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What’s a “Promoted Post” and which one is right for you?

August 23 2012

With three social networks each debuting their own variation, 2012 has become the year of the Promoted Post. An alternative to traditional online advertising, these programs are less formal, more engaging, and give potential and existing followers a glimpse into your personality.

Not all may be right for your real estate business, however. Our comparison of four major promotional programs can help you decide where your marketing budget is best spent.

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Facebook debuted their new "Promoted Posts" feature early this summer to help Pages increase engagement among followers they already have. Administrators just select "Promote" in the bottom right-hand corner of the post they want to promote, select how much they want to spend, and Facebook will display the update in the newsfeeds of more of their fans.

Is it useful for agents? Because the average Facebook post is seen by only 16 percent of a Page's followers, this is a great way to re-introduce your business to fans who may have forgotten about you. Is there an open house coming up, or a new property that you want generate interest in? Promote your posts to maximize awareness of important events or listings.

200px LogoTwitterTwitter

While similar to Facebook's Promoted Posts, Twitter's new "Promoted Tweets" feature is more automated, giving users less control over what tweets are promoted and to whom. Instead of choosing which posts to promote, Twitter analyzes your tweets and automatically promotes the ones with the highest engagement levels. You can choose to exclude certain tweets from promotion, but that's the extent of your control.

Is it useful for agents? If you find Facebook advertising overwhelming, Twitter's promotional features may be a better choice. All you need to do is choose the geographic area you want to advertise in, set your daily budget, and your campaign will essentially operate on autopilot. Twitter will analyze the tweet content of users within your chosen area and automatically display your top updates to those with similar interests.

Unlike Facebook's Promoted Posts, Promoted Tweets are based on cost-per-click, meaning you are only charged when users click on your post. This means that you are only paying for people who explicitly interact with your content, ensuring that your marketing budget is spent on those who are highly engaged.


Launched last month, "Promoted Updates" is Foursquare's first revenue product. With it, businesses can attract new followers with updates that appear prominently on the "Explore" tab. Businesses pay only when users complete an action like checking in or unlocking a special.

Is it useful for agents? Unlike restaurants or retail stores, REALTORS® are often on the go. While your office is the occasional meeting place for events like document signings, it's not likely to be a local Foursquare "hot spot." Therefore, promoting location-based updates on the social network are not likely to be useful to your business.

Instead, agents should take their cue from the Corcoran Group and use Foursquare to position themselves as local experts. Leave tips about what to order at your favorite restaurants, or where the hottest places to see a concert are. You're more likely to gain new followers from people seeing your stellar recommendations on the Foursquare pages of their favorite restaurant or venue.


Promotional veteran YouTube recently merged its "Promoted VideosPromoted Videos" feature with Google's AdWords platform. Because of this, video promotions are not restricted to YouTube only. They can appear anywhere on Google's advertising network, exposing your content to a much broader audience than any of the promoted post features on other social networks.

With the reach of Google behind it, this may be the most potent promotional program of all. As with regular AdWords advertising, you can target specific keywords and even integrate your campaigns with your Google Analytics account.

Is it useful for agents? Promoted videos can be a great way to generate leads within a very specifically designated audience. This program gives you the most control over your advertising while also being the most technically demanding. However, if you're already familiar with Google AdWords, promoting your videos should be a breeze.

In order to maximize your marketing budget, we don't recommend promoting virtual tours or videos about individual properties. Instead, highlight videos that are more generally about your city, its lifestyle, attractions, and more to establish yourself as a local expert. Target your keywords to things people are more likely to search for, like "[Area] lifestyle" or "Relocating to [Area]."