About a week ago, I gave some background on what I've been up to and asked the AR community what type of topics they'd suggest I cover. The first topic of interest was SEO, so I decided to start with a post that gave the anatomy of blogging SEO. I'll come back with some more SEO stuff in the near future (including some background on generating quality inbound links), but first I thought I would dive into the 2nd area of interest: Facebook Pages. (By the way, there was also some interest in affiliate programs so I wrote a bit more on affiliate programs for real estate on 4realz.net)
Facebook Profile vs Facebook Page
Every one of the 200 Million people who have joined Facebook has (by definition) created a Facebook Profile. Your profile creates the "hub" with which you can engage with others (friends), groups, games (applications) and/or business pages.
A Facebook Page is a bit different than a profile and reserved for businesses, brands, and other professionals.
If you plan to use Facebook to generate business, then there are a ton of reasons to market yourself through a Page instead of your standard profile. Here are just a few:
- One-way Connection. People connect to your Facebook Page by becoming a "fan" of you (or your business) instead of a "friend." This is a one-way connection much closer to Twitter in that people can follow your Facebook Page and you never have to "conect" with them as a friend.
Easy Updates. You can update your Facebook Page in much the same way that you can update your Facebook Profile... This means it's trivial to share status updates, photos, videos, and links with your the people who follow you.
- Top-of-mind. The ability to easily update your users allows you to stay top-of-mind with the relevant target audience. I use my page to update professionals interested in social media and online marketing. If you become a "fan" of my page (and I recommend it!), then my updates will enter your "news" feed on the homepage of your Facebook account so you can be regularly updated with useful information.
- Going Viral. When one of your friends comments on one of your status updates (could be text, links, video, etc.), then you're much more likely to get seen by their "friends". And, as your content becomes more popular, you're that much more likely to be featured in the "highlights" area of Facebook's homepage. For most agents, "friends of clients" are some of the best source of business and Facebook has made it possible to relatively easy get in front of these people!
Friends vs Fans. Facebook limits you to 5,000 friends, which almost definitely sounds like a lot (who has 5000 friends???). Except for the truely gifted networkers, most agents will never reach 5,000 friends. However, for an agent in a decent sized-community, it's entirely conceibable for 5,000 people of your area to follow you (or become fans) if you consistently provided information they found valuable... especially as it's so much easier to go viral with Facebook than any other tool.
- Permission Farming. Savvy businesses and brands have learned that consumers, like myself, are more than happy to become a fan if they remain relevant and interesting. Do the same for your community and I'm convinced you could quickly hit the sweet spot of the terms Jim Marks coined: Permission Farming.
- Timing. It's still early... some savvy agent in your community is likely to figure out how to successfully use Facebook to reach your market over the next year or two. The sooner you get in there, the quicker you'll be able to set yourself up as the dominant real estate voice on Facebook in your community.
Convinced you should set up a Facebook Page?
It's really easy... From any existing Facebook Page (mine for example), click on the text "Create a Page" at the bottom of the left-panel to get started.
And when you're ready to get serious, become a fan of my page so you can follow my updates as I explore the many ways you can use Facebook to generate business!