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Farming for real estate prospects on Facebook

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Facebook is huge right now and most of us are there, but few real estate agents are using it appropriately or to their best advantage.

I will try not to judge you if you are on Facebook playing games like Farmville, but you really need to rethink if this is the highest and best use of the largest network you have access to on any given day.

Instead of farming in Farmville, how about farming for prospective clients?

Few tools have been as effective in my marketing as Facebook. I find it to be uniquely handy at staying in touch with a large number of people in a low key and fun way. It is also a wonderful way to keep reminding my sphere that I am in real estate…but careful here, we don’t want to be spammy about it!

So turn off the games and start using Facebook to plant the seeds for future business. Here are a few tips for the real estate agent who is looking to learn how to tailor their marketing to Facebook.

Firstly, you need a business page.

You shouldn’t be using your personal profile page to promote business. It is against the guidelines on Facebook and just rude, regardless. I will share with you how you CAN use your profile effectively, but blasting out your market reports and new listings is a big NO-NO on your personal profile.

There are different strategies you can employ with your business page. I tend to use my name as my brand, so my fanpage reflects that. Many agents have had tremendous luck with hosting a niche page, instead. Something geographically based instead of real estate based might be easier to gain traction and fans. Consider your options wisely and then really spend some time on naming the page because once you pick the name there is NO changing it.

Engage your fans with active content.

Don’t use your business page as a rolling listings site. Yes, you CAN post your listings there (I do, too) BUT it should be sporadic and the interesting and engaging content needs to far outweigh the listing advertisements. Share your blog posts, take interesting pictures, ask questions, use video and be yourself. Visit your page at least once a day to see if your fans have asked you something or shared a comment.

Regarding your profile now…use those status updates wisely!

I have what I think is a low key way of occasionally including real estate into my status without it being obvious. I share parts of my day that include real estate in a personal light. For example: last winter I was showing REO property and put as my status update: “Showing bank owned properties and it is colder INSIDE than OUT, my feet are totally numb!” A status like this reminds my friends and family on my personal page that I am a REALTOR without the typical “sales pitch”.

Create lists within your personal profile to help you prioritize your sphere.

I don’t know how old you are or how long you have been in real estate, but way back in the day when I began, we used index cards. Our potential clients went on an index card in a recipe box that was segmented into A, B and C leads. The A leads were hot and you kept in touch with them most, etc. You can do the same thing only better with Facebook. Create a list of high school friends, work contacts, past clients, family…the potential is endless. Then you can create and share content that is specific to these groups making it more likely to be noticed and using your time more efficiently to target your special groups.

I enjoyed a tip I recently heard that noted that instead posting the usual “Please come to my open house” update, share content that might pique the viewers interest. Mention if the property has a lovely view, for example, post a picture of the view and say that you are hosting an open house today and enjoying the view from the deck. Think of the applications here: gourmet kitchens, fireplaces, pools, gardens….get creative!

I hope some of these ideas have prepared you to plow through the opportunities at Facebook. If you have some great techniques that are working for you, would you please plant a seed in the comments below?

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58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. Derek Overbey

    October 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Great stuff Lesley. I especially like the open house tip. 🙂 I hope you have an absolutely awesome weekend.

    Derek

    • Lesley Lambert

      October 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you Derek and thank you for being such a great source of ideas!

  2. Daniel Bates

    October 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Lesley, great post. I use similar posts on my personal profile to “remind” my friends, but focus my efforts on business pages and even teach a class on the subject over at TomatoUniversity.com. If I could tell every agent in the world two things it would be this:

    1) Don’t use temporary information in the title of your page. This includes your brokerage, the second you leave, you’ll have to take down the page and start over. Have a plan!

    2) People are much more “likely” to “like” more hyper-local pages (think “365 Things to Do in …” for example) than real estate focused ones. I hesitate to put the address of mine on here because I don’t want a million real estate agents skewing my traffic and stats, but I’m approaching 500 fans (which is the actual population of the niche I’m targetting) and am having some good conversations on my page at facebook.com/mcclellanville

    I also think that all the bells and whistles (read apps and tabs) that agents add to their pages are just a waste of time. Have the conversations and grow the relationships on social media and send them to your blog/website for the heavy lifting.

