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Ready to Grow Your Business on Facebook? Understand the tool first.

Real Estate Agent with Harmon Enterprises

I often find that Realtors are confused about how to best build business with Facebook.  The confusion stems from the fact that as a user, Facebook is a very easy platform to navigate.  It isn't hard to figure out how to create an account, connect with friends, and socialize - 500 million+ people have gotten that far.  But far fewer are effectively utilizing Facebook as a marketing medium.  And, I was stunned when at the annual California of Realtors Expo this year, Executive VP Joel Singer showed a slide that indicated that only 5% of California Realtors were utilizing Facebook as part of their business. What a missed opportunity! 

As you get ready to do your business and marketing plan for 2011, it is a great time to think about how to fold Facebook into your overall marketing strategy.  To do that, you have to first understand the variatey of tools that Facebook offers. Check out this road map I created to illustrate the options (a full description of each tool is articulated in the post this chart first appears in - Facebook Foundations: Facebook's Marketing Tools Explained):

Pixel Coaching's Facebook Marketing Road Map

As you can see, there are a lot of options on how to market yourself on Facebook. Of all of these tools, I find agents most commonly confused about the difference between profiles and official pages (aka fan or business pages).  It is an important distinction to understand as the terms of service are different for each Facebook product, and as a result, the strategies for marketing success vary dramatically. 

Facebook Profile:

In general, when you sign up for a Facebook account, you receive a Facebook profile.  Profiles are designed to be personal to you and representative of an individual (not a brand).  It is against the terms of service to have more than one profile.  And, it is against the terms of service to use your profile for commercial gain.  This means, NO listings on your profile wall.  Not only is posting listings on your profile against the terms of service, it is not an effective way to promote or sell property.  Think about it...is anyone at all looking for a house on Facebook?  They are not connected to you on Facebook to receive ads or hear about your listings.  They are connected to you on Facebook because it is YOU.  Your communication on your profile wall should be reflective of that.

Facebook Page:

In contrast, an official page is a Facebook tool that is explicitly to be used for commercial gain.  It is separate from your profile and you are allowed to create one, or many pages.  Official pages are a perfectly legitimate place to post your listings within the Facebook terms of service.  They can also be an effective way to separate your personal life from your professional one, as the connections you make on a Facebook page are separate from those who are your Facebook friends. Strategies for successfully marketing yourself and your business with Facebook pages vary dramatically and you need to have a clear strategy to have success.  Is the focus of your page your community (like the very popular 365 Things to Do in "x" Community pages that I've written about before)?  Is the focus of your page your brand (either your name or your real estate brand name?)  Is the focus of your page a niche market (such as seniors or condo living)?  To be effective, you need to pick a focus and a strategy for your page. You also need to understand how pages interact with those who like your page.  It is very different from how you can interact with friends on your profile.  For a full explanation of the differences between the two, check out this post on Facebook Foundations:  Profiles vs. Pages which includes a details comparison between the two and a chart which summarizes the major differences.

As you can see, Facebook is a complex and rich marketing platform.  There is a myriad of ways to grow your business with this increasingly important tool.  Now is the time to start understanding Facebook as a marketer so you can be putting the power of the worlds largest social network to work for you in 2011.


Comments (17)

Ellie Shorb
Compass Real Estate - Chevy Chase, MD
Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert

Stacey- Hi! I suggested this not only because you explain FB so well as a tool, but you include links, graphics and the fact that for many of us, Facebook should be in our 2011 marketing plan.

Nov 27, 2010 06:40 AM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Thanks Ellie!  I believe so strongly that Facebook should be part of an agents 2011 marketing plan that I've decided to spend December posting a tip a day on how Realtors can use Facebook to benefit them. You can follow along here starting December 1st if you are interested:  http://www.facebook.com/pixelcoaching


Nov 27, 2010 07:06 AM
Larry Story ALC
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Beneath it all is the Land, Covering all of NC


Great post.  I loved the flow chart but did not understand the Places page?  I have been coaching and mentoring agents and friends of mine with other businesses about facebook.



Nov 27, 2010 02:37 PM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Hi Larry -

Thanks for your comment. I gave a more detailed descritpion of places at this URL (you may need to copy/paste the URL...I don't think they give hyperlinks in comments here):  http://www.pixelcoaching.com/public/facebook-foundations-tools/#places

That should help clear things up.  If not, let me know.

