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Best Social Media Site for Realtors
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Join the Revolution with these 10 Online Networks

Now that the 2009 Swanepoel TRENDS Report has hit newsstands, and social media and online networking again claims one of the top 3 slots for the second year in a row, many agents are moving in increasing numbers into social networking. During almost all of my talks this year, I am constantly asked which ones are the best, which ones do you recommend I use and where do I start?

I will try to provide a list the most suitable and most valuable social media and online networks that agents should consider using to build a legitimate online presence and marketing channel. Here the Top 10 Social Media & Online Networks that Realtors® should consider getting involved with:

  1. Facebook

One of the largest social media websites; period. They have a total of about 175 million users and many real estate professionals are already on Facebook. This site is a great way to start and grow your online presence. To get started go to www.facebook.com. We can connect by becoming friends at www.facebook.com/people/Stefan-Swanepoel/

  1. Twitter

The leader in mircoblogging, which requires all posts to be 140 characters or less. The system teaches brevity and is a great way to communicate quickly via send short messages. The exact number of users unknown but is estimated to be around 6 million. To get started go to www.twitter.com And to follow me go to www.twitter.com/swanepoel and hit follow.

  1. ActiveRain

Launched in 2006 ActiveRain has emerged as the largest social media site in the real estate industry.  It was specifically created for real estate professionals with almost 140,000 members. The site was originally free but a fee structure was recently announced so check their website for latest info at www.activerain.com.  You can join the Trends group at http://activerain.com/groups/realestatetrends

  1. YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing web site that was created in 2005. In January of this year YouTube surpassed 100 million video viewers, making it 60% larger than rivals MySpace and Yahoo. It you have Video material of you, your company, your listings or the neighborhood, this is an ideal channel to promote it. Visit www.youtube.com to get started.

  1. RealEstateWiki

Similar to the general online encyclopedia giant Wikipedia, real estate now has its own free online real estate encyclopedia in Real Estate Wiki. The site has over 30,000 pages of real estate definitions, acronyms, FAQs, details on all communities, MLSs, Realtor® Associations, etc. Visit www.realestatewiki.com to also add your personal and company profile including contact details and back links.

  1. LinkedIn

The site emerged in 2003 as the network for business professionals to use to build online networks with large numbers of contacts from different industries. Over time it has basically become a network of networks.  LinkedIn currently has more than 35 million registered users spanning 170 industries. To get your profile up go to www.linkedin.com and to view and example of my profile see www.linkedin.com/in/swanepoel

 

  1. RealTown

RealTown is a long time listserv and bulletin board that has now become a social media website for real estate professionals.  The site now boasts a membership of over 120,000. To participate in this network go to www.realtown.com. I can be found at www.realtown.com/members/Swanepoel

 

  1. Inman Community

As a leading online news provider Inman also offers a diverse array of other online activities such as blogging, wiki, video and of course a social network. Inman Online Community can be found at www.inman.com/community and the Trends group can be found at www.Inman.com/Community/groups/Real-Estate-Trends

 

  1. BrokerAgentSocial

Unquestionably BrokerAgentSocial is the newcomer on the block.  As part of Broker Agent Pro it joined the social media fray near the end of 2008. However, it is still small with only some 10,000 members.  It is currently focusing only on quality articles and posts. To join visit www.brokeragentsocial.com and then join the Trends group at www.brokeragentsocial.com/-trends

 

  1. Plaxo

Plaxo is very similar to our Outlook address book; a Contact Management Service that is basically an online address book social network. It was started in 2002 and, according to their latest announcements, they have over 20 million users. To start with Plaxo visit www.plaxo.com.

 

Now these are not the only social media online networks - there are many more such as MySpace, Hulu, Squidoo, Ning, Slashdot, Newsvine, Spurl, etc. There are of course also numerous excellent online real estate news sites that have varying levels of social media elements as part of their service such as  Inman (www.imnan.com), RIS (www.rismedia.com), Realty Times (www.realtytimes.com), REALTOR Magazine (www.realtor.org), NewsGenius (www.newsgeni.us) and NRN (www.nationalrealtynews.com) to name but a few.

Building an online presence takes times, requires writing a lot of quality content and on a regular basis. So start slow by opening only a few accounts, determine the time you can effectively allocate to this new medium of marketing. Pace yourself and gradually build a strong, viable and viral friend and client base online. Good luck.

In addition, a basic blog is a good way to be apart of social media.  While social media such as Facebook, Activerain, and such, offer great platforms for social media, creating your own blog is just as good if not better. 

The benefits of creating your own blog is that you control the social media platform.  While it takes longer to start and build up a community where people actually start communicating and participating to allows  vertical integration of the media. 

See an example of a recent real estate blog that just started and is in the process of picking up traffic.  In this day an age, if you want to have an online presence it will benefit to create your own blog as well. 

This is an extract and update from the 160-page 2009 edition of the Swanepoel TRENDS Report. Copies are now available at Amazon (www.amazon.com) as well as the Online Real Estate Bookstore (www.realestatebooks.org).




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