Guest post by Maura Neill, CRS
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at Inman’s Agent Reboot in Atlanta. The topic: Facebook Business Pages. The title of my presentation: Your Facebook Business Page is Worthless. It’s a little unnerving to take the stage and to start off by looking into all those eager faces in the audience and tell them that their Facebook Business Page is worthless. But it’s true – most of the time.
The majority of the agents I speak to express frustration with Facebook as a lead generation tool or as part of their marketing plan. But that’s because, to quote one of my favorite (terrible) movies of the 80s, Mr. Mom: “you’re doing it wrong.”
It’s not enough to log in to Facebook, create a business page, upload your photo or logo, and wait for the phone to ring. Like any piece of your business plan puzzle, your Facebook Business Page needs to be monitored, it needs your attention and – at the risk of sounding a little more touchy-feely than even I am comfortable with – a little TLC. In short, it needs your time* – and if you have time to give it, it may just end up being one of the best referral tools in your arsenal.
Here are a couple of tips to help you revitalize your Facebook Business Page and turn it from drab to fab:
1. If you work heavily in a particular area or neighborhood, create a Facebook Business Page for that market. This doesn’t mean create a page for every neighborhood in which you’ve ever sold a home (please refer to paragraph 3*). REALTOR® Raziel Ungar started his Facebook Page BurlingameBuzz last spring and had an immediate following in the town of Burlingame, CA. According to Raziel, since starting the page just over a year ago, the page has “impacted my business in a huge way.” Though it’s not a huge lead-generator, it has validated Raziel to his clients and potential clients and given him a huge competitive advantage over other agents. The City of Burlingame has even linked to BurlingameBuzz.com, which they would not have done with RazielUngar.com.
2. Consider making your Facebook Business Page be about something not someone (i.e., not you). Do you have a hobby or an interest that you are passionate about? Bobbi Howe, a REALTOR® in St. Joseph, MO, started a page on Facebook to support a running group. Her small town didn’t have a running club, so she started her own – in under three months, she has already had two calls from members who want to work with her as their REALTOR®.
3. Think long and hard before you make your Facebook Business Page about YOU. Keep in mind that the average consumer is looking for information – not just a page that feeds your ego (I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the “Become a Fan” button disappear!). If you start a Facebook Business Page that is named for yourself or for your team, make sure that you still keep it consumer-centric. A great example of a group who does this well is The Corcoran Group in New York City. Their Facebook Business Page is a wealth of information: about New York, about real estate, about technology, about events…but very little about them. Feel free to post the occasional tidbit about an award you’ve received or other personal tidbit – it makes the page feel, well, more personal. But be cautious of posting those items too often.
4. Integrate your Facebook Business Page into your other social media and online marketing platforms. By itself, you will probably only attract people who already know you – and if you work purely by referral, this may not be a bad thing. However, most of us wouldn’t argue with a new client every now and then, so integration is key. Put the Facebook LIKE Button on your blog and/or website, so that people who discover you on the web can immediately like your page and enjoy your updates into their news feed. Post links to your blog posts as you publish them on your Facebook Business Page, so that they appear in the news feeds of those who like your page but may not be subscribed to your blog. Tweet about your page when you’ve posted something new. Post a link to your latest YouTube video on the page so it can be viewed directly from Facebook, without interested parties having to leave the site and go to YouTube. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to be polite and consider your readers: don’t post the same links over and over ad-nauseum – that’s a good way to get people to click the UNlike button. Post once and move on – if they’re interested, they will click.
5. Finally, remember to interact with those who want to interact with you. It’s a two-way street, after all. If someone takes the time to post a comment to one of your posts or links or to ask a question, by all means respond! It’s a great way to connect with your readers, you know, those people who took the time to click LIKE and are now taking the time to write something. Even if you’re just saying “thank you” to someone who wrote “great post!”, you’re still making a connection – and perhaps opening the door to a deeper connection down the road. If a person feels a connection to you, he or she will most likely be back…and they may turn into a client or a referral source down the road.
About the author: Maura Neill, CRS, is a REALTOR® in Atlanta, Georgia, and the creator of 365Atlanta.com, a hyper-local travel site for Atlanta newcomers and natives which has become a rich referral resource for her business. She is also musical theatre geek, dark chocolate aficionada, lover of dark beer, and shoe addict.