Did you know that Facebook has doubled it’s users from 150 million in January to over 300 million September? (Facebook press info) And did you know that 50% of the active users log on to Facebook in any given day and that The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older? (Facebook statistics info)
How about these facts:
- The average user has 130 friends on the site
- More than 8 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
- More than 45 million status updates each day
- More than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day
I don’t know about you, but these little facts scream to me that Facebook has gone mainstream and that this is a way of reaching people that I should be paying attention to.
So, how do you begin? Simple. Go to http://www.facebook.com and fill in your first and last names, your email address, select a password, choose your gender, select a password and provide your birthday. Click on “Sign Up” and you are done. Be sure to make the password at least 6 characters long or you’ll have to circle back and correct it before you move on. Don’t worry about providing your full birth date, you can choose to not show the year of your birth in your profile. Facebook will send you a confirmation email which you must open. Click on the link that is provided in the email and your account will be opened.
It may be tempting to start the search for people that you know on Facebook right away, but I’d like to suggest that you fill out your profile COMPLETELY before you start the search for friends. The reason for that is because if you try to friend someone with an incomplete profile, they may not recognize you and think that you are trying to spam them or worse. You could end up by having that person block you from ever contacting them. Better to take the time to fill in the profile. Click Here to go to a page on Facebook that explains the process.
Once you have the Profile setup, go here to learn about setting up your Privacy controls. Once that is done it’s time to search for some friends. Facebook has a pretty good help section on how to do that. Click here to go there.
The last step to take on your initial journey into Facebook is to visit the Explore Facebook page.
That’s it. you now have a Facebook profile setup, so now you can start telling everyone about what a wonderful Realtor® you are and all about your listings, open houses and services. Right? Not so fast!
There are two reasons why that is not the way to go about it.
The second reason is equally important. No one wants to be spammed by any business on their Facebook Wall. If you do so, people can un-follow you, block you or hide your posts. And, you will never know that it happened because Facebook doesn’t notify you if someone blocks, hides or un-follows you. You just lose that person as a friend. Do that often enough and you’ll find yourself all alone on facebook.
So, how does a business (YOU are a business) use Facebook? That’s also simple. Facebook created Pages for the express purpose of giving businesses a way to reach people. There are also ads that you can purchase on facebook.
Let’s start with Pages. Here is Facebook’s Step By Step Guide to creating pages. The Guide is in 4 parts, Overview, Prepare, Step by Step and Find new Fans. If you follow this carefully, you’ll be able to create a Facebook Business page where you will be welcome to tout your services, open houses, new listings, past sales and anything else that would help you promote yourself as a real estate agent par excellence! Also, if you do this, you’ll be able to keep your personal life and your business life separate.
You can also advertise on Facebook. This may be the bargain of the century. Facebook ads work like the ads that you see on Google on the right hand side of the search results page when you do a search on Google. In other words, you only pay for the ad when someone actually clicks on it. You don’t pay for them to just LOOK at the ad. Hmmm, 300 million users. 150 million on line every day… And, they are less expensive that Google AdWords!
You can target your ads to a certain geographic area. You can target your ads to a social profile. You can target keywords in profiles. You can have as many ads as you want. You can direct people to your blog or to your any web site, even to your Facebook business page. Again, Facebook has provided a 4 part guide on how to do Facebook Advertising. You are given an Overview, how to Prepare, a Step by Step guide and then there are some case studies so that you can see how others are using this.
If you take the time to set up your Facebook profile and business pages, I think you will find that it becomes an important part of your Web 2.0 marketing presence.
Since I am now able to consult with any real estate agent, please feel free to contact me to learn how I can assist you with setting up any part of what I have talked about in this series of articles. I’d be happy to spend some time with you, at no charge (Initial call only), to see how I could help you.
In the meantime, if you are already on Facebook, won’t you please share with us your successes (and frustrations) via the comments?