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Your Own Piece of Virtual Real Estate

Aug 28, 2008
Online social networking tools only represent a small portion of what you can do to market yourself as a real estate agent, but if you haven't investigated this avenue of lead generation, you're missing out on some great opportunities. Social networking works, and in real estate, developing a strong online presence is becoming more important every day. Basically operating on the same principles as networking in real life, there are countless sites out there that will help you connect with buyers and sellers 24 hours a day, enhance your marketing efforts in general, and help you put your services in the public eye. Surprisingly, most of these tools are free. All you need to get started is a smidgeon of talent, some patience and a lot of time. Here's how:

See What's Out There

Blogs, social networking sites and professional networks all present uniquely valuable marketing opportunities that can help you bring in leads. There are literally hundred of options out there and they all have their own merits. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues if you're not sure where to begin or just go online and poke around. Not sure what type of sites to join? Pick what you're good at. Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogger are all effective social marketing tools that tap into different skill sets and ways of communicating. Experiment and see which ones work best for you. There are also a number of established communities designed specifically for real estate agents, ActiveRain and RealTown immediately come to mind. These sites allow users to blog, join discussions and connect with other agents - a great way to find other professionals and get acquainted with the concepts involved in social networking sites.

Decide how Much Time you Have

Before you jump in and get started, do yourself a favor and decide how much time you want to devote to your online presence. All of these tools take a certain amount of time and commitment if you are going to make them work for you. So before you sign up for 50 social networking sites and abandon them all because you don't have the time to keep up, decide how much time you're willing to commit. Whatever answer you come up with, whether it be 3 hours a day or one hour a month, making it work for you is the most important step. Once you decide on an amount of time, however, stick to it! Online marketing is as important as any other form of marketing and it deserves a steady commitment.

Jump into the Mess

Once you've picked your tools and decided how you will invest your time, get busy filling out your profile, adding friends and uploading content. Though it's prudent to spend some time observing how your network of choice operates before you get too involved, there's a lot to be said for learning by doing. Look for other people you know on the site and link to them, invite your friends and business associates. Once you have your profile filled out and a few connections to make it interesting, you can start posting your content. The key to the success of anything on the internet is interaction so focus on posting your most engaging content. If you have a blog, write about what people are interested in in your area. Show off your expertise.

You may explore your options in the online world and decide that it's just not for you. There's no need to get too upset about this. Though online tools present a world of opportunity for those that take to them, they haven't replaced the real world. Yet. Face to face interaction and real world connections will always be the granddaddies of all networking. Online networking is merely a supplement. If you're motivated, outgoing and fantastic at parties, don't believe the hype - just shut off your computer and go sell some homes.
About the Author
Simplify your search for Puget Sound homes. Get listings, community info & expert advice from Jay Richardson Realty, Skagit County real estate experts - RichardsonRealtyGroup.com.
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