Is Facebook 'Fan Page' Business Marketing 'Handing your Client Book' to your Competition?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Independent Coach, Trainer & Consultant

A Great question came up the other day at one of our Business Networking Lunches: "Should I market my business on Facebook?"

Now, the simple answer is YES! ...But wait, there's more.

Worried about Facebook and Social Media TimMancuso.com

As it turns out, the owner of this particular company was concerned that his direct competition would work their 'Fan' (now 'Likes') list to take away their client base - via cold-calling and other social media prospecting activities.

Now there's one I hadn't heard before, and I was just about to discount their concern when I began to really think about it. I believe it's actually a valid concern. Imagine you are in a service industry - let's take something with a monthly subscription for example, say Insurance or Investing. If you were to create a FB page to aggregate your client base, you would be culling your entire book of business into a publicly visible page where your competition could swoop down and sic their telemarketing pros on your key revenue stream - significantly impacting renewals and/or upgrades.

Sound a bit paranoid? Perhaps. My response was that the vast majority of Real Estate professionals have embraced social media with their clientele - and that they are a largely disloyal bunch (that's us, the clients of the REALTORS). We are readily available for any other Broker / Agent to pursue, prospect, cold call, or pop-by (with a nice Apple Pie... thanks Mr. Buffini). So here's the $64 question: Do they (REALTORS) do it? - And if not, then why not?

Valid points all.

Rather than answering on my own, I present it here for the consensus. . . along with my '2 cents' as well.

Point #1: Your customers are ALWAYS available for your competition to prospect and recruit. If your industry is not contractual enough to protect your core business / revenue stream, then you are either stressed out beyond all hope already OR you have systems (read: Superior Customer Service / Loyalty Programs) in place to preserve and prolong your valuable relationships.

Point #2: If *you* don't show up there, rest assured that your competition WILL. That said, if your client is participating in Social Media (and they are) understand that they will find your competitor. Not only will they find them, they'll be all the more convinced that your competitor 'speaks their language' and is relatable to them - this is a dangerous situation for you, and potentially hazardous to your book of business.

Point #3: Think Abundance, not Scarcity. Stop focusing on the potential 'Loss' that Social Media could bring. The Social Media pie is WAY BIGGER than what you have access to without it. Even if you were to lose 10% of your client base, it is my belief that you would stand to gain another 20-30% of business over the next few quarters by 'showing up' where your clients, prospects, and referrals live - and that's Social Media.

Point #4: Check your referral volume. The #1 reason for engaging in Social Media is to leverage Referrals from existing 'Fans' - - your 'Key Influencers, your 'Raving Fans', your 'Happy Customers' can share, recommend, forward, suggest, and REFER you business unlike anywhere else.

Remember friends - we don't 'own' the customer. We are just 'stewards' with the wonderful opportunity to serve them, for as long as we bring superior value to them in the marketplace. Engage and Appreciate. Social Media is one of the very Best ways to Stay in Touch to Stay in Business.

Embrace the Change - Stay in Touch!

-Tim!

Tim Mancuso is a musician, public speaker and the former VP Sales & Marketing for Social Media startup ViewMyLife. He is focused on training and coaching business owners and entrepreneurs on leveraging traditional and new media to Stay in Touch with their clients, prospects, and key influencers. Follow On Twitter @TimMancuso or connect on Linkedin.com and Facebook.com

 

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Tim Mancuso is a musician, public speaker and the former VP Sales & Marketing for Social Media startup ViewMyLife. He is focused on training and coaching business owners and entrepreneurs on leveraging traditional and new media to Stay in Touch with their clients, prospects, and key influencers. Follow On Twitter @TimMancuso or connect on Linkedin.com and Facebook.com

Comments (40)

Jennifer Pirkle
Harvest Realty 678-617-0715 - Dawsonville, GA
Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Cumming, GA

Hi Tim,  I have wondered this same thing.  I often wonder who is checking out my page.  In a world full of competition, I think that it is safe to say that that we are always at risk of someone moving in no matter what outlet we choose.

May 11, 2010 01:59 AM
John Axt
Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate

I agree, be there.

May 11, 2010 02:01 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Very good points. No one can successfully place a fence around their client base (except by contract as you mention). I think buyers and selelrs will always be shopping around for agents!

May 11, 2010 02:05 AM
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Above & Beyond - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

I think it probably washes out n the end. Who knows if the internet leads I get and close started out with someone else? In all likelihood they did.

May 11, 2010 02:15 AM
Jennifer Cote
RE/MAX Properties Nashua - Nashua, NH
Realtor, Nashua NH Area Homes for Sale, Everything

Great post.  Something I hadn't even though of...you bullet points are proven.  So many people don't get social media and will find a way to discount it, but it's here to stay.  A wonderful way to show your expertise in the field.

AppraiserJenn and TopNHhomes -That's Me-

May 11, 2010 02:21 AM
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Tim,

Interesting post.  I agree that you have to do the social media marketing anyway, even if the competition can look at what you are doing.  Competitors are always trying to take business.  We strive for an overall balance and consistency in our mailings (yes, we still do that), our blogs and through Facebook (keeping the fan page 90% business and the personal pages 90% personal) so our core list views us as top-notch, consistent, professional and approachable.  I can't imagine another agent being able to lure our "true" fans away.  But it is something to keep in mind.

