By Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager, National Association of REALTORS®
This is my opinion, based on anecdotal evidence. If you think you can prove me wrong, please speak up.
All the social media experts are telling you you have to have a Facebook page for your business. Okay, that’s a good idea. But then they tell you to invest time and resources into customizing said Facebook page. They tell you to brand it with your colors and add listing data. They even tell you to direct your non-Facebook Web traffic to your Facebook page via some badge on your Web site, or mention it in your marketing material.
Hogwash. Sure, most of this advice will produce some success, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the return on investment.
Let’s start with branding and customization of a Facebook page. There’s two big reasons why I don’t see this as a priority. One, very few people will ever think to visit your page. They will see the content you post in their own news stream, and they can comment or like it right from that stream. They don’t need to go to your page and probably don’t want to as they didn’t log in to Facebook with you in mind.
Second, even if they do end up on your page, people who are surfing Facebook are expecting a Facebook user experience. A non-customized page looks like the rest of Facebook. That’s often a superior user experience to customizing Facebook to sort of look like your brand. The quality of a Facebook page is in its content, not the fancy colors. Nobody cares about your custom Facebook page.
I also think the idea of publishing your listings on a Facebook page is overrated. If you get someone on Facebook who really does want to look at homes, your first goal should be to get them off of Facebook and onto a platform where you make the rules and can properly ask for the sale. This is most usually an independent Web site.
Finally, the part I like least: promoting your Facebook page through other mediums. This might work for Pepsi, or Ford, or even the National Association of REALTORS®, but you are selling real estate. Your sales cycle is far too great to be directing traffic off of your real Web site and onto Facebook. You make the rules on your site. You can ask for the sale there. You have the most control over moderating user content and delivering a proper real estate search. Why on Earth would you want to throw that away be sending this traffic off to Facebook?
You want a successful Facebook strategy for real estate? Deliver lots of interesting content to the wall of your Facebook page and encourage those reading that content to visit your Web site. There. You’re done.
Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR
I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.