Social media is a powerful tool businesses use for marketing, and the real estate industry is no different. Whether you run a small group or are part of an international brokerage, marketing yourself as an agent is crucial. Facebook marketing for Realtors is just one of the platforms to consider, but it’s an important one — 90 percent of agents use Facebook for marketing.
Between Facebook constantly changing the rules, and Realtors being experts in their own field rather than at social media, I’ve seen some common issues coming up lately with Facebook Business Pages that I thought would be useful information to share for those who don’t have the benefit of having a dedicated social media manager to keep up with this stuff.
Fake Pages Mimicking Error Messages
This has become pervasive and really annoying. If you have a Facebook Business Page and haven’t encountered it yet, you very likely will soon. What happens is, someone has created a page with a profile picture that mimics a Facebook warning symbol like those you see in the sample images, and a page name like, “Your Page has been reported,” or “Business Community Alert,” or even “Meta Business Suite.” Then they tag your page in a post that has some dire warning, and the steps you need to take to correct your error, or your page will be deleted, so you “must click on this link.”
Do not click on the link.
It’s clever, because you get a Facebook notification with the alarming symbol and the alarming message, seemingly from Facebook, and when you click on the notification, you might not realize it has taken you to just a regular post from someone’s page. The first picture shows notifications we’ve received at CandysDirt.com, and the second two are examples of actual posts. You can see how they attempt to mimic Facebook’s design and language. If you scrolled way down on the post, you would see they tagged about 300 pages (I didn’t include that part). The goal is to get you to click on the link, which will take you to a page to confirm your account — where you’d be asked to give your login and password, allowing them access to your account and all kinds of private info, and likely spreading some malware into the bargain.
What should you do? Don’t click the link. Do click on the page itself, block the page, and report it to Facebook.
Facebook is Selling Your Contact Info to Advertisers: Copy And Paste This Post to Stop Them
No, they’re not, or at least not like this. If you follow the steps this person is talking about, what you will find is, in fact, a list of the advertisers that Facebook has shown to YOU recently. Reading is fundamental, people. While we’re at it, don’t share anything that reads, “Copy and paste this post and then share it.”
Why not? The people who originate these posts are attempting to track the folks who share them, sometimes for marketing purposes, other times for more nefarious reasons. Why do they want you to copy and paste rather than just sharing the original post? This article explains it more fully, but basically, individual privacy settings get in the way of following the chain, but when you copy and paste, the OP can trace the post shares by searching a specific series of text they’ve included in the post, like an intentionally misspelled word, awkward spacing, or odd grammar.
What should you do? Don’t copy/paste posts, or type “Amen,” or “Done,” or whatever on these obviously reposted posts, even if it is about cancer, or kittens, or something meant to outrage you. Maybe gently let your friend know that they are now on someone’s list and to avoid such things in the future.
Personal Profiles Versus Business Page
Some real estate professionals choose to use their Personal Profiles to promote their business, while others have a Business Page, and still others have both. This is largely a matter of personal preference, but there are pros and cons to each.
- If you share a lot of personal photos, opinions, and information that you wouldn’t necessarily want to share with clients or colleagues, then you probably shouldn’t use your Personal Profile for business.
- If you like to share that personal aspect of yourself with clients, and you’re prospecting among your Facebook friends, then it may be to your benefit to use your Personal Profile for business. I know many people have found that their following is much larger on their Personal Profiles, and have opted to cultivate that audience rather that starting over with a Business Page. If that’s the case, be sure to craft your content accordingly.
- However, there’s a limit to your growth on a Personal Profile. Once you reach 5,000 friends, you can’t request anymore. People can continue to “follow” you beyond 5,000, but you can’t request them. If you find you’ve reached that 5,000 limit, I recommend you transfer your profile to either a Business page or a Public Figure Page. Then you can have unlimited followers and invite people to follow you.
- You can’t use the Meta Business Suite on a personal profile, so you can’t schedule posts, view analytics, use ads, or many other useful features.
Tips For Realtor Facebook Business Pages
- Make a Facebook URL so people can find you easier — like your name or the name of your group. If you are just starting out and you pick something other than your given name for your business name, consider using your name for the URL. Example: My name is Brenda Masse, but my real estate page is Xtra Real Estate Group. No one has heard of Xtra Real Estate Group (YET!), so I’m gonna make that URL facebook.com/brendamasserealtor. If I’m smart, I’d make my page “Brenda Masse, Realtor, ” too, but I’m Xtra. So I might consider, “Brenda Masse at Xtra Real Estate Group.”
- Lots of people go for using a keyword in the URL, which is ok, but if you’re using “dallasrealtor” or “dfwrealtor” know that there are 10,000 other pages that did that too. So if someone goes searching for Brenda Masse Realtor, and my page URL is facebook.com/dallasrealtor4u, they may not be able to find me on the first try.
- DO make a Facebook URL. Some of y’all leave that space blank when you create your page, which means your page URL is something like facebook.com/mkdsangivnrfiaondisjkdalhfjglfdjajdavnj. This makes you hard to find, and you don’t have a cute @brendamasserealtor to give people to easily find you.
Do you know how I know you’re hard to find? I’m the one who has to find and tag all of the Realtor pages we post on CandysDirt.com.
General Facebook Etiquette & Rules For Realtors
- Tag the photographer, the stager, the interior designer, the builder — anyone significant who worked on the listing. Not only is it good professional etiquette, it boosts your views.
- Tag the other agent on your “sold” posts, (if the transaction was amicable). “Congrats to all, pleasure working with you,” yadda yadda. Everyone is happy, and now you’re in front of their audience and yours (and likely more of yours, as well).
- Use video as much as possible to market your properties on social media. Video content gets 1,200 percent more likes and shares than text and image content combined. That’s not a misprint. While you’re at it, when you send your fabulous listing to us at CandysDirt.com, send us some video! We’d love to post that awesome video content for you, too!
- TREC did a great job of hammering the rule about posting the consumer notices on your social media accounts, but there are a few who still aren’t doing this. And if you’re using your personal profile to post for business, it’s hard to imagine that you are. As of September 2018, you have to post the TREC Consumer Protection Notice and Information About Brokerage Services on your social media accounts and your website if you are posting about your services and/or listings. You can be fined and prohibited from advertising if you don’t. The easiest way to do this is to post the forms to your page and then pin the posts so they stay at the top.
- According to TREC rules, Realtors also have to have your broker’s name listed on your Business Page. To continue with my example above, if I, Brenda Masse, Realtor with Xtra Real Estate Group, am brokered by Super Luxe Homes, I have to indicate that either in the name of my page, or in the about section, and provide a link to the broker. (See the examples of real pages above). I could call my Business Page, “Brenda Masse, Xtra Real Estate Group at Super Luxe Homes” or just Brenda Masse, Xtra Real Estate Group, and put Super Luxe Homes in the About section. So many pages do not have this. You have to have this on all your social media accounts and your website.
To sum up, Facebook will never threaten to take down your page via a notification or ask you to click on a link in a post. If someone reports your content, you’ll get an email and a notification directly in the Meta Business notifications, and/or they just delete the content in question.
Second, if something looks like a scam, it probably is, but you can check by googling a few words from the post, or describing what you see in a search engine.
Third, take the social media courses at your Realtor Association to brush up on current TREC rules to make sure you’re compliant.