Beyond Facebook pokes and Mafia Wars spam

A friend said to me the other day, “Do you realize the internet is older than incoming freshman.”  This started me thinking about technology over the last decade.  In 2002, when I was graduating with a masters in Digital Media Communications from Lindenwood, we never once talked about social media.  MySpace didn’t exist until 2003 and Facebook until 2004.  

Last week, Jana and I met with a group of agents from the Des Peres office last week to discuss Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and how to use social media for real estate.  Social media lets us reach the people we know and remind them about what we do.   Currently one of the main players in the action is Facebook.   Today there are 750 million Facebook users and 50% of these users log in once a day.  This is an evolving media.   What was the ‘best practices’ on Facebook ‘ two years ago is not necessarily the case today.  And it might not be the same in six months.  But I’ll pass along to you a few of my thoughts about Facebook and the way it can currently work with your business. 

Should you have a Facebook Business Page? 
I’m sure you all have Facebook personal pages (if not get one!), but should you have a Facebook Business Page?  There’s a great article about Facebook Business pages here called ‘Your Facebook Page is Worthless.’ Done right, a Facebook business page could allow you to reach out to your network.  Done wrong, it could be a huge waste of your time.  I think the biggest thing to consider before jumping into a business page is: – Who is your audience?  Who are you trying to reach?  

  • Is it a farming area?  i.e., Oakmont Subdivision, Kirkwood, MO.  
    Then maybe you should considering sponsoring a neighborhood page.  Give them information on local events, information, services, etc. Weave information about neighborhood market trends, recently sold homes, demographics, etc. 
  • Is it a group?  i.e., your bookclub, your bowling team, etc.
    Then maybe you should consider organizing a page for this group to connect. Post information about meetings and share articles, links and other things related to that group.  
  • Is it your sphere of influence (friends, family, past customers)? 
    If you’re marketing to your SOI,  I think that your personal page on Facebook should be your primary focus instead of a Business page.  Use the relationships you have already formed there to your advantage; don’t try to re-invent the wheel and start a new page to collect the same group of people! Just remember if you’re combining your business updates with your personal updates, keep it about 80% personal and 20% business.  Don’t overwhelm your friends with too much business talk. 

How do you get ‘fans’? 

  • Send out email invitations or postcards invitations to your group (neighborhood, club, etc). to join you on Facebook.  


    Add a Facebook ‘like’ button to your website and blog

  •  Add links to your Facebook page on other profiles you have (Linked In, YouTube, etc). 
  •  Add a link on your email signature
  •  If you have a Twitter account, promote it there
  •  If you have a Linked In account, promote it there
  •  Routinely promote it in your advertising efforts, newsletters, postcards, etc. 
  •  If you’re targeting a specific group you could consider Facebook Ads to advertise to potential fans.  For example if your page discusses Kirkwood real estate you can actually target people that live in Kirkwood using this tool. 


What do you talk about? 
There’s another great article on Inman I highly suggest you read called Facebook Posting Cheat Sheet. It’s a great read for brainstorming on creative status updates that will engage your fans.  You can also check our company Facebook page here and simply share the information on your page by clicking the ‘share’ button. 

Can you add customization and content? 
Facebook has recently made a change that allows you to add more customized content to your Facebook pages through application tabs. These tabs could include a custom welcome page, a page of information about you, the community, etc. 

Example 1:
Here’s an example of tabs on one of my personal Facebook Business Pages.  This is the first page the potential fan sees inviting them to ‘like’ the page before they can see the content.




Example 2
Here’s an example of adding a tab of content on Kristen Turner’s business page for Maryland Heights.  She installed the ‘St. Louis Patio and Rooftop Bars’ application Prudential Select Properties created by clicking on ‘Add to My Page’ on the left hand side.  Now viewers can view this information without leaving Facebook. ——–> Get Yours Free



Example 3: 
Finally here’s a third example of content from Zillow, who is now offering four free Facebook applications – a listings tab, a local information tab, a contact form tab and a ratings and reviews tab. ———-> Get Yours Free




Special thanks to Maryann Vitale for hosting last week’s training session and Kathy Schmideskamp, Kristen Turner, Sally Harris, Kim Anderson, Gretchen Adams and Beth Maisak for joining us!


Questions? Comments? Post below or email me at


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing & eBusiness
Prudential Select Properties  


Marketing Update (8/22/11)

Marketing Results

I just wanted to touch base with you before tomorrow’s office meeting and catch you up on the results of our new marketing program. We’ve positioned our listings in almost 4.5 million search results on Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo and and driven 168,833 views to our listings. Over 360 buyer email requests were sent out in July and 191 phone calls were placed to our offices.  We were only involved half of the month with our new Zillow and Yahoo exposure so I’m anticipating an increase in our August results. 

This is all great news! I’ve spoken with two managers this morning that both had call-in leads to their offices on property over $900,000 so make sure you’re taking opportunity time! 

A few updated flyers. . . 

Download this file

Download this file

Download this file


Scams using our listings

Lately some of our listings have been used in rental scams and I want to give you a heads up.  Scammers copy photos off the internet of a house that is actually for sale.  They take the photos and post them on Postlets, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, etc., claiming the house is for rent for a low price.  Usually the renter is asked to wire a security deposit to rent the home.

If you are aware of a scam contact the website where the ad was posted so they can remove the ad. You can file an Internet crime complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at


Changing Zestimates

As you all know Zillow gives an automatic value to every home called a Zestimate.   I know many of you have expressed that you’re not fans of these!

You can’t changethe Zestimate, but you can edit the facts that go into the Zestimate (under “edit” on the property details page if you’ve claimed the home).   Should the facts you change be significant, it will take some time for the Zestimate to respond (several weeks to several months),


Upgrades to Zillow, Trulia and

A number of you have asked what about the upgrade on each of these sites so I’ll break down the options for you.  If I was an agent in today’s market I would be investing my marketing dollars in one of these online initiatives. Things to keep in mind, if you’re budget conscious you may want to look at Trulia. My experience with them has been they provide the most leads at the lowest cost.  However Zillow/Yahoo is the largest real estate portal now so realize that the Zillow/Yahoo relationship may be getting you more traffic.  This upgrade allows you to feature your listings, add more photos and info, and display your direct line.  Your cost is determined by your listing inventory. 

12 Month 
Listing Count
Monthly Cost Paid in Full Cost
251-500 $292.00 $3,127.00
76-100 $239.00 $2,564.00
51-75 $187.00 $2,001.00
26-50 $124.00 $1,326.00
11-25 $71.00 $766.00
4-10 $34.00 $362.00
0-3 $19.00 $199.00

Trulia Pro.  This upgrade costs betwen $39 – $149 a month and you essentially are paying for the same options you get with our current plan. My take: we’re already providing the features of this enhancement so I would use your marketing dollars towards Trulia local ads or Zillow Premier. 

Trulia Local Ads. This upgrade allows you to buy a percentage of advertising space on Trulia by zip code or city.  For example you could buy 100% of 63121 and be on every detail page for that zip code, even your competitions. 


 You can generate the cost per zip online for Trulia Local Ads.  See below for an example: 


Zillow/Yahoo Premier. This upgrade allows you to display your direct line and capture leads on unclaimed listings on in the zip code of your choice. As with Trulia you can buy a percentage of the share or lock out other agents if you take 100%.  For example the zip code 63121 is $56.25 a month for 25%.  It would be $225 a month for 100%.  


As always let me know if you have questions! You can reach me at

Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties