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6 Degrees of Socialization

September 01 2010

Connectimage200pxIn the last few months I have noticed a remarkable increase in the number of real estate agents interested in stepping into the world of Social Media.  I often am asked “Where do I start?”  I teach educational seminars all the time where I teach the how’s and why’s, and often I teach hands-on labs to help agents create their social media platforms

I start by explaining to the agents that they understand why and plan how they will use these platforms.  Each has its own nuances and techniques, many have multiple uses or purposes, but there are specific techniques for how a real estate agent should use them. 

The following are the sites I suggest a real estate agent begin with.  For me it is not the first step in social media, but it is certainly one of the basic steps.  The following is a list of platforms I recommend and some of the reasons to use them, including some of the “must have” features.

The “must be” places for a real estate agent to build a social media presence:

1.) Google. ( Start here, if you already have a Google account great be sure to use it, if not create a Google account.  You should use your related Gmail account for your social media “funnel”, letting contacts, reports, requests and more funnel through that account.  Google offers great applications within the site, but for real estate professionals you want to set up Google Alerts.  You can find Google Alerts by clicking on the More link in the top navigation of the Google home page, then the Even More link will take you to the page that has a huge variety of Google offerings. Click on the Alert link and set up alerts. Set them for your name, even any common misspellings, your brokerage, your town and anything else you want to monitor.  I set it to report whenever it finds something and to send up to 50 per alert. Then save your search and add more.  You will get emails from Google on your Gmail account as it discovers these terms. Careful if you have a common name as you might get a lot of reports. For those instances you may want a once-a-day notification set.  This is the first step in monitoring your online brand.

2.) A Blog! Whether you have a person real estate site for yourself or not you really should also have a blog. You can add one to an existing site, or choose from a variety of blog services to host one for you. I personally prefer for hosting. Use the blog to share market information, insights and statistics. You can also use it to provide tips and techniques for Buyer’s and Seller’s to use.  Also highlighting great community information is a wonderful way to share. The more frequently you write (post) a blog the better.  Then you need a “mouth piece” or distribution point for your blog. The next two are great examples!

3.) Facebook. ( Most everyone has a Facebook page these days, so this might not be new to you. Do you have a Facebook business page for your real estate practice?  You can easily create one via Facebook, but with or without one be sure to set your blog to automatically post an update to your Facebook page.  This helps tell people you have a blog and are an authority. You would be surprised with how many people you “know” who aren’t thinking of you for real estate. Remind them.

4.) LinkedIn. ( This is the professional space. Most real estate agents come from another field to real estate. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people you used to work with, or have done business with. Posting your blog updates to LinkedIn also helps build your credibility in the industry, demonstrating to those that don’t know you in the real estate context that you are a true professional.  List your past employment and your current brokerage. Connect with people you know and seek connections that might offer value. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to “introduce” you to someone else you might not be connected to. It is a valuable but underrated resource for a real estate agent.  Find past clients and ask them for recommendations too. Most are happy to do so!

5.) Twitter. ( A lot of the time the first question people ask me is “Why Twitter? Isn’t it just a bunch of nonsense chatter?” Not at all.  By building a network and growing a community on Twitter, you would be surprised at the value it can offer your business and you personally. Spend some time on discovering people and watching interactions, or “lurking” on the site. Be sure to have your blog post to Twitter as well! If you want a good list of real estate professionals to start follow visit my page and follow the “learnedrealestate” list.  I will be adding more all the time.

6.) YouTube. ( Create a YouTube account and set up your profile. Then make some short videos to share. You can do videos of house tours, community events, parks and more.  Post them here and you can also use YouTube links to post those videos on your blog or website. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. Get creative!

There are lots of other places to go and the list grows quickly. Take your time and get to know these platforms first, test and see what works for you then try something new!

I hope you enjoy being a social real estate agent as much as I do!

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