Tips To Go from Secret Agent To Social Agent On Social Media
Don’t be a “Secret Agent “on Facebook and Instagram
As much as Facebook and Instagram have become mainstream apps in today’s world, many agents are still not very comfortable with both platforms, and how to use them to their advantage. Most of us are on Facebook, and more and more of us are moving to Instagram as well.
Let’s first look at Facebook
Facebook is the #1 social platform online. You should be on there in some capacity. Here are 2 good reasons:
- Prospective clients will look you up! They will SPY on you and often make a conscious or subconscious decision whether or not to work with you. So if you are not on Facebook, people will have a harder time deciding if they “like” you, and whether to work with you. Show them what you would like them to see.
- Those who are already your Facebook friends or followers will be able to interact with you, and you will always be top of mind if they have any real estate questions.
There are three ways to exist on Facebook: Profile, Pages, and Groups
This is your personal space. Post cute pictures of your dog, kids, trips, dreams, cars, quotes, etc. LIMIT your BUSINESS postings to a MINIMUM – maybe 10% of your posts. People want to see your life, not a constant bombardment of homes for sale. You don’t want to be that annoying friend, who just got into real estate and all the new posts are about real estate. Be authentic on your profile. That said, stay away from certain topics if you would like to appeal to all clients. Some pictures may also not be appropriate, but that’s up to you.
Privacy – As agents, we often have a dilemma of what to give to the public and what to keep private. Some of us love to share EVERYTHING, and some share NOTHING. I would suggest for those of you who are fairly private, to not to be a “secret agent” in this industry. To accomplish this, choose which Facebook posts you are ok with sharing to the public and which ones you would like to keep between friends. Below is a screenshot of what I mean. When an unknown visitor not linked to you looks up your Facebook profile to find information about you, they will not see things about you that you only share with friends. It’s good to share some posts publicly.
Those who are already your Facebook friends or followers will be able to interact with you, and you will always be top of mind if they have any real estate questions.
Below is an example of a very private profile. Joe Example may be very active on Facebook, but because he posts all of his posts to friends, and I’m not his Facebook friend – this is all I see. I see that he has not made any public posts since 2016. I can’t learn much about Joe from his profile. This is the kind of information that your visitor will see if you don’t ever make any public posts and if you don’t share your business information publicly. Joe Example is an excellent example of a secret agent.
Here is an example of my profile. I share a lot publicly and have my information set to Public as well. I want to be found. I believe that if a lead is spying on me, that’s fine. Hopefully they like what they see, and choose to work with me.
Public Profile View
Timeline tab – what other Facebook users not connected with me see.
Much of what the public sees is in your About section, as long as you set the fields to Public. Click on the Contact and Basic Info link and start filling out your information. There, you will have the option of setting some fields to Public and some to Friends. Do Public for everything that you would like someone spying on you to see. These links will take them to your webpage, and other social media accounts. Don’t forget to add your Facebook Business Page under the Business Section. Facebook normally doesn’t link the two, so making sure that visitors have a way to access your info from your profile is important for extra exposure to your business.
… See the three does to the right of the Message box? If you click on that, there is an option to View As. This is how you can check how your profile looks like to the non-friend. If it doesn’t list your city, your profession, your links and pictures that you want to share, it’s time to update that info. There are so many times when I will click on another realtor’s profile, only to be wondering where they are from, never mind what company they work for, or if they are even in this business. Facebook is your business card, just as much as paper business cards were before all of this information was available to the general public.
Should I FOLLOW or ADD FRIEND? These can be set in your Facebook Settings. You can follow people and other agents without requesting to be their friend. Alternatively, a person learning about you, may choose to follow you. Maybe they are just getting to know you? This is a great reason why posting publicly is a good thing. The information may be interesting or fun enough for others to start following you. They will only see your public posts. Also in the settings, you can adjust whether people can comment on your public posts. Absolutely. Why not? Whether someone is your close friend or is following you, this is another opportunity to interact with them and be social on social media.
This is the business platform. When you have a business page, people expect it to be business related. So limit the number of dog posts, drinking posts, etc. In fact, your business and what you share, is why many will LIKE your Page to begin with. They want to follow YOU, the business person, learn from you, or to just see what you are up to. A Facebook Page is the opposite of a personal profile. It’s meant to be business, so share away with all the business posts. Make it look professional. This is your ‘storefront’.
