By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune to sit in on a session held here in Chicago for the new Certified Social Media Marketer (CSM) credential. Developed late last year by Bill Lublin and the team at the Social Media Marketing Institute, it aims to help professionals promote themselves via online networks.
Lublin started devising this designation when he noticed a gap between enthusiasm for using social media for business and an actual understanding of how to do this effectively. A couple of points that real estate pros need to know as they think about how to use social networks to sell themselves and their services are:
- People have gotten very good at dodging commercial messages in general.
- They like social networks precisely because of the lack of overt marketing. This is one of the main reasons why even the most popular social networking platforms still aren’t that profitable.
“It’s all about building social capital and not selling in the traditional sense,” Lublin says. “If you force the issue in any of these venues … that will [be perceived as] a false voice by your community. You’re not going to reach the people you want to reach.”
It’s important to avoid what he calls “interruptive marketing,” which violates the unwritten rule of not selling stuff to your online friends, followers, etc. That doesn’t mean you can’t market yourself and prospect through social media, though.
Some of the suggestions that came from the discussion at the event included building a “fan” page on Facebook (as opposed to an individual profile) that allows you to more directly display what you’re offering, or posting listings on real estate groups that other users join voluntarily. Also, you should reach out to people in your online sphere to check in with them socially, so you’re in their minds if and when they need a real estate agent.
Want to learn more about how to use social media to build business? Register for our free webinar on July 16.