Mixing Personal with Business – the Facebook conundrum

Services for Real Estate Pros with Roost

As some of you know, I’m a huge “fan” (pun intended) of the opportunity Facebook presents for Real Estate professionals (both agents and brokers) to engage, build relationships and ultimately generate referrals.

In fact, we believe in it so much at Roost that we’re betting a huge chunk of our technology muscle on helping REALTORSâ take advantage of this opportunity with our Social Real Estate Toolkit.   But that’s not to say we have all the answers, after all – this is still a very new and quickly evolving world.

Here is one particularly interesting question we’re trying to help our clients wrestle with…

Should I separate my personal profile and my business presence on Facebook?

This is an interesting one because there may not be a more polarizing question in the Social Media world today.   If you ask this to a room full of real estate professionals, I guarantee there will be an energetic debate.

Near as I can tell, there are basically three schools of thought here (comment if you have more!):

1)   Keep ‘em separate - Facebook wants all business discussion to happen on Fan/Business/Community pages, and it may even be a violation of Terms of Service (scary!).

2)   Keep ‘em separate – Business is business. I don’t want prospects/clients/etc to see the things I’m talking about in my personal world.

3)   Mix it up – My business is my personal life and vice versa.  If I didn’t want to leverage my personal network on FB I wouldn’t be here in the first place for business.

My take – Mix it up!... but carefully…

In my opinion, most REALTORSâ are only going to get real return in referrals from Facebook if they figure out how to overlap their personal presence with their business one.   Let’s face it – as an agent, if you’re good at what you do you’re always on.   A key part of what makes you successful is your ability and passion to network and build personal relationships (that can turn into referrals and endorsements).  Facebook was built for this.  Your personal network is your business network.

That said, your friends (and their friends) will be merciless in the use of the “Hide” button if you spam them.  That means auto-posting listings every hour, pushing open house info constantly etc is unlikely to win you new business and very likely to get your updates hidden.

OK, so what should I do?

First, your personal profile is where you build out your network.    Make it your mission to have a large and growing base of friends.  Friend people you meet at open houses, parties, and so on.

Second, use your personal profile to build relationships and engage with people on a personal level.   Don’t be afraid to talk a little real estate in there - it’s your life, right?  But do it in a way that’s conversational, not spammy. 

Finally, promote your Fan page to your network smartly and subtly.  Find creative ways (the Roost app is one) to offer more real estate content on your fan/business page that your network will find interesting.

Bottom line - your personal profile is about you, your fan page is about business


...Next up – thoughts on creating a Fan page that actually engages prospects.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. o k 04/13/2010 04:43 AM
  2. Derek Overbey 04/16/2010 02:04 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Social Media Marketing
Facebook Tips
Social Networks
ABC's of Real Estate Marketing
social media

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Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I have my business and personal in my profile friends.  I need to work more on my fan page.  I couldn't see keeping two separate profiles.  What would I do when a business person friended the friend profile, send them to the other one?

Apr 13, 2010 04:54 PM #39
Christina ONeal
At Home Real Estate Group - Ripon, CA
Realtor - Ripon California

Hi Alex...I am a "mix it up" girl.  It works for me & it's fun & I get business from it.  I stay in touch with everyone mostly.  My husband doesn't keep up with it, but thankfully we live together.  I had to get my mom on it & finally my 21 year old was the last of the family to get on it.  When he just got out of the Army a few months ago, it was super funny.  One of his first comments was, "Wow, my whole family is on here, even my Grandma". 

Congratulations on your very first post.  I look forward to seeing what your company does in Facebook :)

Apr 13, 2010 05:22 PM #40
Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA

Alex, If it weren't for Facebook I would never have read this blog post. I am a member of ActiveRain but don't spend enough time here these days. Instead, I saw this by seeing that an agent I look up to had fanned Roost on Facebook and clicking on the link to check it out. The second post on the Roost Fan Page was this blog post. Now I have subscribed to your blog on Active Rain AND I am a Fan on Facebook. Nice combo action! '

By the way, I mix it up, but still have stuff separate. Once in a while I post real estate info on my personal page, sometimes I post personal thoughts on our brokerage fan page (which is mostly me since we only have four agents and most of our fans are my friends or clients so far, but we are working on that) or sometimes I post something to my brokerage fan page and then share the link on my personal page. Best of luck!

Apr 13, 2010 06:02 PM #41
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Alex welcome to Activerain. I have met Derek Overby IRL and he is awesome, so helpful. He really helped me get my Roost App on my fan page and it rocks.

I guess you could say I am in the mix it up camp.

People know I am a Realtor, so I don't try to hide that, but if that is all I posted...then that would definitely be a turn off.

Thanks for the app, nice to meet you.


Apr 14, 2010 12:16 AM #42
Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD

I agree that you need to mix it up but keep it personal and not promotional.

