Social Media Best Practices

By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor REALTOR® Magazine

Social media should be used to create communities and not to push listings out. You wouldn’t go to church to hand out your listings, and therefore, you shouldn’t do it through your Facebook page.

That was one of the main arguments presented by Ginger Wilcox, GRI, Kelley Koehler, and Mariana Wagner—all experts with the Social Media Marketing Institute—at the Introduction to Social Media session at the 2009 REALTORS® Convention & Expo this morning.

The panel advised real estate pros to think about using social media to connect with people to build relationships that will eventually lead to communities. If you show an interest in the people you serve, they will refer back to you. It’s also important to work on quality of your sphere and the information you are broadcasting, instead of the number of Facebook friends or the number of Twitter followers you have.

The trio came up with some best practices to follow for the different social media applications:

LinkedIn.Com

  1. Build a Profile – “If you don’t put a profile up, it’s like having a listing with no photos or information,” Wilcox said.
  2. Personalize Your Requests – When you ask someone to join your network, write a short note to remind them of who you are.
  3. Get Recommended – After you finish a transaction with a client, ask them to recommend you.
  4. Join Groups – Seek out groups in your community, such as the local boards of organizations you serve on or non-profits you work with.
  5. Make Two Recommendations a Week – You have to give a little in the social media world to get back.

Facebook.com

  1. Connect with your Community – Listen and engage your network in a way that establishes trust.
  2. Create Awareness – Build a business fan site.

Twitter.com

  1. Talk to People – Use the @ symbol in your tweets to reply to other users.
  2. Re-Tweet – If you think a tweet is good, then send it out with the letters “RT” before it.
  3. Hash it – Use the # and word or phrase associated with a particular subject when you’re making comments about it (for this event, it’s #nar09).
  4. Tweet Up – Arrange for a group to get together for cocktails just by sending a message through Twitter.

Blog

  1. Establish One – 92 percent of all local Internet searches eventually result in a sale.  Every blog post you create is one more way a customer can find you through the Web.
  2. Use a Template – No need to start a custom blog. REALTOR.com®, wordpress.com, and ActiveRain.com all have easy-to-use blogging formats.
  3. Write – Often practitioners struggle with what to write about. Wagner recommends answering frequently asked questions by consumers, posting market reports, adding neighborhood profiles, and giving buying and selling tips.
  4. Keywords – In order to help your search-engine ratings, it’s important to use key phrases such as: (Your Area) Real Estate, (Your Area) Homes, and How much is my (Your Area) home worth?
  5. Keep It Short – Write small, digestible posts, with bulleted lists, photos, and links.  Make sure you ask questions and call your readers to action (they will respond).
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