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Facebook to Launch Fans Connection via Email

3 minute read

Facebook Fan Pages are a great way to build your brand, remain Top of Mind. engage with your customers and now Facebook are about to improve their functionality even more.

Yesterday, I read this message from Chris Smith about Facebook’s plans to roll out one-to-one email capability for Facebook Fan Pages.

“Just Announced via Mari Smith: Facebook will begin to allow one to one messages to be sent from a Facebook Business Page to anyone who Likes the page. So for example, if you have 1,000 fans you could technically now email them via Facebook. This is monumental in my opinion as most people did not Like Pages knowing they would get messages from them, even one to one messages. Will this cause a mass unliking of Pages that suck? You betcha! Could even cause anyone on the fence to completely leave Facebook all together. I know their are Pages I liked years ago that if I now started getting emails from them I would be very upset. How do you all feel about this it literally just broke?”

So what this means is that you will soon be able to connect with your Fans via email, which is great news for Facebook Page Admins who are also good at marketing because it provides another way to connect with your fans.

But, WARNING: it’s also a Kamakazi (Crash & Burn) Marketing Tool for admins who think it’s a great idea to start spamming fans with poorly thought out email notifications.

Personally, I really like the idea that it will enable my FB fans to email me if they want to ask me a question privately rather than posting a comment publicly on my wall.

Plus, maybe (just maybe) send a Thank You message to each new fan for joining in individually (BUT even the message within that email would need to be very carefully constructed because it’s normally so early within the relationship).

This new functionality could also provide an opportunity for FB Fan Page admins to individually notify competition winners and/or notify existing fans that they are in the running to win any new competitions (as a Value-Add) that the Page administrator may be conducting from time to time in an effort to entice more NEW fans to join their page.

Beyond that, at this stage I can’t see any other instance where I’d use this functionality personally…BUT I know for sure that some Facebook Fan Page Admins are going to misuse this new function and stuff up big time.

I think this is great for individuals or businesses using Facebook Fan Pages but be warned…if placed into the wrong hands or misused, it could dissolve your Facebook fan base very quickly.

Interested to hear what the B2 community thinks about this latest update on Facebook?

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30 Comments

  • Bill
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 11:18 am 0Likes

    Greg,

    The new feature will have it’s benefits for those (agencies) which are effectively using Facebook to promote their brand. However I doubt that there are many out there who are effectively using Facebook.

    I’ve looked at hundreds of real estate facebook profiles and pages and have yet to find one that appears to me to be producing tangible results. I personally gauge results by the amount of engagement taking place that I judge advancing the brand.

    As far as I can see real estate agencies have setup either a profile or a business page.

    The profile accounts in the main seem to have become a challenge to see how many friends can be gained, which are worthless and can be classed as “friend spamming” or they have been left abandoned.

    The business pages I found appear to be beyond the owners ability to attract fans, or the ones that do have a reasonable number of fans, show an inability to create engagement.

    The signs I saw were that agencies setup a page, started posting new listings or sales, discovered it wasn’t getting them anyhere and abandoned the page.

    I think Facebook is still in the great frontier stage for any business wanting to peg out territory for their brand, especially at local community level. Unfortunately pegging out the territory and making the claim work needs a clear plan and strategy in place. I haven’t seen what I would tag as a success yet in the real estate – Facebook arena.

    Greg, you’re around this scene, do you have any real estate facebook business pages that could be highlighted as a good case study.

    I would love to see a good example.

    • Greg Vincent
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm 0Likes

      Bill, you’re right. In many cases agents set up a Facebook account and spruke that they’re on Social Media.

      I saw one company who have over 50 employees within their network of offices, they were paying for a Social Media service which automatically posted their listings onto Twitter and Facebook…they ceased the service back in August after 309 updates and 305 of them (all but 4 updates) were listings, when they ended up with only 12 followers on Twitter and 15 fans on Facebook. (An EPIC FAIL!)

      Altitude Real Estate is a stand out example… http://www.facebook.com/Altitudere with over 8500 fans. Paul Tonich should be commended for paving the way. He was recently asked to present for Google! He’s one switched on agent and a great guy too. 🙂

      Chris Hasson at http://www.facebook.com/RealEstateFriend is an individual agent who has over 4500 fans

      Hugh Bateman has built over 1700 fans on his community based fan page… http://www.facebook.com/LoveLivingInMudgee and in the same area
      Adam & Chandelle Woods have over 3000 fans on their http://www.facebook.com/ilovemudgee page

      There are lots of agents getting it wrong when using Facebook and are wasting their time completely without any real consideration for strategy and then wonder why it’s not working.

