- The Internet is a great tool for marketing and lead generation; you should be using it to your advantage.
- Potential clients are typing your name into search engines or coming across your profile when looking for a real estate agent.
- It's crucial to do a thorough search of yourself to make sure your online information is current and reflects who you are as a real estate agent.
There’s a lot of great information out there for agents to utilize the Internet better. At least once a week I see an article or blog post on how to use Facebook to generate leads, how to manage your review sites or how to utilize Google Plus to grow your business.
These articles are fantastic. They are extremely helpful for tackling the vast amount of social networks that are available on the Internet.
With all this advice on how to use the Internet to promote yourself, there’s a pretty good chance you exist in the vast index that is the World Wide Web.
But I warn you, being present on the Internet is a slippery slope. You create a Facebook profile, add some friends and suddenly you are being tagged in embarrassing photos from your past.
With so many opportunities to be present on the Web, you’re likely to show up in search results. Even with the most common name, you can be found using a few simple facts such as location and occupation.
Now, I’m not advocating that you go off the grid. In fact, the opposite. You should be present on the Internet. You just want to make sure that it’s displaying the best version of you.
Here are a few things you should be doing each month to maintain a sparkling online presence:
1. Type your name into Google and see what pops up
In addition to searching your name, try searching your name and your city or your name and the words “real estate” or “Realtor” or your brokerage name. Don’t forget to look at images in addition to links.
Make sure you are getting a public view by logging out of all your accounts before you click on the links. Is the information that comes up in the search results relevant? Is it accurate? Does it reflect who you are and your brand?
You might need to increase your privacy settings on a few sites or contact a former employer to have them remove outdated information.
2. Review your social profiles
There are probably several that you have or have forgotten that you had (like that old MySpace account). Check to see what photos you’re tagged in.
Is there anything public that you don’t want the world to see? Did your uncle tag you in a post about his newest business venture?
Make sure to untag yourself from anything that might give people the wrong impression. Likewise, if there are photos or posts that you are proud of, consider making them viewable to the public.
3. Set up a Google alert for your name and company
Anytime your name or company is referenced on the Web, you will get an email notification. So if someone mentions your name in a review or if you are referenced in a blog post, you will know about it right away.
If you have a common name, you can combine any number of words (your city, your title, your company) in the search to get better results.
4. Check review sites such as Yelp, Zillow and Angie’s List
Personally, I would create profiles on popular review sites. Whether you have created a profile or not, people can still review you. If you are listed, make sure your contact info is available and up to date.
Make sure that you’ve closed out any listings that you have sold. Respond to any and all comments. You can’t delete negative comments, but don’t let them silence you. Instead, respond to them and tell your side of the story.
People want to know the kind of person you are before they enlist you to help them buy or sell their home. Does it feel a little bit creepy that strangers might be Googling you? Sure.
But when they search you out and see that you are a rock star agent, you’ll be thankful that you have a spotless reputation.
Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.