As a business owner that caters to the real estate industry, I have seen numerous changes throughout the years in how they do business. Agents have gone from relying on their customer referral base and websites to developing forms of communication that allow them to stay in constant contact with their customers. The hopes is that even during the tough economic times, agents will be able to find more creative means for finding new customers and bringing back those that have used them in the past.
With the increased usage of social networking around the world, it was really only a matter of time before real estate agents started to take advantage of the trend. We are now seeing numerous agents moving more aggressively towards setting up their profiles on the numerous social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. The idea is that by having their face out there on a regular basis the agents may be able to bring in more repeat business and hopefully discover new business in the process.
As the real estate market has become more difficult for agents every means of generating business has become that much more important. During the boom periods the top agents would have so much business they would have to farm out some of the smaller contracts to new ages. Now that the economy is sagging due to the housing crisis agents are having more difficulty than ever attempting to find enough business to maintain their lifestyles. Rather than pushing off sales to other agents, the top agents are digging in more than ever and working the streets just as they did in the beginning of their careers. The ones that are able to adapt to the changes in the market the best and create new means of generating customers are the ones that are going to make it through the downslide and come out stronger than they were before.
Numerous options exist for real estate agents looking to develop their social media program. Ultimately it comes down to how hard the agent wants to work. They could either use one source or multiple sources to reach their target customers. The more effort they put into developing their social network the higher likelihood it will pay dividends for them down the road. There are a few main social networks that are the main focuses of the real estate agents due to their results and potential reach.
Facebook is obviously the beast of the social networking scene. With a Facebook profile agents are able to remind their customers, family, and friends that they are still in the business of selling houses while building their own story at the same time. People are more likely to do business with those that they feel comfortable with. By allowing their customers to take a glimpse into who they are the hope is that customers will see them as a friendly, well natured person that can be more than just a salesperson but a partner in buying or selling their home.
By using twitter, agents are able to market themselves a little more aggressively. With quick tweets an agent can advertise current properties that they have on the market or even update mortgage rates to get people interested in buying a home. The idea is that by getting their face out there on a regular basis, those that follow them will remember the agent when they are looking to buy or sell their home. These people will also be more likely to refer business if they regularly see the name coming through to their phone, mailbox, twitter, etc. It is all about keeping people aware that you are in the business so that you can get the business.
While Myspace has been taking a tumble as of late, it is still an effective means of marketing to customers. Much like Facebook it allows the user to let their customers take a glimpse into their personal life and build a little more trust in the process.
One of the most common social networks I have seen used lately is Linked In. This is a network of professionals that allows you to connect yourself to others in a variety of ways. It takes networking to a completely different level as it can easily be done from the comfort of your own home. Those that use Linked In swear that they are able to make great new contacts with people in their own industry and in others. The idea is meet those that have products/services that you would use so that you can negotiate with them based on the products/services that you provide. Very similar to the many business networking groups out there.
While social networking continues to become more and more popular, agents are learning ways to make more effective use of these resources. For many agents they are finding great success with these new marketing options but they aren’t surefire ways to generate business either. Just like anything it takes trial and error to become successful with it. The harder you work, the greater potential for success.