RISMEDIA, November 15, 2010—So you’ve opened an account on Facebook. You’ve got a bunch of friends, including some past customers and clients. Your posts have been about interest rates, why now is a good time to buy, and your latest listings. Everybody said you’d increase your business by doing this but…where in the heck are the good leads and referrals? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! By interviewing a few agents who are making money with Facebook, I’ve concluded that they all have several key strategies in common—all of which combine to create a social networking “secret sauce.”
1. They are an open networker. Agents who are effectively utilizing Facebook are accepting and seeking out friends and followers in all shapes and sizes, including other Realtors. But the agents who amass a large friend list understand that it’s not about a popularity contest. The key is being able to figure out how to engage that friend list on Facebook.
2. They are authentic and personal. Successful agents are sharing lots of information about their passions. This causes their Facebook friends to begin to see them as a real person along with what makes them special and unique. This is important because, when given a choice, people like to deal with friends they like and trust as opposed to a stranger.
3. They are making a commitment to stay engaged. Facebook-savvy agents are engaging consistently. Social networking is a game of touches and you have to be a participant in the conversation throughout. Many of us are simply not using the opportunities presented by our smartphones—such as mobile access to Facebook. It literally takes 30 seconds to post a comment, even less than that to comment on someone else’s post, and only a second to “like” something. Social networking is about the little engagements.
4. They are where the conversation is happening, but don’t dominate. This is all about achieving a very important balance in your Facebook presence. You don’t want Facebook friends saying the online equivalent of, “Don’t look now! Here comes Betty Sue and all she wants to do is sell us real estate.” We all have those Facebook friends who we block from our walls in order to avoid their barrage of in-your-face posts. Don’t give your friends a reason to block you.
5. They balance sharing thoughts and provoking ideas. While posting your thoughts and opinions is certainly part of the Facebook equation, the key is to provoke conversation from your posts. Posting questions, posting meaningful photos of where you happen to be, paying attention to what might be of benefit to your friends, are all essential parts of the Facebook secret sauce.
6. They become the community reporter. For those agents who are making money on Facebook, one of the universal things they share is a top-of-mind awareness of their community. Ryan Hukill of the Hukill Group in Oklahoma City, for example, has positioned himself as the foremost authority as to what’s going on in the greater Oklahoma City area. His passion for his community always comes through.
7. They promote listings from a different angle. A lot of people are making a big faux pas by sharing all the details of their listings on their Facebook wall. You need to share information about listings from a different perspective. Ryan, for example, made a video on the effects of water damage by walking through one of his listings and pointing out some areas where water caused problems. Without throwing the house under the bus, he created an educational video that people wanted to watch and promoted his listing at the same time.
Mark Porter, a top producer from Carrollton, Texas, encourages everybody to open an account on Postlets.com—a place where you can post free photos of your listings for 30 days. Mark does this, then gets the seller to post the Postlets link to their Facebook page. Mark makes sure to comment on the seller’s post, thereby gaining access to all those who also comment on the post. This is a really covert way to get the word out about your listings.
When it comes to building business through Facebook, it’s all about likeability and strategy. You have to continue to monitor and measure what’s working and what isn’t—it’s not a straight line to the finish. You have to be flexible enough to deviate as needed.
George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years. Dunsten has been a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialists for more than 20 years. To reach Gee, please e-mail, email@example.com.