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3 common mistakes

As you all know, simply creating an account on Facebook or Twitter rarely equates to being plugged in. The most common reason for not spending time on developing a social media strategy is that real estate agents and brokers fear there will be little to no return on investment – and that frankly ‘it’s just too much work’ or ‘I don’t have the time.’

Here are 3 common mistakes that real estate agents and brokers do all the time:

1. Doing too much at once. For people in real estate, it’s often best to start with a small social media presence. Check out LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – which one appeals to you the most? The one that makes the most sense to you should be your starting point. Start there and then set goals for when you will branch out onto other channels.

2. Giving it to the intern. Too often, social media responsibilities will be piled on the most inexperienced assistants or worse, someone who detests social media. If you are going to hire someone to help you manage your social media, make sure you hire someone who is not only savvy in communcation, but comfortable with exposure to the public. Social media needs a personal touch and someone who is aggressive and strategic.

3. Making conversations one-way. Too many real estate agents and brokers just see social media tools as just another way to push out information. Bombarding people with listings won’t earn many followers, there has to be a dialogue that keeps the audience engaged. Remember, less about you and more about the people receiving the information – always ask yourself, ‘what’s in it for them?’

So, now what? How do you know if your successful or not? One of the easiest things to do is to monitor your web site and blog traffic. Make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your site and that once a week you are looking at where your traffic is coming from.

Connecting with Other Real Estate Professionals

In order to improve upon their skills and network in the industry, real estate professionals are using social networks specific to their industry. Some of these networks include ActiveRain and The Flipping Pad.

Although it is in beta testing, Architizer is the largest crowd-sourced database of architecture online, with over 10,000 finished and proposed projects posted from fans, owners and architects that are easily searchable. The site provides a networking space for real estate developers and architects, where developers can search for architects and architects can upload their projects. This type of social network is allowing developers to get a better grasp of the talent options on the market, while also giving architects a better chance at being discovered.

CEO and Co-Founder Marc Kushner, also an architect, explains that, “The old model revolved around magazines, in which architects had to make it into certain issues. So, say that a developer picks up the November issue of a certain architecture magazine. The only way that the architect would have the chance of being discovered by the developer was if he happened to be in that November issue.” Architizer simplifies the connecting process by bringing architects and developers together in one place.

More well-known social networks, including Meetup, Flickr and LinkedIn are provided spaces for real estates pros to connect and learn from one another. Some examples of active Meetup groups include Chicago Real Estate Group and New Jersey Real Estate Social Network. Both Meetups are ranked highly and have received favorable feedback from attendees. For example, Loan Officer Lorna Roberts, said that the New Jersey Real Estate Social Network Meetup, is an “excellent way to network and learn more about what is affecting the community and businesses.” For more information on how to get a real estate Meetup started in your community, check out our tips on organizing a successful Meetup.

Other group settings on social networks, such as the National Association of REALTORS on LinkedIn, or the Photography for Real Estate group on Flickr, are great places to connect with specialized professionals in the real estate industry.

From connecting with buyers and sellers to networking with industry peers and lending expert advice, there are many ways to utilize social media as a real estate professional. What are your tips for using social media in the real estate industry?

Landing experts advice

While an occasional listing may be appreciated by your social media community, many experts advocate engaging your audience with industry knowledge and an expert perspective, rather than alienating users with useless information. Because there are so many factors that must align to make a listing pertinent to a single customer, such as pricing, location and size, there is a high probability that most listings do not pertain to most people in a given social media audience.

James Kimmons, real estate business expert on About.com, advises real estate pros to refrain from overwhelming their followers and connections with real estate listings. He advises,

“Promote you, your business, and your expertise in your local area real estate market. Do it with market commentary, education and statistics. Link out to your IDX search page, because a lot of your visitors will want to look at listings at some point, just not your listing du jour.”

There are many sites with specialized sections for real estate professionals to lend their expertise, such as Trulia Voices and Zillow Advice. Both sites are frequented by prospective home buyers, on the search for answer about topics ranging from pricing and relocating to financing and closing. A typical question on either site will yield quite a few answers from agents or brokers specializing in a specific geographic region or area of real estate. This type of interaction with folks on the market is a great way to build a credible reputation and build brand recognition for future consideration.

