Some people find that it’s most expedient to create a new Facebook profile for selling their real estate. However, if you already have friends and family that are also contacts, you might want to just go with the profile they already have friended. In any case, setting up a Facebook profile to further your real estate business is easy, but requires some thought.
Unfortunately, Facebook is not yet to the point where you can automatically designate specific posts or applications as not-to-be shared. If you have your Wall open to the public or your News Feed, you may want to ensure that everything posted is client-friendly. This may mean censoring both your and your friends’ contributions to your Facebook profile.
Setting the Privacy controls on your Facebook account will help you make this a dual account for both clients and friends. Depending on the nature of your contacts, you may want to designate certain areas as “certain friends only” and similarly restrict who can contact you certain ways.
Deciding whether or not you want to open your entire profile to the world depends on how accessible you want to be. You can always request a client as a friend or give them your Facebook contact info to request you. However, if you want people to be able to access your real estate information on Facebook, it could be a good business move to judiciously open up a few key parts of your profile to the public.
Your basic information is probably something you should keep to a select group of friends. Your clients don’t need preconceived notions about you based on what they can read about your sexual preferences, your religion, or your political views. Unless you are aiming to sell real estate only to persons of a certain religion, noting that you are a passionate follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster may cause people to pass you by, even if you aren’t actively proselytizing to them.
Your profile pictures are a good one to leave open, but make sure they are professional and simple. Don’t post pictures of your family or your dog or your wood tick farm. Your clients like to be able to see a clear photo of you, so they can recognize you. It’s okay to have a photo or two of your family in a different album (some people like to have a feeling of connection with their realtor) but don’t overdo it.
Applications are a hard one. Consider not adding too many frivolous ones. If you absolutely must have some, place them at the very bottom of your Facebook page, where only the determined ever go. And, whatever you do, don’t use them to contact clients with. Attacking someone with your zombie is generally not a good way to convey a professional impression. Applications can also work for you if you install a few good real estate-related ones, so take some time to check them out.
Your Wall may best be hidden. Many spammers will use the Wall to place ads or phishing scams. Also, if your friends are using your Wall, it doesn’t make for a professional impression if they’re posting things like “U R so hawt! Wanna see U soon, sweetcakez!” Use your own discretion. Remember that clients can always use the Message function to send you private messages into your Inbox.
Keep an eye on your photo albums and keep your personal ones to selected friends lists. The real estate albums you will, of course, wish to keep open to the public. Make sure every photo is properly tagged and given some kind of information. A link to the listing your actual website is good, but including as much information as possible can make a photo a better tool to get people to your website.
The Search function can be modified to show as much or as little information as you want. Since you are using this profile as a business tool, you will probably want people to be able to contact you. Set the Search Visibility to Everyone, create a public search listing and allow people to find information about you and send you messages.
Your News Feed and Mini-Feed you should keep open. Every time you change something on your profile, it will be noted and is a great way to let people know what you’re doing with your real estate without actually annoying them with direct messages. This can be modified to show people certain actions and hide certain actions. Play around with the Facebook Privacy controls to find the best combination. This is where you can hide updates to personal information that clients need not see.
Use the Privacy Applications section to restrict views of anything else you don’t want people to see. It’s up to you to consider whether they would benefit from knowing which groups you belong to or events you’ve been invited to.
Look at your Facebook profile from a client’s view. Block everything that could leave them with a negative impression, but leave enough that they get a definite idea of your approach to your business. Facebook is an incredibly fast-growing social networking site which is enhanced by its easy-to-use, professional-looking layout. It definitely can be a valuable tool when used to enhance a professional image.