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Social Networks for Real Estate: Twitter

July 05 2011

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Guest contributor Katy Dean Cebe from Showing Suite says:

We've gone over how best to use Facebook for real estateFacebook for real estate, so now the next logical step in our social network tips for REALTORS® series is how to use Twitter as another tool for your real estate business.

If you haven't set up a Twitter profile, it's quick and simple to do. But before you start, you'll want to think about the name you want to use. Professionalism still counts in Twitter. Let's say your name is Jim Jones, you live in Seattle and love cats. While you may be so tempted to use the name "CatLoverJim," you're making this account for your real estate business so think more along the lines of "JimSellsHomes" or "JimSellsSeattle." Even just "JimJones" if that's available.

Make sure you set up a profile photo, otherwise it will be set to the default egg image. No one wants to buy real estate from an egg. A professional photo will work best, but you can use any simple, smiling headshot of just yourself. I recommend this instead of a picture of your company logo, simply because a smiling face is much more approachable than a company sign.

Got a name and a photo picked out? Go ahead and set up your account now... I'll wait.

Let's Get Crackin'
Now that you have your account created, on to the "following" topic. Like Facebook friends, your Twitter followers are part of your direct network on this site. But don't just expect people to automatically know about your account. Market your Twitter account just like you would market your Facebook account. "Follow me @JimSellsSeattle" is really all you ever need to include when promoting your Twitter profile. Twitter users will know to search for you using @JimSellsSeattle and once they find your profile, they'll be able to follow you.

Follow @ShowingSuite on Twitterfollow on twitter
You'll want to follow industry leading companies in fields such as real estate technology, news, statistics, and other top agents and brokerages – including competitors (if you want to know how to do better than them, you'll have to know how they're doing business too). Follow people who are prominent in the neighborhoods that you prospect; you want to know what's happening in your market, right? Last but not least, follow those that follow you. It's more than a courtesy; it increases your network range.

Like I said about Facebook, Twitter is not a diary and I have yet to truly understand why people post things like "I'm at Friendship Park on 5th Ave, Springfield, IL and no one's here!" Maybe that's a slight exaggeration – slight. Does it ever occur to anyone that posting your exact location is dangerous? People used to get all up-in-arms about "big brother" watching their every move. No need to argue about that anymore, because now people just let the whole Twitter world know anyway. I digress...

Be relevant, post regularly but not obsessively. A couple times a day on Twitter is plenty. Make sure the majority of your tweets (posts) have substance.

Think of your Twitter account as a specialty news program. Most viewers tune in to hear about a particular topic, so that's the kind of news you should provide. Occasionally, go ahead and throw in a "human interest" piece – those relatable stories that just make you laugh or feel in some way sympathetic.

Some great things to tweet about: neighborhood news, an open house coming up or one that you are currently holding, mortgage rates, preferred vendor deals, buyer/seller tips or other educational items.

You can tweet new and sold listings, but be careful not to spam these. If you just got five in one day (go you!), you may feel the urge to tweet about every single one that very same day. I know it's exciting, but reel your excitement in just a bit. Pick one to post each day, or compile a short list and use one tweet to showcase a couple at a time, and mix in a tweet or two about something else in between. Otherwise, you may have followers watching your flood of tweets, dying to tell you to "step away from the Twitter!"

Tweet Your Mind in 140 Characters
Huge tip for REALTORS® using Twitter: shorten URLs. You're limited to 140 characters, and technically shorter if you are expecting anyone to retweet what you've tweeted. Some URLs (web page addresses) can be excruciatingly long. Use a URL shortener (we like, type in your full URL and a new, much shorter URL is created for you – perfect for tweeting. Be sure to test your new short link to make sure it goes to the right page.

Try limiting your full tweet to 100-120 characters. This allows others to retweet your tweets and add a word or two to introduce it. In this example, there are 139 total characters and 111 were the original tweet. "Cool tool! RT@ShowingSuite@ShowingSuite: Hey sellers, find out what potential buyers and agents are really saying about your house!".