Tips For Real Estate Agents Using Facebook

In the world of social networking, Facebook is one of the most popular sites to connect with friends, family, businesses and more. The site has more than 400 million active users, and 50 percent of those active users log-on in any given day, according to Facebook.
A huge opportunity for spreading the word about your work as a real estate agent, right? The answer is yes. But agents would also do well to think before they post a Facebook profile and kick the marketing machine into high gear.
First of all, Facebook personal profiles are meant for people; Facebook Pages are meant for businesses, organizations, products and brands. It only takes a few minutes to set up either. And once you create a profile, you can add information, photos, links to your favorite past-times and more.
Personal profiles can be a blast, but also a little awkward. Once you put your name into the system you start getting “friend” requests from people you haven’t seen in years. You can accept or deny each friend request, and you can establish privacy settings to limit the amount of info available to the public.
The Huffington Post recently ran a useful story on Facebook privacy settings. Check it out at: www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/facebook-privacy-settings_n_598968.html. The number of friend requests adds up quick.
If you want your personal profile to be a fun social outlet, I recommend focussing on just that. Sure, mention in your stats that you’re a real estate professional and even link to some of your favorite real estate groups. But steer clear of posting your latest home listings and using the forum to hard sell your old buddies from high school.
As an avid Facebook personal profile user, I have deleted numerous connections as a result of being bombarded with marketing material.
The people that get the most attention and followers on personal profiles are the ones who are funny, relevant and above all…social. Many business professionals I’ve spoken to say their Facebook personal profiles have netted business connections and deals. But the latter is more a result of networking and socializing than selling.
If you accept both business colleagues and old aquaintances as “friends,” know that your business connections now have a view into your personal life. Make it a policy to accept only¬†colleagues, no colleagues, or just the ones you feel comfortable sharing your personal life with.¬†And make sure all of the content on your profile is appropriate for public consumption.
Setting up a separate Facebook Page is one of the easiest ways to focus just on your business. You can do it by visiting www.facebook.com/advertising/?pages.
Once you create a profile, you can send a note to your personal profile friends encouraging them to become “Fans” of your business page. And -this is an important point- you can place a Facebook icon on your company’s home page that links directly to the Facebook profile. Facebook also offers an advertising option that can increase your number of connections.
The same rule applies for business pages as personal profiles: The ones that get the most attention post relevant information, stay up-to-date, and make an effort to socialize versus just hard selling their fan base. The point is to stand out from the millions of other people and companies trying to do the same thing.
By Eric Billingsley, Publicist, Rodeo Realty, Inc.

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