By Jonathan Osman
You are a professional now. You dress in business attire during the work week. You have a website that has every home listed in the MLS. Your carefully written bio makes you appear as you are the greatest agent to receive a license. You may even have a killer buyer and seller presentation. However, I would bet that the story being told by your Facebook page does not match your corporate image.
A few months back, I needed to send a referral to an agent in another city for a listing. I found a few good candidates and decided to google their names in an effort to locate their websites. When I did, I ran across one agent’s personal Facebook profile, ranked No. 1 in Google and her website was No. 45. By cruising through what was available to the public, I discovered that she enjoyed drinking from red plastic cups, college sports, and looked stunning in a bikini during a recent trip to Miami. Needless to say, she didn’t get the referral.
She’s probably very good at selling real estate and could have done a very good job. However, the image that her public Facebook profile portrayed of her did not match the values that my clients held. It would be the same as if she went on the listing appointment and said nothing but I enjoy drinking from red plastic cups, college sports, and look at these pictures of me in a bikini… can I list your home?
So how can you avoid this? First, use the privacy controls. Screen your photo gallery and organize your photos intended for your real friends into a list. Next, organize your friends in various lists depending on who they really are to you. Every one of my friends is apart of a list, from those I went to high school with, to the people I work with today. Every list controls the image of that I want to reveal to each group of people.
If your profile has way too much personal stuff, consider removing the ability of your profile to be found in the search engines and put your entire profile on Only Friends.
Next, consider setting up a fan page for your business and invite people to join. Your fan page can be your corporate life on Facebook while your profile can remain reserved for your actual friends and family.
Finally, untag yourself from less-than-flattering photos of yourself. There is a photo of me on Facebook in drag for a event benefitting a children’s charity (don’t tell anyone). While I think it’s hysterical, clients might not think so, therefore it’s a gonner… only to re-appear when I run for office or become a celebrity. (By the way, I won the contest… it was that good).
Jonathan Osman is a broker and team leader of the Charlotte House Hunter Group with Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or his Web site CharlotteHouseHunter.com.