The great debate: social media in real estate

There's been a bit of debate recently about the use of social media in real estate. It all started when real estate trainer Josh Phegan told Real Estate Business Magazine at AREC that agents should forget about social media and focus on face-to-face interactions with clients.While I don't disagree that face-to-face interactions with clients and potential clients are the bread and butter of the real estate industry, to forget about social media is just ludicrous!There was a time, not so long ago, when real estate agents said email, real estate websites and Internet advertising of listings were just fads and that using a "computerised database" to manage their contacts instead of a card bases system was a crazy idea. Fast forward to 2012 and the same is being said about social media.Once every now and then a shift in how society communicates and interacts occurs. Email changed the way businesses and people communicated. The Internet changed the way people looked for news, information, and to keep this real estate related, property. Social media has again changed the way people are communicating, interacting with each-other and engaging with companies. Just like the other "fads" - email and real estate websites - social media is here to stay.Social media is not supposed to replace traditional marketing, nor is it meant to replace face-to-face interactions with clients. Just like newspaper advertising, email marketing and listing properties on real estate portals, social media, when done properly, is just another medium to add to your marketing mix.In comparison to other forms of marketing, the cost of social media is only time. Some of you will say, "Well time is money!" and you're right, but if you're spending a little bit of time each week into social media, you're not wasting your time, you're investing your time into something that will benefit your business!Most of you write a weekly or monthly newsletter that, using the fad called email, you blast out to your entire database of clients through that "computerised database" (let's call it CRM from now on) that some called a crazy idea. Why not put the content of that newsletter into a blog on the other fad you're using, your company website? Then why don't you share that blog onto your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts? You are using the "fads" of yesteryear everyday, you can either be part of the trend-setters using social media - and you'll see a greater benefit if you're among the first group of agents and agencies doing so properly. Alternatively, you can wait until you have no choice but to use social media, because everyone else is, but you'll be well behind the eight-ball if you wait.I've mentioned a couple of times doing social media "properly" - what I mean by doing social media in real estate properly is to push out USEFUL CONTENT to your social media accounts. Do not, DO NOT, DO NOT, post your listings onto social media. If any of you have a Facebook account, could you imagine how annoying it would be if all you saw in your news-feed was new listing notifications from real estate agents? I can almost guarantee, you, like myself and the rest of the population, would take appropriate action to hide that content - whether it be blocking posts from that company, or "un-liking" them entirely. This is what will happen to your social media if all you push out is new listings and sold listings.Social media for real estate should be used to position yourself as an expert in your local area, and to do that, you need to demonstrate that you are, in-fact, an expert. You can do this by writing your own blogs and sharing these to your social media accounts. You can also share content from other "experts", industry bodies and news websites.It's really great when you have a CRM that can integrate with your social media accounts to allow you to share such content in a matter of seconds. If your CRM can do this for you, it replaces the need to outsource your social media to someone who is, in all likelihood, ripping you off for their services. Luckily the Rex CRM is able to do this for you, allowing you to maintain your social media presence quickly and easily, so you can focus more of your time on listing, selling and meeting with people face-to-face!For more information on what you should be doing with your social media accounts, I recommend reviewing the social media blogs on the Rex Software blog at www.rexsoftware.com

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