Are Listings Taboo on Social Networking Sites? My Answer - Not When They are Presented in a Passive Format like a Listing Widget

By
Real Estate Agent with PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com

Yesterday, I posted an article to my ActiveRain blog entitled "Stop Annoying Your Facebook Connections - Use SeeMyListings.com to Place Your Listings on Your Profile Page."  It was a pretty simple post.  It described how you could use the www.SeeMyListings.com widget from the National Association of Realtors and Realtor.com to place your listings on your Facebook profile page and eliminate or at least reduce those "just listed" type status updates that can be annoying to friends, family and colleagues on social networking sites. 

The response from AR members and subscribers to my AR and outside AR blogs was positive with most comments being something along the lines of "Thanks... I didn't know that about the listing widget."  Given these comments, I posted the article as a link in a status update on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Again, I received positive comments so I also posted to several LinkedIn groups.  Again, 99% of the responses were extremely positive.  In the NAR LinkedIn group, it seemed to provoke a storm of protests from the self-proclaimed "social media police" and "social media gurus."  It seemed odd for two separate reasons:  first, the listing widget was created by Realtor.com for use by Realtors, and, second, it was intended to allow Realtors to show their listings without bombarding or annoying their "friends" on Facebook with listing information.  Realtor.com has held tech seminars around the country this year and the listing widget has been offered in these seminars as a preferred method of presenting listings over repetitive status updates.  Nevertheless, the discussion posted to the NAR LinkedIn group seemed to be controversial.

Here are a few of the comments that I wanted to share from the LinkedIn discussion:

  • It always bothers me when people continue to use social media to do sales. The reason social media has evolved is because people are tired of traditional sales and advertising practices. Consumers look to their inner circle for trusted influencers. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are all places to network, be social and expand one's influence by providing value, not flashing your business card and homes for sale in everyone's face... Spamming these sites doesn't help the agent who has the listing. It harms them. I unfollow, block and basically turn a blind eye to their listing spam and them.  It's an indication of a lack of understanding the simple basics of social networking.
  • OK go ahead and post your widget. Turn FB into a marketing site. My point is the origin of social networking is exactly NOT about what you are doing. It is repeating the same repulsive behavior that has been annoying us on TV, the radio and in print media. The consumer is sick of being SOLD. They want to connect with a trusted advisor they find personally or comes recommended to them. I can see your point about having the widget on the profile. Of course since FB is a walled garden, only your friends can see your widget. Tell me this, what is the point? If it doesn't get traffic why bother?  I prefer not to risk being put in the same class as spammers and that is what it is to me when you put ads on a social networking site. 
  • I agree with Xxxxxx, FB is not for listings. You can go ahead and post them there, but I will remove anyone from my "favorite" friends list and move them to the "other" list that I rarely if ever review. If you would like to post an interesting article, with a link to your listing, then that would be much better. For example, I posted regarding investment property. I posted it to FB and got quite a few visits back to my site. An alternative is to set up a business FB page, then let people that want those ads to become a fan. When Realtors complain about your postings, that is a good sign to back off on sending those. Use an email broadcast, much better.
  • I am glad that I will never see your advertising because I will never visit your profile.
    Facebook is for social-media and not for your listings, but I believe that has been mentioned to you on the above posts.

Now, I actually respect the commentator who made the first two comments.  However, I fundamentally disagree with her position.  Here are a few points to consider:

  • Opt-In Procedures:  Unlike e-mail marketing suggested by one of the commentators above, most social networking sites (including Facebook and LinkedIn) are opt-in, permission based sites.  That is, your connections or friends on these sites have to accept you before they receive any communications(status updates or other items) from you.  If you overstep the bound or unwritten rules of the sites, people will simply opt-out.
  • Passive Nature of Profiles:  Unlike status updates, posting listings using the listing widget on your Facebook profile or using Slideshare.net or Box.net on your LinkedIn profile doesn't post or send any announcement to your connections or friends.  It is passive in nature and is accessed only by someone who is looking at or reading your profile. 
  • Distinctions between Permission Based Advertising and Spam:  Use of the listing widget isn't "spamming."  By definition, "spam" is an unsolicited, commercial communication.  In the case of the listing widget, it isn't unsolicited because the friend or connection has opt-ed into your network.  In addition, it isn't even a communication.  There is no e-mail, notification, etc. sent or posted.  That said, the person must actually go to your profile to take a look at your listings.
  • Uses of Listing Widget:  The listing widget is an important tool.  The ability to show potential clients your current listings can bolster your expertise and credibility.  If you sell a particular neighborhood or have a narrow field of expertise, the listing widget allows friends and connections who are potential clients to see the number of listings, price ranges, types of housing, etc. which can be effectively used to enhance your status as a neighborhood expert or  specialist.

