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Five Reasons Why I LOVE the New Changes on Facebook

March 23 2012

social media e1332364928578When I heard a few months ago that Facebook was implementing some sweeping changes, I could nearly hear the collective “groan” from the some of those in the real estate industry. Probably because the changes represented more time learning something new in social marketing. The good news is, I had a chance to review all the new changes and I was thrilled with what I saw. It seems that Facebook has really stepped up to the plate and given real estate agents and brokers a way to really “brand” themselves and incorporated some great new features, too.

I’ve found five features that will help those in the real estate industry to further support their marketing endeavors and assist them in supporting their own real estate website. So why is this important? Entering the social networking conversation in a valuable way as a business is different than posting what you just ate for breakfast on your personal Facebook page. Let’s review my top five favorite changes on Facebook and how those of us in the real estate industry can best take advantage of those new opportunities.

1. The Cover Photo - Most compelling from a marketing and appeal standpoint is the new cover photo. It is designed as a Facebook “welcome mat” to tell the story of an agent’s business, what they do and how they do it. This is a very unique chance for an agent to make a visual statement. As a Facebook best practice, the cover photo is not supposed to include a website address, contact information or arrows that point to a chance to ‘Like.’ Rather, an agent can impart humor, professionalism, sales results or convey the spirit of how they conduct their business.

2. The Power of the ‘About’ Box - The About box will now be more central and less of an afterthought because of where it has been positioned on the page in a more visible area. This should now contain a valuable summary about the business as well as links. Links can include all the social networking sites where the business is active, plus the official website. With its new position on the Facebook page, users will rely on the About box to see the summary of a business in a condensed way. For an agent or broker, it will be important to include a link back to your own website and/or blog. By listing your social networking sites and web address all in one place, visitors won’t have to skip all over your page trying to figure out how to find more information about you or where else they can join you in social conversations.

3.  The Pin Feature - Another great bonus that has been added is the ‘Pin’ feature that allows you to stick an individual post to the top of your timeline. This is perfect for agents who have had a popular blog post, maybe have news that has gone viral, a huge success story or a coveted home listing. By pinning a particular story to the top a business timeline, it will be the top story that visitors see when they come to your page. In a similar fashion, businesses can now ‘highlight’ specific posts. Highlighting will a specific post and visually spread that post across the full width of your page. You could have a post pinned to the top of your timeline and just underneath that, have another post that is highlighted. In theory, let’s say a lead visits your page and sees a pinned post offering a free homebuyer’s tips seminar that you will be giving next week, followed by a highlighted post showing an exceptional new listing that you just acquired. Those two posts back to back convey something of value to visitor (or potential lead) and assert your expertise in your field. (Note: it is best practice not to post your new listings over and over. Rather, use your leverage on Facebook to strategically market select listings with compelling photos.) Give your visitors a well-rounded Facebook experience by posting a wide variety of things: photos, tips, the occasional new listing, information on seminars or webinars, surveys, compelling questions that provoke conversations, etc.

4.  Direct Messaging Feature - In the past, if someone were to follow your business page, they were unable to converse with you directly without posting right on your wall. This sometimes resulted in a diluted message on your Facebook business page or posts that were of little or no interest to others. Now, if others want to post on your business page, there are a few options that are being offered. If someone wishes to reach you directly, you can enable a business page to receive private messages. This is huge because it allows others to keep private or less important matters under wraps instead of letting it all hang out on your Facebook business page. As best practice, it is always a good idea to not post any personal information about your clients, your home sale deals or any type of sensitive details which could jeopardize your position in a sale.

5.  Visibility of Apps - The location of specific apps have now migrated from the left hand column of the Facebook page to underneath the right hand side of the cover photo. What is so appealing about this is that app icons are now more visible and visually appealing. An agent can showcase their YouTube videos, invite others to events, include links to training courses, offer e-books and so much more.

Navigating a wide range of Facebook changes can sometimes be frustrating, but as an agent or broker, I feel that there are many ways to take advantage of these new changes. I would also offer the suggestion that if you haven’t tried it before, run a Facebook ad, if even for just a week. With Facebook ads, it is a great way to showcase your new page to your existing clients and fans and attract new leads. Ads can be targeted (and even micro-targeted by interests) to those who already follow you (as a way to welcome back visitors that haven’t stopped by your page in awhile) or to attract new fans that have specific real estate-related interests. Just trying a Facebook ad for a few days will re-invigorate your page.

To view the original article, please view the Dynamic Page Solutions Blog.