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Real Estate Marketing With Facebook Business Pages: I Told Ya So

real estate marketing facebook

I Told Ya SO!

“I told ya so”. Normally when you hear someone say this little gem it’s in reference to something someone WARNED you about. You chose not to listen and now look – you are screwed.

We say this to our kids all the time. “Don’t climb up on the couch, you could fall off and crack your head!” Boom. Crash. Crying kid. What follows? Yep – “I told ya so!” We just can’t help ourselves. When we see someone doing something that is bad for them or their business and they choose not to listen and the worst happens you can count on those 4 little words “I Told Ya So!”

Well, I told ya so.

I have a few pet peeves. Actually quite a few really. I don’t like it when people answer their own questions “Could I do {this} myself, well I guess I could but….”

I don’t like it when people refer to themselves in the 3rd person, like they are somehow not – them: Stephen likes it when REALTORS® open escrow with Grand Canyon Title” Keep in mind, I’m Stephen!

And I don’t like it when REALTORS use facebook business pages as their HUB.

What’s a HUB

Well, in the airline world, a HUB is where people come together from all different places. I am from Syracuse, New York. If I needed to fly from Syracuse to Phoenix, I can’t fly their directly. I need to take a turbo prob {that’s another thing I don’t like by the way} to Chicago or Newark or JFK. This is a HUB. A place where people come together from all different places, in this case, bigger cities, to go somewhere else. In my situation – Phoenix.

Think of that same analogy, the airport, as it relates to your real estate business. People come from all different places on the Internet to your HUB. Your HUB should be your real estate website. Not just your website but your WordPress real estate website. We won’t get into the merits of WordPress vs Active Rain or WordPress vs Drupal or any of the template, static real estate websites in this post but know this: You should OWN THAT HUB.

I have seen so many real estate agents using Facebook as their HUB on the Internet. I have heard so called “Real Estate Guru’s” say “you don’t need a real estate website, all you need is a Facebook Business Page!” They throw around impressive stats like, there are 800 million people on facebook! and the average person spends {insert ungodly time here} each day” and facebook, facebook, facebook.

Well, I told ya so.

The Story

I met with a REALTOR® the other day that “has had it!”. {his words not mine}. He is pissed. “I should of listened to you Stephen” he said. What is he talking about? Facebook Business Pages of course. He fell for it. Some facebook real estate Guru convinced him that he should have this CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, EXPENSIVE, IMPRESSIVE facebook business page, did I mention EXPENSIVE? How Expensive? He wouldn’t say but I got the feeling it was north of $1000. They said he should put his real estate videos there and he should post a positive quote every day and he should engage people. They even said he should include an IDX. “Give people the ability to search for homes, there are 800 MILLION people on facebook! they said.

All was fine and dandy. Well, not really, he said he never got a single lead from that CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, EXPENSIVE, IMPRESSIVE facebook business page. He did what they said and nothing. He wrote the positive quote. He posted his real estate videos. He had an IDX. Nothing. We will discuss why that was later in this post.

He used a Facebook Business Page as his HUB. He directed everyone to it. He directed them to his facebook business page with his business cards, for sale signs, postcards, flyers, emails. A consumers question “do you have a website?” was answered with “facebook.com/RealEstateAgentName.

He wasn’t getting leads but he thought it was something he was doing. Maybe I should post more POSITIVE quotes he thought. Maybe I should post more VIDEOS he said. He was Ok with not getting leads because he thought it was something he was doing WRONG. Hey, at least he had this CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, EXPENSIVE, IMPRESSIVE facebook business page that consumers could see and be engaged by when they were invited through his business cards, for sale signs, postcards, flyers, emails.

All was fine and dandy, {well not really} until Facebook decided to switch Business Pages to the Timeline. Now all of a sudden, his CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, EXPENSIVE, IMPRESSIVE facebook business page is worthless {kind of}. Why? Well because he had his business page set up in a way that consumers visiting his facebook page were immediately greeted with an opt – in box. A form that asks them to like his page. Upon liking his page they would get access to a video of him saying “Hello”. That’s a whole nother train wreck we can cover in another post too. Now because of the switch to Timeline those same people, the ones that were presumably coming to his facebook business page to search for homes and such, don’t get anything but a normal looking facebook business page. No opt in, no video, no nothing. {Mackulay Culkin, home alone face}

Well, I told him so. Not just him, I told countless real estate agents, “Don’t use Facebook as your HUB on the Internet!”. He didn’t listen and now he is pissed. I don’t blame him. So, in an attempt to not say those choice 4 words again, although I clearly LOVE to say them, I am going to tell you what you should NOT BE DOING.

What You Should NOT Be Doing.

If you are a REALTOR® Don’t use Facebook as your HUB! Lets take that one step further and say this: Don’t use anything you DON’T OWN as your HUB on the Internet. I’m talking about Facebook, ActiveRain, Google +, that static website you pay a monthly fee for, I’m talking EVERYTHING. Do you own Facebook? NO! Do you own ACTIVE RAIN? NO. Do you own that static real estate website you pay a monthly fee for? NO. What this real estate agent learned the hard way and what you will learn as well if you don’t heed this warning is that things change. Terms Of Service Change. One change, like the implementation of Timeline on a website YOU DON’T OWN can change your business forever. This agent was not getting leads from his CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, EXPENSIVE, IMPRESSIVE facebook business page but what if he was? What if that was his sole way of getting leads? That one change would have rendered his business, his livelihood – DEAD.

