“I was told that I need to Social Network, can you teach me how?” is probably the most frequent question that I encounter in client meetings. I’m also surprised at the overly complicated and technical definitions which are often given to them as an intelligent answer to ‘what is, and how to social network.‘
First of all, Social Media and Social Networking are not some hugely complex and scary things, although they will require an open mind and a slight adaptation to use well. We have all networked, whether it’s through friends, at networking events, conferences, or within our personal connections. You, I, and everyone around us has approached another person said hello and established a connection. This is networking as we know it.
Social Networking is just taking this concept into the virtual world; specifically hubs such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Which brings me to my second point. Often in Social Media and Social Networking presentations I see the presenter almost try to intentionally confuse their audience by having a myriad of social networking icons up on the screen. Often 20-50 different icons, many of which are never considered when doing a Social Media Marketing campaign.
Now, that you understand that Social Networking is nothing different then Networking in person – you’ll have to understand where to go if you wish to successfully Social Network.
Facebook.com is by far the world’s largest and most successful Social Network. With over 800 Million users, and one of the only outside networks allowed in China – they are nearly synonymous with the term ‘Social Network.’
In Facebook you can have a personal profile, a page for a business, interest, or etc, as well as a private or public group for any interest or affiliation.
Your personal profile should contain connections to your friends, family, and possibly some great clients. You should post items about your daily life, interests, and general happenings throughout your day on your profile. Just as you would in real life, your friends and family know you’re a Real Estate agent, and the last thing they often wish to talk about is if they wish to sell their house.
Your Facebook Page or Group on the other hand is where you want to drive your current and potential clients as well as industry colleagues. This is where you want to update everything relevant with your business; new listings, current thoughts, market statistics, local happenings, and so forth – just like you would do in the office.
LinkedIn.com made headlines last year as they went IPO. They are also gaining a new user every second, and people on LinkedIn unlike Facebook or Twitter have a more professional vibe and are actively seeking to grow their professional networks.
LinkedIn is a great place to meet professionals in many industries and grow your professional network as well as establishing you as the Realtor for a specific geographic location, association, industry, or network. There are many facets within LinkedIn such as interests, private groups, associations and forums. People are moving for jobs all the time, you want to make sure that you’re there when they’re moving into any area you serve.
Twitter.com. I get more questions about Twitter then any other social network. Most of my clients can grasp LinkedIn, and a few Facebook but they all question Twitter. Twitter itself is a instant microblog tool which limits posts to 140 characters and involves a language entirely its own. Twitter is also where the “hashtag” first evolved.
You can search for trending topics with the hashtag, or people who are in search of a #Realtor in #San Jose, #Seattle, #SanFrancisco or #SF. Then you can reach out to these specific people by ‘tweeting’ their handle with “@(person’s handle)” or simple private messaging them. Or you can create twitter handles for properties you represent, updating their status, offers, etc via twitter feed. There are lots of uses, just open your mind.
Google+. Google’s third, and hopefully final, attempt at Social Networking. First it was Orkut which underperformed everywhere but Brazil, then Buzz which started off with a huge privacy concern and now with the help of an Apple UI designer, Google+ is out with a concept called ‘circles.’
As a Google+ user you can put your connections in circles, you can have a circle for your friends & family, a circle for your clients, a circle for your professional affiliations, etc.
Google+ is still in its infancy, and what we see 12 months out may be completely different then the Google+ we see today. However, what is exciting is Google+ is releasing business pages before the end of the year, this may be the game changer Google is looking for and the edge you may need to consider when putting together your social media strategy for 2012.
Finally, is there something that can simplify and empower all these social networks for you? Yes there is.
If you haven’t heard or seen yet, we do have a service called eSocialPro.com it is a Social Media Engine which allows you to pull a set library of content through an RSS feed and schedule postings to all of your social networks.
Although this may sound a little confusing, in layman it means that once you sign up and set it up with our support staff you literally do not need to worry about your social media networks again. eSocialPro.com will continue to maintain that your friends, family, clients, and industry contacts will see you on a regular basis.
For more information on social media, or eSocialPro, or to have us speak in your office contact us today for further information.