As I often say, “Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. keep me and my team in business because they keep moving the goalposts. They keep digital marketers on our toes!”
This has never been more the case than over the past few months, especially with Facebook, as Meta made a large number of changes to their social platform. At the end of 2022, almost every day a feature disappeared, changed or moved.
As brand and digital marketing experts, the Hoole.co team and I spend a lot of time keeping abreast of the continual online platform changes. We do this to ensure that the marketing accounts of the real estate businesses we are responsible for continue to run smoothly and deliver great marketing results.
In the second half of 2022, Facebook overhauled many of its dashboards and interfaces. With the introduction of a new page experience small to medium-sized businesses were affected globally, including real estate agents and real estate businesses.
To save you time trying to muddle through all the Facebook updates, below is a comprehensive overview from a real estate professionals perspective.
If you’d like to learn how to make all your online profiles truly stand out, over and above your competitors, you can purchase the replay of my Agent Profile Masterclass with Steve Carroll.
NEW! The Facebook pages experience
Are you a manager of your real estate business’s Facebook page (not to be confused with your personal Facebook profile)?
If you are, it’s likely that, over the past few months, you’ve seen a pop-up letting you know that you have automatically been switched over to the new page experience. Now your real estate Facebook page looks a little different, and things don’t operate like they used too.
The change is predominantly a back-end update that impacts those who manage a real estate Facebook page, such as real estate business owners, real estate agents or real estate marketing staff. There is little effect on users that follow or visit your page.
Here is what Meta had to say about the change…
We have rolled out a new pages experience to all small businesses on Facebook that helps make it easier for businesses to build connections with customers and other businesses, access familiar features and achieve their business objectives on Facebook.
With the new Facebook pages experience, you can expect a cleaner and more streamlined layout, easier navigation between your personal profile and business pages, a Professional Dashboard to manage all of your activities quickly in one central location and access to a dedicated Feed to more seamlessly interact with people on Facebook as your business.
Meta automatically switches Facebook pages to the new experience. You can’t request or do it yourself. If your business’s page hasn’t yet been moved over from the classic Page layout, there is nothing you need to do; it will just happen at some point soon.
Tip: There is currently an option to switch your page back to ‘classic’ (I expect this will disappear at some point). However, I don’t recommend doing this as any content you’ve added in the new page experience will be deleted and ads permanently stopped, plus you can’t access the new features and insights.
Following are the most notable differences between the old style Facebook classic page and the new page experience. If you would like more tips (beyond what we share below), visit facebook.com/business/help and facebook.com/new_pages_guide.
NEW! Your Facebook page has its own ‘profile’
The most significant change you will notice is that you can no longer manage the Facebook page by logging into your personal profile and navigating to the URL of your Facebook business page. You now have to switch to the Facebook page’s profile from your personal account.
To switch between your personal profile and your Facebook business page, head to the Facebook Menu and select the circular image that represents your Facebook real estate page. You can toggle back and forth between interacting on Facebook as your real estate page or you the person. It might take some time to get to grips with this feature, but you’ll nail it soon enough.
NEW! Your Facebook page has its own ‘feed’
In the new Facebook page experience (when you switch to act as your real estate business profile) you’ll find that your real estate business page now has its own feed. Similar to your personal Facebook feed, the content shown is from people and pages that your business page follows.
You’ll also receive suggestions from Facebook about similar content to follow, and whilst it’s not happening yet, I suspect that ads will start appearing too at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Your Facebook business page feed is visible to all users who manage your page. When you scroll through this newsfeed or visit other Facebook pages or profiles, you can like or comment as the page. In the past, you would have done this by selecting who you wanted to interact as (yourself or a Facebook business page) on each individual post. Now you can toggle between profiles and stay as the profile permanently.
Tip: Suppose you have access to manage Facebook marketing for multiple pages, e.g. your individual real estate agent Facebook page and your real estate agency’s Facebook Page and you want to engage with a post from them both. To do this, you will need to like/comment/share in the first profile, then toggle over to the other profile (top right of screen) and navigate to the post again.
UPDATED! How to introduce your real estate business
Another significant change to be aware of is for the introduction section of your page. The classic Facebook page layout gave you two options to introduce your real estate business to visitors; a 255-character headline and a 50,000-character about section for more detailed information.
With the new Facebook page experience, you only have 100-characters to deliver a concise summary, or elevator pitch, to introduce yourself (on your personal profile) or your business (on your Facebook page).
Tip: Check your introduction – if you haven’t updated your intro since the change, your original copy will have been cut off at the 100 characters mark and may no longer read well.
