By Debbie Hanlon

We all want to be liked, that’s just human nature. Getting people to like you really isn’t that hard. If you’re nice to them, act sensible when they’re around and generally just treat them like you’d want to be treated, people will like you. But what if people have never met you? What if they don’t know how nice you are? What if they don’t even have a clue that you’re sensible? How do you get them to like you, or more specifically, like your Facebook page? That’s one of the new problems I had to wrestle with when I re-entered the real estate world – how to best use social media to promote myself and attract business.

Six months ago, my business Facebook page was languishing in obscurity with less than 500 likes. It was covered with digital dust and cobwebs. The only thing missing was tumbleweeds blowing across it and a background of crickets chirping.



So how was I going to revive it and breathe life back into it? First, I did what I always do, I checked to see what the competition was doing. As I sort of suspected, there pages were filled with things about real estate: properties they had for sale and lease, properties they’d sold, shared stories from other sites about real estate and some even had the occasional industry-themed comic.

I searched further and looked at business pages from other sales-driven industries and found the pattern was much the same. It was as though they were using their Facebook page as an advertisement for themselves and their services. And, while getting that message out there is essentially what any Facebook business page is, your success or failure often comes down to how that message is presented. If a salesperson can’t make their page stand out, how are they going to make a client’s property stand out? That alone is reason enough to rethink how you’re doing your page if you fall into that category. If your page is neglected like mine was for months, or you haven’t started one yet, presentation is something you must keep at the forefront of your mind with every post you make.

When I rebooted my page, I started with the knowledge that real estate would be a small part of it. I hardly ever talk about real estate to this day on my Debbie Hanlon Real Estate page. What do you post about if not real estate? Your page name has two parts, just like mine, your name and your profession, so if you’re not posting about your profession what’s left? That’s right, you present yourself to the world.

As always in real estate, you’re not selling houses, you’re selling you. All your posts should be positive. That presents you as a positive person. And just like you, some should be funny, some heart-wrenching, some beautiful and some silly. You want them to “like” your posts because then you can go in and by just checking who liked, it shows the list with an “invite to like your page” button. Click, you’ve noticed they liked your post and you’re inviting them to like your page. That simple. Do they all like it? Of course not, but 100 per cent of those who click like do so because you hit that button that most people don’t know exists.

As we all know, before you can get someone’s business, first you must get their attention. All the real estate stuff just doesn’t do that. So, while people may like your page, to keep them coming back you must engage with them. You can’t be just a salesperson showing pictures of houses and stories that people may simply not be interested in. Keep your posts positive and endearing and capture page likes from post likes.

There’s one other thing you have to do with your Facebook page to really kick in the likes and generate genuine engagement that does lead to business: you must run contests. In my next column, I’ll walk you through how to run them, how to engage with participants, how to drive entries up and how to get your Facebook page working for you for a whole lot less money than you’d expect. Until then, sell a lot of properties and like my page.

Debbie Hanlon is the owner broker and Realtor at Debbie Hanlon Real Estate, a new boutique brokerage in St. John’s, Nfld. She is also a motivational speaker, real estate coach, author, former city councillor and children’s entertainer. She lives in St. John’s with her husband, Oral Mews and her dog Fisher.

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