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Every single Realtor and real estate investor should be on Facebook, right? Every real estate brokerage and agent should have a Fan Page or business page, isn’t it? The moment you have your presence and your have setup up your page you are ready to gather new business by the truck loads. This is at least what some the new born Internet “marketing gurus” tell us.
As a matter of fact, Facebook can drain a lot of your resources and can jeopardize your business entirely because you will be basing your major marketing efforts on a platform that you don’t control, that keeps changing and that could eventually kick you out if they deem that your activity is contrary to their policies. This is the warning we get from street-smart Facebook marketers.
So, do your really need to be on Facebook? Well, first of all you need to decide if you want to have a personal face to your business because Facebook is first and foremost about personal information and experience. It’s about sharing amongst individuals independent of their business.
And you definitely should not use your personal profile to pitch your properties and to look for business. You would be most likely in violation of Facebook’s term of service and even if you build your own Fan Page then you need to drive traffic and people to it and there will be a lot of exploration and testing on your part to establish how to make it work well for you. And in the end you will have increased the power of Facebook but you will have no intimate and real control on what you have built.
There is no clear and defined path on how to market successfully on Facebook, since the platform is still evolving continuously. Stay clear of gurus offering you a “system” that will work every time. I would definitely advise you to have your own personal profile on Facebook just to secure your name and expand your personal Web presence, but when when it comes to allocating your time to market your business online, I would start from building a basic presence you can control, either with your own blog or your own page on a general platform offered to you by your broker; by your Realtor association or some of the many online services for investors.
Secure a spot you can fully control and then make it known in places that have already a robust traffic of buyers: Craigslist, somebody else’s blog, on your business card, anywhere you can capture some meaningful traffic. Then, you can also add some Facebook marketing when the time is right and when you have already a platform you can control and you can drive people to. Remember, the first objective is to build a list of customer. Your own list. A list you can truly own and control.
Today I share the content of a very interesting article from Robert Hann, an entrepreneur now turned marketing consultant with a specific focus on real estate. The matter discussed here is whether you should be using a blog to promote yourself as an agent or an investor as compared to purely SEO strategies and tools.
Should you provide valuable content that improves your image but drains your time and energy with no apparent immediate result or should you just focus on getting on the first page in Google no matter what the content and then try to convert your leads? My personal answer is that you probably need to do both, but the article describes very clearly that while SEO is the real deal when it comes to business generation, a full fledged SEO strategy is well beyond the means of the average real estate investor or agent.
Also interestingly, Hann devalues the hyper-local approach that we have seen evolving in the last few years. We have been invited by the Internet Marketing “gurus” to go local, to focus on local search keywords. here is what Hann has to say about it: “When a Big Company decides that it wants to compete in SEO for some desirable keywords, it will simply outspend the little guy and just crush him. The focus on hyperlocal and “long tail” strikes me as the result: small companies and individual agents pick up the crumbs that the big guys let fall from the table. In other words, their SEO-based strategies are viable only insofar as some Big Guy allows it to be viable.” (read the full article by Robert Hann)
So even if SEO has a key effect on your ranking it cannot be the backbone of your marketing effort as a little entrepreneur. Yet even blogging is not enough, and here we have the opinion of Garron Selliken, a technologist and broker in Portland: “When comes to generating leads from search, the past, present and future of real estate sites is SEO, not blogging, transparency, authenticity and finding your voice. The way to get clients is to show up where the most concentrated group of most motivated buyers/sellers are hanging out and ask for the business. This is why SEO focused content kills blogging…it is targeted directly at the relevant phrases and lands on pages designed to satisfy needs AND convert into conversation.” (the full article by Selliken is well worth reading).
Gahlord Dewald, a SEO consultant, adds more weight in reducing the value of blogging as a business platform in this article: “Online business strategy and blogging” He says that “The real estate blog may have never been alive in the first place” and comments: “Though I don’t have any data to back it up, I’d wager that for every solid, compelling and meaningful real estate blog there are twenty zombie real estate blogs: packed with stolen/poorly crafted/duplicate content that is either devoid of purpose or stuffed to the gills with SEO keywords”.
Do you think this would be applicable for many other fields in addition to real estate? I do
P.S. Share you experience on this topic by commenting on this post, or simply say hi