A good real estate professional has a plan for just about everything. They should have a business plan with goals and mile markers. They should have a prospecting plan, a presentation plan for listings, and above all, they should have a plan to market your property. Welcome to the first in a 7 part series of posts about proper Home Marketing Strategies where I’ll be giving a fairly comprehensive overview (Primer, if you will) of the different facets of marketing as it pertains to agents and the marketing of their listings. Let’s start by talking about the newest plan that Realtors should have firmly planted in their “plan arsenal,” a Social Networking Plan.

This plan should be split into two sections: the personal plan for the agent and the plan for their listings. Today, let’s talk about how a good real estate professional uses social networking to help them sell homes…while we’re at it, let’s tell real estate professional how to create their plans for success.

Social Networking as part of the Digitial Home Exposure Strategy

Remember that the Social Networking Exposure Plan and all that encompases is only part of the overall Digital Home Exposure Strategy which itself is part of an agent’s Home Marketing Strategy.

Let’s look at that real quick.

So, we have to keep our “master plans” in mind when concocting our specific plans whether it be a Social Networking Plan or a plan for exposing the property in Print Media. Let’s focus on how agents should construct the Social Networking aspect of a Home Marketing Strategy.

Planning a Social Networking Exposure Plan
Your Blog is Home Base

Blogging works. No, it doesn’t work for 99% of real estate agents but that’s because they don’t have a clue what they are doing or why they are doing it. If you don’t blog don’t sweat it. This entire strategy can be implemented without blogging… it’s just a lot more effective if you have a good blog. But a decent template website will work for many of the things you need to be doing with your Digital Home Exposure Strategy. How’s it home base?

  • You can funnel all of your social networking, organic, paid, and referral traffic to your blog, landing and your contact pages
  • You can send people your blog address and they should be able to contact you through multiple fronts if you have links to all of your networking profiles
  • Your blog is where you talk about what really matters… you may add snippets in facebook, twitter, linkedin, or somewhere else, but your blog should have all of your “big deal” content
  • Your blog is your brand… if you don’t have your blog branded it can inhibit the real and percieved value of your services by the online community

Branch Out and Seek Ye Business
I’ll put out a disclaimer here. Yes, you are networking for business. Yes, you can even solicit people for business from time to time. But what is Social Networking really about? If you don’t “get it” then maybe you should do some additional homework and then come back…

  • You’d take a great leap in understanding if you read the Cluetrain Manifesto.
  • Check out some additional reading
  • I would suggest this great, easy to read book from Sitepoint “Online Marketing Inside Out.” It’s kind of a cliff’s notes for online marketing.

You’ll have to contact me if you want any more suggestions.

  1. Get a Facebook account. Completely fill out your profile, upload a picture then learn how to interact and use facebook for business.
  2. Get a Twitter account. Then learn how to use and interact on Twitter.
  3. Definitely get a tweetlister account and use it to promote listings (sparingly please)
  4. Get a Linkedin Account and add your profiles and links to it. Make sure to import your contacts and get started building your contact list.

I could name a dozen others but the law of diminishing returns definitely applies to beloning to too many networks. Go with a few. Go with what your prospects and clients USE. Facebook has over 200,000,000 accounts with half of them logging on to do something everyday. Start there.

That’s all that’s needed to start with. I’ve got lots of tips and tricks and applications to help you use these tools more efficiently and effectively but you’ll have to see the related posts or browse through my site to find them.

Plan your work and Work your plan

Everyone knows social media can be an endless time sink, a black hole of tireless updates, uploads, replies and direct messages. Here’s what I suggest to keep your social networking time meaningful and efficient:

  • Set aside a SPECIFIC time and SPECIFIC amount of time every day to network socially.
    Depending on your goals, 15-30 minutes should cut it
    Aim for a certain number of updates, links, pictures, and videos to share and send to friends
    Try to make one new meaningful contact each session
  • Pick up the phone – talk to people using other means
  • Schedule a face-to-face – coffee, lunch, make it short, fun, and public

When you’ve accomplished your goals for the day… stop. If you have to share something crazy important right now, do it… in moderation.

TIP: Vary the times of day you network socially. Many people are beginning to use this “time managed” technique of networking and spend too much time talking to just a few core people. That’s not networking, that’s hanging out with your friends.

What kinds of things are you sharing and talking about?

  • On Facebook – use a 4:1 ratio of personal updates to professional updates on your profile page. Business pages can obviously be more centered around, well, business.
  • Talk about what makes you you. Your interests any hobbies, your family, your life.
  • Share useful information – that could be market data, a new listing that is grossly underpriced, news about a town or neighborhood that you deal with.
  • Share things that keep people interested in you – share crazy news, ask questions that get people involved
  • Be genuine – there’s not much more obvious that someone going through the motions for business purposes. If you are sharing, helping, and offering insight to those who need it, blessings will be returned upon you in many ways.

So HOW does all this help Sell Listings?

Dividends from Social Networking are inherently difficult to quantify. One thing is for sure. When you are doing it with success, you know it.

Listings get more showings and views online
The agent gets more calls, more inquiries, more referrals, and more deals
Sales can result directly from the use of social networks

Social Networking helps sell homes by creating more buzz and exposure for the listing online. I don’t think it’s been measured yet but I would say somewhere it generates around 2-4 times as much exposure for the property than if you did not use social networking as part of your marketing plan.

I’d like to point out that the social networking craze is really just the beginning of a shift in the way people meet and interact. If you (or your agent) aren’t getting the ball rolling by learning and becoming part of it all, you (they) may never catch up if they try to jump on in a few years time.