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Farming for real estate prospects on Facebook

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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

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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