Social netwroking and internet concept crossword made of 3d cubesWhenever I need a little boost to remind me how important active participation in social media is, I refer back to the phenomenal video produced by the Socialnomics group.

Their video entitled the Social Media Revolution(Refresh) graphically depicts the fundamental shift in the way the world communicates and creates relationships these days.  Those that choose to ignore social media are choosing to ignore a very interesting and important conversation happening with friends and colleagues you know and many you don’t.  The video will help you understand why we cannot ignore social media anymore – it has pervaded every element of our lives.

I had a very interesting discussion with a colleague of mine the other day. We were discussing the reputation of one of the thought leaders in our industry. To protect the innocent, let’s call the thought leader we were discussing Jeff Smith (fictional character in case there’s a famous Jeff Smith in real estate I don’t know!).   While “Jeff” has built a very strong technology product and a highly successful company, he has also positioned himself as an expert in his space through a very active blog and social media presence.

The person I was discussing Jeff’s social media activity with was not as active in social media as others I know. He was not aware of the “conversation” that had been led on-line by Jeff Smith.  My colleague believes Jeff’s reputation was simply driven by the great work Jeff has done with his company. While he’s right in large part, there’s a whole other dimension of influence Jeff has been able to exert by articulately discussing key issues and opportunities for the real estate industry online.  While he surely would have had a successful company without his social media presence, Jeff’s focus in this area has distinguished him from his competitors. He’s the “de facto” moderator at conferences in his space.  He is called upon for his opinion by editors. Bottomline, Jeff has garnered a LOT of free press and credibility because of his participation in social media.

Now how does this apply to REALTORS?    Just like Jeff Smith, many REALTORS have distinguished themselves by their hard work, great customer service and intimate knowledge of the local marketplace. They have earned trust relationships with their clients over the years.  Many of these highly successful top producers have ignored social media to a large degree because they have such a strong referral business.

The problem is that many of their referrals have children who are becoming more involved in the process of buying and selling real estate. Their parents are asking their children to use all of the online tools available to research the real estate market and search for property. While their parents may be happy for you to contact them by phone or email, their children may only communicate via Facebook or text messaging.

While social media does not need to necessarily replace a REALTOR’s current marketing or communications approach, it is certainly becoming more important even to older clients. The fastest growing group on Facebook are 55+ year old women.

Here’s an easy way to think about integrating social media into your daily marketing routines.   Whatever you may think about sharing with your clients via email or newsletter, it is likely interesting enough to be posted on social media. If you write an article for your newsletter about the performance of the local market, for example, post the same article on your blog, Facebook page, Linked in page and Twitter account. No need to create new content – leverage the work you’ve already done. Once you have a blog set-up you can simply publish the link to the article in your online newsletter, and every social media account you have set-up.  Take the work you’ve already done and make it work harder for you.

Second, find the bloggers in your area and begin to participate on their blogs.  If they are discussing local topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about, weigh in. Let their readers get to know you by offering interesting insights and suggestions.

Social media doesn’t have to take hours of your time every day. Simply integrate it into the marketing routines you already have.

Most important, remember that NOTHING replaces good customer service.  While social media and online marketing are great tools to build awareness of your brand, the strength of your personal brand comes from supporting your customers better than anyone else – JUST LIKE IT ALWAYS HAS.

Enjoy the video – it is well worth 4 minutes of your time!

If you would like to learn more about social media you can read the following articles.

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