Are you making the most out of the new technologies in your real estate business? If not, check out these tips from Real Estate Connect San Francisco.

Parts 1 and 2 of this series outlined best practices for using the Web and the social media in your real estate business. Today’s column looks specifically at best practices for Facebook.

1. The 95-5 Rule
Regardless of which social media platform you use, your ultimate goal is to engage in conversations that lead to online friendships or that produce followers for your business.

Editor’s note: This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Are you making the most out of the new technologies in your real estate business? If not, check out these tips from Real Estate Connect San Francisco.

The first two parts of this series outlined best practices for using the Web and social media in your real estate business. Today’s column looks specifically at best practices for Facebook.

1. The ’95-5′ Rule
Regardless of which social media platform you use, your ultimate goal is to engage in conversations that lead to online friendships or that produce followers for your business. Some participants at a recent Real Estate BarCamp conference said that they don’t even mention their real estate business when they’re on Twitter and Facebook.

Others mention their business only occasionally. Virtually everyone who is succeeding online agreed on this point; however, 90-95 percent of your posts should be contributing to the online conversation by helping others. Only 5-10 percent should be about what you are doing.

2. Use the right technology for the right purpose
Are you regularly posting business information to your profile page on Facebook? If so,this could be a mistake, as Facebook prohibits users from having two different profiles and many Realtors end up blending their real estate content with their personal content. Friends quickly grow weary of seeing posts about new listings and open houses. Conversely, posting pictures of your kids washing the dog may not be the right type of exposure for your real estate business.

3. Facebook profile pages vs. Facebook fan pages
Facebook recently began offering "fan pages." This allows Facebook users to keep their personal posts on their profile page while providing a different venue for their real estate business. Social media consultant Mike Mueller said that when he receives a friend request from someone with whom he does business, he suggests that they visit his fan page to view his real estate content.

He keeps his personal profile for family and friends. Fan pages are "opt in." The person must register and agree to see the page. Another major advantage is that fan pages are useful for search-engine optimization purposes. Posting content on your profile page does nothing to help you in the search engines, while posting content on your Facebook fan page can help build your search-engine ranking.

3. Use lists to organize data
Social media consultant Ricardo Bueno also refers his real estate leads to his fan page. "When I receive a friend request, I ask people to join my fan page. I then explain the types of posts that I make to my fan page as opposed to my personal profile. Most elect to join the fan page." Bueno is also an advocate of using lists. For example, he has separate lists for first-time buyers and sellers, as well as personal lists. For Bueno, Facebook is both a business management and an organizational tool. …CONTINUED

4. Hyperlocal fan pages
For real estate professionals, rather than creating a personal fan page, a better approach is to create a fan page around the niche(s) you serve. This taps into the trend of "hyperlocalism." For example, you could host a fan page such as "We Love Wilshire Corridor High-Rises."

Make the lifestyle in this area come alive on your fan page with interviews, podcasts, photos and videos. Invite the officers from the various homeowners associations to post what is great about their particular high-rise. Ask for feedback about the new deli that just opened nearby.

Your goal is to be the "go-to" expert for that niche. The activity on the fan page will give you credibility both on the search engines as well as with potential clients. You can also provide a separate link to a page on your Web site that lists current listings and sales for the niche you serve.

5. Don’t fan yourself
This is one of the biggest mistakes that people who are new to social media make. Never send out a message like this: "Bernice Ross just became a fan of Bernice Ross. Maybe you would like to become fan, too." This approach screams, "She doesn’t get it!"

When you create a fan page, think of it as being similar to a testimonial page. It’s a place where others can share their enthusiasm for you and the services you provide. You wouldn’t post a testimonial to yourself. When you "fan" yourself, it’s essentially the same thing as writing a testimonial for yourself.

6. Take advantage of the new Facebook Marketplace
Posting listings on your profile will have your personal friends "unfriending" you. A number of agents are having success by posting their listings and open houses on Facebook’s Marketplace rather than on their profile or fan pages.

If you’re new to Facebook and social networking, this may seem overwhelming. In truth, it’s quite simple. Don’t toot your own horn, but do focus on helping others and specialize in a niche. Most of all, have fun!

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.

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