Why bother with Facebook Pages?

Call me crazy (you won’t be the first), but I think Facebook nailed it with their updated news feeds and new functionality of their Facebook Pages. But before I can explain why, I need to give some background on the difference between a Facebook Page (also called a Public Profile) and the standard Facebook Profile.

A Facebook Page is geared toward giving businesses, brands, public figures, etc. a way to engage an audience on Facebook. With a Standard Facebook Profile, you make “friends” and engage with people on a very one-to-one level. With a Facebook Page, people become “fans” of your page, which doesn’t require you to connect with them at all… In many ways, it becomes a “broadcast” tool similar to twitter, but like twitter, you’ll need to engage with others, be interesting, etc. in order to get any real value out of the tool…

And here’s where it gets interesting…

Like a Standard Profile, Facebook Pages allow you to give status updates, share links, create videos, host discussion boards, and generally interact with other people (your “fans” in this case) in much the same way you might interact with them if you were friends. To get an idea of how you might use features like this, check out my Facebook Page:

fb-pageIf you check out my “wall”, you should notice that since I created the page a few days ago, I’ve left status updates, recorded videos, shared links and generally interacted with people in much the same way I might interact with people using my “personal” profile… (note: you’ll need to be logged into Facebook to see all of the updates)

However, this begs an obvious question… if these Facebook Pages are just like your personal profiles, why bother?

I can think of three reasons:

  • Unlike a standard profile, Facebook Pages are public and get indexed by the search engines
  • With a Page, you *can* send updates to an unlimited number of fans, whereas (I’m pretty sure) Facebook limits you to sending messages to 20 friends at a time
  • Because people become “fans” of a page, you won’t need to follow them back in order to have them follow you

This last point is extremely important to me because as I hit up near 1000 friends, my news feed is getting pretty polluted with updates from people I have no connection to other than we both travel in online real estate circles.

Interestingly, I reached the point on Twitter where there was too much noise a few months ago when I was following around 1000 people. At that point, I would see so many automated tweets (i.e. “just posted on ActiveRain…”, “view my latest blog post at …” and “view my latest listing at…”) that reading my twitter feed felt like a chore.

At one point, I unfollowed a ton of people (over 700), and now that I much more cautious about how I follow, my twitter experience has improved 10-fold as it’s now much easier for me to follow and engage in interesting and (sometimes) meaningful conversations…

Returning to Facebook

Going forward, I’m going to be using my Facebook Page to give online marketing and online real estate tips, links, videos, etc, and my Personal Facebook Profile to connect with family and close friends. While it might seem a bit mean, over the next few weeks, I’m going to “unfriend” a bunch of folks (probably hundreds) whom I simply do not have a personal connection to…

Obviously, I highly encourage anyone reading this post (that means YOU!) to become a fan of my page… and order to give you some encouragement, I can tell you that my plan is to keep the page interesting and worthy of your attention by posting a steady stream of social media links, commentary and videos in a similar (but cleaner!) way that that I was using the 4realz Hotlist.

In the big picture, I’m going to continue to reserve dustinluther.com for my “big” ideas, and share my little insights over on my FB Page.

One more thing…

If you made it this far on this long post, I figure you must be a glutton for punishment, so I thought I’d indulge you with a video I posted yesterday on my Facebook page. This video highlights 6 ways Facebook Pages excite me in a similar way that business blogging did nearly 4 years ago when I started Rain City Guide:

n20186119572_5897jpgP.S. Did I mention that Scotty Brown and I both published our pages around the same time (over a cup of coffee the other day)? He thinks that just because he’s a Reality TV star he’s gonna end up with more fans than me. We can’t let that happen, can we? Go become a fan!

P.P.S. I also want to thank some of the folks who first signed up to be my “fans” like Alex Scoble, Scotty Brown, Cecilia Camps, Bob Maiocco, Susie Blackmon, Ines Hegedus-Garcia and Victor Lund. Each and every one of you rock! ;)

33 thoughts on “Why bother with Facebook Pages?

  1. hmmm… not sure what you’re seeing on your page. For me, I have an “info” tab on my page and I’m given the ability to edit that page (at little edit icon shows up in the top-right when I’m on the page). Can you show me your page?

