Is Facebook for Small Business?

Recently, I’ve been asked the question of whether or not Facebook is really valid for small businesses or for any business for that matter. The major point of contention between business owners is that Facebook has decreased the percentage of followers that a business page may reach via an organic post (no advertising) to approximately 6.5%. The gradual (and not so gradual) reduction has been happening for years, but when you spend additional marketing dollars on a content marketing strategy so your page and presence looks professional on Facebook, you obviously want to get the most bang out of your buck.

Facebook Reach

I have been working with Facebook for business since its inception so I understand the pain point very well.  My own take on it is that Facebook is like the Yellow Pages used to be, but with one caveat, Facebook has the unique ability to target consumers with their advertising better than anything other than Google. Couple this with the fact that according to the Pew Research Internet Project, “Social Media Update 2014,” 58% of all adults use Facebook, followed by Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram all in the low 20%’s.  So, while we may not be able to enjoy the free-wheeling days of the mid-2000′s where organic posts were reaching a great deal more of our followers, the ad rates that Facebook charges and the pay per click model that Facebook and Google have built their businesses is here to stay.  Get used to it.  With digital advertising, you know your customer looked at your ad. Not only that, but you have an opportunity to capture that consumers information with relevant landing pages and free offers for your valued services.  Give folks a free taste and you will be surprised how many engage with you.

Social Network Users in U.S. 2014

As my Dad always says when I’m complaining about my golf game…”Play Better.” In this case, start advertising digitally, build your audience, foster those relationships (convert your contacts to a database) and follow up with them via email drip campaigns.  Marketing is the same game, it is just morphing into a digital form. Social selling is based along the same principles as traditional selling.  Meet people, however you can, meet people, online, offline, in the grocery store or on Pinterest, but engage and develop relationships.  It is conversations that have meaning, not the platform where they happen.

Super Bowl Commercials Demonstrate Growing Confidence in Economy

With the recent news reports and the fact that there will be 70 commercials played during the 2012 Super Bowl, (with an average price tag of $3.5 million) there is finally some good news to bouy consumer confidence.

As you can see from all of the videos listed on the USA Today – Facebook Ad Meter there is no shortage of confidence from the big brands.  I’m proud to report that Century 21 Real Estate is making its debut on this list with our Super Bowl Ad (see below).

I don’t know about you, but I have a strong belief that the American economy and more to the point the American consumer cannot be held down forever.  I mean, C’mon Man, its been six years…it’s time to regain our mojo as a nation.

As you will see in the ads, there is no shortage of star power backing this year’s ads.  Is Super Bowl Kick-Off more than the beginning of a game?  Is it the beginning of an economic turnaround…the start of a renewed spirit within the American consumer? Impossible to say for certain given all the other factors influencing our economy, but I for one am sick and tired of all the pessimism.  I say, let this moment in time represent more than just a game, let it represent the light at the end of the tunnel, a new beginning, not another reference to the beginning of the end of the downturn.

Let’s celebrate as we come together this Sunday to share in “the last great American campfire.”  We live in the greatest nation, let’s act like it again.

I swear I had no previous knowledge of this Clint Eastwood ad coming out prior to my original post:

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What is the Value of a Facebook Like?

Facebook logo

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The value of a Facebook “Like” has caused quite a stir lately.  As someone who is involved in evaluating decisions about how to spend time and energy as it relates to brand marketing via mobile and social media, I have seen valuations ranging from $139 per “Like” to $0. I would say the value lies somewhere in between, but it would be intellectually dishonest and quite frankly a cop-out.

What I propose instead is to provide a summary of what I’ve researched, make a few well-reasoned thoughts (and most likely a few quips about the “experts” on this subject) and then let you decide how much value there is for your enterprise in going after the almighty “Like”.

First, listed below are the best reads I found on the subject. Rest assured, these will be outdated by the time I post this.

And, these are just from the past few months…It seams everyone has an opinion on the value of of a Facebook “Like”. Well, I have one too.

