Social media do's for 3 popular sites

Get started on sites that appeal to young clients

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The technology era of real estate is upon us, and now is the time to get connected and stay engaged. Social media allows you to interact and stay top of mind with clients and prospects, as well as broadcast your value as a real estate professional and what you stand for as a brand. Here are the three social media platforms you need to be on in 2015:

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn acts as a virtual resume, so here is the place to highlight your credentials and expertise. Make the summary section of your profile as fabulous as possible. Start by listing the top five to seven major successes and milestones in your career (sales volume, awards, credentials and other accomplishments that make you proud) in bullet-point format for clean, easy viewing.

Get reviewed! Endorsements and reviews provide social proof to potential clients and colleagues that you are an outstanding real estate agent. Ask your present and former colleagues, managers, and your favorite escrow and title officers to extol your business acumen and the virtues of working with you. Entice clients to give reviews describing your knack for customer service and hassle-free real estate transactions by offering them a gift card to their favorite neighborhood store in exchange for a review.

Broadcast your latest blog posts or articles you’ve written for professional publications in your status updates, adding to your credibility as a real estate professional.

Post brand-building status updates to your profile. These can include, but are not limited to, links to your brokerage’s quarterly reports, links to your new listing’s video tour, real estate forecasts or home trends. Save time by planning profile updates in advance with social media management platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer.

2. Instagram

All the cool kids are hanging out on Instagram these days (especially generations X and Y, and millennials), plus it’s fun! As a real estate agent, I like to seize as many opportunities as possible to combine work and play.

Put a link in your profile to your personal website or bio on your company page. This is the only place to present a live link to your followers (links in picture or video descriptions are not live).

Take a picture of your latest listing or some of your favorite houses on caravan, and add a snazzy filter. Or, take a few of the best shots of your latest listing and make a collage (using apps like PicStitch) and upload it to Instagram.

The first rule of hashtags is: Don’t use too many hashtags. Posts with six or more hashtags look spammy, and no one likes to think they are being sold something (even if that”s exactly what you’re doing). Use three to four well-considered hashtags. You can find out which hashtags carry the most weight by doing your own hashtag search and seeing how many and what kind of posts come up (and what they say). Examples include #losangelesrealestate, #homebuyers or #realestatelife.

Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality. In fact, Instagram is a great way for people to get to know you. Whether you are into vintage cars or artisanal coffee, photos and videos of your favorite hobbies and haunts allow users (clients, prospects and influencers) to both discover and get to know you better.

Add a location to your photo or video. Are you at your local farmers market or the theater downtown? Make sure to check in to this location on Instagram before you hit “post” to establish yourself as a neighborhood expert, as well as make your posts more discoverable and ideally gain new followers.

3. YouTube

The idea of being in front of a camera can be daunting to some, but it is a challenge I will be accepting early in the new year, and I encourage you to do the same. YouTube is the second most popular search engine, and uploading real estate-related content helps boost your visibility in Google search engine rankings.

Create a keyword-rich profile with a picture, bio and links to your website, as well as all of your social media channels.

Start simple. Using your smartphone, create a “Meet Me” video introducing yourself and what you love about being a real estate agent. Keep the length under a minute.

Upload video tours of your latest listing. Sometimes the photographer you hire provides a video tour of the home. If your budget allows, hire a professional videographer or drone videographer to create a video that packs more of a cinematic punch.

YouTube is another great way to establish yourself as a neighborhood expert. Create a walking tour of your favorite neighborhood, or interview the owner of the local corner store about why he loves owning a business in your neck of the woods.

Pretend you are a consumer (for example, a new homebuyer), and do a search on YouTube. Explore the content you find, and draw your YouTube inspiration from there. Also, take a look at the content that competing real estate brokerages and agents in your neighborhood are creating, and see if you can create something better.

By meeting buyers where they are — on social media — you’ll be able to attract the attention and earn the trust of groups of potential clients before you even meet to talk business!

Lauren Sugarman is a real estate agent in her hometown of Los Angeles.