Remember the good old days when you could make some useful contacts, get referrals and meet prospective clients through events like your kids’ PTA meetings, dinners with neighbors or even casual lunch dates with friends? Fortunately some of these things still exist and prove to be extremely useful for gaining new clients for your real estate business. However, people are becoming less social offline and more social online. What does this mean for you and your real estate business?
Let’s first take a look at a couple websites / companies that are two present day examples that prove this trend – Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook has quickly become one of the largest social networking sites in the world with over 100 million users. Started by a college kid (now a multi-millionaire), Facebook has grown from a simple college leisure site to one of the most powerful, far reaching social networks on the web. LinkedIn also started with humble beginnings, but has grown to become the largest business networking site in its domain. LinkedIn allows professionals from all industries to network with like-minded professionals and/or network to find new jobs or employees.These two networks alone have helped many real estate professionals take their businesses to the next level by providing them with extremely simple, expansive networks to find prospective clients where they may not have otherwise been able to reach.
Hopefully, you are keeping current with these web marketing trends and have already been taking advantage of these networks. Now, what if I asked you how your Twitter or FriendFeed accounts are doing? Or how many of your Flickr or TwitPic photos have penetrated your market? Or even, how many views have your YouTube or WellcomeMat videos received in the past month? Starting to feel behind the times? Well, you should as some of the fastest moving, and thus, most effective “tech-savvy” realtors, are getting their email inboxes to overflow with leads of prospective clients and referrals.
Back to our initial question of how the fact that people are becoming more social online, as opposed to offline, affects your business. With over 85% of real estate transactions starting online, your prospective clients are on the web. Whether they are doing searches on Google, conversing with friends on Facebook or watching community videos on WellcomeMat, people looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate flock to the Internet to gather as much information as possible before making one of the largest financial transactions of their lifetime. This is more of a reason than any that you MUST (1) be found easily on the web and (2) establish yourself as an authority for the services you offer in your area.
Inbound marketing, marketing that does not need to be intrusive or interruptive, is one of the most organic and effective ways to accomplish these two goals. Social networking is THE prime example of effective inbound marketing – if done right of course. By plotting your social networking strategy and / or employing professionals to manage or consult you on your social networking strategies, you will be able to define yourself as a true resource on the web – the place where a pool of prospective clients continues to grow each day.
Take the time to learn more about the social networks mentioned above and included in the data chart provided and be proactive about talking to professionals who do these things for a living to learn how these new forms of marketing for your real estate business can truly increase your client base by making you a trusted resource online. Remember, you may be one of the top producers in your market, but if your clients can’t find you online when they are looking for your services then you may as well be a brand new agent with no experience or credibility yet. It is never too late to get started, especially on social networking as this is still relatively new for the real estate industry, so take advantage of it before you fall too far behind the pack.
Cartoon courtesy of Geek & Poke