Some members of social networks want to preserve social networks as a pristine, commercial-free playground of thought and discussion.  In reality, LinkedIn and Facebook are or at least can be powerful marketing tools when used right.  The fact that businesses are actively promoting their presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is a pretty good sign of the marketing potential held by these sites. 

Oddly, I don't disagree with the underlying premise of the comments above - that is, ad and marketing machines on social networking sites aren't effective.  However, I don't view a listing widget on your Facebook page as contaminating or fundamentally changing the social nature of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.  When I look at most profiles on Facebook, I often see a link to one's website.  The website is typically their company website or personal business website.  My question is:  Is using a listing widget on one's Facebook profile really any different than having a Facebook profile with a link to a person's business website?

 

Posted by

________________________________________________________________________________________________

PREA SIGNATURE REALTY

Download Property BrochuresView Our Listing PresentationWatch Our Property Videos on YouTube

PREA Signature Realty is a full service brokerage located at 1709 Park Avenue in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of the City of St. Louis.  PREA Signature proudly serves the following city neighborhoods:  Lafayette Square, Soulard, Benton Park, Benton Park West, Downtown Loft District, Forest Park Southwest, Central West End, Tower Grove East, Tower Grove South, Compton Heights, Shaw, The Hill, Dogtown, Carondelet, Holly Hills, St. Louis Hills, Dutchtown, and the Other Historic Neighborhoods of the City of Saint Louis, Missouri. 

The opinions expressed herein represent the opinions of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of PREA Signature Realty.  All photos and written content were produced by PREA Signature Realty.  All Rights Reserved - PREA Signature Realty (2009).  This content may not be reproduced or reprinted, except for Active Rain re-blogging, without express written permission of PREA Signature Realty.

For more information, visit our website at www.PREASignatureRealty.com or contact Ryan Shaughnessy at 314-971-4381 or send an email to Ryan@PREASignatureRealty.com

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Kimberly Beers 11/05/2009 03:59 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Location:
Missouri
Groups:
Gadgets, Tools, & Extras
Rainmaking - Internet Marketing Strategies
Real Estate Technology
Facebook Tips
Free Tools For Real Estate Agents
Tags:
listing widget
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Show All Comments
Rainer
73,564
John J. Woods
Aardvark Appraisals - Palm Desert, CA

Thanks for posting this.  Being on Facebook, along with a lot of AR 'friends' and other realtor 'friends', I see this abuse all the time.  I will also pass this along and send you a Friend Request.

 

Nov 03, 2009 04:40 AM #1
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

John - I like the listing widget because it cuts down on the need for status updates.  I was surprised by some of the comments directed at the listing widget.  In my opinion, the listing widget isn't the problem - it is actually a partial solution.

Nov 03, 2009 04:51 AM #2
Rainmaker
472,195
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Live and let live! Thank goodness various levels of government haven't come up with Facebook police. Widget is a good idea, but I am not going to waste time criticizing someone on this.

Nov 03, 2009 10:17 PM #3
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Janice - I like the widget.  I can't say I love it given that it directs to the Realtor.com site.  I would prefer it to direct people to my site.  There are other limitations to its usefulness.  However, I was surprised by some of the vocal comments - particularly the one's chastising everyone who elected to use the widget as "not getting" social networking.  What they don't get is that there are very few rules and everyone has their own approach.  If they are in fact "doing it wrong", people on the networks will tell them so.

Nov 04, 2009 03:43 AM #4
Rainer
212,582
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

Ryan, if you are actually connected to people through facebook and linkedin, then they already know you're a realtor and will expect some communication from you about real estate or listing. I like your widget idea because it's not clogging my update or status with "Hey, here's a new listing on ..." I'd rather us the widget. Thanks for sharing! Most agents can create a fan page as well if they really want to seperate the personal profile with their professional profile.

Nov 04, 2009 07:01 AM #5
Rainer
50,944
Rich Rogala
Consistent Clients - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Marketing Coach

Ryan, thanks for sharing this. It's interesting to see the controversy. I agree that Facebook shouldn't be used solely for promoting yourself, but as you say above, if you choose to use it that way, people will let you know they don't like it, or remove their connection to you. There really aren't "rules", just guidelines. And I feel the widget falls well within the acceptable guidesline for using Facebook for business. If people want to use it ONLY for personal friends and family, that's fine. They just won't with you! And you shouldn't want them to, since they won't be responsive anyway. There's my 2 cents!

