According to the 2011 REALTOR® Technology Report by NAR, 90% of brokers and 91% of agents use social media, primarily to engage with consumers and other real estate professionals. The trend is growing almost exponentially. Most readers will be quite familiar with the main general social networking sites that can offer something to realtors – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram and Flickr. Did you know there are real estate specific social media sites, as well? Activerain and RealTown provide access to communities, networks, content and thought leadership. Today’s agent needs to engage with social media. Here are some best practice tips.
You can’t engage in best practice until you’ve actually engaged – so step one is putting yourself out there. Start promoting your brand via social networking sites. If you’re overwhelmed, start small by selecting just one or two sites, and build as you gain confidence and experience. Remember that social media gives you a great opportunity to combine your professional reputation and brand with something a bit more tangible and real. Let your personality shine through.
Share your knowledge, but don’t cram your listings or commentary down people’s throats. There is nothing more annoying than popping on to Facebook and seeing 10 ads in a row from some “professional” I thought I liked. Don’t be that guy.
Social media, like most marketing efforts, is not a magic solution. You won’t see results in a day. Keep at it, make sure people can find you easily, stay relevant and current, find other professionals you respect and follow their lead – if you put the effort it, you’ll eventually see results, and will most likely end up enjoying yourself quite a bit along the way!
Don’t be afraid to blog – it’s a free way to prove yourself as a thought leader, an expert in real estate, a committed agent and more. Blogging gives you a platform to share your ideas, thoughts, knowledge and commentary in far greater detail than, say, Facebook and LinkedIn. A blog is also highly complimentary to your efforts on the aforementioned sites. Promote your blog posts via your social networking profiles, and remember to link EVERYTHING back to your website. Your bios should be similar across all sites – brand consistency is key – but they shouldn’t be identical. Pay attention to the atmosphere.
Interaction is important when it comes to social networking. If you’re doing it right and well, you’re having a two-way (or more!) conversation – not a one way dump. Remember how important the old fashioned phone call used to be? Social media relationships and conversations are just as important now. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers – how many followers and likes you receive. But you’re doing this to support your business objectives. Quality is what you need, much more than quantity.