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10 Tips On How Real Estate Professionals Can Use Social Media Marketing to Market Homes and Condos

It is quite interesting how two things virtually transformed how real estate professionals work their trade nowadays. The first has to do with the real estate crisis, 4-5 years ago, and the other one is the boom of the use of Social Media across the generational board. When the real estate crisis hit the market, realtors and brokers were forced to go back to the drawing boards and rethink their strategies insofar as marketing their information and finding their buyers.
When Facebook became a big hit and people were signing up in droves, it was a no brainer for real estate professionals to try to bring their business to the budding network. After perhaps some initial reservations that social media would merely be for kids, and the realization that even business people and consumers are onto social media, the industry began to see this for what it is – a seemingly boundless, cost effective venue for building relationships and selling information.
How is this going along? More than what we expected, I should say. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors say that in the United States, percentage of agents who use social media have jumped, from 35% last year, to 50% this year. It may be because they have realized that people are relying less and less on newspapers and classifieds and more and more on the Internet when looking for homes.
Which brings us to the critical point this article wishes to make: any serious real estate professional cannot ignore the value of social media networks. It is current. It is the “in” thing. People are flocking to the “virtual world” to do “real world” transactions. Hence, it is imperative that we learn the tricks of this particular trade. Just how do real estate professionals “effectively” use social media? Let me offer these 10 great tips:
1. The More, The Many-er
It is important to understand that Facebook is not the only social media out there. There is also Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr, Foursquare – to name only some popular few. This means that there is virtually no reason for you not to reach your potential client. In fact, the clients, especially those who are seriously looking for a house to buy or a place to rent, may be doing a “real estate agent” search on these platforms right now, trying to get to you.
2. Strategize on How to Reach your Potential Client.
Just because you have a Facebook page, or a LinkedIn account does not mean that buyers will immediately knock at your virtual doorstep. You have to have a strategy on how to make potential clients know that you exist and that you are ready to help them with their real estate needs. And this is the power of social media. It has made networking easy. All you need is a strategy on how to reach your buyers.
3. Relationship-Building is the Name of the Game.
I find networking to be a tad too technical a term for my taste. A homier, more people friendly term would be “relationship-building.” And as any sales person worth his salt would tell you, relationship building is the heart of any sales endeavor. And this is where you should excel in your quest to being the social-media-savvy-real-estate-pro that you are. Go play some online scrabble, or be a Farmville neighbor. Send them the gifts they need to build that chicken coop. Greet “friends” on their birthdays. Post some personalized greetings on their walls, every so often. This allows you to get into their good side, to make them realize that you’re someone they can trust. As soon as that is done, as soon as they have that urge to buy their new house, and knowing you are the person to talk to because you have followed tip #2, they will call message you and ask for a quote. Ain’t that sweet!
4. Work on Your Reach
The danger with Facebook and other social platforms is that people may become overwhelmed with seemingly boundless potentials for client-making. Any good marketing professional will tell you that it is better to target your markets rather that to use a shotgun approach, hoping perchance that you hit somebody. As you begin your foray into this type of marketing, start with a small network and begin to expand from there. Strategize your network by thinking about this: “Will I be able to service him/her if ever he/she becomes my client?” As a friend, you may want to keep in close Facebook touch with those on the other side of the world. But as an agent, you may want to direct your marketing efforts to those that you can service, should that need arise.
5. Separate the Personal From the Professional
As can be gleaned from the some of the above-mentioned tips, it is imperative that we keep our personal and professional accounts different. Social Networking sites are quite interactive. A share picture can make one to one hundred comments in a jiffy. The danger of mixing business and pleasure is that information may quickly be buried in the process. That is but one of the many issues we try to avoid when we opt for separate profile pages. You don’t want to be posting pictures of an all night drinking party one minute and a house for sale the next minute, do you? It just doesn’t make professional sense.
6. Create Professional Looking Sites
Many of these social media sites allow us a great leeway in personalizing our “landing” pages. It is then important that we showcase our business the best way possible through these pages. First impressions last, or so they say. Many of these prospective clients will look at these websites and will create an impression about how we do business based on what they see. Take time to build a professional looking site.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Learn.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know how to use these sites. These are quite often very user-friendly, designed to be very easy to use. If you do desire to upload photos, for example, all you have to do is look for the button that says “upload photos.” Simple enough even for the technophobics among us, but if you still can’t get around using these site, you may just simply have to hire professionals to do the job. Sure, there will additional expense for you. But think of this as an investment from which you could get greater returns.
8. Don’t’ stop at Pictures
Pictures are good. In fact, someone has sad that “pictures are worth” a thousand words, and rightly so. But why stop at pictures. Social media allows us to be more creative in our approach to marketing. We can make videos, post them on various video sharing sites such as Youtube and Vimeo, post the links on our Facebook, Myspace accounts, tag our prospects, and see how our marketing (not to mention our pockets) is enriched by the process.
9. Realize the Power of Blogging.
Blogging what? Well, a blog used to refer to a personal journal, a “web log” of whatnots a particular writer wishes to share to the world. Most business professionals, however, now use blogs to supplement their social sites. In blogs, you can write articles, press releases – just about anything that you want to share in reference to your work, or whatever. It’s easily published on the internet. It can become your own personal website, given some tweaking of its elements. Here, you can showcase your listings, house for sale photos, embed your videos, and interact with your readers via the comments section.
10. Keep Informed.
This is the last tip for the day, but simply is the most important, if you ask me. Here’s why? The turnover rate of technology is so fast that people tend to get lost in the handshake. Imagine how, while we are still grappling with one platform, it suddenly becomes obsolete and we are faced with an upgraded platform. This has gotten to be more the norm rather than the exemption. And so, it is very important that we keep ahead of the pack by staying informed. What is in, what is out? What is hot, what is not? What’s trending, what’s ending. Doing so, we make sure that we are empowering ourselves with the most current tools of our trade.