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Given that the majority of an agent’s target audience is located on Facebook, it’s critical to have a presence to reach potential clients and make sales. And while you can post an occasional listing to your social network, it’s recommended that you engage with your audience through industry knowledge and expert perspective rather than “pitch” them your services.

First, take a look at the platform used within Facebook and then types of content that can or should be shared.

Profile versus Page

The verbiage may be confusing at first, but it might help to think that a profile is for a person whereas a page is for a business. A person can have friends whereas a business can have fans. Now that we know the difference between the two, let’s examine the need for each when it comes to real estate marketing.

Facebook requires users to make a distinction between individual profiles for personal use and fan pages to promote businesses. Currently a lot of agents are combining both features, which violates the site’s terms of use. Start your online community off on the right foot rather than back tracking on efforts. Create a Facebook page and begin providing content for prospects and clients to engage with, and make sure to maintain and update this page when listing information changes!

Good versus Bad Content

Items you can and should post are status updates, photos, videos, discussions, events, polls or surveys, giveaways, etc. But draw a line between personal and professional postings. As we mentioned earlier, a profile is for a person and a page is for business. Post professional items on your business page, but make them interesting!  After all, your participation on Facebook is meant to invoke communication and contribution from those following you.

Two items to note, for safe business practices: under no circumstances should you bad mouth clients or competitors or share confidential information. At the end of a long difficult day, don’t take to social networking sites to “vent” your frustrations. The second item to note: think before you speak! Whatever you put online will be there forever. It takes only two seconds to take a screenshot of what you posted.

With all that great content you’re posting, you’ll want to attract a larger audience to your page. You can do so by sending an email to all family/friends with a link to your page as well as inserting a link into your email signature. Cross promotion on Twitter and other social networking sites (i.e. LinkedIn) is another way to drive more traffic to your Facebook. You can also promote your page at tradeshows and events that you attend and finally include links or even QR codes on flyers, magazine ads and business cards.
Sources: Michael DeMasi; More Realtors turning to Facebook, other social media to meet new clients; The Business Review