As a real estate agent, this statistic should impress you: last year, the Pew Research Center found that 80% of Americans between 18 and 49 use Facebook, and most of them daily.
That’s almost your entire demographic.
The site may have aged, but Facebook remains the juggernaut for online networking. And for a network-based business like real estate, it’s truly an unbeatable marketing tool.
It also has a lot of pitfalls—in the coming weeks, we’ll talk about best uses for Facebook. But let’s begin by asking, “Is your business even set up correctly on Facebook?”
Maybe you’re brand new to doing business on the platform, or maybe you want to optimize your account. Either way, we’ll walk you through how to set yourself up like a pro.
Why Create a Business Page?
In an industry where you and your business are one, it’s tempting to use your personal profile to promote your real estate business.
First of all, it violates Facebook’s terms of service and could get you kicked off the site.
But if you’re using a personal profile, you’re missing out on the key benefits of a business page.
Unlike profiles, pages allow you to:
- Optimize visibility on search engines
- See analytics to engage your audience better
- Set up Facebook ad campaigns easily
- Automate posts so that frequent updates aren’t a hassle
- Allow an assistant to update your page with limited permissions
- Hold contests, surveys, and promotions to increase engagement
It’s a no-brainer. But how do you set up a business page and get the most out of it?
Setting Up Your Page: The Basics
You can jump right to creating a page with this direct link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/creation/
Everything you do in this setup wizard can be edited later. Here are the critical pieces:
Why do you care? Page Name serves both user recognition and SEO weight. Facebook will display it everywhere you post or comment, and search engines will use it as the “SEO Title.”
How to do it best? It needs to be clear and concise (for user recognition) with keywords (for SEO).
- Keep it under 45 characters (best for display)
- Use an established website, blog, or business name (if you have one)
- Otherwise, keep it simple with “Your Name, Real Estate Agent”
- Add your specialty if you have one
Why do you care? It helps you show up in the right Facebook searches.
How to do it best? These days, it’s simple: “Real Estate Agent.”
Why do you care? It’s your first impression when interacting with others.
How to do it best? Use a nice head shot—anything else is too impersonal. Also, make sure it’s:
- Professional, polished, and uncluttered
- Sized to 180px square
- A close-up shot (so it’s recognizable when it’s sized down)
- Has nothing important in the corners (it displays as a circle)
Why do you care? Think curb appeal.
How to do it best? Controversial opinion: skip it in the wizard if you don’t have something ready to go. Why? You don’t want to waste “above the fold” space on filler—the rest of your content will just move up.
It’s enormously valuable though, so do come back to it. This guide to best practices will be your best friend for a cover image.
One thing it forgets to mention: avoid copyright infringement! Use images you own the rights to, search for creative commons images, or buy stock photos.
Extra Essentials: What the Wizard Misses
The wizard will tell you that you’re done, but you’re not!
- Pro Tip: If you don’t want your page to be visible until it’s polished, go to Settings and change “Page Visibility” to unpublished. Just don’t forget to make it visible again when you’re ready!
Username / Custom URL
Why do you care? The automatically generated URL is long and forgettable. It’s also not ideal for SEO.
How to do it best? You set your custom URL by choosing a username. You’ll see a link in the upper left, under your page name:
Select your username carefully. It’s technically editable, but changes can cause confusion for your followers.
A few tips:
- Be Consistent: If you have a custom domain for your business (www.AgentYourName.com), mirror it in your username (AgentYourName). It’s better for SEO and brand recognition.
- Be Scannable: Capitalize each individual word of the username; it’s easier for humans to read and remember at a glance (ex: “AgentYourName” vs “agentyourname”).
- Be Compliant: Check Facebook’s username guidelines
The “About Page” Description
Why do you care? The first 155 characters become your meta description on search results. It helps you show up in search results and gives people a reason to click through.
How to do it best? Find the About page on the left-hand sidebar, and look for the Description field under More Info:
For the Meta Description: Craft a 155-character summary of what you specialize in and what you offer. Include 3-4 keywords to help the right customers find you. Definitely, include:
- Your specialty or expertise
- Communities you serve (no more than three locations)
- Your most important value propositions and/or offerings
For example: “I’m a buyer’s agent specializing in San Francisco/Bay Area condos. New-to-town and first-time home buyers, follow me for tips on this tough market!”
That’s 147 characters with plenty of keywords, and it provides a specific value proposition.
Additional Info: You can (and should) include more about your business after the meta description is down. This includes:
- Years of experience
- Affiliations and awards
- Particular services you offer
Our Story: For more visibility, copy your description into the Our Story field as well. Our Story shows up at the top of your page for users to read, but Description is still critical for SEO.
Why do you care? Search results prefer businesses with more complete profiles.
How to do it best? The wizard required a physical address, so that’s done. But while you’re on the About page, we recommend you enter at least:
- Start Date (if several years ago—you don’t want to advertise that you’re a newbie!)
Arrange Your Page
Why do you care? A lot of people won’t scroll down or click any of the links. Put the most valuable stuff at the top.
How to do it best? Facebook allows you to disable or rearrange the links below your profile picture, and the order also impacts the content modules on the page:
You want to put the items in an order that will draw people in. Consider the content you have right now, and the content you intend to add soon.
Go to Settings > Templates and Tabs > scroll down to the list of items (Facebook calls these “Tabs”).
- Disable Unnecessary Tabs. Click a tab’s Settings button, turn the tab “off” and save. We suggest you do this for everything you’re not going to use right away. That’s probably Services, Shop, Offers, and Groups. You can’t remove the main tabs like Posts or Photos.
- Rearrange Tabs. Click and drag the remaining items to bring the most important elements to the top. We suggest this order to start: Home, About, Reviews, Events, Posts, Photos, Videos, Community. Any tab without content will show up as a link on the sidebar, but you won’t see an empty module taking up space in the content.
- Update Tabs As Needed. As you start using Facebook to promote your business, update the tabs to feature what you need. For example, move Events to the top when you’re advertising an open house. You can add tabs back with a button at the bottom of “Templates and Tabs.”
Congrats! You Look Like a Pro!
Your page is optimized and ready for Prime Time. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more Facebook tips for real estate agents—next up, we’ll explain the secret to actually driving business with Facebook.
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