;

Real Estate Marketing

HUB Marketing

What you SHOULD be Doing

Use a website that you OWN as your HUB. With 94% of consumers starting their home search on the Internet, this is where they will look for a home. Not Facebook! Facebook is for friends and family. I don’t know about you but I hate to be SOLD TO. Not only do I hate to be sold to, I hate to be sold to in a sacred place. A place I feel safe. Facebook is sacred ground. Facebook is where I connect with my real friends {sorry}, facebook is where I find out about what is going on in their lives. Facebook is where I tell them what is going on in mine. Facebook is the last place I would look for a real estate agent. Facebook is the last place I want to be MARKETED or SOLD TO. If you are using Facebook as your HUB, STOP. Not just because of the story above but because now that Facebook is a publicly traded company, they are going to be under a lot of pressure to monitize it, to monitize US. How do they do that? Advertising! While I can live with ads on the side of my page when I am on my laptop, I cannot live with ads on my mobile device, eating up my data plan, yet I fear that is coming with more and more people accessing facebook from a mobile device – iPad, iPhone etc. If and when that happens, I am out of there. It’s not that Facebook is that special. It’s not facebook I am in love with, its that my friends are there. My real friends {sorry}. If facebook starts trying to make money for their share holders on the backs of you and I, I am going to vote with my feet and walk. I bet you will too. Especially if your real friends leave first.

The right way

Look at the image above. That is the right way. I teach this model in my HUB Marketing class. HUB Marketing is marketing to your HUB, that place on the Internet that is your home. That place you own. That place that cannot be taken away from you. I have nothing against Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, ActiveRain, YouTube and the others. I have nothing against them but I do not own them and neither do you. Using the model above, I create content on this website. By content I mean blog posts, videos, pictures, charts, ebooks, PDF downloads and the rest. I create it on my website and then I SYNDICATE it to those other networks. My friends and followers on facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, YouTube, StumbleUpon and the others can then click on the link I put on these channels and end up on my website. This is where I want them. This is where I want YOU! This is where you can read the original article ON MY WEBSITE, this is where you can watch the video ON MY WEBSITE, this is where you can opt – in ON MY WEBSITE, this is where you can fill out a form or sign up for a newsletter or whatever. ON MY WEBSITE. If facebook goes away, I will be bummed. If YouTube goes away I will be CRUSHED but at the end of the day, I will still have my HUB. I will still have my business. The 4,000 people that visit my website each month will still have a way to FIND ME. 50% of my leads come from YouTube. 25% of my referral traffic comes from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and StumbleUpon – combined. You know where the other 75% of my traffic comes from? Google and other search engines. And that’s another thing about facebook. While a properly set up and optimized WordPress real estate website ranks well, a facebook page does not. Sure I guess if you had some querky facebook page title you could show up in search but Google has little incentive to index or rank facebook pages because of a little competing social network called Google +. Ever hear of it?

The Visual

If facebook was an apartment, a place where people congregate I would not want it to be BEAUTIFUL. I would not want it to be COMFORTABLE. I would want it to be COLD and UNCOMFORTABLE. I would wan’t an OLD, DIRTY COUCH with SPRINGS coming up through the cushions. I would want a baby crying or a dog barking. Loud music. I want you to come visit me but not for long. I want you out of my apartment {facebook} and in to to my house {Website}. This is where it will be nice and inviting. This is where the temperature will be just right. This is where I will have a cocktail waiting for you. This is where I will have some nice music playing. This is where I want you to stay awhile.

Takeaway

Use facebook and the other networks. Social media is a must for all businesses today. Use them to drive consumers to your real estate website. Engage your audience. Share. Discuss. Ask questions. Tell stories. But for the love of puppies and unicorns, don’t make them your HUB. If you are a REALTOR®, your real estate website is where consumers can search for homes, watch your videos, opt-in for your ebooks, download your PDF’s, your website is where they can read or watch your testimonials. Your website is where they will naturally go when they want to search for homes. Not facebook. I can’t even find my own posts on my own facebook business page after a few days, and if I can’t find mine {when I know what I am looking for}, I certainly can’t find yours {when I don’t}. Facebook is not and {in my opinion} never will be a search engine. Don’t use facebook as your HUB, if you do, I fear it’s only a matter of time before I say these 4 words to you: I Told Ya So.

If you are a real estate agent in Phoenix, come to my real estate marketing classes. I will SHOW you how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, Screencast, SEO, SEM and Indexable IDX to grow your business. Visit the class schedule, find a class in your area and come.

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Stephen

Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.stewman Ryan Stewman

    Great post, I googled something just the other day, and you were #1 for it!  www.hardcorecloser.com 

    • http://mytitleguy.com/ Stephen Garner

      Sweet! You still coming to AZ Ryan? If so, let me know when you will be here. And lets talk about that show of yours…

  • http://www.RealEstateMarketingHQ.com/ Kirk Eisele

    Exactly right. Facebook can work well as a tool for connectors to do what they do naturally in life but the fanpage itself is difficult to use as a lead-gen tool.

    • http://mytitleguy.com/ Stephen Garner

      Hey Kirk, I keep hoping some know it all Facebook real estate guru steps up to argue this with me, no takers yet :-(

      Thanks for visiting me again, your site looks great!