~Lisa

May 11, 2010 02:27 AM
Nick Cammarata
Sacrilicious Marketing - Boston, MA

On emore tip that most people don't know about is that you can promote your fan page with an ad for free if you buy your domains and hosting through Godaddy. Godaddy gives you a $50 Facebook Ad credit and since FB ads are ridiculously cheap like $.03 per click. And in my experience they work reasonably well if you deisgn them right and direct them to a landing page. For example, yesterday we spent $10 to get 89K impressions that resulted in 10 clicks and 2 sales. While that seems liek low click through numbers, the actuality is we spent $10 to get almost $600 in sales. Translate that to real estate - try the ad - direct people to your search properties page and create an ad that is targeted to yoru area and very specific liek (search great foreclosures in Boston, MA/ see 20K MA homes for sale under $100K, etc).

May 11, 2010 03:40 AM
Jeremy Ridley
Great Way Real Estate - Commerce City, CO

Many people have their privacy settings on which doesn't allow others to see contact information without being a friend.

Of course, there will always be those that work unethically and try to work your contact list. Most of us go by a set of ethical guidelines which is called "BEING A REALTOR". Those who are out there not going by the guidelines of being a Realtor will have some success in their unethical ways, but they will eventually be the ones that are pushed out of the business. If they are willing to be unethical in one area of their business then they are most likely going to compromise ethics in other areas ultimately leading them to loosing their license or loosing clients.

So I say, be sneeky if you like, but it will catch up to you. I on the other hand believe in ethics.

May 11, 2010 04:41 AM
Lexi & Jordan Ostlund
RE/MAX Professionals - Gillette, WY

Great post!  Facebook is a great tool, and if used properly your competition won't be able to "woo" your fans because they already know you and trust you as their realtor because of your quality and informative posts.  Thanks for the perspective!

May 11, 2010 05:27 AM
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Interesting thought...  If I do a good job of creating awareness of who I am, then they hopefully will chose me when the time comes...  great thoughts...

May 11, 2010 06:04 AM
Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, Esq. (B)
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers - Kailua, HI
REALTOR-Broker, CRS, GRI, ABR CLHMS

I had a fellow local Honolulu Active Rain realtor join my Facebook page as a fan and then proceed to advertise his own website, and market himself through his "expertise" on my page. Someone publicly wrote to me saying they needed a realtor and he responded "I'm your man" - ON MY PAGE!!! I immediately blocked the realtor from my page, and sent him a private note, letting him know what I thought. Whereupon, he feigned ignorance, stating I didn't know you could see that too!!! Crazy!! But it didn't make me take down my page.

May 11, 2010 06:56 AM
Krista Barnes
Carolina One Real Estate; Realtor, SFR,ABR,CIAS - Mount Pleasant, SC

Yovonne, I have heard this happen before. Maybe we shouldn't be "facebook Friends" with other Realtors?! Except most of my real life friends are Realtors so....what to do!:)

May 11, 2010 07:53 AM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

I use my personal FB page to promote my listings.  I don't mind that many of my Friends are other REALTORS because I want them to bring their buyers to my listings.  I have two Fan pages: one is focused on my community and the other on my non-profit environmental organization.  I don't put listings on the Fan pages.  Instead I link every post on FB back to my blog and it is on the blog that they see I'm a REALTOR (surprise!) and my Postlets widget on the sidebar showcases my listings.  My goal is to get e-mail subscribers to my blog.  I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it really works well.  How many people visit real estate Fan pages even if they become a fan?  Not many, but if you blog about their neighborhood, they'll visit often.

May 11, 2010 02:19 PM
Tim Mancuso
Independent Coach, Trainer & Consultant - Gilbert, AZ
Elite Sales Coach - GROW SMART

Thanks for the feedback all.

Yvonne, that's nuts! Thanks for sharing, hopefully that Agent is toeing the line now!!

Good to hear the consensus: 'Show Up', be the expert, get local, work hard, blog about the neighborhood. Thanks again all for sharing your experiences here. Looking forward to hearing from the rest of AR as well!

-Tim!

May 11, 2010 06:07 PM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

I like your points about scarcity vs abundance, that the opportunity exists regardless of social media, and if you are not showing up to socialize, who is showing up on your behalf to fraternize with your folks?

May 12, 2010 01:08 PM
Kymberly Caldwell-Muniz
(909) 973-0410 - Fontana, CA
TCR Group Keller Williams Realty Rancho Cucamonga

Great post Tim, Yvonne wow that Hawaii Realtor is something else. There are vultures and or competition in every business.  This is the reason why I am so hooked on AR. You see what what unethical Realtors are doing, what they put out negatively will usually come back to them negatively.

May 12, 2010 04:45 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Good thoughts. I hadn't considered someone might try to "steal" my friends or clients via FaceBook before...but they try every other way, so I shouldn't be surprised.

May 12, 2010 09:15 PM
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I get your point but I also agree with Missy.  Social Media is what it is.  We have to embrace it but we don't have to put our whole business model out on display.

May 13, 2010 05:06 AM
Tim Mancuso
Independent Coach, Trainer & Consultant - Gilbert, AZ
Elite Sales Coach - GROW SMART

Thanks Damon - there's a lively debate on the 'personal' vs. 'business' approach to SM, and what/how to do it best. I'll dive into that in another post, will be good to get the consensus of the group here.

Cheryl, you are exactly right!

Kimberly, Thank you - for your kind words and a smile for today!

Michelle - I like your comment, when we continue to do our very *best* we always hold on to the clients we are supposed to.. and gain MORE by referral, too!

May 17, 2010 04:49 AM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

I would be amazed if there was that much loyallty anymore, a society where price is king and not what I can do for you but what you will do for mr above and beyond anyone else.

Oct 05, 2011 04:13 PM

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