If you are in the real estate business and you are involved or are thinking of being involved in social media, you’ve come to the right place. You may have found yourself thinking that with so much new stuff out there, which sites are the right ones for you? Should you join Facebook? How about LinkedIn? How much good does a Trulia profile do? And what the heck is Twitter?
Social media is a great way to optimize an online marketing campaign, for sure. Though I advise you to tread with caution. It’s not for everyone. Meaning that if you are involved in real estate seo, have a well functioning website and blog, then yes, social media is a great next step and something that you should take advantage of. However, if you either (a) do not have a website with good usabilitly, and (b) are not committed to being involved online, then social media is not for you. Here’s why: Social media is not just some profile you create so people can stumble across your name. No. Social media should involve you actively engaging with your readers, fans, friends and followers.
One of the most important aspects, besides engagement, is listening. You need to pay attention to what people are saying online. Whether it’s through direct communication or setting up something like Google alerts and responding in turn, you need to listen and respond appropriately.
Social media groups for real estate:
- Facebook: You can create a facebook profile for every agent. Each should manage their own because it would be too much for one person to manage. Create one Facebook “Fan Page” for your business, to which you can upload blog posts (your own and those worth sharing), you can share links, invite friends etc. Facebook provides a very detailed and useful help section if you need guidance on setting up accounts. Take a look at existing real estate pages for an example and take the best practices from each.
- Twitter: You may have heard it referred to as a “microblog”, and what you write is referred to as “Tweet”. Oprah even joined Twitter…but that doesn’t mean that you have to be on there too, nor that your readers are part of her followers. However, Twitter offers a great opportunity for realtors to listen to what home buyers, sellers and renters may be looking for or need. If you search the term real estate, house, or apartment via www.search.twitter.com you can see all the things that people have to say. Follow those people in your market and respond by offering advice, resources, tips etc. It will go a long way.Tip: please be sure to post a photo and write a brief, professional bio. Most won’t follow you if you don’t have one.
- YouTube: You don’t have to be Susan Boyle to become an internet sensation, but as a realtor it’s really easy to pick up a camera and shoot a video of your open house, a neighborhood, or a walk-through and then post that video on your site, youtube, and/or vimeo, and others of the sorts.
- Flickr or Picasa: Very similar to posting online videos, I encourage you to create an account for your agency and post photos of homes or at least your featured homes.
- LinkedIn: Another online networking community. How’s it different? LinkedIn is much more professional than, say, Facebook. You can only post your employment background and up to 3 links. What’s great about this group is that you can make a direct connect with your blog through their applications, and you can join additional real estate related groups. This way, each time you write a blog post worth sharing or you have other exciting news, you can share that information with those groups that you joined.
- Trulia: Like Zillow and Zip Realty, Trulia is already one of the most widely used real estate resources online. So why not go where you know your audience is? You should sign up for a free account. Create your profile and all that jazz, and recycle your old blog posts here (liven them up with some new content etc) and re-post those article through your Trulia blog.
- Other real estate sites include hubpages.com, squidoo.com, and activerain.com. Whenever possible also join local groups through either your local paper, community centers, chamber of commerce etc.
Within these social groups it’s important to remember that you should create and complete your profiles to show that you are there for the long run. No one will care what you have to say if you only show up and leave a message once a month. Instead you should engage your readers, follow your fans, and listen to what people have to say.
Social media like all relationships requires time to build, consistency and an ongoing effort. You don’t have to tackle all of these sites at once, take a stab at what you can handle, distribute some work throughout your team, and build up from there when ready.
Like its sibling, real estate SEO, social media will (in due time) help drive quality traffic and ultimately increase quality leads to your site. The great thing about social media is that people will only follow you or engage with you if they are truly interested, so that means that those who engage are already a good lead. You’ll be amazed by what you learn, and you’ll be even more amazed when you see how much traffic these sites will bring over time.
Are there any groups that I missed that you would suggest? What groups are you currently involved in? What have been some suprising things you’ve learned?