Agents today are well aware that using the Internet is crucial to their business. But establishing an effective online presence – the key word being “effective” – is easier said than done. Anyone can create a personal website or Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, but what does it take for these sites to actually be effective? How can they help your business?
Since technology is instantaneous, we tend to expect instantaneous results with our technological efforts. But that’s not how it works; you must create meaningful content on each medium you’re using (your website, your blog or your Twitter feed, for example) to engage prospective clients and optimize the page so homebuyers and sellers can find it, which is part of the search engine optimization. Often referred to in its abbreviated form of SEO, search engine optimization is a process that helps your site come up on the first few pages of a search engine’s results.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, our cover story will help. Agents we interviewed shared their experiences with each aspect of building an online presence – starting their own website, working on SEO, advertising online, virtual tours and social media, among other aspects – so you can decide what will work for you when building and/or improving your own. In addition, we have the do’s and don’ts of individual agent websites (written by the future president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, Matt Farrell, pictured on our cover), the do’s and don’ts of video/virtual tours, the do’s and don’ts of blogging, and four summarized steps for an effective online presence. Everything is broken down into simple steps!
And, one of the best things about technology and the online realm can also be a detriment to most people: it is always changing, and quickly. The hot new website or social networking site today (does anyone recall a website called MySpace? Or maybe Friendster?) can change overnight. Agents can take the time to learn how to use a social site, and all of a sudden, the social site has been redesigned and everything you once knew has been moved around, meaning you need to learn how to reuse it all over again. No one can control how often Twitter or Facebook redesign and update their site’s usability, but to help you better communicate through Twitter and understand your Facebook audience, we have a Twitter Cheat Sheet (page 22) and Facebook user behavior statistics (page 7) to help you navigate your social media marketing.
Enjoy the issue!