Nov 04, 2009 07:49 AM #6
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Anthony - I thought the widget was a pretty good solution.  Like you mentioned, they already know I am a Realtor and can see my listings right on my profile.  I still do occasional status updates - but only for true "value" propositions.

Rich - It is definitely a self-enforcing group.  I tolerate a fair amount of sales talk in my network and groups... however, if someone is particularly obnoxious, I simply unsubscribe, de-link, or disconnect.  Same is true for blogs - all market reports and listings then I unsubscribe.  I also tweak my approach based on responses.  I don't see sweeping or rigid guidelines.  If it is working, continue it.  If it isn't take a look at what went wrong and try again.

Nov 04, 2009 09:20 AM #7
Rainmaker
534,605
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

who gives a s*&t? if you don't want to open the link to a listing don't and move on - if you do open it......what part is spamming? social networking has involved business at different levels - for as long as i can remember

 

Nov 08, 2009 05:57 PM #8
Rainmaker
83,622
Randall Sandin
Carolina One Real Estate - Charleston, SC
843-209-9667 - Search for Charleston SC Real Estate

goog points on both sides - i personally do not put my listings on it but have not issues with people who do

Nov 08, 2009 09:19 PM #9
Ambassador
769,886
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Ryan - Wow !  There are a lot of strong opinions out there.  First, thank you for the recommendation of a listing widget.  I worry sometimes that our facebook pages get too many listing updates (sent from Tweetlister).  They are small updates with links and I see them being harmless.  I guess if someone is really annoyed, they can just delete that person although I do not see our friend count declining.  Still, I see the point and will look into the listing widget option.  I really do not understand the strong feelings on the other side like it was a sin, but I respect them too.  To me, many of our friends on facebook are local realtors and local consumers that may be interested in these updates.  It is like any other update, some you are interested in, some you are not.  Interesting to say the least !

Nov 08, 2009 11:17 PM #10
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Liz - I take the same approach.  Open if it interests me.  Delete if it doesn't.  Unsubscribe if it is just too much.

Randall - I have the listing widget.  I also post photographs, video and links.  I also do status updates announcing listings and sales.

Stephanie/Chris - I guess I kind of view status updates as the daily newspaper. Days when I'm going to read it and days when I'm gonna just keep paging through it.  I didn't get the furor that thought that posting listings to Facebook was akin to a cardinal sin.

Nov 09, 2009 12:09 AM #11
Rainer
212,582
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

Ryan, here's an idea for everyone to use. Instead of wondering if this widget or if your facebook activity is intruding on your "friends" on facebook, just pick up the phone and ask. It's a great excuse to reconnect verbally with your connections on facebook or any other social network. What a great conversation starter!

Nov 09, 2009 01:30 AM #12
Rainmaker
428,832
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Ryan I totally agree with you !! It's called FaceBook, not Advertising Book. Keep it personal and friendly not your personal sales advertising site. I don't have any Realtor friends on FB anymore because of the advertising junk they post. My friends know what I do, and they call when they need a realtor without being harrassed on this social site. Kudos to YOU!

;)

 

Nov 09, 2009 02:05 AM #13
Rainmaker
140,138
Troy Jowers
Pogo Realty, LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Realtor

I have a personal site and a fan site because I was worried so much about cloggin status updates, but guess what...the vast majority of my friends get updates from the fan page anyways. Go figure! And Ryan, thanks for the widget.

Nov 09, 2009 10:40 PM #14
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Anthony - I don't disagree with your point.  However, I just found it funny - on one side of the coin are purists who view any advertising on social media sites as being taboo and on the other side people who view social media sites as permission to roll out ad after ad.  My only point in this post was that I was surprised by the tone and vigor of the responses that attacked a simple non-intrusive listing widget.

Betina - I am exactly the opposite in terms of Realtors.  I have a fair number of colleagues as Facebook friends.  I get some great info, leads and ideas from other agents.

Troy - Same here.  Most of my Facebook friends are also members of one or more of our Faceboo fan or group pages.

Nov 09, 2009 11:37 PM #15
Rainmaker
101,582
Matthew Naumann
Exit Realty Charleston Group - Goose Creek, SC
Goose Creek, SC Real Estate Agent

Ryan,

Great Post. I will definitely adding the listing widget to my facebook page.

Thanks for sharing,

Matt Naumann

Nov 11, 2009 01:27 AM #16
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Matt - I'm glad that it helps.  It definitely has it limitations - but it serves my purpose which is to give prospects a broad overview of the type and number of listings that I carry.

Nov 11, 2009 03:59 AM #17
Rainmaker
284,711
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

I guess the guys that don't like the social networking sites having some business on them never tell their friends they are in real estate either.  Get real.

Nov 18, 2009 02:58 AM #18
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