Nov 27, 2010 02:56 PM
Amber Boyd
Novus Real Estate - Wylie, TX

this is a great post! please keep them coming!

Amber Bennett

Nov 27, 2010 04:46 PM
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

Hi Stacey,  I didn't realize that it was part of the agreement not to have listings on a profile page.  I do have a fan page too but I have a lot to learn.  Thank you for the post.  Margaret C.

Nov 27, 2010 06:07 PM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Amber & Margaret - Thanks for your positive comments. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and leave a note.  I wish you great Facebook marketing success. Hopefully you gather a better understanding from this post and some tips to come.

Nov 28, 2010 06:50 AM
Durrell Thomas
San Marcos Real Estate Company 760-576-4357 www.SMRECO.com - San Marcos, CA
San Marcos Real Estate Company | 760-576-4357

Hello Stacey,

Wonderful written post, covering everything from soup to nuts about facebook.  Love the roadmap. Can not wait to read and apply your 2011 facebook marketing plan.

Nov 28, 2010 05:26 PM
Durrell Thomas
San Marcos Real Estate Company 760-576-4357 www.SMRECO.com - San Marcos, CA
San Marcos Real Estate Company | 760-576-4357

Hello Stacey,

Wonderful written post, covering everything from soup to nuts about facebook.  Love the roadmap. Can not wait to read and apply your 2011 facebook marketing plan.

Nov 28, 2010 05:26 PM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Thanks Durrell!  Always great to hear from you and I look forward to your thoughts on my December Facebook marketing tip a day for real estate.

Nov 29, 2010 01:34 PM
Debra Davis
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Snellville, GA
Realtor - Atlanta, Decatur, Snellville, Loganville

thanks Stacey. I signed up for your marketing tips too. Lots of good information.

Nov 29, 2010 02:07 PM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Debra - great! looking forward to having you as part of the discussion.

Nov 29, 2010 02:17 PM
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Stacey, I have a question.  My post from AR go over to my facebook profile and my facebook page.  I like that and have received leads mainly from my profile. Occasionall  I post a listing on my AR blog.  According to what you are saying this should not go in to my profile page.  Is there a way to stop one post from going over to the facebook profile?

Nov 29, 2010 02:32 PM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Marchel - Good question.  What are you using to automatically import your AR posts to your profile?  If you are using the notes feature, there is no way to not have particular posts feed...it's all or nothing.  There *may* be the ability to customize to this level with the Networked Blogs application, but I don't know off the top of my head...I'd need to look into it further. 

Good to hear your profile is yielding you leads though...I wholeheartedly believe the profile is one of the most powerful marketing tools a modern real estate agent has (even more so than a Facebook page!).  We are in such a relationship dominated industry where "who you know" matters and I don't think there is a better tool for fostering relationships with who you know than a Facebook profile.  Since you are already doing this, you might find my profile optimization checklist helpful in fine tuning your profile for business development AND staying within the terms of service. It's free to download at www.pixelcoaching.com/facebookchecklist.

Nov 29, 2010 02:42 PM
Toronto, ON

Hi Stacey - Thanks for writing this valuable post about using Facebook as a business tool.

Nov 29, 2010 05:01 PM
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h

Stacey,  Great information! 

I have been "stuck" trying to figure out the best way to use facebook.  I just subscribed to your blog and will be following you for more information.

One specific question I have that I hope you can answer--

On various 3rd party posting sites they give the option of showing a listing you've just input on their site onto facebook.  When I click that, it invariably gets posted on my personal profile when I in fact want it posted on my business page.  How do I fix that?  Thank you.


Dec 21, 2010 05:38 AM
Stacey Harmon
Harmon Enterprises - Newport Beach, CA

Mark - I don't think there is much you can do to fix that...it is an issue between the listing service provider and the relationship they have with FB. They have gone trough a process to have that Facebook post functionality work on their site (where you are posting the listing) and if they don't offer you the ability to post it to your page, there is not much you can do.  An option would be to grab the public URL of the listing you input and do a link status update on your page (vs. your profile).  Thanks for your question.

Dec 22, 2010 10:12 AM