Be authentic. Your profile is the first thing people will see when they visit your page. Be truthful about who you are and what you do. Details are a good thing. Calling yourself a “real estate expert” isn’t as informative as “20 years working with XYZ Reality, specializing in urban condos.” Providing nuggets about your life outside of work (everyone loves to see photos) adds a human element to whom you are, and that builds relationships.
Be an observer. Spend time researching Facebook groups, fan pages, and events related to your niche. How do they communicate with their members? How does the administrator facilitate meetings? How active are the discussion boards and wall posts? After joining Twitter, follow key people related to your interest. Observe the types of information they provide and how they engage with their followers.
Be a giver, not a taker. Share information with your network—without expecting something in return. Post a link to a great article or video, and provide insightful comments on links that other people post. Take time to build a relationship with people in your network. The more resources you provide, the more trust you build and the more potential clients you create.
Be a sleuth. Sign up at TweetBeep.com to get e-mail alerts when keywords related to you or your business appear in a Twitter message, or “tweet.”
Be organized. Use Facebook lists to group your contacts—coworkers, high school friends, neighbors, past clients, and so on. You can create lists by clicking on the “Friends” link on the top of your profile page, and then clicking on “Make a New List” on the left side of the screen. This makes communications easier as you grow a large network of friends. Create similar groupings with your Twitter contacts; check out the application called TweetDeck (click on “Apps” at the bottom of the Twitter home page) and TwitterGroups.
Be Industry Specific. On most industry social networking sites, the questions are frequently area-specific, so you can sign up to receive notices of questions in your area. As a real estate professional, you may just be getting a handle on a productive website or blog. And, thinking about signing up for and participating in multiple networking sites is the last thing you have time for. You’ll need to make the time, as this is the future of your business. Instead of spending hours every week going to meetings and community functions to shake 50 hands and make contacts, you could be meeting and connecting with thousands online in the same amount of time.
Be a Local Expert. Placing your knowledge of a particular area on a high visibility social networking site can lead prospects to your door. But first, in order to do so, you need to be willing to set yourself apart from the pack-as an expert in a particular area or niche. This requires both a commitment and desire from you.
Lack of information is the biggest frustration most Internet users have. Except for a few major sites, most of the information on the Internet is fluff, or flat out advertising. More and more, people are growing tired of that, so any content that actually fills a void makes an impact. If that content is yours, they’ll remember you when it’s time to select a Realtor.
Combining this concept with YouTube, a destination for savvy Web surfers looking for entertaining video clips, you can provide a video that highlights the lifestyle and quality of living in a given community. YouTube’s format, which is easily accessible from most any computer, allows users to transfer a video performance from a computer to the site. Once uploaded, the video is searchable by the YouTube community. Why not create a series of videos that capture what’s great about living in your community? If you do this and post it, people will find it, and when they do, they find you. It’s in this searching that Realtors can find a marketing benefit to YouTube and other Web 2.0 sites.
Seven Social Networking Sites You Must Use
ActiveRain, “Our goal is to create a valuable resource of information and ideas for real estate professionals and their clients. We aim to help empower people by providing tools to help promote business and connect with peers all over the country.”
What’s it good for? Building relationships within the industry. Getting search-engine optimization through a profile and blogging platform.
Facebook, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.”
What’s it good for? Getting blanket messages out to your network. Staying up-to-date on what your sphere of influence is saying, reading, watching, and doing. Creating fan pages for your business that people beyond your sphere can join.
LinkedIn, “LinkedIn is an online network of more than 20 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. .. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you.”
What’s it good for? Promoting your professional qualifications and accomplishments. Joining groups to share knowledge and build referral networks. Asking other members for business.
MySpace, “Create a private community on MySpace and you can share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends.”
What’s it good for? Same as Facebook getting blanket messages out to your network. Staying up-to-date on what your sphere of influence is saying, reading, watching, and doing.
Ning, “Ning is the only online service where you can create, customize, and share your own Social Network for free in seconds.”
What’s it good for? For Realtors, Ning can be used as a community resource with a social network component; a place to post links, photos and videos but also to engage your local community.
Flickr. A picture and video hosting web site and online community that exists primarily for exchanging and commenting on photos.
What’s it good for? Storing and organizing pictures of listings. Creating slide shows for your blog, social networking profiles, or web site.
Real Town, “RealTown is the oldest and most respected real estate network featuring a variety of online communities as well as a wealth of community created content.”
What’s it good for? Networking with fellow real estate professionals. Posting your questions about industry issues and technologies. Sharing information with other users.