Guest blogger Michael Becker is the founder of www.mountainofagents.com, a free real estate agent directory and ratings site.
So, you have a Facebook profile. You signed up for Twitter. You’re even on LinkedIn. You’re pretty sure that you’re on track to go viral. Leads should be pouring in now that you’ve done everything possible to stay current with real estate technology, but your Playstation friend requests seem to be more relevant than who’s friending you on Facebook and following you on Twitter.
Paul Augustine of RE/MAX Centre, Jamison PA recalls the initial impact of setting up his social media accounts,
“I was really excited at the opportunities social media has created for real estate agents. I set up profiles on all the major sites, but found that traffic and relationships weren’t instantaneous and that I really had to put in relevant time and information to make them count.”
Virtual word of mouth proves much more difficult to cultivate given the circumstances of cyberspace anonymity. Building trust with relevant information, advice and heartfelt sincerity is the key to a successful social media campaign. This holds true for most businesses, but even more so for real estate professionals who rely on their personal brand.
Using information to build relationships
Gain your follower’s trust by feeding them information that can help them before and after a transaction.
“I found that sharing relevant articles with peers and clients resonated more than hammering them with links to my new MLS listings,” says Augustine.
For example, spend time looking for information that would help educate existing—and potentially new—clients on relevant market topics like refinancing, tax preparation, and even seasonal decorating. The response to relevant information will be much more positive and create an open forum of communication with friends and followers.
You’re already online a few hours a day reading up on what’s new and hot in real estate technology. As you browse and go about your daily routine, consider whether the information you are skimming through would be helpful to peers and clients, and keep track of the links to those information sources. You’ll soon have a never-ending arsenal of articles and advice to keep your social media accounts fresh and current.
Creating relevant profiles
Don’t create a profile just anywhere. Make sure the site will represent your brand positively, and that each web site’s main goals and ethics parallel your own.
Remember, the profile you create will eventually appear in organic searches, and you don’t want potential clients stumbling upon unusable, outdated directories or portals that really don’t give you an edge or openly reveal what you have to offer.
“My primary concerns when I consider signing up on a site is cost, client and agent usability, and what the site generally has to offer. He adds, “From a social media perspective I think that MountainOfAgents.com, in particular, fills an industry gap. It provides important data regarding a real estate agent’s capability to provide the level of service and care that is expected of someone who is getting ready to buy or sell. The integration of an ‘on-the-go’ agent rating system is very unique. I can pass around my profile link to clients and peers and they can rate me in just a few seconds from their laptops or smart phones. And the fact that it’s free for agents to register makes it that much more appealing.”
Simplicity in presentation and relevancy in content is invaluable to home buyers and sellers, and should be a deciding factor when joining any social media-based community.
Creating new lead opportunities through social media
It’s no secret that written testimonials of your clients’ experiences are invaluable at the point of sale. Sharing your value with a prospective client will significantly aid them in making the decision to choose you as their agent. However, it’s no easy task to collect these written testimonials after you’ve helped someone finalize their move. That’s where you can count on certain aspects of social media to fill the void.
Augustine continues, “One of the things I consider before signing up with any site is their approach to getting clients involved in the feedback process, and how quickly I can see the results.”
Self-sufficient profiles that can speak for themselves can contribute to the deciding factors when potential clients are doing their research online.
Changing your approach
Building relationships and trust online is not instantaneous and requires patience and genuine effort. In time—as you keep some of the tips outlined here in mind—you will see more positive results.
Remember to keep your posts, Tweets and links relevant. Provide information to your clients and followers that will help make their lives easier. Create profiles only on pertinent web sites that have something to offer both you and your clients. Lastly, use social media to promote your public profiles and enhance your visibility. These are the fundamental building blocks for creating viral brands.
What do you think – agree or disagree? Would love your feedback and comments, leave me a comment below!