Brokers and managers, it’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your agents are? That is a silly question — most of us are independent contractors and it isn’t any of your business. But you might want to join us online.

Realtors have been the industry leaders on the Internet, especially when it comes to Web 2.0. People like me started blogging years ago, before our brokerages even knew what a blog was. Then we moved onto networks like ActiveRain. I joined the month that company started up.

Then came twitter and Trulia Voices and too many social networks to list. As Web 2.0-savvy Realtors we share information with our peers, teach classes, speak at conferences, and we invent, create and innovate daily as we share enormous amounts of information and knowledge with our peers and the general public.

Where does this leave the broker-manager and the real estate company? If I owned or managed a brokerage and had agents, there are some things I would do.

The first thing would be to set up a Google Alert with the name of my brokerage and my own name. I would want to keep track of what was being said on the Internet about my company. As I have learned, if I don’t control my own message someone else will do it for me. No one uses my name or the name of my blog on the Internet without my knowing what they wrote, and it doesn’t even have to be spelled correctly.

I would set up a profile and a blog on ActiveRain. ActiveRain bloggers write about real estate, but they also network, gossip, share tips and tell jokes, and are a very social group. In some cases a broker will have more contact with his or her agents through ActiveRain than in the office.

Becoming a member of Trulia and participating in Trulia Voices can also be a positive step for a broker-manager. Some of your agents are making remarks that are in violation of fair housing laws. They may not even realize it and it isn’t my job to give them the 4-1-1 on this all important topic. There are other things that agents write on Trulia Voices that lead me to believe they need more education.

Then there is the ever-popular Twitter. Personally, I can’t live without it. I have met people from all over the country and at home through Twitter. We are like a huge tribe. There are leaders and followers, and I am both. If none of your agents are on Twitter, send them an invite. It is a great leadership opportunity.

I have noticed that some of the larger real estate companies have managers or brokers who are required to spend time in the office so they can interact with the agents. Agents like me are online and rarely go into the office. Some of us wouldn’t mind having a little more contact with the company while remaining at work in our home offices or on the road. If my broker were online right now I would strike up a conversation.

If I were recruiting agents I would do it online. I wouldn’t use the hard sell but I would do it the same way that I sell my own services. I would get to know local agents and start a conversation with them and give them tips and tools they can use.

Larger brokerages might want to consider having a social media manager, someone who has the job of managing the message, promoting the brokerage, networking with the agents and recruiting more agents. The opportunity for broker-managers to lead and educate their agents is now. Joining the Inman News community would be a great place to start. If your agents have blogs pay them a visit and leave a nice comment. They will love it, I promise.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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