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Facebook for Personal or Business Use?

July 22 2013

Today's "Ask the Expert" column features Erica Campbell Byrum, Director of Social Media for Homes.com.

Q: Should I set up a Facebook page for business and personal use?

facebook keyA: With approximately 1 billion people across the globe using Facebook, there's no better way to connect with clients—and potential clients—who are spending hour upon hour on the site. But one should never use their personal page for business use, and with Facebook offering free business pages, there's really no reason why one would.

The beauty of having a Facebook business page is that it's basically free advertising, and you can use it to let customers know about new listings, as well as updates to houses. It's also a great way to get referrals.

In fact, for real estate professionals across the board, there are numerous reasons why a business page is better, while there's no benefit to using a personal profile to promote a business. Besides, it's against Facebook policy to use a personal page for business, and one could see their account terminated, losing all their contacts in the process.

One of the biggest advantages associated with a Facebook business page is that it can have unlimited fans and likes, whereas a personal page is capped at about 5,000. Obviously, as a business owner, you want to continue to grow your network. A business page is also open to the public, which is not only great for expanding your reach, but also for search engine optimization.

A business can improve its Google ranking and SEO by optimizing its "About Us" section by adding keywords into its descriptions. Liking relevant pages can also improve one's ranking.

It's also important to keep in mind what search engines look for: social signals. They look at how many likes you have on content, how many shares and how many comments. They also look at how good your connection, reach and amplification are.

For brokerages or real estate agents who have an assistant or intern tasked with keeping their Facebook page up-to-date, administrator roles are an easy way to control the amount of access he or she is given. Give them access to everything, or just to the content creator, or set their access to that of a moderator so they can send messages as the page and respond to and delete comments.

A business page also gives you the ability to add apps, which can explain more about your business and your specialty. You can also feature listings, provide a newsletter opt-in form and run contests.

There's pretty much an app for anything, and you can also cross promote with Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube or any social handle that has integration, at no cost.

In addition, with a business page, you don't have to worry about the risk of having your personal information sent out to the public. All the protective data is safe, which isn't always true with a personal page.

Another advantage is the interactive element. You can create conversations so that clients, or even potential clients, have an opportunity to acquire information and also provide feedback.

There's also Facebook Insights, which provides businesses with analytics to gauge the performance of their Facebook activity and demographic. By exporting and digesting thousands of rows and columns of information, you can better understand your customer.

To view the original article, visit RISMediaRISMedia.