This post originally appeared on AgentApplause.com which has been merged with Harmon Enterprises. It's the same team creating the content...but now you can find it all under the HarmonEnterprises.com web roof!
What exactly IS this guy doing? That was my reaction when I saw that Vancouver, WA Realtor Dale Chumbley had over 6,000 total fans to his Facebook fan page in 12 days. So what is he doing on Facebook to attract so much fan page love in such a short period of time? Dale introduces his idea with his first fan page entry:
Day 1 Post:
Today begins a new little project I’m going to attempt. I’ll be posting one new thing to do each day for the next year in Vancouver, WA. Maybe a park to visit. Perhaps a restaurant, fun activity or hidden gem that not a lot of people know about. This will hopefully be a great community resource from the perspective of a lifelong resident who loves his hometown and also a great resource for those looking to relocate to Vancouver.
His process is this:
- He posts a daily tip to his real estate blog - Clark County Real Estate Guide
- He posts a link to each of the posts on his blog to a Facebook Fan Page he created: 365 Things to Do in Vancouver, WA.
The concept has exploded creating (at the time of this post) in excess of 6,000 Facebook fans. And, the bulk of them are local. Dale provided me the following details about his demographics (one of the benefits of a Facebook fan page - you have access to insights about your fans):
As of February 28, 2010:
- Total Fans: February 28th = 6,157 fans.
- Fans in and around Vancouver, WA: Approx 4,000
- Fans in Pacific NW (WA & OR specifically): Approx 1,200
- 70% Female/30% Male
- Ages 18-24: Approx 2,300 fans
- Ages 25-54: Approx 2,600 fans
What Realtor wouldn't be happy with that? He has attracted a local geographic audience, made up of a homebuyer demographic.
In addition, he has seen huge spikes in the traffic to his real estate blog from his Facebook fan page stating:
Over 2,200 specifically clicked through Facebook fan page to get to my blog in the last 12 days. As a comparison, Facebook sent a total of 33 visitors to my blog between January 1st, 2008 and February 15, 2010.
Before we take a closer look at what Dale has specifically done right with this strategy, it is important to note that his fan page may be against the fan page terms of service, as the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team’s Pants Fan Page found out. As a result, Dale runs the risk of losing administrative access to his fan page. But, the idea has still clearly generated a great level of visibility for Dale, and appears to be a year long project that will have an end (maybe before Facebook cares). And, obviously, there is a consumer interest in what he is doing. So, it seems it is worth the risk, and, maybe I'm wrong about Facebook shutting him down. The point is, with this strategy, Facebook fan page administrators are playing in Facebook's sandbox, and have agreed to their terms of service in order to do so. This strategy has the potential to be deemed a violation of that, giving Facebook the right to do something about it.
However, if you are considering adding this particular strategy to your marketing plan regardless, here are some things to note about Dale's execution of his fan page strategy:
- Dale didn't invite anyone to the site. The growth has been organic and become viral as a result of him providing content that is interesting to his local readers, and them spreading the word for him. In addition, Dale clarified that despite the timeframe overlap with the winter Olympics, the site "growth did not come as a result of Vancouver 2010 Olympics as he only has 11 Canadian fans". This is further evidence that Dale is following the cardinal rule of social media marketing in that he is providing content that speaks to his audience.
- The posts originate on his personal blog. This is important because he owns the content. If he first published his post on his Facebook fan page and Facebook decides to shut his fan page down or remove him as an administrator of the fan page, the access to his content would be gone.
- Because the posts originate on his personal blog, he is getting the SEO credit for them. I'm not an SEO expert (disclaimer!), but conceptually I understand that the site that original content appears is the source that gets credit with the search engines. So, even though this has turned into a brilliant Facebook strategy for Dale, it is also helping out his blog SEO with original, hyper-local content.
- Dale does not sell his real estate services on the Facebook fan page. In fact, he doesn't even mention that the site is provided by a Realtor. On the sidebar of the fan page wall, he does post a great video of himself expressing his "local-ness" to the fan page audience, and telling them who the face behind the fan page is and talk about the concept of the fan page. But, the point is, his fans don't feel they are being sold something. Instead, they are getting something of value from him, that directly supports his expertise as a resource in his market.
- Dale does have a link to his real estate blog on the information page. Although he isn't selling his real estate services, he certainly gives those who are curious to learn more about the face behind the fan page, an outlet to learn more about him by going to his real estate blog.
- He promotes his fan page from his personal Facebook profile with a link to the fan page URL in the sidebar under his photo.
- The conversation on his fan page wall is outstanding. Many of his comments have 20 or more comments. This level of engagement is important as news feed distribution to all fans is no longer guaranteed, and instead is based partly on the level of engagement that fans have with posts. His strong level of engagement makes it far more likely that his posts will be seen by his fans.
Dale's strategy is still an outstanding example of modern real estate marketing. It is creative , unique, and well executed certainly making worthy of agent applause. He is meeting locals and learning new things from the community that contributes to the page. He is creating conversations and engagement on his page. No doubt he has gotten his name out with the local crowd. Congratulations Dale - Agent Applause loves it!
Dale is now 30 days in and up to over 8,000 fans. And, Dale's efforts are yielding him real clients. Dale is working with a buyer he got directly from this strategy. In his own words:
I'm showing condos tomorrow to a buyer who came to me specifically from 365! They are people who sought me out in public during the First Friday Art Walk last week. Thanked me for the site. Emailed me Thursday night (on Day 23) and asked for help.
Dale's page has become so widely successful (now up to 11,724 fans, 162 days in) that he's even had a 9 minute documentary produced regarding his strategy and experience with this page. Check it out!