Facebook’s been attracting a lot of attention with their Twitter-like re-design and the growing presence of “fan” pages.
Now, fan pages are actually pretty cool because they allow people to become your fan without having to be your friend. Great way to separate your personal profile from, say, your business.
Before you get attracted by the hype, know that these fan pages can be completely wrong for your real estate business and can end up cutting your current marketing off at the knees.
Will You Be My Fan?
Speaking of fans, I was not a fan of Facebook for the longest time. The poor usability is what turned me off but the latest Twitter-like re-design makes the site far more promising. It’s much more intuitive now, thankfully.
So, Facebook is moving with the ebb and flow of the interweb and it’s own userbase and not resting on the pedestal of “most used social network on the web”. That’s why the redesign – to incorporate the connection style that has been attracting folks to Twitter.
Now, they’ve done something else that’s pretty savvy and that’s recognizing that folks want to be able to connect people with their businesses. Something that used to be difficult to do on Facebook since they prohibited a user from having more than one account … and your true friends don’t want to have you pushing your business at them.
Fun With Facebook Fan Pages
You can create a page, separate from your profile, where folks can become a fan. They’ll receive all the stuff you publish to your fan page and none of the stuff you publish to your personal profile.
There are some very cool implications to this and the savvy StomperAgents see this. However, just because the implications are cool does not mean it makes sense for you and your real estate business.
The Ugly Side of Facebook Fan Pages
The panel tried to answer most of the questions from participants but one that never got a clear answer was this:
Why would a prospect (or even a client, for that matter) want to become a fan of an agent?
Basically, what the hell is someone going to get out of being your fan? Why should they fan you?
Some of the answers that came back were along the line of “it increases transparency.” Uh-huh. How does a fan page increase the transparency that should already be available on your blog or email newsletter?
Besides, people should not have to become a fan in order to get transparency … it should already be present in all you do.
Let’s consider a few other things about fan page marketing:
- Traffic: If you’re trying to build up your fan pages then that means they need traffic. Now, we all work to get traffic to our own websites and blogs but by diluting your traffic getting activities by splitting up the clicks – send some traffic to your website, others to Facebook – you have to work twice as hard for the same results.
- Content: Your Facebook fans are probably looking for exclusive content. As time pressed as we are, you now have to create content for both your blog and your fan page. By publishing original content to your fan page your blog loses out on the additional content. If you’re simply posting teasers and redirects to your fan page, why bother with a fan page?
- SEO: Building upon the previous points, there’s no SEO benefit to Facebook fan pages. The links are no-follow. Again, you’re cutting your blog/website off at the knees here.
- List Building: You may be building a list of fans on Facebook but you’re really not building YOUR list. It’s Facebook’s. You’re denying yourself a highly profitable business asset by not building your own in-house mailing list of folks interested in what you have to say.
So, with these handicaps and without a clear reason for people to fan you on Facebook how do fan pages fit in with your current real estate marketing … without cutting you off at the knees?
Now, communities tend to gather around companies more so than individual people so I definitely see how Fan pages make sense for a company. But for Realtors? Not so much.
Check it out, sure. But be careful of devoting your time, energy, and resources to fan pages when you can be strengthening an asset you already have – your blog.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook fan pages and your real estate marketing.