There’s been a lot of talk regarding why CRE brokers should not promote their business on Facebook. The main gist: Facebook isn’t a professional network. None of your friends are on Facebook looking for a 5,000sf office or a 10,000sf industrial warehouse.
Yes, Facebook is fairly social and personal but on the other hand, as the largest social media engine, Facebook is a perfect branding vehicle for a brokerage firm or individual broker. It’s easy to control content for the most part and is a much more visual medium than many other social media tools. The photo album feature is easy-to-use and links come with a nice preview, even when you are sharing a link from another Page. Coy Davidson and Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial are great examples of broker and brokerage pages with depth.
First, create a Page for your professional life. Leave your profile personal so your friends who are interested in CRE can follow you on the Page and you can spare the rest.
However, don’t just create a Facebook page because you feel you have to have one. It’s a waste of time to create a page and never use it to communicate with your customers or worse, randomly update it every few months which definitely sends the wrong message. If you have a Facebook page, you’ll want to ensure that it looks as professional and polished as everything else you do.
When posting, it’s important to think about customizing your message for Facebook. Even though sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slideshare, and blogs provide a way to link back to your Facebook page., you want to post with care. Many Facebook pages look like a mishmash of photos, slideshows, hashtags and bit.ly’s and other items not properly formatted for Facebook. There are few discussions, replies or status updates formulated specifically for Facebook. In short, it looks sloppy and abandoned.
Facebook culture leaves very little patience for spammers so you want to think twice before linking your twitter feed to your Facebook feed. If you want to use the same tweet, re-do it for Facebook by taking out the hashtags and leaving the URL text out of the body of the update. Real estate is still very much visual and Facebook leaves much more opportunity for photos. Make use of the photo album feature and facilitate and lead discussions. Facebook’s newest format Timeline lends itself to numerous branding opportunities. Create the perfect Timeline cover, include tidbits about your company history in the timeline and rearrange your featured items along the top right (the “photos” box cannot be replaced).
Does Facebook translate for CRE? Yes, absolutely! It’s a great visual social media tool to reach many users. Time might be a premium and there are better websites for CRE specifically, but if you’re going to do it, do it right.