CenterStage for Real Estate Agents, at Clientopoly.com, is an application to share property listings information on Facebook. One of their stated benefits is to "increase your search engine visibility."
All sorts of flags go up in my head at this point and here’s why: Most popular search engines, like Google, don’t have a site-wide login for Facebook. This means that activity on Facebook is mostly invisible to Google.
Google, Bing and other search engines can’t log in to Facebook and look at the apps on your Facebook profile any more than someone without a Facebook account can.
That caveat out of the way, CenterStage looks promising for spreading property listings information on Facebook. If you aren’t using Facebook, then CenterStage is a no-go. Though perhaps you could use it to jump-start a Facebook campaign.
Here’s how it works: You sign up for the service and then manually enter property listings information. There are preset fields for your listings that contain the usual suspects for housing information: address, price, beds, baths, garage, square feet, acres, a description box, status (active, under contract or sold), a public listing URL and the ability to upload a photo.
I’m sure some of you are already recognizing the part of using this tool that won’t be much fun: manually entering data. But that’s just the way it goes for most tools of this nature already, isn’t it?
One of these days someone will cook up a listings syndication tool that really does just let you enter all of this stuff once and syndicate it wherever you like to whatever network you like.
Once you’ve got all the data entered, you can have your listings displayed in your profile under a "My Real Estate" tab. This is a pretty handy way to have all of your listings up on your Facebook account and in one location. Being able to change a listing to "sold" and keeping it on your profile is also a good way to indicate that you can sell homes.
Each listing also has the ability to share. Maybe someone will share the listing (perhaps if they buy it and want to show their friends or if they’re selling it, etc).
You can also get the listings to show up on your Facebook Wall. If you can present the info in an engaging manner, perhaps others will comment or help spread the word.
The tool is available for a 30-day free trial, and the paid service cost $66 for six months or $96 for 12 months. …CONTINUED
As with any of these sorts of tools, you can be your own worst enemy by spamming your Facebook friends with listings information. So do be sure to get your strategy and approach together before you go hog wild with this thing.
The Clientopoly.com site includes several links to useful YouTube videos on putting together Facebook strategies, fan pages and so on. If you’re new to using Facebook or other social networking tools, it would be good to watch some of them.
Let’s break it down using my favorite tool, the consumer behavior model:
Reach: CenterStage can help you reach your friends on Facebook. CenterStage claims that the tool will increase search-engine visibility (perhaps in the internal Facebook search engine, but it’s unlikely this tool is going to help you with search-engine optimization on Google or other public search engines). This is a tool that’s about increasing your effectiveness on Facebook.
Acquisition: Your Facebook friends interested in the properties you’re promoting could go to your Web site via the URL you set when manually entering the property information. You can also get your Facebook friends over to your page by posting the property on your Wall.
Conversion: Any of your Facebook friends who are interested in the property could contact you via Facebook’s messaging system or, if they followed the link, via the URL you manually entered with the property information.
Satisfaction: By keeping the record of properties that you’ve sold visible in your Facebook profile, you can show a default level of satisfaction. Also, if someone buys a house you’ve listed and spreads the word via the share options, this could help extend your brand reach among the Facebook audience.
If you use this tool, remember to put the Web URL for the property into the system and not just your Web site homepage. Lead people directly to the property they were looking at when they clicked. Bonus points if you campaign-tag the URL so you can track the impact of CenterStage on your main Web traffic.
But given that you can test the effectiveness of CenterStage via measuring inquiries via Facebook and campaign-tagged URLs, it’s probably worth a try to see if it integrates well with your Facebook campaign.
Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.
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