      Social Media sites are like the Mega Phone (Spruiker) for your business, put it in the wrong hands by outsourcing it incorrectly or thinking that the Gen Y new-comer/weekend temp can represent the right message for your company and it can be harmful.

      On the other hand, it is the most powerful marketing medium I have ever experienced (EVER!).

      Also, many agents are setting up Facebook accounts and Facebook Pages that breach Facebook’s T&C’s which means that Facebook can remove their profile and they’ll lose all the work they’ve done. VERY IMPORTANT to get this right!!!!

      I hope that helps Bill. 🙂

      PS: Facebook drives a lot of traffic out to external sites. I read some stats a while back that having 1 fan on your fan page equated to an average of 20 visits to your website a year (as an average).

      • Greg Vincent
        Posted February 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm 0Likes

        Oops! Also… Chris, Hugh, Adam & Chandelle are great guys and lady too. I really enjoy catching up with them to talk shop about Social Media. 🙂

      • Bill
        Posted February 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm 0Likes

        Greg, Thanks for posting those links and those guys appear to be on the right track. Having said that I think all of them could move to another level if they turned their pages into a ‘ community centre” if you get what I mean. I suggest they should be focussing on building a fan base from within the local community, after all that’s where the majority of business will come from.

        The opportunity for them is to install apps which would have their fans continually engaging with their page. I don’t mean installing real estate apps but apps which all fans would find appealing regardless of if they are currently in the real estate market.

        If they achieved this Facebook would be blasting their brand to fans newsfeeds which, from my understanding, they won’t do regardless of how many fans a page has unless their is a level of engagement that the facebook algorithm accepts.

        I don’t think they will maintain the required level of engagement by just posting comments.

        I would value your opinion on that.

        When I visited http://www.facebook.com/Altitudere I clicked on their “About Us” tab and then “Contact Us” and “Team” and the links are broken. Also I clicked on their “Current Listings” tab and their app page at https://www.facebook.com/Altitudere?sk=app_136310043127225 displayed “This application does not yet support secure browsing (HTTPS).” If they are friends of yours you may want to let them know they have a little housekeeping to do.

        Thanks again for replying Greg.

        • Greg Vincent
          Posted February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am 0Likes

          Thanks Bill, I’ve passed on the message to Paul.

          Their agency site is http://www.altitudere.com.au but the About Us page goes to a http://www.altituderealestate.com.au link. Looks like it’s either a domain name renewal issue or pointing to the wrong url?

          Bill, the ‘Latest Listings’ app worked for me http://screencast.com/t/9CEMGQsbp sorry I can’t see the ‘Current Listings’ tab. (is the ‘Latest Listings’ link from the LHS sidebar the one you mean or is there a ‘Current Listings’ tab that I’m missing somewhere?)

          Just helping out a mate here because I know he’ll wan’t to get it sorted. Thanks 🙂

          • Bill
            Posted February 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm 0Likes

            Sorry Greg, I should have been clearer, I was viewing

            https://www.facebook.com/Altitudere?sk=app_148401401897095

            and on the left menu they have a tab “Latest Listing”, when the tab is clicked I am presented with “Secure browsing is not supported” This is because I have secure browsing turned on in my Facebook preferences and I assume the app is hosted on a hosting account that does not have a SSL certificate installed. Several months ago Facebook introduced that apps must be hosted on servers with SSL. I turned of my security setting and clicked the tab and it worked.

          • Bill
            Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm 0Likes

            Greg, here’s what I see with secure browsing turned on. http://www.screencast.com/t/B26eLj6t

      • Bill
        Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm 0Likes

        Greg, I got around to checking out those facebook sites from Mudgee and I reckon both those agencies are on the right track by taking their pages down to community level and not using the pages to blow their own trumpet.

        Mudgee has a population of around 8,000 and to have fans numbering in the thousands is pretty impressive especially if they are mostly local fans.

        I’m also impressed with the engagement they are creating, very impressed.

        Having said that I still think they are missing some golden opportunities for really entrenching their brand in the local community using their facebook page, but so far best I’ve seen.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm 0Likes

    Very interesting Greg – our Business Facebook page is active but interest seems dormant as we do post listings and our blogs there. On the other hand our database blog does wonders with new subscribers both organic and staff input. So I’m still of the opinion that the database is still the most successful tool which is attached to our website.

    Excellent content and food for thought.

    • Bill
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm 0Likes

      Robert, excuse my indulgence but here’s an example of how I think agencies should be looking at the facebook opportunity.

      I have been to football games where real estate agencies are major sponsors and assume they are paying thousands for the privelage. In return get a branded signboard displayed on the sideline.

      So I ask myself why would an agent advertise at a football ground?

