It’s no secret that suddenly real estate professionals all across the country are touting the importance of social networking. In fact, after blogging, social-networking has been the major topic of conversation at real estate conferences for the past six months or more – besides the recent Inman conference, there was RealTrends, Luxury Real Estate, Colorado Association or Realtors, NAR, and many others. In fact, CAR now offers courses in using social media to prospect and garner referrals, and Newsweek recently ran a story about the influx of real estate business emerging on Facebook.
In these tough economic times, real estate agents are getting back to the basics – gone are the days of “spray and pray” marketing. Relationship marketing has always been one of the fundamental real estate basics. Relationship marketing is all about targeting your marketing efforts to people you already know – you know their likes, dislikes, needs, life situation, etc. Real estate professionals lost sight of this during the boom years of the early 2000’s because it seemed everyone was buying and selling real estate, the secret was hitting the consumer at the right time – it was a numbers game and spray and pray marketing worked to that end. In the “old days” real estate professionals fostered their relationships through phone calls, dinner parties, email and direct mail. Today, savvy agents are utilizing social networking sites in order to achieve the same results. And it’s working!
The beauty of social networking sites is that you can foster a far greater number of relationships equivalent to the amount of time invested. LinkedIn, for example, automatically calculates the number of people in your Network of Trusted Professionals – for every 100 connections in your “trusted friends and colleagues” category, you will see close to 4,000 “friends of friends” within two degrees of separation. With that being said, thousands of potential clients, or referral sources, are privy to the message you present through your online profile.
Given that there are so many social networking sites, here is a breakdown of some of the more popular sites to help you get started:
- Facebook – Although Facebook is primarily a more personal, rather than professional, site, its advantage is in visibility – meaning more people are going to see what you are up to. By keeping your message professional you will get noticed above all the prevalent mindless garbage.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn is considered the professionals network. It’s been said that members will browse other members connections in order to understand someone’s reputation – thus your clout comes from who you are associated, or “connected,” with. LinkedIn is also advantageous in that it provides the members with slightly more personal anonymity than Facebook.
- Twitter – Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to stay connected through the exchange of frequent answers to one simple question: “What are you doing?” Twitter provides greater transparency and more timely information. Again, keep your message professional and you will get noticed.
- LuxuryLounge – Operated by LuxuryRealEstate.com, the LuxuryLounge is private community for luxury real estate professionals who are affiliated with Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. Because it’s a smaller site, members seem more open with each other and will look within the Lounge first when contemplating referrals.
- ActiveRain – Specific to real estate professionals, ActiveRain’s real advantage is in its blogging capacity. Because of its size, the search engines love ActiveRain, thus the general online public will see conversations you have within the network to a greater extent.
- Inman – Being part of Inman Real Estate News, the Inman community provides its members with continual relevant news from top real estate professionals around the country. Like LuxuryLounge and ActiveRain, Inman has blogging functionality built into member profiling.
- Trulia – The Trulia Voices Community is a place to share what you know with other expert agents. It encourages you to participate with other community members by blogging and answering questions. When the public stumbles upon your profile they can judge your credibility by your blog entries, etc.
- MySpace – Don’t dismiss it as just a site for teenagers and college students, there are currently 2,100 listings under “Real Estate Denver.”
Obviously, there are many other social networking sites gathering momentum these days (Bebo and Flickr to name two more) all of which have their own nuances. I hope this article gives you the courage to dive deeper into a social networking platform that suits your individual style. Remember, it’s all about relationship marketing – same concept, different venues.
Read an updated version (4/14/09) of this blog post on Trulia.
Written by Perry & Co Vice President Jon Larrance
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Tags: ActiveRain, Denver Colorado Real Estate, Facebook, Jon Larrance, LinkedIn, Luxury Real Estate, Marketing, Perry & Co, Positive Attitude, Social Networking, Trulia, Twitter, Why Blog
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