Guest Blogger Alex Cortez is a Realtor in Hawaii, specializing in Maui Condos. Visit his Maui Real Estate Blog for local market information.

The importance of social media in a real estate professional’s marketing plan is undeniable.  And although there are many different approaches as to how to best implement a strategy, the need to streamline the SM integration process on a day-to-day basis grows constantly.  Below I have listed 5 tools that have helped me tremendously in effectively managing time and increasing efficiency. Use one, a combination thereof, or all of them!

1. Tweetdeck – Initially made as a desktop application for Twitter, now it has grown to incorporate Facebook, Myspace, Linked In, and the most recent updates include Google Buzz and Foursquare.  The purpose of Tweetdeck is to connect the user with contacts across different social media outlets, allowing you to tweet, update Facebook status, change Myspace user moods and much more all from a single application.  And the fact that it supports iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad makes it a mobile command center for all your social media needs.

2. Gist – Although still in the beta stage, you can consider this to be your ultimate Customer Relations Management (CRM) for social media.  This application allows users to combine contacts across multiple mediums and organize data based on contact priority, thereby providing a full view of your social network.  Gist will continue to be my social media CRM of choice, especially as it has an app specifically tailored to work with Gmail.

3. Roost – In order to establish and maintain a successful social media presence it is critical to provide useful/relevant information.  The Roost application for Facebook, aptly named Social Real Estate, is a free, easy-to-use tool that gives consumers the information they want and agents the ability to further engage their target audience.  Data includes Altos Research market stats, walkability scores, education info, and a market snapshot. Not all real estate markets are available yet, but expect big things from this forward-thinking company.

4. Chatterbox – The more people you follow on Twitter, all the ‘chatter’ makes it more difficult to stay updated on the topics that matter most to you.  Chatterbox allows users to organize and prioritize their tweets based on keywords, Twitter handles, tags and an assortment of other criteria.  Think of it as your single-point of reference for all your Twittering needs.  This tool is of particular use to large real estate brokerages that have strong Twitter presences, as it allows specific areas to be assigned to individual agents who can better engage followers with timely responses and local expertise. Although currently it only works for Twitter, look for other services to be integrated in the future.

5. Social Radar – As the Carolyn Capalbo story has made the rounds, it illustrates the importance of proactively managing online reputation.  Social Radar by Infegy provides users with the ability to get updated information of what is being said about them.  It scours the ends of the Internet, literally billions of messages 24/7, so you don’t have to.

As the hours in the day seem to be getting shorter and there are always more things to attend to, it is important to use technological advances to work more efficiently.

I welcome you to post tools that have helped YOU work smarter and more effectively in your social media efforts.

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