YouTube also presents a valid platform for sharing real estate tips. For example, Keller Williams Realty International, a real estate franchise company, maintains a YouTube channel full of videos on monthly real estate reports, real estate advice and current company events. Keller Williams boasts nearly 400,000 video views, 100,000 channel views and 2,000 subscribers. Those are numbers worth celebrating.

If you are a real estate professional, keep an eye out ways you to showcase your expertise and local knowledge. You should start to see an increase in interaction, as you provide useful, relevant information to others.

Real estate using social media

Over the past two years, real estate professionals have found creative ways to overcome the real estate crisis, including finding innovative uses for social media. After facing drops in home sales well into 2010, real estate pros have been forced to utilize their offline skills in an increasingly social way online. By using photo and video sharing to enhance listings, along with professional networking sites to hone their sales skills, real estate veterans have made strides in moving inventory in tough times.

Agents, brokers and realtors have found successes in lead generation, sales and brand building through use of mass audience social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Meetup, and LinkedIn, as well as real estate specific platforms, like Trulia, Zillow, WellcomeMat and Architizer.

Whether they are sharing videos, listings or advice with their communities and prospective buyers or sellers, real estate pros are making progress in using social media for real results. The core goal of real estate pros utilizing social media is to attract sellers looking to list their homes or buyers looking to purchase homes. Naturally, the 1.0 version of social media for real estate is setting up pages on social networks that fit your company’s content and audience.

Corcoran Group, the largest residential real estate firm in New York City, is a fitting example of how real estate agencies are going above and beyond to make themselves available for buyers and sellers. Corcoran differentiates itself by simply being available and open. The “Do More” tab on their Facebook page says it all — you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, and Gowalla, among other sites. And if you need more, you can download their iPhone app, where you can find nearby homes for sale or rent and open houses. The app also promotes their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. If you dig a little deeper, you can also find Corcoran on Tumblr, Blip.tv and Vimeo. Simply put, Corcoran has found a way to be everywhere for its clients. This is the first step to converting fans and followers into buyers and sellers.

The core goal of real estate pros utilizing social media is to attract sellers looking to list their homes or buyers looking to purchase homes. Naturally, the 1.0 version of social media for real estate is setting up pages on social networks that fit your company’s content and audience.

Corcoran Group, the largest residential real estate firm in New York City, is a fitting example of how real estate agencies are going above and beyond to make themselves available for buyers and sellers. Corcoran differentiates itself by simply being available and open. The “Do More” tab on their Facebook page says it all — you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, and Gowalla, among other sites. And if you need more, you can download their iPhone app, where you can find nearby homes for sale or rent and open houses. The app also promotes their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. If you dig a little deeper, you can also find Corcoran on Tumblr, Blip.tv and Vimeo. Simply put, Corcoran has found a way to be everywhere for its clients. This is the first step to converting fans and followers into buyers and sellers.

Bloggers to watch in 2010

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger gave me a task (read it here): highlight the blogs that you follow in your own industry and let your readers know about it.  I think that’s a great idea Darren so here goes. The top 10 bloggers/blogs that I recommend you follow in 2010 are:

1. Global Watchtower. The “Urim V’tumim” of the localization industry written (for the most part) by Don DePalma, a gifted speaker, writer and overall intellectual.

2. Microsoft Translator Official Team Blog. This blog is not updated frequently but you can get most up-to-date information about Microsoft’s Translation system and other developments in Bing’s language space.

3. TAUS. While not really a blogger, Jaap van der Meer founded the Translation Automation User Society and is heading up a large scale initiative which may revolutionize the localization industry. Follow their website and newsletters to monitor the progress of this group.

4. Localization Industry 411. Renato Beninatto was Don DePalma’s partner at Common Sense Advisory until 2009 when he left to become a CEO of LSP Melingo. Renato speaks his mind and has unique insights gathered from years in the industry. Should make for interesting reading.

5. Foreign Exchange Translation Blog. An excellent blog in the field of medical translation with a wealth of valuable information.

6. Translator Power. A lot of good information there.

7. Multilingual News. Brings all the important translation industry news. They have an RSS feed and you can also sign up and receive a monthly newsletter by email.

8. Kirti Vashee is an executive at Asia Online, a vendor of MT software. He does not have a blog but you can read his insights by following him on LinkedIn or on twitter.com/kvashee. Kirti, why don’t you start a blog already?

9. Lionbridge blog

10. GTS Blog. What can I say? If you don’t toot your own horn who will do it for you?