One of the things Realtors most often misunderstand about Facebook is the difference between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page. This post builds upon a prior post that explains the array of Facebook marketing tools that exist for the modern real estate agent. This article is designed to serve as a basis for a Realtor to understand the differences between a Facebook profile and a Facebook official page (two of the most popular tools) so that an effective Facebook marketing strategy can be created. Note that places pages are technically a different product than official pages, but for the purposes of this post, places pages fall into the same category as official pages. The only significant difference between the two products is the inclusion of an address and the deals functionality for places pages. Other than that, places pages and official pages are basically the same.
Profiles and official pages (also commonly referred to as business pages, or fan pages) are as different as apples and oranges. They are often confused however because visually, they look very similar (note – this was true prior to the profile Timeline rollout in December 2011 which makes the profile look much different than pages and helps to alleviate confusion between the two products). In reality, despite their similar appearance, profiles and pages are two totally separate Facebook products with separate terms of service. As a result, they require dramatically different strategies for marketing and business development success.
Harmon Enterprises recommends that the core of a real estate Facebook marketing strategy is the Facebook profile. But the allure of being able to totally segregate personal from professional on Facebook leads many real estate agents to be interested in Facebook business pages. And, when properly utilized as part of a clear Facebook marketing strategy, Facebook pages can be an effective and profitable business tool for Realtors. But, when not understood and poorly planned, both Facebook profile usage and Facebook pages can be ineffective time sucks that yield no productive results for the real estate professional. In order to not go down that path, you must first understand the difference between the two tools.
Identifying a profile and a page:
As a user, it can sometimes be tricky to know if you are looking at a profile or a page in Facebook. The visual appearance of profiles and pages is very similar as the comparison below shows. Both have a main profile image, both have a variety of tabs including a wall tab and an info tab. In addition, both have a photo stream along the top which displays five images as the following example shows:
In this example, it is pretty intuitive to identify that the image on the left is a Facebook profile and the image on the right is a Facebook page because the imagery used for the profile is a person, and the imagery used for the page reflects a brand. In addition, the name for the page on the left is “Stacey Harmon” and the name on the right is “Pixel Coaching”. So, despite looking very similar in structure, it makes sense that the example on the left represents a profile and the example on the right represents a page.
The confusion for most real estate professionals comes in the fact that often in real estate, the brand that is promoted is the individual agent. The agent is the brand. And when an individual agent’s persona is being promoted via a page, many do not realize that a different Facebook marketing product is being utilized as this example from a Realtor who uses both the profile and official pages product on Facebook illustrates:
In this case, Heather has chosen to use a photo of herself as the branding in both locations and her name is the same in both places. If you were to search “Heather Elias” on Facebook you would find both of these examples (although her image may have changed from when these screen captures were taken).
If you look carefully though, there are differences that tell you you are looking at a profile vs. a page. The giveaway is that the terminology used for connecting/connections with the page is different.
Friend vs. Like:
A profile will have verbiage that asks you to “Add as Friend”:
This is in contrast to the verbiage on a page which displays the “Like” button:
So, the vocabulary is different between the two products. Users will “friend” a profile and “like” a page.
In addition, the connections associated with a page and that are visible on the right hand sidebar have different terminology associated with them. On a profile, you’ll see there is a “Friends” header followed by images of the persons friends (subject to the users permission settings) whereas on a page, the sidebar informs you that a certain number of “People Like This”, and you do not have the ability to see who the fans of the page are:
Connection terminology between profiles and pages is not the only difference between profiles and pages. In addition, the terms of service are different. Also, how you communicate with connections is different. As a result, the strategy for success in business must be different.
Profiles are for personal use only. Everything about the Facebook terms of service supports that. The terms of service state that users are allowed to only have one profile. Profiles are intended to reflect a person (you), not a brand. Your personal name should be used on your profile and should not include your company or profession. It is explicitly stated in the terms of service that a profile is not to be used for your commercial gain. For Realtors, this means no posting of listings on their wall or direct solicitations with their profile. The number of friends you can be connected to on your profile is capped at 5,000 (it’s tough for most people to exceed 5,000 friends if they are only using their profile for personal use). In order for someone to see your full profile, you must both agree to become friends. Without mutual acceptance, the full profile is not visible to each party. In addition, the level of profile visibility can be adjusted with privacy settings. And, although both marketing tools have a photo stream at the top of the page, the functionality for this features varies.
