Want to sell more real estate? Get more referrals? Networking is one way for realtors to get more referrals, and increase their production. While many realtors already do very well at pounding the flesh, participating in groups like Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce Chapters, School Committees, BNI, etc., the Internet has created even more opportunities for realtors to get referrals today.
Using online social networks like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, realtors are now able build and develop relationships with many more people in less time, and often with less money, than is required through traditional networking methods.
Marketers, for instance might be able to connect with 50 people at local Rotary Club lunches, but might be able to engage and connect with thousands of local community residents via Facebook, Google+, etc.
Here are a few tips on how realtors can use online marketing to build their brands, grow their networks, and get more referrals.
Use search and targeted Facebook Advertising to grow your following. Using your Facebook business page account, use keyword searches to identify local businesses and organizations in your local communities.
Then start following these networking prospects by "liking" their business page. By following them, you'll be able to see many of their posts in the newsfeed area of your business page. You'll then be able to share many of their posts relevant to members of your networks, and add comments when you can add something of value. Over time, many of these new contacts will start to notice you, and follow you back.
Facebook advertising allows marketers to target their ads to grow their networks. A realtor in Stuart, FL, for example, might want to consider advertising one of his/her recent posts to reach local residents living within 25 minutes of his town, and motivate many of them to "like" his/her page. Then, the realtor can share posts, follow his/her new friends, etc.
One thing about Facebook, that I personally do not like, is that Facebook limits the number of fans/(people who "liked your page") who be able to see your posts. If you have 1,000 fans, for example, your post will probably reach up to 100 people, although you can pay $10-$15 to promote posts, and reach more people in your network.
In my case, " Central Mass, Westborough, Northborough", might make sense because these words encompass the area where I live. Create circles and add these people, and post messages to these circles when you have information relevant to people who share common interests about your surrounding towns.
Make comments to posts from people in these circles posts when you have something of value to add. Also view their circles to see if there are other people who should be added to your circles. Someone who lives in Northborough, for example, is likely to be friends with other Northborough residents, businesses, schools, groups, etc. Having the ability to view and share other people's circles is a great feature offered through Google+ .
Twitter Search and Autofollow Tools. Using the twitter search tool, "search.twitter.com", realtors can use key words to identify people they want to follow. A realtor in St. Louis, for example, can type in his/her town, and come up with people having that town in their profile.
Autofollow software, when used correctly, can also help realtors make new friends. Use caution with this tool however, because spammers also use this type of software to send their crap to millions of people.
When used correctly, however, autofollow software can be quite helpful for realtors interested in brand building. For about $60, TweetAdder software allows users to identify people in their target markets, and follow them. The software also allows users to control how many new followers to add per day, and control the number of followers to following ratio, and avoid spamming.
For example, a realtor who works in the Tupelo area, and likes golf, can use "tweetadder" to identify people who live within 25 or so miles from Tupelo, and have golf in their profile. By having things in common with people they follow, realtors improve their chances of engagement.
Following someone alone, however, does not build relationships. Therefore, for realtors who do decide to use autofollow software programs, it's important for them to take time to read tweets, and engage with the people they elect to follow.
LinkedIn Groups - Many Chamber of Commerce chapters, trade and community organizations, have groups on LinkedIn. Find local chapters in groups located in your area, join them, and participate in the discussions. You'll be surprised at how many connections can be made through these online networking groups.
Google Alerts - This is a great tool to identify online topics of interest that can be shared with social networking followers. Edison, NJ, realtors, for example, could set up an Alert for "Edison," start receiving updates about news and events in Edison Township, and then be able to share links to followers likely to be interested in events or news occurring in Edison, NJ.
Finally, as I've said many times in the past, successful relationship building means more listening than broadcasting. Read people's tweets, and posts. Make comments when you have something that can add value, and avoid self-serving broadcasts. Always think about the people receiving your messages before sending them out. Make sure there is a compelling reason why people would want to receive your broadcasts, and always use caution.