facebook is redefining the “Farm Area” at a rapid rate.


Facebook just stepped into Aussie Real Estate in a BIG WAY

It seems this is the week for big announcements with Amazon declaring it’s intentions to enter into the US Real Estate market and a number of the Aussie real estate groups have been a titter with the news.

But it wasn’t just Amazon stepping into the game, Facebook had a rather massive announcement of it’s own, however it hasn’t had the same hype around it as the Amazon one. Many agents have commented that the Facebook tech is in the USA only (ah….so is Amazon), so they won’t worry about it just now.

Time to set the cat among the pigeons….

The Facebook tech is here in Australia right now. My team and I are currently working with it and developing solutions to get it rolled out to our real estate clients ASAP.

Unlike the Amazon offering of referrals though, this tech from Facebook will deal with helping you sell houses and in so doing, list more as well. In fact it has the power to change how you go about marketing property – wait, yes I know, every freaking “disruptor” says that and you’re sick of hearing it, so am I. So instead of blathering on with marketing hype and jargon, allow me to explain how this tech works.

Firstly, lets take your personal branded real estate site that displays your listings.

The Facebook tech will require a developer and Facebook expert to set up (we happy to know a couple of good ones *wink*), but once it’s set up correctly this is how it will work:

  1. a buyer visits a listing on your site, but does not enquire or book an appointment
  2. Facebook analyses it’s data on that buyer
  3. Facebook then finds every other property on your site that is relevant to the buyer, (i.e what they’re looking for)
  4. Facebook then advertises all of your listings that may be relevant to that buyer automatically


In short, Facebook will turn your potential buyer’s Facebook feed into their own listing portal where the listings being offered……are yours!

Now of course there will be other ads among yours, the usual run of the mill stuff from a clothing company and Telstra or Vodafone’s latest attempt at convincing us they’ve gotten better. But for the early adapters and honestly, even those who might normally be late to the party, this Facebook tech will give you such a massive edge over your competition.

But wait there’s more and it’s not steak knives.

After this tech has been in play for a little while on your site, Facebook will then go and start marketing these listings to people who are statistically most similar to your current buyers. In lay-mans terms, Facebook will start marketing your property to people it thinks are most likely to want to buy it! (Initially, this feature won’t be available automatically but will need be set up manually – but it’s only a matter of time)

Now of course in the setup phase, you need to “teach” phase book what makes the properties similar, whether it’s price, suburb, bedrooms and that’s why this tech isn’t point and shoot.

After setting the tech up, this all happens automatically and all you need to do is set aside a budget for how much you want to spend on the ads each month.

So about those $2,000 premier properties on those portals you use, they suddenly look like a REALLY expensive way to blow a marketing budget don’t they?  Especially considering right now you can get in front of up to 5,000 buyers for $100 with a standard boost on Facebook (depending on what area you’re in) and these ads aren’t going to have any special pricing attached to them (based on current reports).

Add this tech into the equation and let Facebook do it’s thing and your ad spend is getting your listings in front of people that the data says is most likely to be interested in buying them.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Welcome to the game Facebook!




Likes! Oh Vanity be thy name!

Okay okay, so waxing lyrical is probably not going to endear me to too many people. Most of us hated Shakespeare in high school and those of us that didn’t are probably rolling their eyes!

The only defense I have is that I’m a father and as such, bad puns, dad-jokes and misappropriated 500 year old references are my birthright! (See what I did there?)

But lets get into the nitty gritty, LIKES! Everybody likes them (sorry, that wasn’t intentional), but the biggest problem is that they actually don’t do anything in a business sense – at least not in the way most people are using them.

They’re what most marketers call a vanity metric – it looks good, but it really doesn’t mean much in terms of sales and profit. Lets face it, if we’re spending money, or time on Facebook in business, then we MUST see a return on that investment.

Adding insult to injury is that in order to get your content seen by as many people as possible, you’ve actually got to spend money to do it these days. (Have you ever noticed how your content only gets seen organically by 15-20% of the people who’ve liked your page?)

To get it seen by everyone, you’ve got to boost the post and shell out some coin and in return you get likes, shares and comments on your post……but no sales, no profit.

Its frustrating isn’t it?

The reason behind this is that a boosted post is designed to reach an “Engagement Audience” – this is an audience that has been optimized by Facebook to be full of people who are most likely to Like, Comment and Share your content……..not necessarily take action that leads to sales or profit.

This is one of the most common frustrations I see day to day working with clients, they are boosting posts but aren’t getting sales and its because they don’t understand this key audience optimization by Facebook.

There is a solution however, but first it requires a shift in your strategic thinking. The likes, comments, shares aren’t the end goal, sales are – getting the engagement is just the first step along the road to getting the sales and building an audience that loves your product or service.

