Unless you’ve been in suspended animation for the last decade, you’ve heard a lot of buzz about Tweets, friending, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and likes. As a real estate agent, you are also hearing that unless you become an active user of social media you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to automatically produce a large number of referrals for your business. Still, if you are like most of us, you’re somewhat overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information out there about these tools, and you’re not quite sure where or how to start building your very own social-media machine. This quick-start guide is for the top-three social-media tools -- LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The goal is to make it easy for you to find a starting point so you can take action now!
LinkedIn: Most Effective for Business Referrals
Unlike the other two social networks we are going to explore, LinkedIn is a bit more formal and focuses on creating business-to-business relationships. It’s free and easy to sign up for an account and the first step is to upload a profile, i.e., resume. This, in my opinion, is the most important step of utilizing LinkedIn's powerful set of tools. It’s important to take your time, use a professional photo and/or a company logo and upload a well written, interesting profile that highlights both your professional skills and accomplishments. Important: Make sure there are no misspellings or grammatical errors in your profile, even if you have to hire a professional copy editor to proof read it. Remember, first impressions are lasting, especially on LinkedIn. Once your profile is completed, you are ready to take the second step that will immediately set you on a road to unlimited referrals by authorizing the social network to scan your email contacts. This automated process will link you to the profiles of everyone you know or have done business with. But here’s the added benefit that could eventually grow your base of qualified referrals: When you visit the connection pages of your contacts, you are allowed to see everyone they know! You can then carefully cull through them and send requests to connect with the ones you’ve chosen. This is an important step in developing new business relationships and the key to building a treasure chest of quality referrals.
Twitter : Tool for Building Credibility and Attracting New Clients
Think of Twitter as a way to blog to a targeted audience without all the heavy lifting. In geek speak: Twitter is really what’s known as a microblog, because it lets you send short messages to your network of “followers.” Followers are earned by posting pithy, informative and relevant “tweets” that engage fellow members on a specific subject, such as politics, music or real estate. When someone likes your tweet, they give it a “like,” which means more people will read it. It’s easy and free to sign-up for Twitter and the whole point of doing so for a real estate agent is to share some of your local listings and insights about real estate to potential clients, who will find you because they are searching the Internet looking for properties in your area.
Avoid Being Labeled a Spammer
However, it’s really important to mention that some new members of Twitter kill their chances of developing a following by immediately posting every property they have listed. If you do this, you risk turning off potential followers and being classified as a spammer. The penalty for this is that your tweets are ignored. Also, you shouldn’t use Twitter to constantly toot your own horn or beg for referrals. This will ensure that members won’t want to follow you and those who do will stop. To avoid this from happening, pick and choose what you post. Tweeting about a true real estate bargain is good, just as tweeting about some local real estate statistics will be well received.
Facebook: Informal Networking with Friends, Relatives and Clients
Since 2004, Facebook has been a universal online community that allows more than a billion human beings to share personal information with their friends, relatives and people they haven’t yet met. It is a must for any real estate agent, but it’s a less formal venue where you can relax a little, but always remember to do so without putting your professional standing in jeopardy. It’s a great place to keep in contact with your past, present and potential clients – and it’s free. Again, it is an ideal place to promote your best properties and to obtain referrals as long as you don’t begin spamming. If you do, expect to lose friends. Case in point, I had a friend on Facebook that began sending me emails every day about different shows he was promoting. Needless to say, I soon blocked him and his messages. Follow this rule of thumb and you’ll never have a problem on any social media network: Only tweet and post the kind of items that you would want to read if you were searching for a property.