  2. I can see the value of FB Pages but I think a lot of people (myself included)
    are stuck on the … I’ve got my page, NOW WHAT!

    The ease of use (your #1 point) is defenitely a plus point.

    I think the problem a lot of people see/have is they want traffic to come back to their site so they can at least possibly see a result of their efforts.

    Yes you can see results with your FB Page.

    I think really where I get stuck and many others also do is..

    I’ve got enough FREAKING work to do, now i’ve got to do a FB page also

    What’s harder to explain is I can’t even put my finger on my exact point.
    Am I having SocMed burn out?

    Maybe it’s because I haven’t spent much time on FB and I think I’ll do that for the next couple of days and see where it gets me

    Loren

  3. Loren: The “now what?” question is a great one…

    The marketer in me says, figure out who you want to reach and then do everything you can to reasonably appeal to them… For me, this involves providing videos, status updates, links and the occasional photo.

    With FB Pages, blogging, twitter and just about every other social media tool, you’d be making a mistake by starting with what you want everyone to know about you… because that often appeals to only you.

    To give one example, on my page, I want to appeal to people who are exploring out to use social media tools for business. So, I’m going to continue to give them updates, links, videos, etc on the topic on the hope that they will enjoy, engage and share the information. Of course, at the end of the day, I’m looking to get more business in the social media space, but if I spend my time telling folks about “me” and my business, then I can be pretty sure to consistently appeal to a crowd of one.

    In terms of the social media burn-out, I’m right with you… I haven’t been excited about much in a while… that is until the new FB Pages hit. The potential seems so huge to me, and there’s such a mainstream appeal to the tools that I’m definitely excited to explore different ways to use this tool for marketing.

  4. I’m becoming more and more of a Fan of the Pages daily.

    I started my first page just to be able to create upcoming events.
    I can then create an ad from that event or blast directly to the members of the group.

    I can also place specific items there that might be lost in the stream of my wall. Example: I was interviewed on a local TV channel last night. Not only is the Event highlighted in the page, I just added part one of the interview. The show uploaded a quick and dirty video to YouTube and I put it right inside my Page.

    Hey Scotty – I’ll be a fan of yours any day!
    http://bit.ly/nUKp

  5. Thanks Mike for your feedback! I didn’t know you had a page, but now that I do, I just added it to my Page’s favorites! :) I agree that the messaging is potentially extremely powerful… especially in the long run assuming we build up a decent size base of fans.

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  7. Dustin, You’ve convinced me (again)… so I now have a Facebook page… I was a little confused over what type of page to set up (local, brand/product, or personality).

    I guess on my blog, I should be promoting my Page instead of my Profile? I like that the page gives me a venue to be more professional.

  8. Facebook is a minor client management tool at best. It continually baffles me that people in the RE industry view it as a primary means of lead generation and self promotion.

    The tool that will make real impact on the real estate industry in the next twelve to twenty-four months is brokage adoption of Microsoft Communications Server and agent use of an application called Office Communicator, yet you hear almost nothing about either of these.

  9. Bob,

    I agree that FB makes a lousy client management tool, so you’re clearly interpreting the post wrong since I’m not talking about using it in that way.

    Nonetheless, I’ll bite… What makes Office Communicator so revolutionary?

    A quick glance at the product page on Microsoft makes it look like their answer to Google Apps. But Google Apps is free, so I’d hope it offers more than integrated chat and VoiP?

  10. Bob & Dustin,

    I’ll take a jab at the Office Communicator and Communications Server.

    I do not see a traditional brokerage ever adopting the above technologies, and I push a lot of MS technologies.

    The problem with a traditional brokerage is that every agent is an indepedent contractor and not an employee. With that being the case every agent is pretty much allowed to use whatever technology they want therefore not every agent will adopt the office’s chosen platform because they don’t have to.

    From my limited reading of Offfice communicator and Server it is basicly an enterprise version of MSN Messenger that ties into the enterprise environment. This tool would probably require to much work to explain how an agent could use it with a consumer (if at all possible)

    End point. It’s not free as other solutions are either free or relatively very low cost and inter operates with what consumers are using anyways.