When you have a business page, keep in mind that Facebook will only display your posts to a very limited group of people on your page. So if you have 1000 people on your page, each post may only get about 50 views. With Facebook Pages, in order to get your views rate up, Facebook recommends boosting posts. Yes, pay for them occasionally – that’s ok. Just like anything, it’s part of business. I would recommend that everyone set up a Facebook Page and post at least once a week, preferably once a day. Something of value. No, that post may not show up for everyone on the page without paying, but if someone is looking you up, you will want your business to look professional and up to date. The consistency will generate views organically as well.
Make sure that your Facebook Page is linked to your Facebook Personal Profile in the About section. This way visitors to your profile will easily be able to find your Business Page.
Just as with personal Profiles, add all of your business information; address, phone, website. A Facebook Page is also a great spot to gather a few reviews for you and your business. Not everyone will find their way over to a big portal to search for review, but they may stumble across your profile and page.
Verified Pages – Have you seen a grey check mark next to the name of the business and wondered why they have them? Verified pages are meant to be more trustworthy since they have been verified by Facebook. This may also increase the page’s visibility in the search. Most of the time Facebook will not do an automatic verification, unless you have a brick and mortar business with a phone number that can be linked to that business. In order to verify your page, you will need to send proof of business to Facebook manually. Try sending in your real estate license. I worked for me. If your information changes, like mine recently did, the check mark and verification will disappear. The process will have to be repeated.
In your Facebook Settings, go to Page Verification. A window will open up asking for a phone number. As mentioned, this method will likely not work for most people. Instead, click on Verify this Page with documents, and upload your documents.
A group, unlike a profile or a business page, is for a select group of people that share the same interest and want to interact with each other. There are public, closed, and secret groups. Lab Coat Agents is an example of a closed Facebook group on Facebook. The big difference with a Group is that members receive EVERY notification from EVERY member on default. If you add all your clients in a group, they will get everything from you and others, which can get overwhelming. They can control which notifications they get, but most people will not bother to do this, and will leave annoyed. Groups have their place in the Facebook world, but I wouldn’t recommend automatically including all of your friends and contacts in a group without their permission. Your contact may like you, but they may not want to see every business post that you make or that other people make in the group. It’s similar to being on a group text. The posts just keep coming, whether you want them or not. Including someone without their permission is a good way to quickly lose them.
Groups can be amazing for the right purpose. Neighborhood groups are common. It takes some work to manage and provide interesting and useful information. Imagine the exposure that you can get from a well organized group that residents of that neighborhood join. What a great opportunity to gain exposure locally. You (the now not-so-secret agent) have an opportunity to meet local residents, give exposure to your name, and provide expertise with every post in the neighborhood group. Be careful though, my experience with a neighborhood group turned rather ugly fast. The group started complaining about everything in the community and started reporting thefts, etc. Well, at least they were active on there. Yikes!
Lab Coat Agents is a perfect example of a great Facebook Group. Everyone is there for the tips, education, expertise sharing, and new technology updates. LCA is an example of a successful group, that members voluntarily join and are happily staying in the group because of the value the group provides. It’s not self serving.
Instagram is gaining major popularity. It is a visual platform for sharing pictures. It’s another avenue for exposure. Similarly to Facebook, Instagram can be Private or Public. One person can have multiple Instagram accounts. It’s easy to switch from one account to another. If you have a cat account, it may not go well with your real estate account. In this case, it may be best to have two. Either way, the main point is exposure, no matter how you decide to set it up.
If you only post to friends, your account will look like this to a visitor. They will see your name, possibly a website link, and nothing else.
If you would like to have your pictures visible to your non-friend followers, your account needs to be set to Public. Then, in your bio, you can add details about you, your contact info, link to your website, address, etc. What an amazing way to showcase your city, your listings, your life.
In the Edit Profile on Instagram, don’t forget to add your information.
- Your real name
- Who you are (Realtor, agent, lender, etc)
- Website link
- Whatever else may be important (designations, license number, etc)
- There is only a limited amount of space in the profile section, so you will need to get creative.
Don’t be a secret agent. Be found and be open to people. Private information does not have to be shared publicly at any time, but giving yourself exposure on the two platforms that over a billion people use, is a good thing. Let your friends, acquaintances, and strangers know where you work, how to contact you, and what business you are running. We spend so much money on various types of advertising, and often forget to update the information that is free and used by so many.
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