Friday, January 20, 2012

Pull Up a Facebook Stool and Have a Drink

James Power is the co-owner and broker of record at Advantage Relocation Consultants, providing exclusive buyer and renter representation in the New York City Real Estate marketplace. He specializes in employee relocation and is an avid user of Facebook and social media in general. He was kind enough to guest post a counter argument supporting the personal and professional value of using Facebook.

I recently took the MBTI personality test, a professional assessment that breaks down your personality into types. I am an ESFP, or Extraversion/Sensing/Feeling/Perceiving. I think it’s a little comical to break down my personality into a paragraph, however, when I read the results I definitely said to myself “That’s me!!” ESFP’s are outgoing, friendly, accepting, exuberant lovers of life, people and material comforts. They enjoy working with others to make things happen, bringing common sense and realistic approaches to work, and trying to make work fun by doing things differently. They are also flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments, and learn best by trying a new skill with other people.

My results say a lot about why I am an avid user of Facebook, both personally and professionally. Personally, I am exhaustive about keeping in touch with people.  That is to say, everyone. In this respect, Facebook was made for me. I need to know what everyone is doing. I am not talking about people like my closest college roommates that I still communicate with on an almost daily basis, but rather I am referring to my first college roommate with whom I was crammed together into a cement box of a dorm room when we were 18 and just about every other person I've ever met. I enjoy seeing pictures of weddings even though I wasn’t invited.  I like seeing pictures of people's kids and showing them pictures of mine and seeing what’s on people's mind. If they want to share with me what they had for breakfast that's great too! Once I meet someone, chances are it will not just be a passing acquaintanceship as I try to build long lasting friendships with people that I care about and who interest me.  Facebook feeds this social addiction to keep in touch.

Yes, of course, there are some awkward Facebook moments. I recently became Facebook friends with someone I knew in grammar school. I had not seen this person since the 8th grade and we scheduled a play date with our kids because I posted where I was going to be and it just happened to be right around the corner from where she lives. We met, talked a bit, caught up (as much as you can since we have not seen each other in over twenty years!) and it was definitely a little uncomfortable. But it was also awesome. Here’s someone I hadn’t seen or thought of in years and we connected! We both realized that chances are we will just be Facebook friends and we will not take it to the next level. I have nothing in common with her husband, and to say that this person and my wife are alike in any way is just silly. All of this aside, since we were close in grammar school, there is a piece of me that likes the connection we have on Facebook because I am energized by relationships no matter what level they are on.

Professionally, Facebook has proven to be a lucrative tool as well as simply a great way for me to network. I own a real estate company called Advantage Corporate Relocation and since the day I started in the business I have always felt like I am one connection or phone call away from something big. It is this feeling that keeps me energized and motivated to continue promoting, selling, and marketing myself and my business. Facebook has an amazing reach that can benefit all of us professionally. 1 in every 13 people have a Facebook account.  That’s 1 in 13 people in the WORLD! That is astonishing. As we all know, having an online presence right now is imperative. I attended a seminar last fall and was told that not having a TOTAL ONLINE presence (i.e. FACEBOOK/TWITTER/BLOG/LINKEDIN) is like owning a business in the 1970’s-80’s and not having an ad in the Yellow Pages. The Internet has become our Yellow Pages. Business is happening online and Facebook is the key player.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is where it’s at now days. When you Google (yes, Google......I did not say open the YELLOW PAGES...frankly I am not even sure we are listed in the Yellow Pages) my company name, my website and my Facebook page come up. From a business and professional perspective, a Facebook page ranks right there as something we all need.

I am guilty of only having 500 friends. Imagine that for a second...only 500 FRIENDS! Also, I am guilty of not using Facebook to its full potential as are, I find, most people. But to not use it at all is to completely lose out. You never of my connections could know someone that will be the connection that catapults my business to the next level where I have been trying to take it for years. The tipping point where I am not the Real Estate broker......but the Real Estate Magnet.  LinkedIn is the business meeting. Facebook is the cocktail party. Pull up a stool and have a drink.

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