At least twice a week I get questions from prospects and customers who want to know when they should use a Facebook page vs. using their personal profile. The truth is, either one may be a valid option. It depends on how you run your mortgage business, what your goals and strategies are, and what type of prospects you’re trying to reach. There are rules and best practices for each. Let’s discuss the differences between a Facebook profile and a page, as well as when you might want to use one vs. the other.
Why Facebook for Mortgage?
Before we get into the differences between a Facebook profile and a page, let’s quickly discuss why you’d want to use Facebook for your mortgage business in the first place.
Facebook is Huge (and Addicting)
Facebook is the largest social media site, with over 1.65 billion users worldwide. If it were a country, it’d be the largest country in the world. And people spend a ton of time on Facebook. The average user spends 50 minutes each day on Facebook! Your clients are practically begging for you to reach out to them.
Facebook is Made to Connect and Share
Connecting and sharing are two of the most important components to help propel any business forward—especially service-based businesses like mortgage. Facebook’s algorithm helps spread your interests and the interests of your friends among their friends, etc. This allows you to increase your sphere of influence.
Facebook Advertising is Sophisticated and Cheap
Facebook has some sophisticated advertising options that allow you to target an incredibly niche audience. Plus, it’s about one-tenth of the price of other pay-per-click options.
The Differences Between a Facebook Profile and a Page
There are some key differences between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page, and depending on what you’re trying to use Facebook for, one may be more appropriate than the other. Below is a quick diagram that outlines the main differences between a Facebook profile and a page.
|Facebook Profile||Facebook Page|
|Must be an actual person, i.e. your first and last name||Can be a business, public figure, community, brand, product, etc.|
|Each person can only have one (as there’s only one you)||You can be an admin on any number of pages|
|Has a maximum friend count of 5000||Can have an unlimited number of fans|
|Can tag individual people (in accordance with their privacy settings) and businesses in statuses and photos||Can only tag other pages|
|Cannot administer a promotion using a personal profile||Can administer a promotion|
|Can be private||Must be public|
When to Use Your Personal Profile
There are several reasons why it might be better to use your personal profile for your mortgage business. This likely goes against most of the advice being doled out to loan officers these days, the truth is, there are some cases when a personal profile works much better.
If You Run Your Business by Referral
Clients and their referrals work with you because you’re you. It’s not necessarily because you’re the best at what you do or because you know more about mortgages than someone else. You might be the best at mortgages RELATIVE to someone else they know. Hell, you might not even be that—people might just like you better! Remember, they’re going to refer you because they know, like, and trust you as a person, not because you’re the best loan officer. If that were the case, there’d be one really busy loan officer and the rest of you would be out of a job.
Running your business by referral is all about building a personal relationship with someone. It isn’t about only giving them a bunch of mortgage information. It’s about letting them into your world and your life so you can find things you relate and agree on. They want to know that your kids are in Little League or that you enjoy hiking. They want to know that you love to golf or that you hate the rain.
After years of doing this, we know that the content on our clients’ self-promotional pages that gets the most likes, comments, and shares is personal content. These are closing photos, fun stories about a client’s team or office, or links to blog posts or other information on a client’s website that’s personal—all things that would be perfectly suited to share on your personal profile.
And yes, every once in a while you can right hook with a post about the beautiful three-bedroom town house you just listed. But that status won’t mean a thing if you haven’t spent the time building a relationship with your audience first.
You’ll also get a much better reach with your Facebook profile. If you have a page, you’re fighting an uphill battle from day one to get your content seen by even some of your fans, let alone getting them to like the content and share it with their friends.
Remember, Facebook uses an algorithm for its news feed, and the first thing it filters out is posts from pages. It’s no surprise that Facebook limits the exposure pages receive in the news feed. It makes sense. Facebook wants you to enjoy your experience so you’ll keep coming back and spending those 50 minutes a day browsing your news feed. So it makes sure that you’re seeing more information from the people in your life than from the pages you’ve liked.
