Like much of the rest of the world, real estate professionals have embraced social media. Some would even say that there has been a REALTOR frenzy around social media. There are many, many people sharing their thoughts, ideas, and tips for agents on a plethora of web sites, blogs, and twitter streams. There are RE BarCamps, all sorts of training courses, and products aimed at helping real estate agents "get" social media. I think many of them miss the mark.
There are certainly some agents who are successfully using social media to grow their businesses, but they would appear to be the minority. There is no simple, "one-size fits all" approach to social media that will work for all agents. In fact, social media might not be a fit at all for some folks, and that's OK.
It is important to recognize that like a website or a direct mail piece, the various social media channels are marketing TOOLS and should be treated as such in your marketing plans. This means:
- Understanding the tool and if, when, and how to use it
- Setting realistic GOALS
- Having an implementation PLAN
- Tracking and measuring your RESULTS
- Adjusting your goals, plan, or use of the tool based on results
It is also important to realize that social media, and increasingly the internet in general is becoming more and more about IDENTITY, and by extension, BRANDING. The days of the anonymous internet are increasingly behind us. Your tweets, for example, are tied to YOU and they are being indexed and archived for the viewing pleasure of your current and future clients, employers, and probably even your great-great-great grandchildren.
With this in mind here are our "Four P's of Social Media for Real Estate":
Know your desired positioning. Be on message for your target market. Own your niche and communicate appropriately.
Demonstrate your market expertise, professionalism, and competence. Be ethical.
Be memorable--do business with style. Be human and personable.
Social media is increasingly time and location-based. It's not a one-shot deal, but more likely an ongoing commitment to publishing content on a regular basis. It will require patience, focus, and persistence.
I don't pretend to be a social media guru, and these are some pretty basic thoughts. Here are some links to the thoughts of a couple smart folks who have many more insights to offer:Marc Davison of 1000 Watt Consulting:
- Foursquare and five years ago: Recalling the promise of real estate and social media (The comments are a must-read too)
- 1000watt Spotlight: Marketing "Difference" - The Corcoran Way
(A tiny peek at how the Corcoran Group is using social media successfully)
- Screw consumers… Let’s use internet tools to do what REALTORS do best! (Should agents forget about targeting consumers directly and instead focus on cultivating referral networks?)