Everybody uses the internet, not only for real estate but for everything. More specifically, everybody uses Facebook-nobody will dispute that. OK, not "everybody" uses Facebook-only 1.65 billion people.
At every real estate convention and every marketing seminar, or if you talk to anybody who knows anything about modern day marketing, they will tell you how important the internet is.
Therefore it blows me away that there are real estate agents who refuse to learn some basic best practices, especially when it comes to things that are free, easy, and require no prior knowledge.
Today I am going to take one best practice that I see real estate agents violate all the time.
You're only hurting yourself and your business if you use your personal profile on Facebook instead of a business page.
There's a long list of reasons why a Facebook business page is better for you than a personal profile. I am going to list some, and if, after reading this, you still don't get it... well... maybe it is better for you to get your comfortable shoes and start door-knocking. If you happen to see the Flintstones on the way, tell them I said hello.
For the rest of you who want to enter the modern era-away we go!
Here are 15 benefits associated with a Facebook business page over a personal profile.
1. Your page can get deleted.
This is probably the most obvious reason. No stats or marketing pitches-very simply put, you are breaking the rules.
Facebook takes aggressive steps to remove misclassified personal profiles used for business purposes. Think of it like zoning-Facebook does not want you putting your office building in a residential neighborhood.
Real estate agents who are incorrectly using personal Facebook profiles to market their businesses need to convert their personal profile to a business page or risk getting deleted.
2. It is free!
I understand that it cost a lot of money to get started as a real estate agent. Which is why I do not understand when people don't take advantage of everything that is free. There is no excuse! How badly does it reflect on you to prospective clients when you cannot take the time to do something correctly that's beneficial and totally free? As a real estate agent, image is everything, so every opportunity to look more professional needs to be utilized, especially the ones that cost nothing.
It is the same to me as doing your hair and brushing your teeth-it is basic presentation that costs nothing.
3. Personal profiles look unprofessional.
Using a personal profile screams, "I don't know what I'm doing!"
Let me make a basic point. When you set up a business as a personal profile, your business now has a gender and a birthday. When you set up as a business page, it has a category, a mission statement, products, awards, and a founding date. A serious business does not have a birthdays or gender.
You may think your personal Facebook friends are also the people who could one day want use to buy or sell real estate. In that case, you share the information from your business page on your personal page. Then not only are you promoting your business to your friends, but you are also promoting your business page, which can increase followers to help cultivate future business.
If you not familiar with the "share" button, it is well worth learning about.
4. Engage with your audience.
The most important way to use your Facebook page for business is to engage with your audience. Your audience is composed of a variety of people-fans of your content, fans of your business, potential customers, current customers, and former customers. With this in mind, you want to create posts and content that engage this specific groups of people.
The traditional rule for audience engagement is 80/20. Eighty percent of your content should be for your audience, and twenty percent should be for your business (sales, marketing, self-promotion, etc).
This means that the majority of your posts should be aimed at getting your audience to engage with your page. You can do this by encouraging audience participation and sharing content relevant to the type of real estate you sell.
If the content of your page stays relevant to your audience, you'll create an engaged, loyal audience that will be more receptive to the 20% of posts that promote your business as a real estate professional.
This can only work if your audience is specific to your business on a business page. You want to build a conversation for your community about real estate. Therefore when you want to sell real estate in your community to that audience, it is not such a big jump.
Simply said, your business page should create conversation relevant to your business; your personal page is for conversation relevant to your personal life. Mixing the two will create brand confusion and make you look very unprofessional. Remember you can always share information from one page to another whenever that makes sense.
It's not complicated. You can do this!
5. Profiles limited to 5,000 "friends".
Since you are limited to 5,000 "friends" on a personal profile, if you continue to run your real estate business through a personal profile, it tells me that you don't have very high aspirations for your efforts on Facebook.
I know that seems like a big number, but you never want to put a ceiling on your success, no matter how high that ceiling may be. You do not know what the future holds, and having a business page will give you the opportunity for an unlimited amount of followers.
6. Privacy considerations.
It is a crazy world out there! Your personal page will reveal a lot of personal information about you and your loved ones. This is done via images you post, text you use, the things you like and share and comment on, and much more.
You should be able to enjoy doing those things without the concern of complete strangers probing your personal page. Your business page should be designed for complete strangers to probe. This is no different than any other form of advertising you may do. Your personal page is not an advertisement-it is something that should be enjoyed by family and friends.
It also works the other way. When they like your personal page, you have access to their page. When they like your business page, you can only see their page in the same format as anybody else in the general public. My guess is that if you were to poll your customers, they don't want or need to give you access to their personal information as a requirement of supporting your business.
7. Share opinions as your business.
There are over 128,000 websites using Facebook comments as an alternative to other common platforms. This means you can comment as Joe Realtor instead of Joe Blow. If you're commenting on a blog that relates to your business, you can use your Facebook page to leave the comment instead of your personal profile.
