But what about social networking?
A few days ago I posted that (in my humble opinion) real estate blogs should be about real estate... not movie reviews, restaurant reviews, not recipes... Real estate. That is what the audience is tuning in for, give them what they want. I gave a few examples of what I see from my traffic patterns, and generally tried to support my opinion.
But, real estate agents that are marketing online (should) have a LOT more channels aside from their real estate blog. And I DO believe that there is a place in some of those other channels for items with less focus. First, let's run down a few options:
- FaceBook (Business) Page
- Delicious (Link sharing)
- Flickr (Photo Sharing)
- FourSquare (Location Sharing)
- Community Websites
With the exception of the community websites, EVERY one of those items listed is FREE. Community websites might be free, might cost a few bucks a year, or might cost as much as $100 (if you have to have someone set it up). But there is something that they ALL have in common, too. They can all be support systems for your real estate website. And they can all send links to your real estate website... they are all outposts, providing information and hopefully send a few people trotting off to visit your cyber-office. A community website is the absolute toughest to get going... and has the most reward if you get it right.
Video is hot. You should have video of testimonials, communities, local events, YOU and likely a plethora of other things. Host them on YouTube, embed them on your site (the ones that belong) and let them pull in a little traffic. Flickr is much the same... but with pictures instead of video.
Posterous is COOL. It is a great way to get some of the content to the other sites... and also share news and tidbits about things that are happening in the community. Grab an RSS feed from your Posterous site and let it run on the sidebar of your blog. Pull in calendar entries from local events, interviews with local politicians or business-people, news items, reviews or local places, etc. Don't make it the focus of your website... let it stand on its own, while contributing a little to your website. Better yet, make it community specific, and find people in the community that want to load THEIR content onto it. Be the publisher...
A great source of news is Twitter. I have come to see Twitter as "broadcast media" rather than as person to person social networking. Some will disagree, but I look at Twitter the same way as I look at the "newswire services". Filter it down to what is important, and then share that in a news feed on your site. It isn't terribly difficult in a geographic specialty... but a bit tougher with a lifestyle specialty.
Delicious is a link sharing site. Instead of having a giant blogroll of all of the people you might know, share the links through Delicious... they can be tagged and categorized to make finding resources easier for your reader. Again, publish a feed to your sidebar.
On FourSquare, do those reviews (in the "Tips" section of the location). Have a great profile and point it back to your website. If there is someone out there that will buy a house from you based on your incredible writing about an ice cream cone... they can still find you.
FaceBook could be 20 posts all by itself. But, the basic idea is to make a Page about a community and then get the community to give it life. You should be there to nurture it, cull out the junk (and competitors) and keep it moving along. Talk about the parks, restaurants, movies, local parades and a zillion other things. Let it be a virtual Town Square where people can gather at 4am in their underwear without being laughed at (nobody has to know).
The bottom line is that there IS a place for all of that other content we want to use to show everyone how connected we are to the community. It just might not be the main real estate website.
What do YOU think?
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- 8 Tips to Creating a Branded Foursquare Page (socialmediaexplorer.com)
- Atlanta Real Estate Forum Celebrates Fourth Anniversary (prweb.com)
- Real Estate Internet Marketing Expert Launches New Twitter Marketing Blueprint (prweb.com)