Apr 14, 2010 12:29 AM #43
Bill Somerset
Re/Max Realty Group - Dover, NH
ABR, e-PRO - Realtor - NH Real Estate Agent

I mix it up.  I have my friends separated by many different groups and am very careful of what I post.

Apr 14, 2010 02:11 AM #44
Tamara Inzunza
RE/MAX Executives - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

Mix it up, your friends want to see what you're human and your clients want to see your continued success.  Always keep it professional though.

Apr 14, 2010 04:36 AM #45
Randy Smith
Equity Real Estate - American Fork Utah - Provo, UT
e-PRO, CLHMS - UtahHomeSearch.com

Great post.  It is so important to keep things professional and not spam friends with a constant barrage of real estate-related info.  That being said, I am a believer in "mixing it up."  Clients love to get to know the person behind the "persona" and although they may use you and your services again based on what you do and how well you do it, they will refer you to people they care about based on who you are!  And they get to know that by learning more personal details about you, such as those found on facebook.

Apr 14, 2010 04:53 AM #46
Jed Wunderli
Alterra Home Loans - Las Vegas, NV

I'm a mixer - I think you can build better and stronger relationships when you get to know each other at a more personal level.  By doing this, you can find some common ground and grow a friendship which leads to trust.

Apr 14, 2010 05:02 AM #47
Deborah Amazon
Deborah Amazon ~ Amazon Realty ~ Mount Snow, VT 05356 - Mount Snow, VT

Like you say "mix it up" but just a little. Post what you want, where you want, on FB, on AR, aywhere. Just be focused on what you are saying and to who.

Apr 14, 2010 06:57 AM #48
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Nice post Alex. I was just discussing this with another agent recently and I emailed it to her.

Apr 14, 2010 08:35 AM #49
Kim Bartells
TC Business Management, LLC - www.TCMandD.com - Perkasie, PA
Result Driven Real Estat - Marketing Expert

Be careful 'mixer-uppers'!  If you are going to do that be sure to have all your Real Estate Info (office, address, country, license #, etc.) on your personal page.  My impression is that Facebook can be looked at as a website and as such it must comply with those advertising rules.

As long as you have all the correct information posted, you should be fine 'mixing'.

Apr 14, 2010 10:16 AM #50
Liz Grazi Tuohy
LGT Properties, LLC - Centennial, CO

Thanks for sharing your information here.  I continue to learn about FB.


Liz Grazi Tuohy     LGT Properties,LLC      Centennial, CO      www.lizgrazituohy.com

Apr 14, 2010 01:45 PM #51
Lydia Puller, Realtor
Vanguard Properties - San Francisco, CA
Homes for Sale in San Francisco, Marin & East Bay

I am always interested in what folks have to say about facebook. I have a facebook page but frankly I dont  have the time to do anything with it and I am not sure what I should be doing. Between a full time real estate career, being a single mom, trying to squeeze in time to blog, little league games/practices, walking the dogs...by the time I have time I am already tucked in bed after a long day and just as my eyes start to close I hear my self saying "damn I didn't do anything with facebook yet again!" Perhaps someone can send me a link to a good post that tells me what I should be doing with facebook!

Apr 14, 2010 04:09 PM #52
blair tindall
Keller Williams Santa Monica - Los Angeles, CA

Alex, I think the key is to make sure none of your personal FB info is "too" personal. Have a great day!

Apr 15, 2010 09:18 AM #53
Whitney Peddy
de Luxe Homes & Estates - Fort Worth, TX

My Facebook is for my personal friends and family and colleagues. I don't have the energy to keep up with two but I try not to post anything too personal.

Apr 15, 2010 03:13 PM #54
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead

I've built my social presence on mixing it up and continue to do so, while recently implementing a 'fan page' as more of an experiment to see if I can find a useful (profitable) way to use both.

Apr 15, 2010 03:17 PM #55
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Hi Alex - I really like what Roost has done with your app for our profile and fan pages. Will be working on both of these this weekend.

Apr 15, 2010 03:45 PM #56
Sergio Rebollo Jr.
Real Estate TeamMates - Miami, FL

Welcome to ActiveRain. This is a great community to network with others as well a great place to learn from other's experiences and knowledge. I've enjoyed it; I hope you enjoy it as well.

Apr 18, 2010 11:55 AM #57
Kathy Toth
Ann Arbor Market Center Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts - Kathy Toth Team

Alex, welcome and great post.  I am on the learning treadmill and a mixer.  Both are about relationships and I am new to facebook, but with Ben Kinney's suggestions, am working on fan pages in that media.  Frankly being an agent seems like a 24/7 job to be available to opportunities.  Either way it is about networking with those who raise thier hand in whatever media they prefer.  The consumer drives the transaction.  We can create relationships in either media.

How we handle these interactions sends a message to the world about who we are and how we conduct business as real estate professionals. In both we should be aware that the things we say and do can create an impact that can go far beyond our original intent and last forever.


Apr 20, 2010 09:46 PM #58
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