Using Facebook to Achieve Wealth and Fame. Or not.

First, apologies to the 9 people that read this blog for not posting in so long. Stuff happens…

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is, at this very moment in time, talking to some real estate types about their “internet presence,” a topic near and dear to me.

These agents apparently have been told, instructed, or have in some way come to the conclusion that a Facebook Page is all they need to, “be successful on the Internet.”

No website/blog. I’m assuming no other social media presence. Just a Facebook page. That’s all you need!

Hogwash.

First, let’s get this point out of the way…

You don’t need any internet presence to be successful in real estate, or anywhere in life for that matter (unless maybe you make a living selling things exclusively via the Internet). There are roughly 589,386 real estate agents across the country who do a great business that have zero internet presence. Hell, some don’t even have an email address (or never answer emails if they do…).

So if some “guru” stands on high and says, “You cannot succeed in real estate without a blog!” I respectfully suggest you rise, exit the room and drive away. You might also ask for a refund of your seminar fee. ‘Cause the guy spouting that nonsense is full of shit.

But, if you do want to be found on the Internet, using a Facebook page, and only a Facebook page is as big a waste of time as listening to Mr. Social Media Marketing Guru.

Fact One

People don’t go to Facebook to search for homes. People go to Facebook to play Farmville, to see pictures of their grandkids, to post quotes, and to socialize with their Facebook “friends”. Oh sure, they may well pose the question on their Wall, “anyone know a good real estate agent?” But if you jump in there with some “Pick me! Pick me!” smarmy sales-speak-laden comment, you will be (rightfully) smacked upside your virtual head. And probably “unfriended”. Good. You should be.

Fact Two

No one gives a crap about your Facebook Page. The relentless posting of homes listed for sale, the links to articles about the real estate market, the incessant, “Please Like my page!” requests — none of that matters. People. Don’t. Care.

Fact Three

No one is seeing your Facebook Page that they don’t give a crap about. If you insist on believing that all you need is a Facebook Page to dominate the online space, you owe it to yourself to understand — at least at some basic level — Edgerank. Edgerank is how Facebook determines what shows up in your News Feed — that little place where the vast majority of Facebook users play.

There are a gazillion articles out there about Edgerank. Google is your friend.

Fact Four

You are not Coca-Cola, Nike or Oprah. I’ve actually heard “guru’s” say moronic things like, “Look at what Coca-Cola does on Facebook! They have over 36 million Likes!”

Well of course they do. They are Coca-Cola. You are not. You’ll be ahead of 99% of real estate agents if you get 1,000 Likes on your Page. And 950 of those will be other agents that liked your Page because you liked theirs. The vast majority of those will never return to your Page, or comment on it, or Like any updates (all of which adds to your Edgerank).

How do I achieve wealth and fame on Facebook?

If you equate “wealth” to your checking account balance, more than likely you are going to be quite disappointed in the “wealth” you¬†achieve¬†via Facebook. On the other hand, if you consider meeting people, networking, learning, laughing and sharing as “gaining wealth” then you may just be in for quite a ride.

Fame? Meh.

My tips, for what they are worth, are pretty simple.

Be yourself. Fake personas are easy to establish online, and exceedingly difficult to do offline. No one likes a phony. People will either like you, or not. You can’t please everyone, so who cares about those that don’t like you.

Don’t worry about the numbers. It’s not a contest to see who has the most “friends” or subscribers. You can have a rich and rewarding experience on Facebook with five friends, and a miserable experience with 5,000.

Share, but don’t overshare. See above, and stop with the incessant status updates. I’ve seen people make 15, 20, 50 status updates a day. Every day. I don’t really see that any more, because I “unfriend” those that flood the news feed. It’s not personal, it’s time management.

Don’t be offended by the term (or action) “unfriend”. That word, unfriend, sounds so harsh. Just because we aren’t “friends” on Facebook doesn’t mean we can’t be friends were it counts — in real life. If you use Facebook to do nothing but play Farmville or Mafia Wars, well good for you. You enjoy that, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t use Facebook that way, so when I get no interaction from you other than a Farmville invite twice a day, I’m going to “unfriend” you — but we may still be BFF’s in real life. A Facebook unfriend is nothing to get twisted out of shape about.

Use lists. What may be the single most powerful feature on Facebook is probably the most under-utilized feature. Lists are powerful. When Google+ initially rolled out, I can’t count how many times I heard people say, “Finally! I can send a message only to certain people! G+ Circles rock!” Well, Facebook Lists let you do exactly the same thing and they were available before Plus was a twinkle in Google’s eye. Use Lists. You can direct messages and interact with very specific groups of people. It’s like…. online networking.

Don’t sell. Ever. Please, I beg of you. It’s OK to let people know what you do for a living, your living is a large part of who you are. But you don’t need to be jamming it down people’s throats. That doesn’t play well in the social media space, never has, never will, and you’re not going to change that. So don’t do it.

Facebook is an interesting beast. Is it the yellow brick rod to untold business success? Hardly. Is it a powerful networking tool? Could be. Is it fun? It is if you let it be.

But, if you want a true “internet presence” in the real estate space, one that generates prospects that can become clients, a Facebook Page — and only a Facebook Page — is not the answer.

Inspired in part by this great post from NikNik.