I’m so happy to see that REALTOR® Associations have grasped onto the opportunity to engage members using a new form of media other than print advertising. The number of REALTORS® participating now is staggering and the number continues to grow as each takes a proactive role to communicate using Facebook.
As a rule of marketing, communication, and advertising principles one must continually look at the system to see how they may improve over time. Let’s examine the top ten mistakes REALTOR® Associations make with their Facebook page.
Created page with REALTOR® Association personal profile. Facebook has terms and conditions of service that only allow for one personal profile. Many associations, when first starting to learn how to use Facebook, created a personal profile to keep their personal and office life separate. Furthermore, the Facebook fan page was created from the REALTOR® Association personal profile and now there are two which confuse anyone who has become a friend or a fan of the page. The page created from the REALTOR® Association profile cannot be reassigned since the profile is the owner of the page. The REALTOR® Association must start over from scratch and remarket their page to their members.
Member created page. Whoever created the Facebook fan page is the owner and admin of the page. Additional administrators can edit the settings and operate the page but whoever created the page cannot remove themselves as the owner. For example, Susie (a member) created the REALTOR® Association Facebook fan page because she serves as the committee chair and actively participates in Facebook. a few weeks later she learns that she is moving out of town because her husband is relocating with his job. Susie is left as the owner and cannot be removed unless the ENTIRE REALTOR® Facebook fan page is deleted.
Integration of RSS feeds and Applications. There are at least 6 different RSS feeds that you can directly import into the Facebook fan page so that a staff member does not have to update content on a regular basis. Example RSS feeds include:
Posting to the wall without links. Event notices, blurbs, flyers, and other webpages are referenced on the wall at times but not linked directly to provide the member with more information. The wall is a great place to keep members in the loop about current news however it is essential to link to other forms of content to deliver real value. Examples of content that can be shared by using links include blog posts (WordPress), online documents (Box.net), PowerPoint presentations (SlideShare), YouTube videos, photos, etc.
Not marketing their page. Just because the REALTOR® Association has a page doesn’t mean that members will look for it to become a fan. Let me ask you this… What good is it to have a page with 1 fan? The fan page has now become a marketing, communication and advertising tool to build value within the organization. If you are serious about using the fan page to build value within the organization then you must be serious about marketing the page.
Here’s how you can market the REALTOR® Association Facebook fan page.
- Include link on all staff email signatures.
- Include link on header/sidebar/footer of the main website or blog.
- Include link on all email marketing campaigns
- Ask each board of director to have a Facebook marketing session in which they sit down in front of a computer for an hour and invite their other REALTOR® friends, colleagues, affiliates, and members.
Educating membership about Facebook. There are still roughly more than 50% of REALTORS® who are not using Facebook because they have not taken the time to set it up, learn the system, or do not know of any resources for how to learn to use the tool. Host an event at the association, bring in a speaker, or have a Facebook resource section on the REALTOR Association website that has videos, PowerPoint presentations, and online resources to learn more.
Managing risk effectively. The REALTOR® Association Facebook fan page has the ability to control who can contribute content to the page, share links, videos, pictures, and comments. Some associations are afraid that members will post something that could be harmful to the association or not consistent with their message. Furthermore, they may contend that it takes hours to manage the fan page for messages posted that are not consistent to the message the association is trying to deliver. The reality is that any posting is a direct reflection of the individual and 99.5% of people are professional in their online communication. Worried about the 0.5%? I strongly recommend having a staff member (Chief Communications Officer) read and monitor the page for validity of statements but this should take more than an extra 5 minutes a day which in fact is another form of communication other than email. Sharing content and comments is a good thing.
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