You’ve heard the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Well folks, guess what? You’re in Rome and the Romans are using social media. And if you’re not using it, you’ll need to leave Rome – and the real estate business.
Why? Because real estate is a people business, and today, the people are on social media. Consider these numbers from The Huffington Post in February 2013:
nearly 850 million people use Facebook regularly. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. And here’s the real kicker: social media is now a full-fledged business tool, because a whopping 77 percent of business-to-consumer companies (yes, that includes real estate) acquired customers from Facebook in 2012.
If words like tweet, Twitter and Pinterest scare you, get over it and fast, because future clients are waiting for those who aren’t afraid of this new landscape.
Think of social medial like this: you’re in a huge, fancy hotel, one that hosts big conferences. You’re in an empty hallway, but you see a door. As you move closer to it, you hear chimes of chatter, people laughing, talking and having a great time. That’s social media. And you need to be in that room to grow your business. How do you get in and start landing clients? One of the nation’s top social media experts, Carrie Gable, president of RealSupport, a company that serves real estate professionals, shares five steps to social networking success:
1. Understand and respect social media’s unwritten rules. Much of social media is for connecting on a personal (not business) level, at least at first. You wouldn’t just burst into that hotel room and start blaring about how great your real estate services are. Instead, you’d take time to listen and see how others are conversing – how they’re using a social medium such as Facebook or Twitter (these two, along with Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube are great for Realtors). Open accounts on each and take them all for a test drive. Get to know people on each one and begin showing interest in them, and let the relationship grow naturally. Be friendly, establish trust and subtly let them know you’re in real estate. The referrals and sales will come.
2. Get a strategy. After you understand the different social media outlets, develop a strategy on how to maximize your time and the information you’ll share on each. Identify your target market and your goals. Remember: social networking is about making meaningful connections and interactions with potential clients. So, carefully consider the information you’ll be sharing. Make sure it’s relevant and useful – things like real estate-related news, local news, places to go, community events and more. You can even include (or “tag”) other local businesses in your posts to give yourself more exposure.
3. Implement your strategy. Once you decide on that strategy, implement it! Begin posting your information, pictures, posts, etc. to start building a following on Twitter and fans on Facebook, for example. Think about past clients, potential leads and other agents. This is where you attract new business, create new relationships and build your referral network.
4. Measure effectiveness. Examine your efforts monthly. Are you connecting with new people, the right people? How are people responding to your posts? How can you do a better job? What other information might work on each social media outlet?
5. Maintain. Think of social media as another item on your to-do list. It needs nurturing and attention. Sure, you want to step out of that hotel room to get a breath of fresh air. But you need to visit it regularly to keep attracting people to your social media by sharing all your useful information.
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.