      It’s an easy answer, football fans will one day be looking for a real estate agent so it’s not a bad place to show off the brand logo.

      The facebook opportunity is to bring those fans into the agencies facebook page and engage them in some football app that is installed.

      I can think of several apps that would do that.

      Install the app and then invite football fans from the local community to come and participate.

      My opinion is it would be more effective than the signboard at the football ground and a fraction of the cost.

      I’m involved in a local sporting franchise which participates in a national competition. The major sponsor of the team paid $80k this season. I think I would be right in saying at the start of next season the majority of fans will not be able to name this seasons major sponsor.

      If that sponsor had paid a tenth of that on a well planned facebook strategy they would still be reaping the rewards in ten years time. (Hmm, providing facebooks still with us)

      .

    • Greg Vincent
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

      Robert, with the amount of traffic you generate to your site you should have a massive Facebook Fan base.

      You need to insert the Facebook Plug-in like I have on my site http://screencast.com/t/NZyvXoZg so that your site visitors can simply do ‘One Click’ to opt-in to Liking your FB Fan Page. Having the small icon at the top sends them to Facebook where they can get easily distracted.

      Additionally, whilst it’s good that you auto-upload your weekly news into the page, you really should post a few updates in between to provide them with a reason to want to become a Fan and get extra info from you.

      If people can get all of the same information from you by opting-in for your emails then they will often simply stay as an email subscriber, (same goes with just posting listings, people can get that info from realestate.com.au/domain.com.au/youragencywebsite.com.au whereas if they become a fan on your Facebook page they are more likely to Comment or Like your updates which then attracts more of their friends from within Facebook to join in the conversation.

      By sharing a few more updates each week, it will increase your engagement.

      eg. you could raise some questions/conversation about what people may think of your latest news (even grab one of your readers comments from your latest VRN news and post that on Facebook to start some added discussion) and/or post about things of interest that are happening within your area.

      Also, it’s important that each message doesn’t have to link people back to your site, in fact it’s better if it doesn’t, I suggest you simply share some of the articles you’ve read whilst compiling your VRN news or other content you find across the web that you feel your readers may find interesting.

      Just some food for thought for you Robert. Cheers Greg 🙂

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm 0Likes

    Bill

    An interesting concept indeed. The only problem I have is writing a weekly blog + running a business + selling real estate – I am running out of time. We are the main sponsors for Mosman netball, Mosman hockey and Mosman Swans AFL so I need to work on leveraging that more effectively – I like your ideas.

    Thanks

    • Bill
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm 0Likes

      Hey Robert, you wrote: “We are the main sponsors for Mosman netball, Mosman hockey and Mosman Swans AFL”

      That has got me thinking and I reckon I have an idea which will get you a big bang for your buck from those sponsorships. It would be fairly simple to implement and really help build you an active fan base for your facebook page.

      Would you mind if I run the idea past you in an email?

  • scott
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm 0Likes

    Hi there,

    I checked Mari’s page and profile and could not see this anywhere?

    Please post a link the specific post if you could.

    Cheers

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm 0Likes

    No problems at all Bill – look forward to it.

    Thanks

    • Bill
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm 0Likes

      Robert, I sent it via your website.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 9:57 am 0Likes

    Greg and Bill,

    Thank you for your comments.

    One of the more fascinating posts in recent months. Very timely as we go forward trying to make our own social media program relavent to our target market.

    Our strategy is to own our Niche nationally so the challenges for us are huge- but the rewards are worthwhile.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 10:13 am 0Likes

    My pleasure Vic. Tip: Go broader! For Water Side Properties I would share things that people can do on or around the water.

    Water activities, share fishing tips, crazy water ski videos/crashes, fun stuff and then tie it back to the lifestyle of living in a waterside property.

    You’ll get a much greater audience and a lot more engagement in the Social sphere that way and still remain within your niche. Make sense? 🙂

    • Bill
      Posted February 11, 2012 at 11:04 am 0Likes

      Vic, thanks for the comments and I would agree with Greg, you have tremendous opportunity to broaden your audience. One idea I would suggest to spike social media engagement and I’m talking facebook. Invite your fans to post an image of the water views from their property.

      “Got a magnificent water view, we invite you to post it here and show it to the world, every month we’ll give a prize to the most popular”

      I have a client who sells Asian artifacts and they do something similar, they invite customers to post photos of the settings they create with their purchases. It’s very popular and creates considerable fan numbers and engagement.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm 0Likes

    Good tips Bill and Greg.

    Check out our blog http://www.thetide.com.au and give me your views if you don’t mind.

    My daughter has just come on board and any tips/critique is valuable. Like the one about “show us your views” Bill.

