Editor’s note: The following is a guest perspective.
By ANDREA ATKINS
First there was the Web, then there were mobile and social technologies. Just when we thought we’d figured out all there is to know about the Internet, the mobile-social convergence added yet another layer for real estate professionals to conquer.
The social mobile Web consists of mobile social networking, mobile search, mobile blogging/microblogging, and location-based services.
The mobile-social intersection will have a tremendous impact on our culture and will continue to change the ways we share and access information.
Our access to information is unprecedented, and the mobile social Web allows us to connect in new ways, with the potential to enhance the real estate business. Some basic tips to keep you ahead of the game:
1. Download social networking apps. Think about your network when you’re out and about. Do you see a cool house that’s unique to your area? Snap a photo and upload it to your Facebook or Twitter streams while out in the field.
Are you previewing homes in a popular neighborhood? Take some pictures and/or make a short video and upload the content to your blog. The mobile Web was made for multitasking, and these brief posts will help you build your online presence and reputation.
2. Make sure your listings can be found and easily viewed in mobile search results. Mobile homebuyers may be more inclined to open a Web browser than call you directly when they are looking at for-sale homes.
Make sure your listings appear in general search-engine results (Google the address to check) and on mobile apps and mobile sites that your listings are syndicated to (Homes.com, Trulia, Zillow, etc.).
3. Make sure your website looks good on the phone. Pick up your smart phone, go to your browser and check out your site. Do the pictures display well? Do the buttons look like actual buttons? Is the text visible and formatted properly?
At the very least, is your contact information visible? You’ll want to see how your website displays on several different phones and operating systems (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and even non-smart phones) and take notes on problem areas.
Consider launching a separate, mobile-optimized website.
4. Combine mobile-social tools. In a perfect world, a prospective buyer could walk up to a house for sale, snap an image of a bar code on a yard sign or door using the smart phone’s camera and a related app, be instantly connected with a mobile virtual tour, and immediately tweet the property details to friends, family or a real estate agent (and maybe even get a freebie/prize from a location-aware social gaming site like Foursquare?).
Make sure your blog posts have social networking "share" buttons and that your online listings have as many photos and tours as possible. Looking for new ways to integrate these technologies into the behavior of on-the-go real estate consumers will be critical in this brave new mobile social Web.
Amanda Atkins is a technical content writer and marketing coordinator for Dominion Enterprises/Homes.com in Tallahassee, Fla.