The Fallacy of Facebook Business Pages

by Bill Risser on November 21, 2011

Facebook Page FlagYep.  I wrote that headline.  “The Fallacy of Facebook Business Pages.”  Of course, I’m talking about pages created by REALTORS®.  In my opinion, 99% of them need to be deleted.  I’ve been saying that for nearly a year.  Finally, there is some support for my viewpoint. Chris Smith of InmanNext.com wrote the following post last month: You Need To Delete Your Facebook Business Pages Immediately.  It’s a quick read, so check it out.

When fan pages were first introduced, I admit I was firmly aboard the bandwagon.  I helped agents create pages.  Like every other instructor doing workshops, seminars and webinars, I touted the page as the place to do business on Facebook.  The messages went something like this:

Keep all your “business-y” stuff away from your profile and get it onto your page!

Drive people to your page to click “fan” or “like” so they can see the awesome content you post on your page!

Forget your typical website and simply use your Facebook page as your online presence!

Yes, I actually heard speakers (plural) promote that last one.  Use your page as your website.  Yikes.  I hope no one listened.

I will admit there have been some successful Facebook Pages in the real estate space.  Dale Chumbley’s “365 Things To Do In Vancouver, WA” is the gold standard.  With over 16,000 likes, Dale has generated business from this page.  He has also spawned a host of “365” strategies.  Some have worked; most have not.  The key to Dale’s success was the extra-ordinary effort he put into his page.  He did not miss a single day, even if it meant dashing back to a hotel room at a conference so he could get his post online.  Do you have the ability to put the time, energy and effort into this strategy?  For most, the answer is no.  For any page strategy to reach this level of success, it requires a near Herculean effort.

So, does this mean Facebook is not an effective tool for agents?  Absolutely not.

I ask every group I present to this question: “Is your business about building relationships?”  The near unanimous response is a resounding YES!  (For a contrarian view on this point, check out this post.)

Let’s examine Facebook pages using the assumption that real estate is a relationship-based business.  First, an astounding statistic about pages:

94% of people that click like on a page never go back to that page.

Why?  Because they assume that the act of clicking like will result in new content posted to that page appearing in their Newsfeed.  Does it?  If the page is McDonalds, with over 11,000,000 likes, it most certainly will. If the page is the typical real estate page with say,  72 likes, it won’t. Or if it does, it will be so far down the Newsfeed, the scroll wheel on your mouse will burst into flames from the friction of trying to get to the post.  From research I’ve read, a page needs in the neighborhood of 3,000 to 5,000 likes, and each post on the page needs multiple comments, shares and likes for Facebook’s algorithm to place it high enough in the Newsfeed of the “likers” to be seen.  I have clicked “like” on nearly 100 local real estate business pages, and I have yet to see a post appear in my Newsfeed. And yes, my settings are properly configured.

To be fair, I have seen a post or two from a real estate business page appear high in my Newsfeed.  This only happens if I switch to “Most Recent” in my feed, and the page owner just happened to post in the minutes prior to me signing in to Facebook.  This is actually just dumb luck, and last time I checked, luck is not really a marketing strategy.

So, keeping our assumption about real estate and relationships in place, how do we use Facebook effectively?

By using Facebook as it was meant to be used.  By using it to create, maintain and grow relationships.  How is this done?  By strategically building custom friend lists that allow us to filter the incoming noise and target the outgoing message.  I have a couple of tutorials that walk you through the process.  It is not difficult, and once in place, you can spend as little as 15 minutes a day implementing a relationship-building strategy that revolves around your clients — past, present and future.

I am not suggesting you post listings on your profile.  I am also not suggesting you tout your successes and your awards on your profile.  I am simply saying use Facebook for the purpose Mark Zuckerberg intended it for:  creating, maintaining and growing relationships.

Stay tuned for a  follow-up post on the effective use of lists on Facebook.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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