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Facebook 101: The company you keep is as important as what you say!

Drunk2In the past, Lani Rosales has mentioned that she doesn’t “friend” people on Facebook that she doesn’t know personally (Adding Friends Vs. Network Building).  This approach can lead from friction from time to time, but there’s a certain value to limiting your friend list, and the same rule applies to Facebook’s uber popular fan pages as well.

In an age where everything now has it’s own fan page (remember the pickle?), individuals are constantly bombarded by requests to join endless communities, fan pages, and make “friends” with people they may not even know.  As a Realtor, what is the proper course of action to take with such requests?

In the past 2 weeks, I have gotten seven requests to join a fan page for a local individual who is running for public office.  Each time I’ve clicked “ignore”, I get another request 2 days later.  Someone apparently assumes I didn’t see the request the first 6 times, or they assume I’ve mistakenly clicked ignore when I really wanted to be another raving fan.  In the grand scheme of things, does it really make a difference?  Depending on how you’ve set up your profile, yes!

You see, the vast majority of my clients are fairly web savvy people.  They’ve checked out my twitter feed and facebook profile, some do so regularly in fact.  Most of my clients are also on my “friends” list, so their access to my profile and info is pretty much unfettered.  Odds are they could give a hoot about what local politico I’m a “fan” of, but what about when you as a Realtor decide to join the group “Work Sucks”, or something of the ilk?  Worse yet, what happens when your buddies decide to tag you in those drunken photos from the bar last week?  With the immediate nature of Facebook and other social networking sites, odds are your clients have access to the info before you even know it’s been posted.

Even if you don’t use Facebook as a business representation of yourself, clients, much like employers, have no problem with finding you on Facebook to get a better sense of who you are.  Your friends may think that the dick and fart jokes you constantly post for status updates are a riot, but your new potential buyers may not see your humor in the same light.

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There’s two options to correct this problem.  First, you can lock down the privacy settings on your profile so that strangers and even certain friends have little to no access to your profile.  The better option, IMHO, is to be very mindful of who you connect with, what you say, and how you use the site.  This train of thought also applies to all the games we love on Facebook.  You may be a Farmville addict, but when your last 30 updates are about what happened on your “farm”, clients may start to wonder about how much time you spend playing games when you should be helping them buy or sell a house!  Understand that whether you meant it or not, Facebook acts as a reflection of you not only as a person, but also as a business professional, and you should treat it as such.

Written By

I'm a Realtor in Southern Maryland. I grew up surrounded by the RE business, spent time as an actor, worked as a theatrical designer and technician, and took the road less traveled before settling down in real estate. I run my own local market website at and when I'm not at the office or meeting clients, I can usually be found doing volunteer work, playing with my 3 rescued shelter dogs (Help your local Humane Society!), or in the garage restoring antique cars.



  1. Andrew McKay

    April 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I need to get on to those privacy settings before the Mexican Bordello incident rears it’s ugly head.
    On a more serious note up here in my small town neck of the woods Realtors know about social media but don’t understand it. Number of friends equals success and Twitter, Facebook etc are just another medium to advertise listings. Before users get more sophisticated I think the damage will be done particularly on Facebook where it is so obvious my colleagues “just” want huge numbers of friends.

  2. Erica Ramus

    April 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I agree with Andrew above, and am in a similar rural area. I cringe at some of the stuff I see on other agent’s FB pages, including details of deals falling thru, open houses where they are bored and have no attendees, etc.

  3. Jonathan Benya

    April 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I’d have to consider my area as semi-rural as well and I see it all the time. I wonder if it’s a function of a small town mentality towards social media, or if it’s a broader issue. Big city agents, what’s your take?

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