    As mush as I love MS products I don’t see it becoming widely used by brokerages

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  13. Ok…I get it. I see the benefits. But I think that a lot of people fall into the “ooh this is shiny” and “cool” phase, they sign up, and then don’t make the most of it (no engagement, and ultimately derive no value). Am I right or am I being harsh here?

    Anyway, I so I get the benefits of having a Facebook Page, but let’s talk about who **shouldn’t** have/or get a Facebook Page. What do you think?

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  16. Thanks for all the solid info, and not to be too critical but nobody is joining Facebook to actually buy anything. Plenty of people on there trying to sell stuff already, and they largely get blocked, dropped or hidden.

    Have you actually made a single sale because of your involvement with Facebook? I’m not intending to be harsh, just realistic.

    The Facebook pages may get indexed by search engines, but so do standard web pages, and a well done standard web page gives a much more professional impression to a potential buyer than a Facebook page. This hype was all applied to Myspace previously, and I don’t think it’s been proven to be a rousing commercial success as a substitute or even supplement to other marketing strategies. Fine for Myspace: selling ads, and great for lonely teenagers but I don’t think a lot of houses are being sold there.

    Just my 2 cents, of course “your results may vary”.

    • The short answer: Yes.

      Personally, I’ve definitely made money because of my Facebook page. I may be the exception, but I’m also not trying to sell a widget. For example, yesterday I ran a movie promotion with Facebook using my Spinnio tool for the movie Food, Inc. I can tell you that unless I had created a page and understood how to use it to drive traffic to a FB event, I would never have gotten the job… and the people who hire me to run these productions look at some of the other pages I run before contacting me to help them out.

      However, I don’t think your question is really geared toward someone like me, but rather someone more like a real estate agent. I’d guess that very few real estate agents have made any money on FB because they’re going about it wrong and treating it like an SEO opportunity similar to the sentiment in your comments.

      Making money on FB involves getting your fans and/or friends to be your advocates toward their friends for your service. The tricks to this are beyond the scope of this comment, but none of it is brain surgery… mostly just common sense strategies that get people talking on your page so that your content is being shared with their friends.

  17. I am having a problem with Facebook that perhaps you can give me insight into.

    Recently I created a page for business (no profile-by choice).
    The address is http://www.facebook.com/pages/MPI-Label-Systems/117070082648

    The problem I’m having is that when I click on this link from any computer, it seems I have to be logged in to view them. I want to be able to use the address & put a link on our website, etc. I’ve seen a lot of other url’s looking just like this one (/pages/name/number) that does not have to be logged in to view.

    Do you have any idea how I can resolve this?

  18. Opps! Just found the resolve for this after 3 days of searching. I had selected over 18 & when I changed that, then it allowed it to be public.

    • Sheri: I’m not really sure, but it sounds like you might have to have a FB profile in order to add many of the apps. I know it’s possible to create a FB Page without having a FB Profile, but I’ve never tried to do that.

      • Hmmm…and yet there is a scary warning about losing your privileges if you create a profile but are not an actual person…

        Do you know how I can get help from facebook on this? Their help pages are difficult to filter.

        Thanks in advance!

    • Sheri,
      I have created a page (business page) for MPI.
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/MPI-Label-Systems/117070082648
      Mine is just that, a page & not connected to a profile. It’s pretty limited without a profile. You cannot use any of the apps. You also cannot get the shorter username when you hit 100 fans unless you have a profile.

      The above mentioned is the negative side of not having a profile. The positive side of not having it tied to a profile is that it can still stay in tack if an employee leaves the company. Then it can be the company page instead of the person the profile belongs to. It is also more professional.

      Hope this is helpful for you.

      • Jean, THANK YOU – I thought I was missing something. It is annoying not being able to get to the apps, but I, too, do not want to tie the page I created for my employer to my personal account. Did facebook miss the boat on this one? I still haven’t figured out how to contact them for “support.”

        Thanks again!
        Sheri

        • I have never actually found a support email address either, but have sent several requests to info@facebook.com. It doesn’t bounce, but they’ve never answered either. I’ve sent an email twice asking them to make the username available for all business pages (without profile). Maybe if enough people ask, they will consider the change.

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