Let’s identify the typical real estate agent’s Facebook page: a profile picture matching that of the agent’s business card; a stock photo of a luxury home as the cover page; posts of links to the agent’s listings; an article about interest rates; a picture of happy buyers after closing; probably no posts for the last few months; and, most disappointing, only a fraction of “page likes” compared to the amount of “friends” on the agent admin’s profile.

Sound familiar?

It does to the consumers who “liked” your page because it’s the same thing they see from every other agent page that they’ve “liked.” I think we’re missing the mark with these real estate Facebook pages, you need to stand out from the crowd and create something that people actually care about.

One of the biggest flaws that I mentioned is the fact that you may have 500 “friends” on your profile, yet your business page has only 100 “likes.” What was the point of the business page in the first place?

According to eBiz Media, Facebook was the third-most visited website in 2013, and, according to Facebook, the average time spent on each visit is 20 minutes, so it makes tons of sense for us to set up shop on Facebook and use it as a forum for our business as well as a lead generator. With that being said, why would you want an audience of 100 vs. the 500 you already had?

Plus, I hate to break it to you, but those 100 “likes” you got are most likely your closest family, friends and clientele who are already loyal to you and your business. Now you can reward those 100 people who were nice enough to “like” your pointless business page by spamming their newsfeed with your new listings and articles on mortgage rates — you’re a great “friend.”

What if you created a Facebook page bigger than yourself, the individual, and based it around an idea, location, lifestyle or movement? Something that random people would have an affinity toward. Facebook is about connecting, so make a page that people feel a connection with that still allows you to showcase your real estate expertise. For example, “John Smith — Realtor” as a business page gets nobody excited except for John Smith.

Example 1:

A Facebook business page titled “Living in 20814.” Not a very sexy name to most, and most won’t even know what it means. To those who reside in this highly affluent ZIP code of approximately 30,000 people and 14,000 houses, it sounds like an exclusive club! It may also be where you do the bulk of your business, where you live, where you know everything that’s going on, and/or where you want to do your business. Consumers have pride of ownership in the area that they live (in most cases) and they spend a lot of time and money there. Everything that happens in this ZIP code affects them in some way.

For the profile photo, what if you selected an iconic image or landmark from the area that someone living there would recognize, as opposed to your business photo? Think you’d get more random “likes”? If you’re in need of great content you could search for, “like” and follow other pages that are also geographically relevant to this area and share their content on your page.

If the local fire station is hosting a Christmas tree lighting and they post about it on Facebook, share it on your page. If there’s a free, local concert this weekend at the square advertised by the local municipality or a new Italian restaurant downtown, share it! Show the world that you are an expert in your community, and if you aren’t, it behooves you to become one.

Let’s say you created a cool video tour for your newest listing or you just helped some first-time buyers move into the area — now it’s worth doing the subtle self-promotion because that’s actually relevant to the neighbors. Ever considered paying for Facebook ads to promote your page and get “likes” to increase your audience? I recommend using Facebook’s highly effective targeted ads and setting a small budget to reach only the people who live in the 20814 ZIP code. Your conversion will be higher and your new “likers” will actually look at your posts while scrolling through their crowded newsfeeds — after all, you’re now the expert on where they live.

Example 2:

“Green Living in Dallas.” Similar to the last example, people living outside of Dallas may not care so much, but if you’re a Realtor in Dallas, your target market is inside Dallas. Maybe you have the green designation and you’re passionate about being eco-friendly. That’s a great cause to get behind, and it’s easy to curate and create content around the idea.

I would still shy away from the typical business photo for the page’s photo and create something that reflects the page’s name as opposed to your business. “Like” other pages that are constantly creating content related to this strategy and share it on your page, as most people will have no idea about the other pages you follow, so it’s new content to them. Now when you want to share your listings, try highlighting one of the energy-efficient or eco-friendly features of the home and make your post around that topic, not your new 3/2/2 with granite counters.

Highlight local green businesses and gain even more support from fellow business owners. Facebook’s targeted ads can get so specific that you can find people who are interested in reducing their carbon footprint who also live in or around the Dallas area. Now you’re the local green Realtor who’s providing them real estate information from a different perspective than all of the other agents they’ve “liked.”

Your Facebook business page may simply be as a reference that you ARE in the business of selling houses as opposed to partying like your personal profile depicts, and that’s great. In this industry today, where having a Facebook business page for your real estate business is as common as having an MLS login, I think it’s time we start finding ways to differentiate in this oversaturated medium. Let me know if you’ve seen any great examples of unique agent business pages, I’d love to “like” them.

Justin Levitch lives in Washington, D.C., and is the VP of business development for Real Living | At Home. He is part of a family of Realtors from North Texas, and became the youngest managing broker for Coldwell Banker NRT at age 27.

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