The Advertising Agency
for Today's Serious
Real Estate Professional

Branding and Social Media: Turning Facebook and Twitter’s Branding and Marketing Capabilities into Real Estate Lead Generators.

The key to success in social media marketing is to break out of the mold and differentiate yourself with your own personal brand. We’ll show you how.

We’ve all heard the Facebook horror stories: Profile pictures of so-called “professionals” with drinks in their hand or a goofy pose better reserved for private viewing, not public consumption.

In this social media-driven age, too many agents tend to get sloppy when it comes to their Facebook and Twitter profiles. Like any other marketing you do, the first impression you make on Facebook or Twitter is very important. If it’s not favorable, you’re going to repel people. Failing to take the time to really think about what your profile is conveying can be detrimental to your business.

The good news is that new graphic capabilities now allow for greater flexibility and increased professionalism and branding, and in this article, we’ll show you how to make the most of these new options.

Content is King
The first rule of thumb for social media marketing is to offer something of substance. Your Facebook and Twitter pages can’t be facades – they must deliver valuable information to prospective clients without being overtly “salesy.” They need personal content that is both professional and engaging.

Once you have and are offering good quality content and data, the next step is tying it all together with high-quality branding. Let’s start by taking a look at how you can convey your unique brand on Facebook.

Facebook Follies
For a site designed to express your individuality, Facebook itself sure lacks for personality. Think about it – for the most part, one person’s Facebook page looks pretty much like everybody else’s Facebook page.

Until now, that is.

Breaking out from Facebook’s anonymous aesthetic starts with the simplest of options, your profile picture. In the past, this image was limited to 200 x 200 pixels, but now it can be up to 600 pixels tall. An extra 400 pixels isn’t going to turn you into a social media dynamo, but it’s a good start to differentiate yourself, and it allows you more flexibility to convey your brand rather than just a square mugshot.

Here are a few examples of how to best take advantage of the extra territory:

Deborah Herridge Facebook Profice Picture Christopher Small Facebook Profie Picture

Once you have updated your profile picture yet to include your branding, it’s time to get a little more involved. One great feature Facebook offers but not many people take advantage of is the “fan page.” This is a separate page from your profile page that allows you to customize the graphic appearance of your page. Check out what Dean Martin has done with the “Welcome” tab of his fan page:

Dean Martin Facebook Welcome Page

This rich graphic presentation sets the tone for Dean’s Facebook presence and allows him to provide additional resources to the prospective clients who visit his page, all wrapped up with the high-quality graphics he uses on his marketing materials. Furthermore, a branded social media site indicates that you’re serious about your career and plays into the emotional connections people forge through social media. When someone finds you on Facebook, they feel a stronger connection to you. And when your Facebook is branded with professional graphics and contains quality content that sets you apart from others, it serves as validation of your quality as an agent.

Creating A Sense of Community
Your Facebook fan page also provides another benefit. Over time, as you drive more clients and past clients to your fan page, a group will form. Think of the impact of a prospective client discovering your Facebook fan page, only to find a collection of loyal fans all singing your praises. The “group” aspect will resonate strongly with that prospective client, causing a desire to join the community by becoming your client.

What’s more, the members of that group, who are all bonded by their common support of you, develops a sense of community. This allows you to “rally the troops” or disseminate valuable information to your most loyal clients and customers easily and effectively.

Joining the Tweet Elite
Twitter allows for a little more customization with templated background patterns and various color palettes to choose from. But even the best of those options can’t match up to a truly custom background image. Birmingham, Alabama’s Peggy Lucas has done an excellent job of integrating her brand into her Twitter page:

Peggy Lucas Branded Twitter Page

Keep It Simple
When branding your social media pages, don’t get too ambitious. Instead, keep things simple. Use a nice photo of yourself, your logo, your contact information and perhaps a recognizable graphic element from your campaign. The last thing you want to do is come on too strong and scare people off. If your branding is too garish or poorly designed, it will feel like an ad. In social media marketing, it’s essential that you remember the “social” aspect of it – your Facebook and Twitter pages shouldn’t feel like ads. You cannot try to sell people right away. You first need to earn their respect and trust, or you will be shunned if you come on too strong. Integrating your branding into your social media helps build trust faster by making you more credible.

Getting Technical
What prevents some people from customizing their Facebook and Twitter pages with their branding is that they simply don’t know how to create the files required by each platform. Some Facebook customization options do require what is known as “Static FBML” coding, so unless you’re a technical wiz, it’s best to leave your branding to an expert. Don’t let this be the cause for not customizing your page, however. (If you need help, call us.)

Don’t Get Left Behind
More and more major companies are turning to social media integration to connect with prospective clients and build strong fan bases. A television campaign for Del Taco leads viewers not to the company’s website, but their Facebook page, where you can access additional, exclusive content. Starbucks and Coca-Cola are huge players in social media as well.

The moral? Social media is here to stay, and it’s not good enough to simply have a generic Facebook or Twitter page anymore. Integrate your brand into your social media and use it to truly differentiate yourself from the competition.

Did You Know?
For the assistance of our clients, Hobbs/Herder has been at the forefront of Facebook and Twitter branding for real estate agents. If you’re still confused or would simply prefer to leave your social media branding to the pros, visit www.hobbsherder.com/marketing_social_media.asp for more information.