A Few Basic Tips for Facebook

Get more out of Facebook with these 11 tips.

1. Plan your posts.
2. Have fun and be a real person!
3. Engage with your audience.
4. Upload a great profile pic.
5. Leverage your cover photo.
6. Complete all the sections.
7. Choose your words wisely.
8. Image is everything.
9. Leverage Facebook ads.
10. Target your audience.
11. Monitor page insights.

1. Plan your posts.

You should take the time to plan out your posts in advance. The goal for your page should be able to build your audience and create interaction. Do not be shortsighted and just make random pitches for your business. Those will fall on deaf ears and annoy people.

You'll need to determine:
- What kind of identity and tone you'd like your page to have
- What kind of content you think will get the best reaction from potential customers and fans

You can schedule out all of the posts for the next 7 days, month, or even year. By doing this, you will free up a ton of time sitting on Facebook waiting to post at the optimal time. It will also ensure consistency. Being consistent in the time and types of posts you create can help people know what kinds of messages to expect from you and how they tie into your business.

You can schedule posts for when most of your audience is online. This is one of the biggest differences between a Facebook business page and a personal page-the ability to schedule posts.

I would recommend scheduling posts for the month. You can schedule it for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 12:00, or whatever times you feel are best for your market.

You can also plan posts that are relevant to a holiday-for example, you can make sure you are wishing everybody a Merry Christmas on December 25.

Those posts will provide consistency for your audience, but bear in mind that you still have room to make a spur-of-the-moment post that is related to a current topic or feeling that you want to talk about.

It is all part of the plan.

2. Have fun and be a real person!

Running your social media is a matter of constantly talking about the subjects you like. Therefore this should be fun. If you do not like talking about real estate and/or your community, then you are in the wrong place both figuratively and literally.

Think back to when you first signed up for Facebook. My bet is you did so to connect with your family, current friends, old friends, and connections. People lose some of that as they become more about business. As a real estate agent, there is nothing more important than your relationships and connections.

Be light-hearted and have fun with your fans. Don't always be in serious business mode. People will come back to you more for how you make them feel than what you are selling.

This is why it is very difficult to outsource social media. No matter who you hire, they cannot be you. People you hire will put out generic content based on statistics. But it will be very difficult for them post things related to your life, your community, or your day-to-day business. They will probably post generic real estate facts and industry quotes. That can not only come off impersonal but can also make it seem a boring, sterile, business-only experience.

Let me give an example of a post: 
"After you're done at the Pee Wee Dodgers baseball game in Main Center Park today, make sure you check out my open house down the street. The address is 13 Blueberry Road. Go Dodgers!"

That shows you are a member of the community and are a real person. That will go much further than posting generic real estate content.

3. Engage with your audience.

Respond quickly to comments on your posts to let fans know you're listening to feedback.

In addition to putting a face/name to your social media presence, your page also needs to respond like a human, not a cyborg!

How to do this:
- Reply to comments using the person's first name
- Show empathy
- Treat people with respect
- Kill them with kindness

Basically, treat them the same way you would if you saw them at an open house.

When crafting updates for your page, you need to aim for fan engagement as your main goal.

Posting blanket statements and opinions usually won't get a great response, but posting in a way that catches people's attention and motivates them to take action pays huge dividends.

 Let me give an example of a post that can create interaction while promoting you as a real estate agent.
 "I am working with the Smith family who is looking to purchase a home in our community. Would love to hear some feedback on your experience living here and advice you may have for a new family in town!"

I'd suggest posting:
- Questions
- Fill-in-the-blanks
- Photos that ask questions

You can post lots of hot-button issues in your community. You do not have to give an opinion; your goal can be to start a conversation.

For example, you can say, "What do you think of the trees getting cut down on Main Street?"

This shows you know your community and could potentially start a conversation on your page.

4. Upload a great profile pic.

Your page's profile pic is easily its most important image on Facebook. It's the first thing people see when you communicate with them. Do not clutter this image up with phone numbers, slogans, etc.

This should be a picture of you in the simplest, most professional, and clean way possible. Remember, it shows up so small in the news feed (and even smaller in comments) that no one will be able to read any text in it, nor will they be interested in trying.

5. Leverage your cover photo.

Your cover photo is a different story. The cover photo is a place where you can get a little more creative and even include some contact information and slogans if placed correctly.

Avoid low-quality images and stock photos, and don't use too much text, especially if you are new at this. If you are not sure what to do you can never go wrong with a really nice picture of your community. As new houses come and go that you either listed or sold, you can use pictures of those as your cover photo as well.

You can be more creative if you like, but when in doubt you can never go wrong with a picture of some really nice property that you are associated with.

6. Complete all the sections.

This should be a no-brainer, yet so many people take it for granted. The "About us" section is a simple few words about who you are. It is true that not everybody looks at your "About us" section. However, if you do not have it filled out it looks very unprofessional.

7. Choose your words wisely.

The right combination of images and alluring copy to reflect your business objectives can really get your audience interested. Keep your sentences short and instructive to quickly inform people why they should pay attention.

Avoid obviously promotional phrases such as "List your house with me". That is incredibly uncreative, making it harder for your posts to reach the people you care about.

Test different photos and messages to see which ones your audience responds to most.

8. Image is everything.

We live in an image-driven world, and Facebook's no different-especially as things move toward mobile.

Images catch our attention and are easy to consume. Use high-quality photos that showcase your properties, your interaction with clients, or your lifestyle. In real estate, if you can, do not show just a picture of a house. Show yourself in front of that house, show yourself interacting with buyers. It is a great opportunity to show who you really are.

Photos should be an integral part of your posting strategy. This means the engagement rate on photos is highest among post types. Also, with pictures you do not have to worry as much about typos! As the expression goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That is a thousand words that do not need a grammar and spelling editor!

9. Leverage Facebook ads.

You cannot successfully grow a targeted and active page without spending money on Facebook ads. It's just not possible these days. However, a little bit can go a very long way. A page goes "viral" every now and then. You will learn later that when a post goes viral you have even more reason to promote that post, as you know you have something that people really want to see.

Boosting a post is the easiest way to spend money on your Facebook page. Simply click "Boost" at the bottom of an existing or new post.

There are a number of reasons to do this. But generally speaking you want to promote your posts that have the potential to create a lot of interaction.

Smart page owners invest money in ads in order to find qualified and potential customers. In another blog, I will go over the basics of ads on Facebook. I know it sounds daunting, but I promise it is MUCH easier than you think.

10. Target your audience.

Depending on your goals, you may want to post something that will interest people of specific ages, genders, or more. As a real estate agent, you will want to target the town you are working in. It is a very simple thing that can go a long way.

Here's the easiest way to control who sees a post:

At the top of your Page, click Settings, then click Preferred Page Audience. When done, select Set Preferred Page Audience. You can target based on gender, interests, age, location, and more.

11. Monitor page insights.

This may be a bit advanced, but you should still know that it exists. Facebook's insights and analytics are part of the puzzle. They are a great way to know what is working regarding the content you are putting out.

Are pictures of houses getting more interaction? Or are pictures of you talking to clients? As a business owner, you need to measure the performance of your marketing efforts, and this where Facebook's backend data helps.

You can get a better understanding of who your most engaged audience is by regularly checking your page insights. It shows you things like as the number of people your posts were shown to, likes, comments, and shares. It will also show you which people are interacting with your page, including their genders, ages, and locations.

Once you know who your most engaged audience is, you can refine your boosted posts to appeal to them and adjust your targeting accordingly.