As I continue to tell our Web team, it is not a bad thing to have customers like the brand. In fact, I would like as many people as possible to like Century 21 Real Estate because that means the brand is staying top of mind by adding value for the next generation of home buyers and sellers.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not in favor of building a fan base just to build a fan base. It is more important to add fans who are in our demographic wheelhouse (24 – 34 year old females) as these consumers have a direct impact on CENTURY 21 brokers and their agents’ bottom lines…thus the gratuitous image of Kim Kardashian below.

Kim Kardashian, taken at the unveiling of her ...

Image via Wikipedia


If you are a fan of any of our social channels, from to our blog @C21 – Home Matters then you know that our content strategy is targeting this group.

Now, getting back to the question at hand. What is the value of a Facebook “Like”? Much like the value of a well-placed earned media hit, its value varies depending on whom you ask.

If you ask someone who works in finance, it’s not worth the money you spent to get it.









If you ask someone who sells social media consulting services, it is worth the price of gold…well before the latest run up in gold anyway.

Gold Key, weighing one kilogram is used to acc...

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If you ask someone in marketing management, it equals the value of spend divided by the number of qualified leads it generates times a factor of 20 to the tenth power of brand preference (no this is not real, so don’t leverage it for your own posts and claim it as fact because you gleaned it from the Internet).

In my opinion, it is as undefined as social media metrics are to the sales funnel. Sure, their getting better and we can track data a lot better now, but there are still many unknown variables just like PR.  How many friends of friends opened up (or even saw it for that matter), a piece of content that you shared on your company’s or your own Facebook wall?  I know how many instant impressions it left on their wall, but how many people did it actually reach?  How many people clicked, read or watched the content that you shared?

We know that syndicating content via Web 2.0 platforms helps to stimulate brand preference and generate leads, just like advertising, but we have not nailed down the formula to definitively quantify its ROI to the enterprise.  Trust me, I am working on it…my livelihood depends on it.

I’m sure there are many in the field who are also working on this question.  If you are, please contact me and let me now what you’ve learned on the subject…As the immortal Tupac would say, I ain’t hard to find … and I may even “Like” you.

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Play Better

Today, as my parents are driving to Florida to avoid what remains of this unbelievable bear of a Winter, I am reminded of some sage advice that my Pap gives me from time to time on the golf course when I’m complaining about a bad shot with lame excuses like the sun is in my eyes, a poorly placed fairway bunker…(you get the picture).  He says, “No sense in complainin’, play better.” He was a steelworker in Pittsburgh for 20 years, so the pearls of wisdom are concise, but I take that advice to heart as I get older.

Last year, the C21 SM team took a few body shots from some of our friends in the SM space with regard to our social media strategy (see - from our good friend @TDefren at SHIFT.  I don’t take the criticism personally. I knew that I could play better.  After all, there was a lot of truth to what TDef (Todd’s Rapper Name) had to say at the time.

However, it did give me that same feeling that I get when I hit a worm-burner with my 3-wood.  The good folks I work with here at the brand and our team at Mullen had a vision of what a best-in-class social media brand strategy looked like and we knew it would take time, as all good things do.

Fast-forward one year later.  This month, we announced the launch of our blog @c21 – Home Matters.  @C21 will begin to act as a hub for SM activity, featuring guest bloggers and providing valuable information to home buyers / sellers and industry professionals.

We also consolidated our SM handles to simply, Century21, for Facebook and Twitter, while simultaneously adopting a conversation strategy that targeted a female audience, as well as industry professionals.  I’m proud to report that we grew our Facebook “Likes” by 170% YoY and our Twitter following by 219% YoY.

But that is only the beginning.  In addition to the work on building an audience through existing channels, we also published our first How To TV: Social Media Series Video (see below).

This series of short video vignettes provides instruction for our System members on how to use social media platforms like Craig’s List, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube; as well as, CENTURY 21 mobile apps and location-based services like foursquare.

This video series was developed in conjunction with the CENTURY 21 learning department. Social media is being adopted across the enterprise as its potential for communication across all professional disciplines including internal communications, franchise sales, marketing, pr, servicing and training is extraordinary.

Visit the C21 Learning Facebook page for more information about one of the leading learning platforms in the real estate industry – As you will see, C21 Learning is on the bleeding edge of leveraging the Facebook platform.

