Most real estate agents have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, meaning they love to hate it. It’s easier to hate Facebook than admit we don’t understand how to make it work for our business. The reality is that when used effectively Facebook, can put you in front of hundreds or even thousands of people for little to no cost. Here are some tips to help you make sense of Facebook for your business.
Have a plan
Just like the other areas of your real estate career, you need a plan for your Facebook activities. Here are a couple of things your plan should include:
- Misson Statement: Mission statements may be a bit overrated, but in the case of social media I do think they can be useful. Your mission statement will help you make sure all of your posts, activities, photos, and statements are in concert with your values, ethics, brand, and overall goal. Heres an example: Through social media I plan to stay in touch with people I know and meet new people. I will share with them what I do, both personally and professionally. In doing so when it comes time to buy or sell real estate they will think of me.
- Time Management: Facebook is easily one of the biggest time sucks ever, it’s as if a reality show and a tabloid got together and had a baby. How will you budget your time on Facebook? Ten minutes in the morning, 10 Mmnutes at lunch? Five minutes working on your post and five minutes commenting and liking other pages? Will you allow 5-10 minutes on your mobile phone per day for impromptu posts or replies to messages and comments?
- Goals: Identify some goals, such as "I want to add 10 new friends per month" or "I want to send out 10 personal messages per month."
This is so stupid it’s simple. If you’re not willing or ready to let people into your life Facebook may not be a viable marketing channel for you. Most people look at Facebook because they want to spy on their friends and keep in touch with their family. Real estate agents and the Avon Ladies are some of the few who are trying to peddle their trade so when you post that you just got a new listing and no one comments it’s because they don’t really care. Here are some tips for being human.
- Share photos. This can be family or friends, pets, cars, or anything that interests you. Wherever you go take pictures with your phone or a camera and post. Pictures are powerful.
- Share you opinion. This is touchy, and obviously don’t do anything crazy, but if you’re passionate about something say it. This will make you relatable and real.
- Be funny. Maybe you have a quirky sense of humor. Share that. Poke fun at yourself.
In a blind survey, less than half of the agents I know have their contact information in their Facebook profile. Here are some of the things to include in your profile:
- Profile Picture (I like casual and non-stuffy)
- Phone numbers
- Email address
- Company info
- Tag line
- Your web address
- Referral tag line
The 70/30 Rule
Remember the old cliché: We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. That holds true when you're online. It’s easy to focus more on what you're saying rather than listen to others on Facebook. Try starting your daily activities by liking status updates and pictures of your Facebook friends. This simple "thumbs up" lets them know you are there and you appreciate them sharing. Also post thoughtful comments where appropriate. Lastly, send direct messages to the people you know, even though this is an outgoing message it is direct communication between you and them.
This is where the 70/30 rule comes into play, make an effort to spend 70 percent of your time reaching out to others through comments, likes, and direct messages, and 30 percent of your time posting status updates.
Your activity list
It’s normal to sit down at your computer, open Facebook with the intention of doing some cyber marketing, and then the strangest thing happens. Facebook erases your mind. All the funny ideas for status updates, all the old friends or clients you realized you hadn’t friend requested, and any other tasks you had planned suddenly disappear from you mind. This is when you break out your list of ideas.
Here's a start to your list. The status updates with an asterisk will usually get a higher level of engagement, but if you abuse these people will lose interest in your page:
- Make a few friend requests
- Join a group
- Take photos of the houses you're showing
- Take photos of the pets at the houses you're showing
- Take photos of the views at the houses you're showing
- Take photos of the clients you're showing houses to
- Take a photo of a friend, family, co-worker, or your office
- Take a photo of you in action at work
- Take a photo of your pet*
- Take a photo of your favorite beverage
- Recommend a local business, restaurant, park, bike trail, etc.
- Recommend one of your affiliates and tag them in the post
- Recommend a website
- Recommend checking out a new neighborhood or part of town
- Thank a friend for something and tag him/her in the post
- Ask for a referral for a local business, restaurant, service, doctor, vet, mechanic, etc.*
- Ask a question, such as "Where should I go to lunch today?" or "What is the best ice cream?"*
- Tell everyone happy birthday
- Thank a co-worker for helping you
- Thank your managing broker for helping you
- Congratulate a co-worker for a successful closing
- Share a YouTube video that you like
- Share a Pandora song you like
- Share an industry tip (i.e. the buyer doesn’t pay commission)
- Give advice on home maintenance
- Share an article on home maintenance
- Share financial tip or article
- Share an article on mortgage interest rates
- Share local market stats
- Look up this day in history
- Look up famous persons' birthdays
- Post a local news story
- Post a local event calendar
- Post a local history fact
- Post a history fact about real estate
- Post the average sales price in your market
- Do a review on a neighborhood
- Share a recipe
- Share a discount or other special local deal
- Tell people you love getting referrals
- Like a few Fan/Business pages every week
- Send someone a direct message just to say hi
- Send a past client direct message asking how they like their house/neighborhood
- Send an affiliate a direct message to say hi
- Post a quote*
- Post an old photo of a younger (and perhaps more attractive you)
- Post any old picture
- Talk about your favorite TV show
- Share a testimonial about your business
- Tell people what your first job ever was
- Share a cartoon you found online