Facebook has provided us with one of the greatest marketing tools in history (fair warning, I say that A LOT and I mean it every single time).

We’ve all heard the cliche` “Actions speak louder than words” – on Facebook, actions are everything. By liking, commenting or sharing your post a person has taken an action that identifies them as an interested party – a potential customer for you.

This is a wonderful thing – it definitely beats mass marketing efforts to everybody and spending a ridiculous amount of money. Using that boost you’ve just had a whole bunch of people identify themselves as a potential client because of the way they interacted with your content!

That’s huge!

What is even bigger, is that through your ads manager, Facebook allows you to create a custom audience based off these actions so that you can then specifically target these potential clients with your ads.

So the boosted post that got likes, comments and shares but was ultimately frustrating because it didn’t generate sales – just became a vital asset in your marketing matrix. Its the first step in any good Facebook marketing funnel – it allows your potential clients, the people most interested in what you do or sell, to put their hand up and say “Hey! I’m interested!”

Now all you have to do, is put together an amazing offer and get it in front of them!


If you’d like to learn how to get more likes and turn your likes into profit, join John Hellaby on Friday night at 7.30pm AEST for a FREE webinar! Register at: http://webinar.fbmcharity.com.au/

The challenge of authenticity in a digital world

Hanging with my awesome EA @ Eau De Vie after 2 days training in Sydney

It’s not easy being cheesey, even less easy being yourself in a world full of perfectly posed photographs, video editing and status updates so manufactured that they could be American cheese slices.

The delicious irony is that in a world where we have more ways to connect with other human beings than at any other time in history, we are craving genuine, authentic connection and we’re not getting it.

It’s one of the first things I try to instill in my real estate clients when I’m training them in Facebook marketing – be authentic.

Invariably the question always comes up, “Should I do/say/be X?”

The answer, at least from me, is always “Be yourself, be true to you. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’re not here to work for everyone. You have limited time and limited energy, so work with the people who will genuinely connect with who you truly are.”


So it was a massive reality check for myself as I started my own “public figure” Facebook page back in May. It may seem a little odd that I didn’t have a “Public Figure” page before now and that’s a fair statement. The reason lies in my love of being the ninja behind the scenes and is no doubt, heavily influenced, by my two decade long battle with PTSD.

But sometimes in life, things happen that change the status quo. In my case, its a chronic illness (afflicting my sister) that requires a hell of a lot of money to treat. The best way for me to help, is to hold training workshops where all the funds are donated to help fund medical treatment.

This also line up perfectly with my intrinsic belief that Facebook marketing is the way of the future for Real Estate – in fact, agents who learn to master it will thrive without the need to rely on the portals.

So out from the shadows I stepped, taking off my ninja mask and changing it up for the professionally polished image of a “Facebook marketer.” This image, was based off what I had seen was the common image presented by every Facebook “guru” in my feed.

For a week, it sat like that – my about/story/profile description and images all an imitation of what was out in the market place and a poor imitation at that. Its just not who I am.

I am not polished or hardcore, cookie cutter professional in the old-school IBM Salesman kinda way. Nor am I polished and well rehearsed in the snake oil salesman pitching his wares kind of way.

I’m raw, authentic and rough around the edges. That has nothing to do with my ability to get results or the effectiveness of my marketing (Hell I’m one of only a handful of Facebook certified marketers in the country and the only one I know of specializing in real estate) – but it has everything to do with how I should be interacting with my target market.

I had fallen into the trap that most of my clients fall into. I had completely ignored my own training and my own wisdom on the subject and started out trying to “be a Facebook marketer” instead of being me.

This badge verifies certification and you can click through to verify the person and the skills it certifies.

For a week, my stomach churned and I felt anxious and out of sorts about my page. I couldn’t put my finger on it, not until I was doing school run late last week and it hit me like a bolt of lightening.  I suddenly knew why I felt so horrible about coming out from the shadows and removing my ninja mask. I wasn’t being me.

I’m the guy you’re most likely to catch wearing a LIVIN T-shirt instead of a suit. (LIVIN is an amazing non-profit dedicated to breaking down the social stigma about mental health issues and spreading the message “It ain’t weak to speak.”)

I immediately made changes to my page that weren’t inline with the image of how a FB Marketing professional should appear, but are far more in line with who I am. The last thing to update is the profile image. As much as I love the black and white professional photograph, its not who I am. It’s the American cheese slice version of who I am.

Besides, I’m not wearing a LIVIN T-shirt and that’s pretty much all I wear these days!

When it comes to your own marketing, don’t try to be someone you’re not, don’t try to fit a mold or an image. Just be you and know that anyone who doesn’t like that, was never destined to be one of your people anyway. I can say that now, with an even greater understanding of just how damned hard it is to stay true to you – but no matter how hard it is, do it anyway.


It’s like that internet meme says “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde