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Facebook Works If You Work It. If You Won’t Work It, Just Play Farmville

Let me restate my case about Facebook; if you’re not using Facebook as a prospecting tool, you are most likely wasting your time and engaging in the ultimate procrastination scheme.  I don’t begrudge folks fun and Facebook can provide much joy.  You can reconnect with old friends and make interesting new friends there but if you plan to use it for business, you’ll most likely end up wasting hours that could have been better spent standing in front of a supermarket, handing out your business card.

Like this, from Agent Genius:

You don’t need a business page.  In fact, a business page is just one more time suck.  People rarely go to a business page to learn about real estate on Facebook; look at the metrics offered to prove that.   The author’s offered advice is just plain wrong:

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.

Huh?  I have no idea where the author found the “rule” about doing business on personal pages but can tell you, from a few years experience on Facebook, that telling your audience about your business is not only desirable but effective.   Posting listings isn’t rude, it’s your stock-in-trade.  If you’re only posting listings on your Facebook page, you’re likely to be branded as boring but listings are real estate porn, designed to slow down the gawkers and encourage a reaction from them.  Your “friends” will most likely be gawking at your listings if you’re interesting enough to be in their Facebook stream.

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”.

Status updates are an excellent way to mix in your business life with your personal.  The advice offered, while seemingly paradoxical to the author’s etiquette course offered earlier, is a good way to remind people that you sell homes.

Want to really make Facebook effective for business?

Prospect your friends’ list.  That’s right, actually call people up and say hello to them.  Reach out and discover what they do offline and remind them you sell real estate.  Go one step further and get permission to do the MREA thing and every twelve of these conversations will turn into an annual transaction. That may seem “rude” but your number one job as a real estate agent is to find prospects.

Keller and Jenks (authors of the Millionaire Real Estate Agent) claim that with shifted markets, must come shifted focus, in their follow up book Shift:

When leads become fewer, prospecting increases.  The research from Millionaire Real Estate Agent shows that top agents use “marketing-based and prospecting-enhanced” approaches, but experience teaches us that a shifted market requires that you move more towards prospecting.  You could still be marketing based, but you’re probably doing more prospecting than you were.  It’s all about meeting your lead generation goals.  Prospecting tends to uncover more motivated leads faster and keeps you more in control.  Because prospecting puts you in immediate contact with people you get immediate feedback- and that is what you want in a shifted market.

The advice offered by the author about Facebook then, is so 2005.  You would be much better served to call every single person on your Facebook connection list, ask them if they have any questions about real estate. and secure permission to enter their name in your MREA database. Most of you won’t do that because, well…it’s “rude” (and requires courage and work).  Just play Farmville then, keep a low profile,  and forget about using Facebook for business.  You’ll probably do more harm than good if you try to mix business with game playing.

Related posts:
  • I don’t play Farmville and I don’t disagree with Brian Brady!
  • Raking and blowing
  • “Live Chat” Facebook Capture Trap Magic? (or waste of time?)

  • 10 comments

    10 Comments so far

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Estate Feeds, Tom Hunter. Tom Hunter said: Facebook Works If You Work It. If You Won’t Work It, Just Play Farmville: Let me restate my case about Facebook… http://bit.ly/9fJZJH [...]

    2. Cheryl Johnson November 5th, 2010 5:32 am

      Just for the record, I think the “no business promotion on a personal profile” idea comes from the FaceBook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, #3-1, http://www.facebook.com/terms.php — But one person’s nasty spam is another person’s interesting news — and it has been a long time since I heard a rumour of an account being terminated over posting real estate porn –

    3. Francces Flynn Thorsen November 5th, 2010 6:07 am

      EXCELLENT post! I agree wholeheartedly. This is one of the best posts about Facebook and real estate I have read in quite some time.

      I think smart Facebook engagement and Facebook advertising is like Google AdWords in the early days, before it stopped being a good solution for the little guy.

      Agents tell me, “I’m prospecting all the time … I’m on Facebook.”

