Following me on Twitter is a waste of time. I don’t use Twitter the way experts recommend, and some days I am just too chatty. The best practice for using Twitter, according to most, is sharing information and having a "tribe." Many people want to have a lot of followers, but for me that isn’t a goal.

There are those on Twitter who tweet links that lead to articles that I almost always read. The way I use Twitter is just wrong. It works for me but it probably won’t work for you (unless you want to be just like me, which again is just wrong).

I have no plan or strategy, and my tweets are on random subjects ranging from what I had for lunch to commentary on the meaning of life. Once every few months I ask my followers a question: "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

I get answers that make me laugh until my sides ache. The only reason I do it is because I like to laugh and love to make others laugh.

A better practice for using Twitter is to find people in your own community and follow them: yes, follow people who do not have real estate licenses (Twitter isn’t just for real estate professionals).

Do some searches in Twitter, or use TwitterLocal to connect with people that you have something in common with in your own community. Follow the local news media. They are a great source of information and some of them are fun to follow, as they offer commentary, insight and even a little humor.

Being my friend on Facebook is also a waste of time. I am not a Facebook kind of person, and sometimes I am not friendly. I built a business fan page because everyone should have a business page on Facebook, yet I have not bothered updating it.

Facebook isn’t just for real estate professionals or for business pages. Finding your clients, friends and neighbors on Facebook is the way to go. Some local businesses have some fun pages that I read almost every day. …CONTINUED

There is a cafe down the street where they serve homemade cookies. I have been known to take a cookie break in the middle of the day when Facebook alerts me that a batch just came out of the oven. I bring my laptop, use the Wi-Fi, and linger for awhile. I have expanded my sphere, and probably my waistline, by eating chocolate chip cookies at this cafe.

Reading my real estate blog is a waste of time unless you have an interest in St. Paul, Minn. Some come to look at the pictures and others come to leave comments. The blog has helped to generate business for me, and I can replicate that success by using strategies that have worked before.

If the goal in using Web 2.0 and social networking tools is to meet people and to possibly win business, a better practice is to find blogs in your own community written by persons who do not have real estate licenses, and to comment on those or write blog posts of your own.

It is fun to travel. I know I enjoy it, maybe too much. There are conferences all over the country. The conferences give us a chance to meet in person and to learn from each other and from industry consultants and coaches.

There are other opportunities to learn and to meet people. I belong to a local social media group and I may be the only member with a real estate license, and we have local conferences called BarCamps. The sessions are wonderful and I am looking forward to presenting one of my own.

I have met local business owners and neighbors through the local groups and learned about how other industries are using technology and how they market, and I am adapting what I believe to be some of their best practices to my own business.

The best practices for Realtors who are on the Internet can be found in a variety of places. Learning from other agents and meeting them in person is a good thing, but expanding your sphere by meeting people in your own town leads to business opportunities that come without referral fees or travel.

Conferences, BarCamps, tweetups and Meetups are not just for Realtors.

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


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