• It's at the social fringe -- the brother-in-law's brother-in-law, the doctor's mechanic -- where many real estate agents find new business.
  • When a follower shares your post, they put your name in front hundreds of new eyeballs.
  • When you share real estate news articles, summarize key points and contribute personal insight about how the news might affect local home sellers and homebuyers.

Social networks make it possible to reach more and more people to whom you’re meaningfully connected. It’s at the social fringe — the brother-in-law’s brother-in-law, the doctor’s mechanic — where many real estate agents find new business.

Thankfully, Facebook has formalized these relationships. These “friends of friends” are databased, searchable and accessible. But how can an agent turn these secondary connections into leads and clients?

You need more than engagement. You the need the right engagement. When a follower shares your post, after all, they put your name in front hundreds of new eyeballs.

But unless that post proves your value as an agent — that is, unless you’re representing one of those “10 top Malibu mansions” — you’ll appear to be just another friend or coworker.

Pett / Shutterstock.com

Pett / Shutterstock.com

To engage with secondary connections, help your followers help their friends. Provide valuable information and real estate advice that’s worth passing on.

Here are three suggestions for reaching the edges of your social sphere:

1. Demonstrate industry knowledge.

The homebuying process is complicated enough, but changing laws and regulations make it even harder to follow. When you share real estate news articles, be sure to add value.

Summarize key points and contribute personal insight about how the news might affect local homesellers and homebuyers. Your followers will be more inclined to share a post that applies directly to their friends and family.

2. Tell a problem story.

Many agents share client success stories and photos of beautiful homes, and such posts often draw cheers. But those in the market need to know about pitfalls and mistakes, too.

Introduce a real estate problem, such as a common remodeling error or an open-house faux pas, then share a solution learned through years of experience.

3. Make a thoughtful recommendation.

As an agent, you know more about homeownership than most anyone. Help your followers help their friends with timely, concrete suggestions.

Many people might not think to schedule snow removal in October, for example, but a plowing contractor will be too busy when the first storm hits.

When you suggest fall cleanup, add value by recommending a favorite lawn care provider or share sale information at a home improvement store.

As a medium, social media seems to lend itself to bright images and impulsive clicks. After all, it’s hard not to “like” a photo of a cat asleep on the beam of a for-sale sign.

Although such content often creates engagement, it does little to grow your personal brand. Demonstrate your value as a real estate agent with content that creates meaningful, professional engagement.

Instead of posting things your social followers want to see, provide content that they — and their friends — need to see.

Mike Pontacoloni is director of marketing at MyHomeProNetwork, a real estate technology company.

Email Mike Pontacoloni.

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