A hundred characters is short, so be concise – focus on highlighting the specific real estate services you offer and the geographic locations you served. If you’ve won awards you can say you are an “award winning” agent if there’s space!
The long form version still exists, under the About section, and then ‘Details about you’ on your Facebook page too. So it’s worth checking that too. See my examples below.
- Facebook profile (individual) – intro
- Facebook page (company) – intro
- Facebook page (company) – about
NEW! Featured Section
The ability to pin an important post to the top of your Facebook page has long been a feature used by savvy Facebook page admins. This function has been enhanced. You can now choose up to 6 items to sit in a features panel on your Facebook page, and you can include various types of social media posts, including pinned posts, events and even videos. Not all pages have the access to this feature (e.g. at present my Facebook page doesn’t), but if you do it looks like the visuals below and appears at the top of your page feed.
Tip: To select the featured items for your page, find the Featured panel under your page’s post composer. Click Manage and choose your items feature.
UPDATED! Facebook page roles
Facebook page roles have also changed. If you want to grant people or partner businesses access to manage your Facebook business page you have two options;
- About Facebook access for new Facebook pages
Facebook access allows a high level of control over what page management tools you grant a user. As you can grant full admin control, it’s essential to trust that support staff are still currently working for your company, as they have the ability to delete the page owner or the Facebook page in its entirety.
- About task access for new Facebook pages
Task access allows a person to manage activities on your Facebook business page without the need to have full admin settings, such as adding or removing users. Task access holders can work on the page from dashboards including: Creator Studio, Meta Business Suite, Business Manager or Ads Manager. They can’t work within the Facebook page itself or access the Professional dashboard.
Tip: When your Facebook page switches over to the new look and feel, review your page’s user settings. As a precaution, I always recommend having two users with full control, but everyone else should only have access appropriate to what they need. At the same time, it’s a good idea to review who has access and remove anyone who has left your company or 3rd parties that no longer support you.
As you can see from my example below, my team does not have access to my Facebook business page, instead they are granted access to work on the page from Business Manager.
NEW! Facebook Professional dashboard
If you own, or are granted access, to the Facebook business page directly, you’ll now see a navigation menu to the left of the page, called the Facebook Professional dashboard.
On the Professional Dashboard, you’ll find quick links to
- Your Facebook page and accounts connected to it, e.g. Instagram
- The Meta tools for managing the Facebook page
- High-level insights to see how your Facebook page and posts are performing
- A simplified Ad Centre for boosting posts
- Help and guidance
The dashboard can be accessed from both the desktop and mobile platforms.
For more advanced page management features and the advertising platform you need to log into business.facebook.com and use the Meta Business Suite or Business Manager interfaces.
It can become very frustrating to navigate your way to the Facebook interface you want to use, so I have provided the URLs as quick links and shown visual examples of the three dashboards below;
- Facebook Professional dashboard: www.facebook.com/professional_dashboard
- Meta Business Suite: https://business.facebook.com
- Meta Business Manager: https://business.facebook.com/adsmanager
CHANGED! Likes vs Followers
Now, this is a funny one. Whilst likes have been predominantly irrelevant since the Facebook algorithm started reducing organic reach in favour of paid reach back in 2012, you’ve probably been tracking your Facebook real estate page likes and followers and worrying that you don’t have enough.
Do you remember when it was exciting to celebrate milestones like reaching 500 Facebook page likes? These numbers are mainly for vanity purposes. The real number to track is your Facebook ad reach.
In classic Facebook pages, people could either like or follow your Facebook real estate page. Anyone who liked your page was automatically counted as both a like and a follower. People had the option to unfollow your content but still be counted as a fan that liked your page.
When Facebook initially started transitioning to the new pages format they decided to simplify how people connect with pages and removed likes. On some updated pages, you will only see a follow button and followers count. However, at some point, Facebook revisited this decision, and for some pages with the new layout, likes have remained. So you may or may not continue to have the like function.
Tip: If the like button and count have disappeared on your Facebook real estate page, no fear, as the number of followers is a higher quality indicator of the number of people interested in your real estate business as they opted to see your posts in their feed. Just because someone likes your Facebook page, it doesn’t mean they like your content.
Getting help with your real estate Facebook page
Because the 2022 Facebook changes completely changed the business user experience, you may find it difficult to wrap your head around everything to start, especially if you have a myriad of other real estate responsibilities.
If you would like help completing an audit of your Meta accounts to check that you have your business set up correctly and everyone has the right level of access (and there’s no ex-suppliers attached to your accounts) then book a free 1-hour consultation with me, Melanie Hoole. I’m only a Zoom call away!