How to make profitable connections on Facebook

Facebook, for real estate agents, is a useful tool to make profitable connections.

Facebook can be lots of fun. It allows us to connect with long-lost school friends, work colleagues and share what we’re up to with our kids.

But it can also waste a lot of time!

Rather than aimlessly friending, liking and commenting it’s worth making sure that you use Facebook for maximum impact. With that in mind, here are 11 ways you can use Facebook to help you build strong, profitable relationships quickly.

1. Know why you’re on Facebook

Some people use Facebook to spy on their kids. Others are there to catch up with old school friends. What’s your reason? If it’s just for fun, be clear about that. But if you plan to use Facebook to help you make more sales and get more listings, get clear about that too.

The reason you’re on Facebook will determine who you’ll connect with and how you’ll behave. It’s smart to be clear about that reason up front.

2. Make sure your profile conveys the right message

People want to connect with people who have something worthwhile to say. If your Timeline is full of Farmville games, photos of cute kittens and snarky complaints about your spouse, potential clients are unlikely to want to add you as a friend. Do some housekeeping so that your profile conveys the right message about you and your personal brand.

3. Don’t friend people just because Facebook recommends someone as a friend

Remember, it’s not about the number of friends you have, it’s about the quality of those connections. With a tighter network your posts will be more relevant to more people and they’ll create deeper, more meaningful conversations.

In addition, a tight network will provide you with a more enjoyable newsfeed experience. What you see in your newsfeed will be more relevant to you and will lead you to comment on and like other people’s posts. The more you do that, the closer you’ll become.

4. Use Facebook’s Find Friends function

Facebook provides some neat functionality that allows you to match your Outlook contacts with people on Facebook. If they’re in your contacts database you probably know them and may have already done business with them. Adding them as a friend gives you another opportunity to build the relationship.

5. Friend strategically

Before sending or accepting a friend request, ask yourself: Will this person add value to my network? Adding someone you don’t know who lives on the other side of the country probably won’t help you get another listing in your farming area.

6. But keep your social networking fun

Remember, Facebook should be fun. If you’re all strategy and no fun, Facebook will become a chore. As a result you won’t enjoy it and won’t do it well.

7. Send a personal note to people you haven’t met

When you send a friend request to someone you haven’t met, it’s polite to send them a direct message letting them know why you’re wanting to connect. Be real. People can pick a fake a mile off. Be aware that the message will probably end up in their Other inbox and may be overlooked, so be patient.

8. Add influencers in your patch

If you’re involved with your local community you’re already part of an established social network. You probably already know the local hairdresser, barista and gift store owner. These people are always talking to locals and their opinions often carry plenty of weight. They may not own a home in your patch but they know people that do.

Ask them if they’re on Facebook and accepting friend requests. If so, add them and make sure to interact with their posts regularly. Do the same with people on the committee of your kids’ soccer club or members of your gym. Once you’ve established an offline relationship taking it online is easy.

Building a strong relationship with these local influencers usually leads to referral business.

9. Create a group for your local community

Are you the captain of the soccer club? Do you serve on the committee of the local P&C? If so, start a closed Facebook group where you and your team or committee members can communicate and hold virtual meetings.

The advantage of groups is that you don’t have to all be friends to participate. Over time though, regular interactions on groups usually lead to becoming Facebook friends.

But don’t stop there!

Look for opportunities to take the relationship offline whenever possible. If you’re unwilling to have a coffee with someone then you probably shouldn’t have added them as a Facebook friend in the first place.

10. Realise that interactions with other agents can send a false signal to Facebook

On Facebook the more you interact with someone the more of that person you’ll see in your newsfeed. If you interact a lot with other agents, that’s who Facebook will think you’re interested in. Guess what! Agents are unlikely to want to employ you to sell their home. Instead, focus on engaging with people who can help you achieve your goals.

On the flip side are agents who friend other agents, especially ones they don’t know or don’t like – then do nothing. Unless your Facebook friendship is going to lead to a more co-operative relationship or referral business ask yourself if sending a false signal to Facebook is working in your longterm interests.

11. Remember that Facebook friendship isn’t the end game

The real work doesn’t happen on Facebook. Sure, Facebook gives you the opportunity to create friendships and strengthen existing ones, but it’s not the end game. Instead, agents should always be looking for opportunities to communicate with people on the phone or, better still, face-to-face. It’s there that truly lasting relationships happen.

Leave a comment if you have a tip that’s worked for you.

Image by USFWF Headquarters via Flickr.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+

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