After moving to Boca Raton, Florida, KW agent Nikki Klein craved friendship and connection, so she created a Facebook group: Boca Raton Moms. Five years later, the group has grown to over 16,000 local community members (exceeding others in the area). And, while real estate was not included in her initial intention, it has become a large source of Klein’s business – accounting for 40% of her annual sales, which totaled $24 million in 2019.
Below, she offers valuable insights, strategies, and considerations for anyone interested in experiencing similar success.
Create a clear mission and offer consistent value.
Before posting, creators should identify a clear mission for the group to ensure participants get the most out of their experience.
Klein’s mission is to bring the local community together, and she makes sure of it by highlighting different aspects of the area, sharing information about real estate, and encouraging members to ask questions and exchange knowledge on anything from legal matters, to information on schools, to charity opportunities.
“The group began because I wanted people to feel a connection – to feel that they had people there to answer questions. I wanted to create a really interactive place where the end goal would be to become a vessel to help people give back,” she says.
Be strategic about how you fold in real estate.
The key to creating a thriving Facebook group that generates business is to fold in real estate appropriately (without being too salesy). For this, Klein offers a few pointers:
- Be upfront in the description so members know right away that the group has been created by a real estate agent. Klein’s Facebook page description reads:
As a local Realtor and mom, I started this group in 2015 to bring the community together. It is an amazing tribe, sharing local events, a place to ask questions about local vendors, doctors, dentists, etc. … and connect with other mamas, dads, and locals …
- Center aspects of your profession that are a direct value-add to members. Listings, for instance, are expected and welcomed by Klein’s participants. She also does live market updates that have become very popular. “I’ve spent countless hours nurturing this group, so people are not offended when I post about real estate.”
- Allow your career to naturally be a part of dialogues that unfold in the group. Since Klein didn’t begin her real estate career until after the group was created, she had to be really cognizant of this to not lose members, so she established Small Business Saturday posts where she would talk about her business and encourage other small business owners to do so similarly in the comment section.
- Attach your business page to the Facebook group for people to delve deeper and make real estate-related posts public on your personal Facebook profile.
“I have strategically made most of my posts about real estate on my public Facebook profile. So, when I make a post to 16,000 members in the group, instinctively by human nature, they’re going to want to click on my profile to learn more about me and what I do. I’ve received a lot of leads from that.”
- Consider being the sole real estate agent in your group, like Klein.
- Capture contact information. Klein does this by encouraging members to share their email addresses to receive breaking news and discounts from area businesses. Once their email is secured, it is placed in Klein’s database and tagged ‘Boca Raton Moms.’
Facebook groups require far more interaction than business pages, which are primarily informative. To generate interaction with your Facebook group members, interact with them first while being yourself, Klein recommends.
Begin by reaching out directly to new members who join and introducing yourself. This is a small but crucial step that will enable you to grow your database.
“I want members to feel connected to me in such a way that even if I don’t talk to them for a year, they know I’m there. When someone joins the group, I reach out with a simple message:
Hello! My name is Nikki Klein. I am the administrator for this group and wanted to welcome you to the area! I also want to let you know that I am your local real estate expert. If you have any real estate needs, please feel free to reach out to me. Is there anything I can help you with?
“I want to leave it with a question so that they respond,” she shares.
Other ways you can encourage members to engage:
- Answer questions. Sometimes, this will require a little initiative and research, notes Klein. “When the group began, and people would ask questions like, ‘What’s the best restaurant?’ I would literally go on Yelp, look up the restaurant leading in reviews/rankings, and reply back: ‘I’ve heard that ABC restaurant is the best Chinese restaurant in the area.’ You can be a neighborhood expert by reading – it’s that simple.”
- Offer the latest news about what’s happening in your community. Follow as many area Facebook pages that you can: local news outlets, the mayor, etc. … and communicate relevant news immediately.
- Post every day. This will keep the momentum moving, and you, top of mind.
Klein does not allow discussions on politics, religion, vaccines, or anything else that people find controversial. This is important to ensure emotional safety and that the group’s mission is not derailed. She monitors posts closely, reviewing and approving each, which takes time but “is not time-consuming,” she emphasizes.
“If you have 20 posts in the morning, 20 at lunch, and 20 at night time, it’s so quick to go accept or decline. I could do it now while I’m on the phone and it’s extremely simple and streamlined.”
Klein is also OK with not being a fan favorite. “The truth is that if you run a group with 15,000 people, you have to have thick skin; not everybody is going to like you, and that’s OK. It’s your group, and people are able to leave.”
Because of Klein’s hard work and thoughtfulness, Boca Raton Moms – in many ways – runs itself, which has brought a sense of pride and fulfillment to Klein.
“My goal is happiness, being in alignment, and having people get value from the group. I’m not joking when I say it’s not about numbers to me. I know I’ll always get business from it because people are always moving to our area.”