MetrolistFacebookPostWAV Group has worked with many of the Nation’s MLSs to develop their social media strategy.  I tend to follow a bunch of REALTOR Association and MLS fan pages to see examples of using social media to stay connected to members/subscribers (lets call them customers).  Now I celebrate whenever I see an MLS or Association using Facebook correctly.

In general, the principal business component of a social media strategy is to publish information that connects with customers and redirects them to information that enhances the provider-supplier relationship.  The principal social component is to listen to your customers to better understand what is going on in thier professional and personal lives.

As a communication tool, Facebook allows you to create a catalog or blog of activities and announcements about your service offerings.  Examples may include invitations to webinars, links to video how-to’s, event invitations, system announcements, new service offerings, and the like.  Facebook is also a great way to reinforce to your customers that you are offering a lot of services to customers everyday that they would benefit from taking better advantage of.  Moreover, you can discover a lot about how you are communicating by looking at the number of people who thumb up a post or leave a comment.  Posts to your Facebook page that get no response are either not communicated well, or meaningless to your customers.  Either way, you get the feedback.

Where Facebook gets touchy for Associations and MLS is when it gets personal.  How do you block or de-friend a customer who is disturbing the tranquility of your Facebook fan page?  You all know the customer I am talking about.  The critic who only looks at the negative angle of anything.  One strategy is to let your raving fans take care of it.  Simply send a number of direct messages to fans and ask them if the critic is right?  They will defend you with love and over time and the baseless critic will realize that she is not getting anywhere.  Be careful where you pick your battles.  If you reach out to your fans and learn that the critic is not far off, then you need to be prepared to face your issue head on.  This can have a disasterous effect if it pulls your business away from its long term strategic goals.  For example, launching a data share could be delayed while you are pulled out to answer the critic’s call to restructure your data accuracy policies.

The easiest answer to all of this is to ignore Facebook.  Your customers probably will not hold it against you if you do not have a fan page.  However, you may just be putting your head in the sand to avoid problems.  The best answer is to jump in, softly.  Test the waters.  Get feedback.  Try to stay on top of it.  If it gets out of control, shut it down until you can increase your customer satisfaction levels.  Then try again and see if you are hitting the mark.  One thing that I have noticed from the Associations and MLS that I follow – it is working.  They are creating deeper and stronger trust relationships with thier customers.  Feel free to visit my facebook page and follow some of the groups that I follow to see what is effective and what is not.  Joining their pages can allow you to build a strategy that works for you.

Disclosure:  Metrolist is not a client of WAV Group for social media consulting – but they do a great job!