If Your Business is Only You
You’ll be spreading your strategy too thin by trying to use your Facebook profile and a page. Unless the restrictions of a personal profile prohibit you from implementing your marketing strategies the way you want (i.e. you want to run promotions or have more than 5,000 connections), your profile should be just fine.
You don’t need to give access to your account to anyone else. If you have a teammate and you use your profile, you’ll have to share access with that person. Since everyone assumes you’re the only one posting on your personal profile, there’s a chance that something they post may not be what you want to say.
If You Have No Target Audience
As we’ll see in the next section, Facebook pages work best when they’re focused on a specific target audience and a specific topic or community. If your real estate database consists of people from all walks of life, who live in all areas of your market, who all have different interests, you’re better off using your profile to stay in touch with these people.
If your page was “Jane Lynch—Loan Officer” I may get some information that’s important to me, but I also will likely get a lot of information that’s not (because there’s no real focus). And the less I interact with posts on your page, the more likely I am to NOT see that page’s posts in the future, thanks to the algorithm.
When to Use a Page
There are some logistical reasons why you’d want to use a Facebook page, such as unlimited likes, the ability to have multiple admins with different access levels, and the ability to guard your personal identity from your audience. And depending on your mortgage marketing goals and strategies, Facebook pages have some great features that may make it a better choice.
If You Want to Build a Community
There’s something to be said about creating a community of similarly-interested people. They feed off of each other’s affinity for the topic. They end up wanting to share with people, to connect with people, and to help you build the community, almost subconsciously. It’s a really great thing to see.
When you build a community, you make it about your audience, not you. Think about it. If you were really interested in living in Chicago, you would follow a Facebook page that is all about Chicago real estate and Chicago living. Because everything on the page is about something you’re interested in—Chicago real estate. It’s not about an agent or about Arlington Heights.
A community has a goal and a strategy. Do you know how much easier it is to create and find information to share that’s both interesting and valuable when you have a target audience? A community gives you a guide to follow and, besides making it easier to find info, gives your content a better chance of being engaged with by your fans.
You can funnel your community audience to content you create around the same topic. One of the hardest parts of creating great content is finding an audience to read it. Distribution is often the part that most people fail to devote enough attention to. When you create a community, you have a built-in audience that’s all yours!
Imagine how successful a guide you created about living in Chicago would be if you had access to a community of people who were all interested in Chicago real estate and Chicago living (because you created that interest).
If You Are a Company or Brand
A company or brand page builds brand awareness. Having a Facebook page has become almost as important as having a website—people just expect it. Company pages are great for sharing information about your culture and your people. As I stated in a previous article, people like doing business with people, not companies. So, the more you humanize your brand, the better off you’ll be.
People use Facebook for customer support. A company or brand page has become a second home for customer support. Quick replies to customer support requests on Facebook show you care about your clients and want to resolve their concerns. If you don’t answer someone, or you answer days later, it’s public information and other clients will see your lack of, or slow, response. (Of course you could delete the request, but that’s a really bad practice.)
Facebook pages allow you to have any number of admins who can be added and removed. If you have a large team, or a team that changes semi-regularly, you’ll need the admin functionality a page offers. You can add and remove any number of team members as well as give them varying levels of access.
If You Need Analytics
Facebook pages offer you rich analytics about your audience and your page’s reach. You have access to audience demographic information such as age and gender. You can also see the reach of every single post. This helps you see what types of content do better than others. Personal profiles offer no analytics, so you have to judge your success by how many leads you get from Facebook.
If You Want to Run Promotions
Facebook’s terms of service strictly prohibit the use of personal profiles for promotions. This means you can’t use your personal profile to “like, comment, or share to win a $25 gift card” or anything like that. Furthermore, even pages are banned from causing Facebook users to use their personal profiles for promotions. This means no one can use sharing or the tagging of friends as a way to get an entry.
Which Will You Choose?
As you can see, despite much of the advice out there, using your personal profile for your mortgage business may actually make a lot of sense. You just need to know what your goals are for your business and what you want out of your time on Facebook. If you have any questions about using Facebook for your mortgage business, feel free to ask a question in the comments or reach out anytime. We love talking about this stuff!