  3. Eric Hempler

    October 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I thought you might share a few more ideas…here are a few I have. I would be interested to see what others think. I basically look at facebook as a way to remind everyone on there I’m in Real Estate, so some of the status I do may include…

    – Hosting an open
    – Showing homes to buyers in X
    – Listing a home in X

    Basically a status update as to what I’m doing in regards to work. I don’t over use these, but they’re a few that I do.

    • Daniel Bates

      October 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      The best one I ever used was, “I love it when a phone calls starts off with ‘I’m looking for property in…’ and ends with ‘I’ll see you this weekend’ ” – A little more subtle, but gets the point across that your active in the market

  4. Matt Thomson

    October 24, 2010 at 1:03 am

    In a small market like mine, I go to the Search bar, type in “Gig Harbor” and then hit “Posts by everyone.” Closed 3 deals on people whom I found (not friends, not anyone with any shared groups, totally random people) that way.
    Folks will post something about Gig Harbor (sometimes as nice as “We’re moving to Gig Harbor!”) and I can send them a message and form a relationship via Facebook.

  5. hermanchan.com

    October 24, 2010 at 3:42 am

    i think also fanpage and twitter are places where clients review to get a sense of how relevent an agent is. websites tend to be static with template bio. fb tw allow prospects to get to know u more before meeting you…by the time they call u, they probably have decided to work with you, if your facebook/twitter posts are doing their job.

  6. Paula Henry

    October 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Lesley – great ideas for reminding your sphere you’re in real estate. I haven’t used my business page as efficiently as I could because I find what I write other places may not be business and there is no way I know of to specify which FB page to syndicate to.
    Do you auto syndicate from any of your other sites. like twitter or posterous, or do you post each separately?

  7. Richie Yu

    October 24, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Great tips! Question on sorting fb lists. Can you do that inside fb? Be able to sort and prioritize fans?

    • Brianna

      October 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Yes Richie you can. Just go to your home page and click on “friends” in the far left column. Then click on “edit friends” in the upper right corner. Then click on “create a list” in the upper right corner and you can start sorting your friends. Facebook also has a cool feature where every time you request a friend or accept a friend request, it asks you right then which list you want to put that person on.

  8. Kye Grace

    October 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Great post Lesley! Super point about being subtle using your personal profile. Make it about you, your trials and tribulations and human side of your business.

    Making the fan pag content as dynamic and engaging as posible is so important. I always suggest people do what they have to do to create conversations, the more dialogue that occurs on your Business Page the better. If your posts are getting zero comments then it is you not the people who like your page.

    You are the host of the party. If people are not enjoying it, its on you. Note what you are doing, adjust, observe and adjust again if it is still not happening.

  9. Rob McCance

    October 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Great post and good ideas. I’ve got no FB and I’m sure I’m missing the party…I can just never tell what the party is, so I can never find the time to get it done.

  10. Joe Loomer

    October 25, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Have to echo what you said about Open Houses. Once saw one of our agents put a post up that read something like: “$250,000 chandelier. Comes with house. See this amazing lighting fixture, and many others, this Sunday from 2-5!”

    Would also add that putting your friends into lists is the single most important thing you can do. It’s not like FB is going anywhere anytime soon, and categorizing your contacts (as you’d do if you were in TP or any other management software) is simply a MUST.

    Don’t forget you can create event and invite folks from those lists with three simple clicks instead of having to click on each individual friend one-by-one. Events can be Open Houses, Buyer and Seller Seminars, Pot-Luck dinners for your SOI, business networking speeches and lunches, charity functions, you name it! Limited only by your imagination. Our KW Augusta Partners page is replete with links, events, market snapshots, etc…. A great way to do permissive marketing to your sphere without fear of the deadly “block friend.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  11. Brianna

    October 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you for this article! I work for a real estate marketing company and we are trying to get agents on the social media band wagon. The number one question I get asked is “will I get leads from social media?” This article, and the comments below, give some great concrete strategies agents can use to get leads. Thanks!

  12. Kelsey Teel

    October 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Loved the article, Lesley!

    GREAT point about not being able to change the name of your Facebook Fan Page! I have run into this problem twice. Once with an agent who changed brokerages and again with an agent who wanted to refocus their niche. After contacting Facebook and finding out there really was no way to change it, they both had to start from scratch…losing all of the momentum they had gained so far.

    A good way to promote a listing without being intrusive is to write a blog post (then post the link to Facebook) or a short status that is focused on the neighborhood where the listing is located instead of the actual listing. After you have introduced and educated your fans about the neighborhood, you can say “Oh by the way, here is an example of the kind of listings you will find in this neighborhood.”

    I have heard of agents organizing their outlook by the “A, B, C” hot/cold technique, but I hadn’t thought of carrying that method over to Facebook! That is a WONDERFUL idea!

    Above all, I think one of the most important things to remember as a Realtor on Facebook is to be sure to search and add every past/potential client as a friend/fan on Facebook.

  13. Josh Aberson

    October 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for the post!

    It’s interesting to see how people are using Facebook for business these days. It doesn’t seem as though submitting some business info through personal pages is as “taboo” as it was maybe a year ago. I also agree that it is very important not to cross any lines and getting too “salesy”. It also seems as though you’ll get better feedback making more discussion about business in your personal page as long as the conversations again aren’t too much.

    I think the best way is to have a professional FB page, but at the same time directing traffic from personal to business in those light soft touch ways.

    Thanks for your insight!

    Josh

  14. Eric Woodhams

    October 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Great post Lesley!

    Really interesting and inspiring!! 🙂

    Thank you!

  15. Jonathan Benya

    November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Awesome Post Lesley! Facebook is more valuable than posting in the newspaper EVER was, it’s just a matter of learning how to use it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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Team of deaf engineers at Snap create feature to help users learn ASL

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of ASL.

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Snap ASL feature

A team of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” at the company have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of American Sign Language.

Using AR Technology, the Lens teaches users to fingerspell their names, practice the ASL Alphabet and play games to “put their new skills to the test.”

The Lens, launched last month, is the first of its kind and encourages users to learn American Sign Language.

In a press release Snapchat said, “For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.”

Austin Vaday, one of the deaf engineers who helped develop the Lens said helping the world understand sign language is important. He shared his story with NBC correspondent Erin McLaughlin on TODAY after the Lens was released.

Vaday didn’t learn American Sign Language until he was 12. Before then he relied mostly on lip-reading to communicate. ASL changed his life. That life-changing moment helped inspire the ASL Alphabet Lens.

The ASL Alphabet Lens was designed and developed over six months in partnership with SignAll.

There are approximately 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States, according to the National Association of the Deaf.

Vaday said the ASL Alphabet Lens came from the desire to find a way to appropriately and properly educate people so they can communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Vaday said the team focused on the core values of intelligence, creativity, and empathy while working on the project and it’s a step to opening communication for all Snap users with the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The ASL Alphabet Lens is available to all Snapchat users.

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Easily spot if your social media marketing service provider is a con artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional marketing service, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con artist?

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con-artist

In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus. Classic con artist.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking to is really just an expert in bullshit with a likable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

    • Who influences you professionally?

 

    • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?

 

    • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?

 

    • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?

 

    • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?

 

    • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CVs?

 

    • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?

 

    • May we audit your process before buying your services?

 

    • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?

 

    • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?

 

    • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?

 

    • Do you have any industry-accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?

 

    • How many clients have you had in the past?

 

    • How many clients do you have currently?

 

    • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?

 

    • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?

 

    • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?

 

    • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?

 

    • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?

 

    • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?

Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skillsets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

No matter how likable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professionals unless you have had it done by a professional)

 

    • Can you see a list of their past clients?

 

    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?

 

    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?

 

    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)

 

You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers to the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.

 

    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).

 

    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.

 

    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…

 

What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

Final thoughts:

“But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con artist.

The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

Just make sure they are being honest about everything upfront. You are not obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your business’s success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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