So you have a Facebook page to promote your business. Do you know how to use it?
Most Realtors with Facebook pages utilize them to help market listings and keep their Facebook "friends" up to date about the changing market. Some go a step further and also provide information for buyers and sellers designed to make the buying and selling process easier to understand. These are great uses of Facebook, but many Facebook users overlook one very important thing: Using your account privacy settings to ensure that your posts are viewed by the right people.
Before I get into what this entails it is important to understand why Facebook privacy is important. You should ask yourself this question: Did you use Facebook as a personal social network PRIOR to using it for marketing? If so you need to keep reading. If not, consider finishing this article as it will provide some unique insights into the need to Facebook security.
Those who used their profiles as personal social networks PRIOR to using them to boost their real estate business should realize that your personal profile could actually drive away buyers and sellers. Why is this? Well for starters most of us enjoying leaving very personal "status updates".
Danger Will Robinson, Danger!
Let me throw a hypothetical situation at you to best illustrate my point. You have several listings but one client in particular is a little more needy than the rest and expects a little more attention and updating than most. Let's assume you have a vacation coming up. Coincidentally, your needy client has been feeling that their listed home is not getting much attention from buyers, and just happens to be losing "faith" in you as a Broker. The client has not spoken with you about this, leaving you unaware of this. You go on a fun filled vacation, posting status updates on Facebook about beaches, palm trees and Hawaiian sunsets. Well guess what? Your client now knows you're on vacation enjoying fun in the sun. Is this a bad thing? Well it could be. If you notified your client you were going on vacation in advance, this might not present an issue. However, had you taken a short vacation away and simply told your client that you would be unavailable for a few days - that could leave your client with a bad taste in their mouth. Not good.
Lifestyle choices can also present problems on Facebook. Posting political opinions or potentially offensive humor can have catastrophic effects on your business. By posting such things you can actually prevent people from working with you. People have strong opinions about politics and what they consider to be offensive.
Keeping these two examples in mind, it may be appropriate to set up two Facebook profiles. Consider having one profile just for your personal friends and a whole separate profile for your clients. This is a quick and easy way to prevent the scenarios above. For most of us though, the prospect of managing two profiles is undesirable. But there is a solution!
Keeping Your Facebook Posts Private To Only A Select Audience
Start by clicking on the "friends" tab, and then creating a "group". The only real group you need is one that includes your personal friends and family. You should be selective about who goes into this group because this group will be able to see all the information you put onto your Facebook profile. Select only your friends and family which would be unlikely to be offended by anything you may post. Call this group whatever you want, but I like to call mine the inner circle.
Next, in your account settings (click the account button on the top right hand side of your Facebook page), under the "privacy" section and then "profile information" - you can set up options about who can see your posts or what your friends post to your "wall", your uploaded photos and more. Set your profile to show everything you post to everyone in your new friends group. This means each thing you post is now private unless you choose to post it to "Everyone" which means ALL of your Facebook friends (clients and personal).
From now on when updating your status, make notice of this button (shown below in black):
Each time you update you can then select "Everyone" before you click the "Share" button - for updates that you wish for everyone else to see. But now by default if you do not select this option ONLY your personal friends will see the update - leaving you free to post whatever you like, without broadcasting it to the entire Facebook world.
One last thought to leave you with on this subject. Google likes Facebook, a little too well. What I mean here, is that your posts to your Facebook "wall" (photos, updates, links you post, etc...) are indexed by Google and displayed in the search engine results they provide to the public. This means your witty comment on the Obama administration, could just pop up when someone searches for info about Obama. It is not extremely likely that your witty quip will appear for most people searching the term Obama - but since the slight possibility that this could happen is there if someone searches using the right combination of keywords that appear in your witty remark - it's even more reason to set your profile to private as described above.
What About MySpace?
MySpace is also a social networking platform in use by many agents. MySpace allows users to also make their pages "private" to only those who are accepted as friends. However, MySpace DOES NOT have the same features for privacy as Facebook. MySpace is an all or nothing. Either everyone on the green earth can read everything you write and post - or ONLY those accepted as MySpace "friends" can see your page and comments.
So What Do I Recommend For MySpace?
Absolutely set your profile to private. Make a choice to either use your MySpace ONLY for marketing purposes leaving out any posts that might draw negative attention to you and your business or set up 2 profiles, one for you personally and one for you as a Realtor. In this day and age online impressions are extremely important. Your potential clients will often choose a Realtor based on their web presence. Make it a point to create the RIGHT kind of web presence.