Business Development with Your Profile:
Since it is against the terms of service to use your profile for commercial gain, the tactics to develop business using your profile while staying within the terms of service are about two things:
- Making sure the static data on your profile screams “I’m a REALTOR and here is how you can reach me” in a way that works within the Facebook culture and terms of service.
- Engaging with your sphere of influence so that they learn to better know, like, and trust you.
With your profile, the key strategy for success to is interact with your social sphere of influence. The profile is set up to strengthen connections with people you already know. It is best used to network and to socialize with your social farm. Your profile is a modern supplement to your off-line networking opportunities that currently yield you business. Connect to the people you socialize with on the soccer field, at the golf course, at the Chamber of Commerce, as part of your volunteer efforts, or at neighborhood events. You spend a great deal of time off line getting to know people. Over time, this leads to people working with you or referring you business. Your Facebook profile is an outstanding opportunity to do the same thing in a more efficient format.
Facebook Official Pages:
In contrast, official pages are specifically for commercial use and therefore a perfectly appropriate, and Facebook legal place to put your listings and do explicit business development. A page is basically a public website, just under the Facebook umbrella. There are no privacy settings to apply to your page. Google indexes the page, just as if it was a public website. Facebook pages are open and designed to stay that way. Anyone can choose to like your page – you don’t approve them and there are no limits to the number of Facebook users who can like your page.
Hopefully this has clarified the key differences between profiles and pages. As you can see, the differences are significant and highlights that profiles and pages are two very different marketing tools. As such, your strategies for building business with each tool should vary. Still have questions about the differences between profiles and pages? Leave us your questions in the comments.
Up until last week, for Facebook page administrators, it was fairly confusing to know if you were navigating Facebook as the identity of your profile or the identity of your page. But a recently launched user interface update has helped to make this MUCH clearer and is a very helpful Facebook detail to note.
The avatar of your page or profile identity now displays in the Facebook blue search bar. Note that you can flip between the identity of your profile and your page by clicking on the “Use Facebook as [page name]” link on your business page:
This user interface modification makes is much easier to know the identity you are navigating Facebook as when you visit pages and profiles. Now when I am navigating Facebook as the identity of my business page “Harmon Enterprises”, and am looking at another business page this is how it looks:
And this is how it looks when looking at a profile while navigating Facebook as “Harmon Enterprises”:
Understanding this functionality and Facebook feature is part of the foundation for becoming a more effective Facebook marketer as it sets the stage for allowing you to tag other business pages in your business page wall posts, and gives you the foundation for more advanced engagement tactics such as posting as your page, then commenting as yourself (while tagging your Facebook friends to call, or invite, them into your page conversation). Thanks to Facebook for making things visually clearer. We think it is a great user interface improvement.
Interested in Facebook marketing for real estate? Check out a free reply of the Facebook is King webinar featuring our very own Stacey Harmon. She joined Jimmy Mackin and host Chad Hyans of IMSD in an hour long training for ActiveRain University. Although platforms like Google+ are tempting, learn why Facebook is still where the most immediate business opportunities are (it’s still definitely king in real estate social media marketing) and gain insights into best practices for success. This free webinar was presented by Internet Marketing Specialist Designation and ActiveRain University - great tools for strengthening your real estate marketing knowledge.
Get in front of your competition. IMSD certification give you the training and systems you need to win in the world of online lead generation [and access to great webinars just like this one!]. Harmon Enterprises is a proud affiliate and can get you $200 your IMSD membership fee with the code HARMON. Sign up today.
Klout, a service that measures online influence, is getting ready to launch “Topics Pages” and this provides a great opportunity that the savvy real estate agent should be paying attention to. This week I attended an webinar hosted by IMSD where socially savvy REALTOR Ben Kinney (who is also on track to sell 700 houses this year) had a discussion with Megan Berry of Klout about the Klout service and its relevance for the real estate professional. Watch a replay of the IMSD webinar [below]. It’s an outstanding way to get an overview of what Klout is and how it matters to the Realtor.
If you are new to Klout, create a Klout profile here.
As IMSD describes the webinar session:
Why do Klout scores matter in real estate? Imagine you, the Realtor, are faced with the listing presentation question, “What makes you stand apart from Agent X?” Being the real estate marketing guru, you present that seller with your Klout Score along with the Klout Score of the other agent they are interviewing, providing quantifiable PROOF that your influence in the local real estate market is going to help you list and sell their home faster than Agent X.
This interview between Ben Kinney of www.imsd.net and Megan Berry of www.klout.com provides insight into how Klout measures your overall online influence as a real estate agent. Klout scores for real estate are calculated by looking at social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action.
