Me, Myself, & Facebook.

Recently, a real estate agent I hardly knew asked me, “Don’t you think your Facebook page is unprofessional?” My reply was, “Don’t you think yours is a little too professional?”

Both of us are right, or wrong. It depends on how you look at it. One thing I know for sure though, if he thinks I’m using Facebook in the wrong way, he’s welcome to unfriend me. That’s the beauty of social networks. If you don’t like what you see, you never have to opt-in to begin with. Personally though, I find my friend/follow rate grows the most when I keep it personal.

Lately, I’m hearing more and more about the importance trying to separate the personal from the professional on Facebook. Several people recently have floated the idea to me that one should consider creating both a professional and personal profile. I disagree. RE Connect founder Kit Mueller once said,

“Creating two profiles on Facebook or Twitter is like showing up to a cocktail party twice. Once in a suit, then again in a Hawaiian shirt.”

You are who you are. Your clients may identify with you because you have pictures of your new puppy, or mentioned the great day you spent on the golf course. Your non-clients/friends will appreciate that you sometimes provide commentary about the real estate market, just as you would have had they asked you during a backyard barbecue. Every day as an agent, your personal and professional lives crash into each other. It’s a good thing. It seems perfectly normal if you forget about social networks for a minute and just think about how you deal with people face to face.

In some cases, you may not want EVERYTHING you post on Facebook to be visible to all of your friends. One example might be pictures of your children. But that’s solved easily by creating a custom group of friends, like “family,” then setting the privacy settings for that picture (or picture album) so that only that group can see it. Overall though, be yourself. It’s a ”social” network, after all.

Todd Carpenter

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.

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  1. Todd, I agree, except in your first sentence, I would change the word “page” to “profile”. Facebook Pages are a different animal. I firmly believe in keeping my profile personal, with observations, pictures, and links for items of interest to me and to my friends. My “page”, on the other hand, is all about Real Estate. Being a Fan of a page is the ultimate opt-in.
    It is my policy to use the HIDE button or un=friend my real estate colleagues who insist on using their FB profiles as real estate websites.

  2. Adam Rutherford

    I agree with your opinion Mark. Social networks can be used professionally or personally. Everybody balances these two aspects of their lives every place else, so of course, it only makes sense to see it in the social networks as well.

  3. Great POINT! I have also agreed with both sides of this debate. But in the end it comes down to being genuine.

    I also feel if I was a mortgage broker and Realtor I would like separate buesiness cards. Sometimes I don’t want to seem divided in my efforts or I don’t want other mortgage brokers to think I’m trying to steal their thunder in a networking event.

    But Facebook and social websites aren’t as traditional as a business card. Again Todd it said it best, “If you don’t like what you see, you never have to opt-in to begin with.”

  4. I agree with Mr Spake. I have a profile where I put my personal stuff, my obsessions, etc, but I have a PAGE for my company where people can be a FAN of my page. Pages don’t have friends just fans. I have my blog automatically RSSing into my company page so I don’t have to post my blogs separately. I don’t have any fans for my page yet but I only recently set it up and even more recently started advertising it on Facebook. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to clog up my profile with a lot of business stuff other than the OCCASIONAL post. I’ve noticed that people get sick of that quickly. I’m also on Twitter but only for personal reasons but I might occasionaly mention some business there too. On Twitter, they will let you know real quick if your ‘business’ posts are annoying. All being said, I’m on the social network for fun and if I make a connection and a sale great and if I don’t, no biggie.

  5. I agree with you Todd! It’s true…. personal and professional life crash into each other all the time. I feel the same way Todd does..If someone doesn’t agree with my views/opionions they can choose to “opt out” at any time. I’ve only been on facebook for less than a week and I love it! My facebook is exactly that – who I am! What I’m about. Sure my friends say some funny/crazy things sometimes, but to me that’s what life is about, being able to laugh and enjoy it! I feel if someone sees something about me on facebook they do not like, then they probably were not a good match to work with me professionally anyway. I keep it very real, my thoughts, my opinions, they are all on there – I have not mentioned much about Real Estate on mine yet – sure my friends know I’m a Realtor, but for me it’s about staying in contact for those who “choose” to stay in contact with me. If you let people realize “you are real” they probably will connect with you much easier.

  6. anthony

    you can only have one FB profile per FB ToS, you can add a business page to your profile, but not keep two profiles.

  7. Face book can be too social and too professional– Find the balance — If all you do is pass drinks & snow balls then that is what your will get !!

    Personal stuff along with business seems to work best — It helped me to have a blog linked to facebook — If you are all buisness all the time — you become unapproachable — Facebook builds trust — everyone can learn more about you on there own time. They can form an opinion ( good or bad) with out the high pressure sales tatics!!

  8. Rob

    I’ve found that Facebook Pages for businesses can work really well. It’s just another way to remind your customers/clients about you on a daily basis. If I ran my own real estate business i would for sure create a business Page as my main Facebook presence.

  9. Cheryl @ Centruy 21

    Absolutely! I love FB for letting the world know what makes me breathe and gets my blood pumping! I am more than treal estate and want others to know “who” I am. I am not just a Realtor!

  10. I have to agree with Todd. In my own use of facebook, if a person is too “professional” they are quite frankly, boring and don’t hold my attention for very long!
    I have come across some of the same issues with our members who feel that some of the content is inappropriate, (it’s not, they just don’t get how it works). Initially our members friended me to connect with our Association (before I figured out the whole group/page thing) and I am now trying to push them to our page.
    The page is definitely more business than my personal profile (as it should be) and once my fan base is built up, they (the members who originally friended me) always have the option of unfriending me. Those who still enjoy that which is me can and will still be kept up to date with asociation news (and the daily goings on in my personal life) through my profile! 😀

  11. The Face Book profile and postings we create reflect who we are. People use our services because of who we are. A very long time ago, a wise person told me to always behave as though you are being watched by the world. I took that to heart. I work hard and play hard. On my Face Book page, I talk about the real estate classes I am teaching, the market in my area and of going to see Willie Nelson in concert a few nights ago.

    You are who you are. If you believe some of what you do is inappropriate behavior, perhaps you should think about that and keep it totally private or discontinue it.

  12. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep Realtor Mike separate from Mike Mike! Another advantage of letting them blend is that it reminds people of what you do! You’re really selling yourself as much as your services, and I’ll second a previous comment that someone may relate to your other interests there. Remember, its “social” media for a reason! If it’s all business its just another company website and missing the point and purpose of a site like Facebook.

    I created a Page for myself as a Realtor, but to be honest, who is really going to become a fan that isn’t already a friend? I did also create a Fan page for our office (we’re an independent company) but I just let me be me on my profile page! Real estate, music, birding, whatever!