Humanize Your Listings with Social Media
An associate broker with Long Realty and known to many as “the housechick,” she uses Internet applications like Twitter and her personal blog to reach potential customers, setting herself up as one of the top REALTORS® in Southern Arizona.
More than 2,875 people follow her Twitter posts on real-estate trends. Her blog averages 3,429 unique visitors each month, hosting pictures of her scuba diving and relaxing with her dogs as well as her current listings. She also provides area statistics and trend articles about topics important to her readers, like how placing solar panels on your house can conflict with homeowner agreements.
A recent survey by Harris Interactive shows homebuyers in the U.S. are twice as likely to use online sources than print sources when searching for a home. So where are you online? Can these increasingly well informed homebuyers find you and your listings?
Social media provides many useful tools for boosting your presences online and building relationships with future clients. Koehler humanizes the properties she is selling with her personality. You can do the same, using social media to your benefit as a REALTOR®.
Finding the Right Tool
Some people mistakenly think MySpace or Facebook are the only forms of social media. However, there are numerous applications available for businesses to reach their customer base. It’s important for you to determine which will be most effective and how to use it to its greatest potential.
There is a common misperception that social media users are younger and not able to make buying decisions for their household. Kids aren’t running this show – users young and old are going online to research companies before laying down their hard-earned money. They also want to know personal and professional information about their REALTOR®.
LinkedIn is a great example of older, affluent adults networking for business purposes. If your buyer is somebody who is 40+ and making more than $109,000 a year, building your presence there makes sense.
Maybe you’ve had clients involved in social tagging networks like Digg. This type of application is great for sharing interesting photos and links on the Internet, which other users would rank. Males in their 20s are predominately using this site, which generated more than 38 million unique visitors in May 2009 alone. Placing home-buying tips on Digg can help users find you when they’re ready to buy their first home.
But you can’t be everywhere trying to be everything to everybody. Many businesses feel simply having a Facebook page or a blog is enough. Others jump on every new application hoping to reach a different customer base. That approach can fragment your message and leave you with too many networks to maintain. You should ask yourself, “Why do I need this?” every time you want to invest time into developing a social network.
What’s your pet’s name? Where did you attend middle school? If you have answered these questions on a Web site that stores your password, you may want to be careful about tagging photos of you and Fido or you and your old classmates on a social networking site. Just as in the real world, the cyber world is full of crooks seeking out ways to steal your information.
We all have heard the stories about inappropriate photos surfacing that have ruined careers. While some make the argument that what you post on your private online profile is your business, it doesn’t always end up that way. It’s best not to post anything that could embarrass yourself when closing a sale.
Showing Your Property’s Personality
Traditional pictures of your listings are boring. Why not create a video tour explaining the exciting features of each room? Video cameras don’t have to be expensive. Some with built-in editing software cost less than $150. A video tour would help potential buyers see exactly what makes that house special, separating your listings from competitors.
Now imagine a conversational blog post accompanied by your video explaining more about the listing. You can add photo streams from Flickr or Animoto accounts that highlight the best parts of a neighborhood. Maybe put in a wiki where past clients can list what they learned from the Tucson home-buying experience.
These are just some examples, but social media applications can add additional curb appeal as buyers share content with friends or family members who sway their buying decisions.
Not every buyer will care that you have a social media presence. Nevertheless, the ability to reach more homebuyers and build your brand as a successful REALTOR® like Koehler, is phenomenal.
(This article was featured in the July/August 2009 issue of Tucson REALTOR® Magazine.)
Real Estate Social Networking Sites
Here is some of the more actively used social networking sites specifically made for REALTORS®.
- ActiveRain Real Estate Network (www.activerain.com) – Allows real estate agents, mortgage professionals and brokers create a customized profile.
- Real Estate Voices (www.realestatevoices.com) – Helps you discover the most interesting real estate articles of the day, as voted and suggested by your fellow users.
- Real Town (www.realtown.com) – Features a variety of online communities and community created content on real estate.
- Wanna Network (www.wannanetwork.com) – Provides networking and marketing resources for real estate agents, lenders and other industry professionals.
- Zolve (www.zolve.com) – Connects real estate practitioners to service providers across the country and around the globe.
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