A holistic approach to communication is important to the success of any organization or initiative.  If you’ve ever studied organizational management, then you may have heard of Peter Senge and The Fifth Discipline.  By applying systems thinking (see definition below) to the adoption of social media throughout the enterprise, we have been able to leverage efforts in multiple disciplines for the benefit of the whole.

Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole. In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which various elements such as air, water, movement, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization healthy or unhealthy.

By integrating various disciplines within the organization to leverage the power of social media, we are all able to look for the larger picture beyond our own individual perspectives. Through a common understanding of each others’ goals, the organization is better positioned to thrive.

In addition to our customized Facebook tab that was made available to all CENTURY 21 System brokers, (see How Facebook Changed the Game for Brand Marketing,) we have also developed a Careers tab on the CENTURY 21 Facebook page (see image below)

Directing social media strategy for the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization is a challenging proposition, but nothing worth doing is ever easy. We have made great strides in the past 12 months and we are only now beginning to see the fruit of our collective labor. You know my wife, who is Colombian, has a saying that she likes to say to our boys (and to me) “The one who takes shortcuts to achieving their work, ends up working twice as hard.” (loose translation)

It is not important how you open the round, but how you finish. Game on!

Ten Signs Its A Spam Scam

It is difficult to keep up with the demands of being a professional in 2011. Trying to keep up with email, video, skype, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, blogosphere, teleconferences and Webinars is enough to push even the most-seasoned corporate marketing pro over the edge and into the woods looking for a lengthy sabbatical with Henry David Thoreau at Walden’s Pond. Forget about keeping up with admin requirements, personal-life, snail mail and the commute!

But what I really love are the constant barrage of junk email scams that continue to perpetrate my spam filters and make their way to my inbox and ultimately my life, as my eyes are forced to work for 2 seconds per scam, plus the additional 3 seconds it takes me to select Action / Junk email / Add Sender to Block Sender List. That’s a lot of time wasted at the end of the year.

So, I thought I’d vent here in my first “Rant” about some of the most common spam scams that just never seem to relent. I can’t say I admire their creativity, but the persistence is remarkable.

1. Any email from anyone with Barrister in their title. How many barristers do you know, really?

2. Email from any embassy, unless you work for the Dept. of State or the U.N.

3. Emails that inform you of winning a prize worth millions, usually in British pound sterling.

4. Email from diplomats (see below)
I’m Diplomat Simon Bruno, I have been trying to reach you on your telephoneabout an hour now just to inform you about my successful arrival at Mineral Wells Dallas International Airport with your Consignment Box worth US$1.2 Million which I have been instructed by ELITE COURIER SERVICE COMPANY to be delivered to you.

5. Notifications from international banking institutions (see below)
Mr.Vincent Cheung of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Hong Kong. I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a Deceased client with similar last name as yours and an investment placed Under our banks management.

Here is a helpful tip video from If nothing else the soothing Caribbean music will help you calm down after reading another email from the “High Commissioner of Compensation from the United Nations Compensation Commission.”

6. Beneficiary notification as a result of an international class action suit (see below)


The United Nations Compensation Commission(UNCC)has made available a total of $863,725,490.00 to 27 governments and two international organizations for distribution to 370 successful claimants who has being Victims of Internet scam

7. Emails from any Lottery Awards Department

8. Western Union Money Transfer (see below)
There is an issue with the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER in the amount of $2,500,000.00 (two million five hundred thousand US Dollars). The sum was directed in cash and credited to file WMT/9023118307-09 to the owner of this e-mail address.

9. Penny stocks are making me a fortune (see below)

So I wanted to tell you about this penny stock newsletter that has made me a TON of money lately. Normally these newsletters are scams and dont work but this company has literally picked 3 WINNERS in a row since I signed up!!!

10. Any email that starts with “Dear Sir/Madam,

Bonus Spam Scam: Emails that come from any government officials in any country in Africa.

If you receive any of these emails, add them to your junk folder. They won’t stop, but at least you will feel like you ard doing something to make the planet a better place.

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