By using your business page to leave comments, you are promoting your business. People who like your comment can click on your business username and be directly linked to your business page, as opposed to your personal profile. This can be a good idea for both marketing and privacy reasons.
Anyone who is in the role of moderator or admin of your business page can use your page to comment on blogs using Facebook comments. You can't outsource this task on your personal page without giving away your personal password.
8. Connection to Facebook Places.
You have an address, correct? Or at least your brokerage does? On your business page, the days and hours of operation are visible under your cover photo. Very helpful stuff for any customer who comes to your page!
By setting up your business as a place, customers can also check in, alerting their friends that they are at your office or even at an open house. This is a great way to allow your customers to naturally promote your business.
9. Facebook Insights gives you access to a huge amount of data.
As a business on a personal Facebook profile, you have no access to Facebook Insights. You are unable to access thousands of rows and columns of information that can help you understand your customer. As somebody trying to focus on your real estate career, the details of that information can be overwhelming and may even be over your head. But some of the information is very simple to find and useful, such as where the people are located who are going to your page. You would be shocked at how detailed Facebook can be narrowing down the geographic location of your followers!
Knowing where the people following you are physically located can be HUGE for you in deciding where to focus your real estate business. This one aspect of a business page should be enough reason to get one started.
You can also find people who can help you decipher that information if this seems a little over your head. If you are not set up as a business page, then none of that is even possible.
10. Ability to assign admin roles to help you.
This is all a bit overwhelming, so you may want help as you want to focus on your buyers, sellers, contracts, and other aspects of growing your real estate business. There are many people who can help you with this and manage the page for you, but do you want to give that person the password to your personal page? Probably not.
If you use Facebook as a business page instead of a personal profile, you open the door to assigning admin roles based on the following:
- Insights Analyst: gives the ability to view data
- Advertiser: gives the ability to view data and create ads
- Moderator: all of the above, plus send messages as the page and respond to and delete comments
- Content Creator: all of the above, plus create posts as the page, edit the page, and add apps
- Manager: all of the above, plus manage admin roles-basically, another you
This represents different levels of access to your profile, and is not possible with a personal page.
There is no risk, as they will have their own password and login. You can remove them at any time. If they help you with your personal page, you would have to give them your password and login.
11. You can schedule posts in advance.
Ok, so maybe you're not yet at the point where you can have people help you. But you also understand that posting regularly is important. And you just do not have the time to do it.
With your business page, you can schedule posts! This is not possible with your personal page. Here is what I mean. You find an hour free during the week. You can write 7 posts and schedule them to go out on every day of the week, or every day of the month, year, or whatever you like. Your personal page does not have this ability. If you want a post to go out every day at noon on your personal page, you will have to make sure you're available every day at noon to post on Facebook. No thank you!
12. Use of third-party tools.
This may be a little ahead of you right now. If you decide to take your marketing to the next level or if you are working with somebody who can do that for you, you may want to use third-party tools. There are some terrific third-party tools out there that help you better manage your business on Facebook. These tools can help you with content management, scheduling post on multiple social media platforms, planning, analytics, contest promotions, and advertising.
These tools assume you set up your business the right way, with a Facebook business page. Set up as a personal profile? You will have no such access to these tools.
13. Collect testimonials and reviews.
If you set up your Facebook page as a local business, you have the option to collect testimonials and reviews.
In addition to having a Facebook page full of reviews, you can add the reviews to your website. To add a review, click on the timestamp of the review, click the drop-down arrow at the top right, and select the Embed Post option. (In most cases, the Embed Post option will be hiding under the More Options link in that drop-down menu.) It is easy to do-anybody can do it.
Reviews from Facebook come off as much more genuine than text-only testimonials, as there is a name, picture, and a profile attached to each review.
Once again, this is only possible from the Facebook business page.
14. Combat negative results on search engines.
Your real estate website will not rank as high as your Facebook page. Why? Well, without getting into details, I will just say this: because it is a Facebook! A multi-billion dollar company does whatever they can to make sure the pages rank high. If you can't beat them, join them!
Facebook is a strong domain, so a page with your business name will rank well in the search results.
15. Access to advertising.
If you use a Facebook business page, you can reach more of your fans, and you can reach friends of those fans with promoted posts. You can create ads that based on interest, age, location, if they are home owners or renters, or even if they are about to buy a home! It is crazy what you can do with Facebook.
Let me use a simple example. You are listing a house, and you want to promote that house on Facebook to a targeted audience. With a personal page, all you can do is post it on your page and hope people see it. With a business page, for a minimal amount of money you can make sure that your open house ad is in front of your target audience multiple times over. And you can track the engagement of that ad, too.
If you're serious about growing your business, reaching new people, and selling real estate, you should be open to Facebook advertising. It is by far the most cost-effective quality form of advertising out there.
This is a basic thing you can do to look far better than your competition. There are so many dinosaurs out there still relying on archaic methods of advertising. Let them send out the mailers and knock on doors. You will spend less money than them, have better data, and look way more professional in the modern world if you take the basic steps to do some easy things, such as set a Facebook business page.