Facebook is without question the most popular social networking site out there. Eighty-four percent of realtors say they use it. But using it and using it well are two different things. If you are taking the Facebook plunge, here are ten tips to make it work for you—and your business.
We’re not discussing the technical aspects of how to set up a page. You can learn that through countless online manuals, and on Facebook’s tutorial as well. We’ll assume you’re already doing it. These are some ideas for doing it more creatively.
1. Brand yourself.
Your page is your public persona. Make it count. Think of five words that describe you, your personality, and the way you do business. Then design your page to express those ideas. Facebook recently introduced a new page design which includes a cover photo. This is not your professional portrait—it’s a banner at the top of your page—a great opportunity to showcase your neighborhood or an iconic local landmark.
2. There’s no such thing as privacy.
Everything on your page is open to the world. Even though Facebook says they have privacy settings, you should not assume they are foolproof. Never put personal or family information on your page (such as your home phone number or where your kids go to school). Think twice before you make snarky or sarcastic comments that might be misunderstood by a new “friend.”
3. First things first.
Put anything that’s hot at the top of your page. But be creative. Don’t just announce a new listing or an open house. Post something designed to get a response. “Will rain spoil my open house on Sunday? Yes or No—vote here.”
4. It’s not about you.
Even though we’ve stressed the importance of your brand, the real secret to Facebook success is making it all about your fans. Facebook is designed to be interactive, so put out your information in the form of a question. For example, if you are posting a market update, you could say, “Foreclosures were down 10% in Ourtown this month.” Or you could say, “Foreclosures were down 10% in Ourtown this month—do you think it’s a trend?”
5. A picture is worth…
You know the old saying. Even your smart phone will do the job for this one. Take interesting shots around your area. Use one on your cover photo as mentioned above. Create an album. Change it with the seasons, major holidays, or anything that give a local flavor.
6. Play games.
No, not Farmville—the greatest time-sucker ever invented. Give people a reason to visit you and have fun while they are there. Example: show photos of two of your listings that are priced the same and have people vote on which one they like best.
Promote other peoples’ businesses or projects. If a new restaurant is opening in town, get a copy of the menu and offer to email it to anyone who “likes” you. If the humane society is having a benefit, mention it (and add a cute puppy picture—cute puppies make people go “Aaah!”). Connect your page to other local business pages for mutual benefit.
8. Create a buzz.
Why all this emphasis on interaction? Simple—the more likes and comments you get, the more people will see your page. Ask questions. Ask for feedback. Give people a chance to leave comments and they will feel involved. The more they get to know you, the more likely they are to do business with you or refer you to someone who will.
Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:
• Where would you rather live—on a golf course or the beach?
• Which team will win the World Series this year?
• Would you buy a foreclosure or short sale?
• Which is easier—remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom?
• July 4th fireworks on the river this Saturday—click “like” if you’re going.
9. How much is too much?
Don’t even think about starting a Facebook page if you’re not committed to keeping it up. But can you post too often? In a word, yes. Your audience is not likely to check out your page four or five times a day to see if you’ve posted another sparkling comment. But if you’re posting once a week or less, people will lose interest and go somewhere more exciting. Strike a balance that’s suited to your market.
Look at your last ten posts. Would you “like” you? If not, it’s time to kick it up a notch!