By Tim Denbo
RISMEDIA, January 27, 2011â€”For the first time ever, U.S. Web surfers visited the Facebook social networking site more often than any other site in 2010, beating out Google, now in the number two spot, according to a report from Hitwise, an Internet analytics firm.
As a real estate virtual tour provider, we spend a lot of time on social networking activities both for the company and to promote our clients. But what is social networking and how can it help sell real estate, you ask?
Using Wikipedia, â€œthe online encyclopedia,â€ â€œSocial Networkingâ€ is described as: A social network service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional servicesâ€¦â€
It goes on to talk about the types of social networking, networking groups, communities, etc. For a more detailed definition, go to: www.Wikipedia.com.
So how can social networking help you sell more homes?
Real estate is a contact sport. You want to be networking with people, both those you already know (your sphere of influence), and those you have yet to meet. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, ActiveRain and RealTown are the new online elbow-rubbing (virtual), story-telling, cocktail parties of the new social world.
Donâ€™t be late to the party
You can add your virtual tours and property listings to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. But for every virtual tour or listing you post, you should be writing six or seven non-selling messages or â€œtweetsâ€ as they are called in Twitter. Write about what you are doing outside of business or what is happening in the neighborhood. Write about local sports, market conditions, local fairs, farmers markets or anything you might talk about with a group of friends. Think of social networking as a â€œvirtual cocktail partyâ€ and remember your mannersâ€”let others talk and then respond; back and forth.
What social networking is not
Social networking (in most cases) will not replace your traditional methods of prospecting and networking such as â€œfarming,â€ Open House, Just Listed and Just Sold postcards, phone calls, cold calls, letters (snail-mail), Chamber of Commerce or the local MLS Marketing Groups.
How to get social in 2011
Letâ€™s start with Facebook. Facebook has been thought by many people to be just for young people or something that our kids use to communicate with friends. Well, this â€œwasâ€ true several years ago.
However, Facebook has evolved into much, much more. Today, Facebook has more subscribers than the entire population of the United States. In 2010, Facebook passed the 500 million member mark. Yes, that is 500 million! And it is still growing at a rate that appears to be unstoppable.
Take action â€“ itâ€™s free
So, sign up for a free Facebook membership and create a personal profile with basic information about yourselfâ€”nothing too personal, keep it simple. The important thing is to get started today. Create a profile with a minimum of your name, contact information, picture (yes, include your picture), business, and some personal information such as hobbies, pets, etc. But remember to only share information you would be comfortable having shared on the front page of the newspaperâ€¦since virtual content â€œcouldâ€ be seen by more people than ever read your local paper, even the New York Times.
Next, start searching for your friends, associates and clients who are also on Facebook. You may be amazed at how fast your friends list grows. Congratulations, you are now social networking! Now that wasnâ€™t so tough was it?
Tim Denbo is President/CEO, VirtualTourCafe, LLC.