Today, I attended my local board's annual MLS tech fair. It was a great day, replete with more social media terms and sites than I could believe existed, especially when I consider myself to be fairly savvy on the topic. After all, I blog on Activerain, post on Facebook pretty regularly and am also a member of Linkedin and Twitter. What I was looking to learn today, was how to take these sites to the next level and use them to actually prospect, conduct real estate business and CLOSE deals!
Interestingly, my biggest takeaway from the day was that, perhaps using social media for our industry isn't actually about overtly prospecting for business and marketing listings and services as we know it. The real use of social media in our business seems to be to broaden your network and continually make your relationships "warmer" and deeper. In doing so, you can stay "top of mind" with members of your sphere of influence, who at any time could become potential leads. The more the members of your network(s) feel they know you and trust you (via status updates, comments, and everyday interactions), and the more they have a feel for your competence (via blogs and posts), the more likely they are to think of you, call on you or refer you, when they or someone they know has a real estate need. And, given that everyone that you are connected to will likely be linked to scores, hundreds, even thousands of others, by simply staying in touch, you can expand your contact base exponentially.
That said, today I am in the process of creating a "Fan page" on Facebook (the officially sanctioned way to promote businesses on that channel). I have also retrieved my Twitter password (which I previously abandoned, while wondering, why would anybody want to know everyplace I go and everything I do and every morsel I eat and every thought I have, throughout the day? Now, I'm going to use Twitter with the goal of letting people get to know me, my personality and character, and what I do. Why not? Haven't we always heard that people like doing business with people they like? As far as LinkedIn, TruliaVoices, and similar sites, I am thinking that their "Questions" sections are going to be an excellent way to engage people meaningfully. I already love to write, and using those sites as an opportunity to become known as a pro by thoughtfully answering questions from consumers seems like a no-brainer that's a sure win! Finally, I plan to buy a Flip camera, so that I can further "engage" (a key word of the day) people in my networks and on my websites by posting videos and using other interesting forms of media.
Sounds pretty passive you say? It is compared to the traditional -- hire me! I'm the best! want a free CMA? form of marketing that we know well and are quick to revert to. However, the second biggest takeaway that I took from the day, though it shouldn't really be a surprise to most of us, is that people don't like to be "sold." They way I see it, it's about letting people get to know who you are and what you know, and giving them many opportunities to "find" you on the web, so they'll know how to reach you, when they are ready, and on their terms.
That said -- follow me on TWITTER! http://twitter.com/kimismyagent