Watch this one hour webinar to learn how Klout scores are determined, the importance of Klout to real estate agents, and future plans for the Klout tool.
Not enrolled in IMSD yet? Enter the promotional code “HARMON” for a $200 discount on this real estate marketing training program developed by Ben Kinney. [Harmon Enterprises is an affiliate because this IMSD is a great training program that teach real estate agents the skill set and philosophies they need to know to stay ahead of the competition and build leads with effective online business practices].
In Facebook page marketing, I see lots of confusion about the difference between the page name and the username (which sets the vanity URL associated with a business page). Here is an illustrated screen shot, with a tutorial video following, which explains the difference between the two, and describes why understanding this is such a critical foundation to have in formulating an effective Facebook page marketing strategy.
Video explaining the difference and showing you where you change/set the page name and username in the Facebook page manager:
Realtors: Are you interested in learning what it takes to have an effective Facebook business page? Learn what you need to know, live and in person from Facebook expert Stacey Harmon. She is teaching a comprehensive Facebook page marketing curriculum on Wednesday, April 20th in Costa Mesa, California. **Also, just added – repeat of this course in Glendale, CA on Thursday, May 5th, 2011**
Check out these testimonials from Realtor’s who have attended Stacey’s prior Facebook training:
- Great stuff – I always take away so much to market my business – You’re the best!!” – Mike Didelot, Keller Williams, Dana Point, CA
- Great job. Lots of meat. Great tips. Lots of concrete stuff - loved it. - Heidi Brown, First Team Real Estate
- “Stacey is articulate and more importantly, engaging and dynamically informative. I love to learn and Stacey really makes it fun.” – Nick Segal, Partners Trust Founding Partner & President, Beverly Hills, CA
The curriculum is broken up into two 2.5 hours courses. You may sign up for both, or for one class or the other, depending on your Facebook page education needs. Full details about the two courses and registration can be found here.
Stacey Harmon has a new affiliation with REALTOR® University, the webinar training center for the National Association of Realtors (N.A.R.). N.A.R. runs weekly webinars for real estate and Stacey has joined on to provide social media and Facebook training. Her first webinar is Tuesday, December 14th at 8:00 am PDT. The topic is Facebook Marketing Foundations for REALTORS®.
Are you using Facebook for real estate business development? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page for your business? Is your Fan Page struggling to gain traction?
If you are a Realtor and can identify with any of the following:
- You’d like to use Facebook to build your professional network and promote your real estate expertise
- You are uncomfortable with expanding your network of friends to include prospects and clients because of concerns about, privacy, photos and other personal details they may see.
- You want to promote your listings without violating Facebook’s Terms of Service
- You want to use Facebook to help you land on the first page of Google
…then a Facebook Official Fan Page is for you. This Friday (May 7, 2010), I (Stacey Harmon) will be teaching a webinar on Facebook Fan Page Strategies for Realtors designed to give real estate professionals a successful foundation for using Facebook to promote and grow their real estate business.
This 90 minute webinar will:
- Cover why Facebook is a business development opportunity not to be overlooked by Real Estate agents
- Explain why having a Facebook fan page is a great tool for a modern Realtor
- Orient you to the fan page terms of service and discuss how to not get demoted to a “community page”
- Cover the nuts and bolts of how to set up a fan page
- Introduce you to multiple strategies for using fan pages for real estate business development
- Provide multiple examples of Realtor fan pages for you to model your fan page after
IMPORTANT EXPECTATION SETTING INFORMATION: To get the most out of this webinar, you need to be familiar with the Facebook interface and how to navigate around it, or this webinar training will move too quickly for you. If you are a Facebook newbie, you may prefer to attend one of my future “Facebook 101 for Real Estate” webinars. Stay in the loop by registering here to receive details about upcoming webinars and training.
Facebook Fan Page Strategy For Realtors Webinar Details:
- Where: Online webinar hosted by Tomato University – Login from anywhere you have an internet connection!
- When: Friday, May 19th, 2010, starting at 11:00am PST/2:00 pm EST.
- How Long: 90 minutes
- Cost: $20
- Register from the course page at Tomato University
About the Presenter:
Stacey Harmon trains on social media marketing, a lot. And, recently she trains on Facebook for Real Estate Business Development, a lot. Take a look at where she has been speaking over the past year (all over California and the a few other states as well). Also, people really tend to like her Facebook training. In fact, they are willing to let us post their raving feedback on this site. Check it out for yourself. If you still want to learn more about Stacey, check out her bio on Harmon Enterprises, or her Professor bio at Tomato University.