    Cheers

    • Bill
      Posted February 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm 0Likes

      Vic my immediate suggestion is to install the facebook plugin onto the blog as Greg suggested to Robert http://screencast.com/t/NZyvXoZg

      I’ve had a real turnaround about my thinking towards Facebook in recent months and see it as real frontier that could eventually threaten the likes of REA.

      There’s a new breed that are using Facebook that want to stay within Facebook during their Internet sessions.

      I do recall Peter Ricci suggesting in a post recently that he would be prepared to pay an annual fee to Facebook if they provided a suite of apps and I think he’s spot on. I also believe Mark Zuckerberg is aware of that and would have his think tank working on the strategy to make it happen.

      I’ve worked together with a couple of clients recently on social strategies and have been blown away at how powerful facebook is for pushing brand awareness, albeit at a local community level but I have no doubt the potential is the same at a national level which is what you are targeting.

      • Peter Ricci
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:54 am 0Likes

        I think that was for Twitter Bill, Facebook can make plenty marketing Ebay Style Community Products, Real Estate, Rooms to Share

        • Bill
          Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:11 am 0Likes

          I stand corrected, sorry Peter.

          • Bill
            Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:08 am 0Likes

            I was referring to your post where you wrote

            “Facebook should also offer an enhanced version one with stronger privacy cooler profiles and a tranche of new offerings including the above, classifieds, cars, jobs and houses. I should also want to store with the options to share HD Videos, HD Photography and enhanced mobile versions all for a simple annual fee.”

      • Greg Vincent
        Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm 0Likes

        I agree Bill that a lot of web users now like to remain browsing within Facebook. Something like 50% of Facebook Users visit Facebook at least once per day. So there’s now different silos of browsing – The Open Web v’s Facebook, etc.

        That’s why I thought the Facebook Timeline announcement was great BUT the most exciting development that Mark Zuckerburg announced at the F8 Conference was Open Graph because of the way Developers could create a more engaging experience around some of the things we share and do within our daily lives, eg. Spotify, etc.

        http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2011/09/22/facebook-announces-new-music-integrations-including-listen-with-a-friend-at-f8/

        Since people love talking real estate I’m really surprised that we haven’t seen anything rolled out via FB Open Graph in real estate as yet? Not that I’ve seen or heard of anyway but it could certainly be a game changer in generating traffic, engagement and brand awareness for some of the players if they get it right?

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm 0Likes

    Vic, 2 quick observations. Not sure why you used http://www.facebook.com/waterside13 as your username URL? I recommend trying to avoid numbers in url’s because they can look spammy. Only OK if your using them in names like CH33RS or FI5HERMAN ( like some people do on numberplates) but still not ideal.

    Unfortunately, it’s set now so nothing you can do to change it. Sorry can’t help you with that. 🙁

    Secondly, your Facebook account is currently in breach of Facebook’s T&c’s. It should be a Facebook Fan Page NOT an Account. Accounts are for people not companies.

    All is not lost though… here’s how you can convert it over http://www.facebook.com/help?page=213602951994043

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:00 am 0Likes

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Just sent an email off to our team to meet and set up better.

    • Greg Vincent
      Posted February 12, 2012 at 11:43 am 0Likes

      Once you change it over to a Fan Page you can then insert the Plug-In like I suggested to Robert and convert your website visitors into fans…

      One thing to remember with FB (just like in real-life), is that… “It Takes Time To Build A Relationship And Your Potential Customers Don’t Necessarily Want To Become Friends With You On The First Meeting, BUT They Can ‘LIKE’ You…Then As They Do Business With You The Friendship Can Grow…Even To The Point Where They Will Introduce You To Their Network Of Friends”.

      I see far too many real estate agents who have this approach on FB around the wrong way.

      It must be ‘Like’ first then become Friends! — Tip: If it doesn’t work in the real world then it probably won’t work in Social Media either. 🙂

      Sure, some may argue that they can now Subscribe to your updates on your Personal Profile but I much prefer fan pages because they index on the web, the Plug-Ins help convert website visitors + you can get some amazing data from FB Insights.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm 0Likes

    Many businesses are going to lose a large percentage of their fan base by using this ability if it ever arrives.

    I remember a few years back a salesperson of ours went to a rah rah training event and decided to “mine” his email database a little too hard over 2 weeks and got hit with a huge amount of unsubscribes.. It took him ages to build the database and he lost a large percentage by pushing past what clients thought was an acceptable number of contacts every month.

    It seems that when you post to your wall your fans will give you much more slack and you would get away with substantially more posts per month but if you start emailing them on top then it just may push the friendship.

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