      BEING ON Facebook is not prospecting. Picking up the phone, dialing, and making a human connection is prospecting.

      Thanks for a smart, salient post.

    4. Greg Swann November 5th, 2010 6:40 am

      Excellent.

      The MREA link is broken, but the procrastination article was great. I have big plans to read it someday.

      Just kidding. Because I am adept at living through pain to get something I want, I know that pro (through) + cras (tomorrow) + tinatum = “Having been put off until tomorrow.” That’s an amazingly excellent passive participle form, because it illustrates how a person double-thinks his mind into lying to itself: The phrase has no real subject or object. The uncompleted task seems to have just delayed itself. Deception begins with self-deception, and self-deception loves the passive voice.

    5. Greg Swann November 5th, 2010 6:54 am

      Two more notes from me:

      First: Not to strain myself patting myself on the back, but your link back to one of my early posts on the TwitBook fad leads to a great essay. Brian has got this nailed on what to do. My post is a succinct discussion of what not to do.

      Second: I’ve been thinking about RE.porn, writ large, as a new form of classified advertising. The classified are push marketing that people react to as though it were pull marketing. RE.porn, subtle or obvious, works the same way: A small subset of the marketplace, all self-selected volunteers, is avidly, albeit temporarily, interested in what you have to say. This is not everything, but it’s something, and it’s foolish to waste the opportunity, IMO.

      Shortest statement: Nothing sells houses like houses.

    6. Jeff Brown November 5th, 2010 8:58 am

      First of all, 12:33 AM PST? Really? :)

      I was almost literally floored to read that the authors you cited tell agents to prospect, and that it’s more effective in the long run and the short run. Who’d a thunk?

      I will say, on a serious note, that I’ve been apathetic about my FB account, as I’ve viewed it as a 2-way hiway for spam. What you say, certainly not the first time I’ve heard it from ya, is that it’s almost ‘Warm Call Central’. For all those afraid of pickin’ up the phone, that’s a lot less scary than calling homeowners cold. That’s reserved for top producers. :)

    7. Brian Brady November 5th, 2010 10:35 am

      “BEING ON Facebook is not prospecting. Picking up the phone, dialing, and making a human connection is prospecting.”

      Right on, Frances. You ain’t gonna win many popularity contests with that attitude (neither am I) but, if you say this enough, you might save a career or two along the way. I’m guessing you’ll trade popularity for genuine concern all the time.

      “Nothing sells houses like houses.”

      or mortgages like rates. I thought you’d enjoy that procrastination article, Greg :)

      “For all those afraid of pickin’ up the phone, that’s a lot less scary than calling homeowners cold.”

      Good observation. If you have a few thousand friends on Facebook already, you’ve wasted plenty of time. I offer you a way to turn the perpetual time suck into something productive.

      NB: I speak FROM EXPERIENCE

      “That’s reserved for top producers.”

      Agreed.

    8. Amiee Kane November 5th, 2010 11:47 am

      Great article! I am constantly flipping between annoyed and curious about my realtor friends that post real estate info on facebook. (ARG- keep it in the office vs. hmmmm, wonder if they get any business from that) I have come to be comfortable with a happy balance of real estate info and personal postings on facebook. I ask myself “If I WASNT in the market to buy or sell, would this interest me?” If the answer is yes, I post it- for example, a map showing the percentage of distressed property sales in my neighborhood- yes, I would definitely want to see that whether I was going to buy or sell or not. I dont feel the need to advertise every listing we get but if we have something really interesting or a great deal, ill post it- that way, people will know that when I DO post a listing, it will be worth looking at.

    9. [...] BLOODHOUNDBLOG UNCHAINED There’s always something to howl about « Facebook Works If You Work It. If You Won’t Work It, Just Play Farmville [...]

    10. Ana Connell November 9th, 2010 3:08 pm

      Excellent advice Brian!

      Facebook is good, but a meeting or phone call will probably create much more impact in today’s market.