Online Social Networking for Real Estate Agents

By Steve Castaneda on March 21, 2007 in Marketing - 31 Comments

Online Social Networking For Real Estate AgentsWe are now at a time where, according to NAR, 80% of consumers are finding their home online, and the newly added lead generation source for real estate agents is taking shape. One of the ways to generate referral business is through online social networking. I define online social networking as any online site that allows for real estate agents to gather online and network amongst each other.

I have personally been a member of various online networking sites for real estate agents in the past, and really like the concept because not everyone is inclined to walk up to someone and say, “Hello.”

Through a innate, uncontrollable shyness, or simply a lack of motivation, most real estate agents that I meet rarely take on the task of networking with other real estate agents.

Online Social Networking alleviates this tendency to by shy, as the meeting between agents is not face to face. Rather, many times agents engage in conversation through a message posted by one agent, or through emailing an agent directly. Both attempts to make contact are not direct and in person, which allows many “non-networkers” to get out there and meet some new people.

ActiveRain.com – Real Estate Referrals

ActiveRain was started in June of 2006 and has been a “water hole” for many real estate agents across the United States. You are likely to get referrals here, rather than leads for business to the consumer directly.

The “ActiveRain Real Estate Network” is a free online community for real estate professionals run on behalf of its members. Our goal is to create a valuable resource of information and ideas for real estate professionals and their clients. We aim to help empower people by providing tools to help promote business and connect with peers all over the country.

I really like that ActiveRain gives you the ability to start a blog for real estate consumers or amongst other agents. The blog is hosted at ActiveRain, but any start is a good one. If you’ve been procrastinating with start a blog or just didn’t know where to start, ActiveRain can surely prove useful to you.

Do you really get referrals? Well, that depends on your ability to network of course! I became a member of ActiveRain in 2006, and began posting my thoughts in a blog and commenting on other agent’s blog posts. Just a week ago, I received a message from a real estate loan officer in California whose sister is moving to Houston. Wow! Have my efforts paid off? I’d say yes.

MySpace.com, Facebook.com – Real Estate Lead Generation

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of Myspace or Facebook is probably that it’s filled with youngsters. That was my first thought as well. I did a bit of digging and learned about a company named, comScore who (according to Wikipedia):

comScore is an internet marketing research company that provides marketing data and services to many of the internet’s largest businesses

In 2006, Mediaweek reported that comScore’s study released that 68 percent of the 55 million MySpace users are 25 and older, and now the age group of 35-54 now make up more than 40 percent of the site. Even Facebook has 15 million users – 50 percent of whom are 25-plus. For a real estate agent looking for new clients, those are not bad demographics at all.

So how does one actually go about getting business in these online social networking websites? I feel that the answer to this question is to simply drive traffic where you know leads can be converted. Both Myspace and Facebook drive traffic to my real estate website, and that site was built to convert leads. When posting messages to friends and speaking to others about the happenings in your (and their) life, be sure to drop a line such as, “Hey, I listed 123 easy street yesterday. Have a look!” or “Did I ever tell you I was in real estate? Take a look at my site!”.

You will most likely be dropping messages by friends and family, and these people are your network and sphere. I see no reason why this message left on Myspace or Facebook shouldn’t be considered as a “touch” or “contact” for lead generation purposes, so why not dedicate some time to it? The average person will know at least three people throughout the year that is looking to buy or sell a home, so you owe it to yourself to stay in touch with those you already know.

Network, Network, Network!

I think one of the most overlooked source of business for real estate agents is their network and sphere. If you are new in the business, or a veteran, you should make sure that your lead generation efforts include staying in touch with your past clients, friends, and family to make sure you are there to help them with their real estate needs. Be proud to be a real estate agent; you deserve it!

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About the Author

Steve Castaneda, Realtor has been in the real estate industry since Jan. 2005. He specializes in selling homes in Northwest Houston and spends his free time sharing his passion for technology by writing at TechForAgents and programming web applications. Follow him on Google or Twitter.

31 Comments on "Online Social Networking for Real Estate Agents"

  1. Wayne Long May 14, 2007 at 6:21 pm · Reply

    Social networking online has changed everything. We can connect and become interested in each others lives and careers though thousands of miles apart. It is really a phenom that I only became involved with about 6 months ago. It is an exciting time!

    Thank you for giving some insight!

  2. Tim August 29, 2007 at 1:25 pm · Reply

    Hey great article. I did notice that you did not include Wanna Network as another great real estate social networking website that is also free to network on. I have used Facebook and found it useful but have found beneficial business relationships on Wanna Network.

  3. Steve Castaneda September 23, 2007 at 3:05 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the comment, Wayne!

    Tim,
    I don’t have experience with Wanna Network, but I’ll be sure to stop by check it out soon. Thank you for the comment!

  4. Bob Brown October 15, 2007 at 3:43 pm · Reply

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for insight to social networking. Im’ going to busy the next few days checking things out. As a relative new (2-years) agent I’m always open to an opportunity to meet new faces. I’m a REMAX agent working here in the Memphis metro area. We need some buyers real bad.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Bob

  5. Anona Large October 16, 2007 at 10:09 am · Reply

    As a Broker Affiliate in a new city and state,(Oak Ridge, TN) I find social networking a must! It would be nearly impossible to keep in touch with all of my previous associates if it were not for the internet.

    This artical has heightened my awareness and excitement once again in what I will now call “social networking”.

    Thank you!

    Anona

  6. Bob Stephens October 16, 2007 at 10:31 am · Reply

    With 24 years experience listing and sellng real estate in my limited, rural northwest Tennessee area, its getting more and more challenging to be acessable and stay in touch with Buyers and Sellers applying extensive internet opportunites. Thanks for another avenue.

  7. Ron Jenkins October 18, 2007 at 2:36 pm · Reply

    During this challenging time of change I am finding far more need to change the way I do business and the Internet is key. This has become a central topic in my listing presentations. My clients are becoming more and more aware of just how important the internet is as our society becomes more mobile. It is absolutely an essential “tool of the trade”. Thank you for the insight.

  8. Steve Castaneda October 18, 2007 at 2:43 pm · Reply

    Hi everyone!

    I’m glad you are finding this helpful, and I really encourage you to spend good time investigating how it can improve each of your businesses.

    Ron,
    I agree! I strongly feel having a great online presence in various social networking sites will help add to your value proposition, thus helping to improve your conversion ratios. I think you hit the nail on the head!

  9. Bill Gassett November 29, 2007 at 2:46 pm · Reply

    There is no question that social marketing should be a component of any great Realtors arsenal. Having a blog is espcially important as it is an easy way to get in front of the masses. Social marketing is only going to get more necessary as we move forward.

  10. Maggie Morris December 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm · Reply

    This is very eye opening and a mystery at the same time. Here six months have gone by since the first post, I just can’t figure out why real estate agents just don’t get it. Online Social Networking will be here and gone before they catch on. It will all be done by cellphones next.

  11. Daphna December 13, 2007 at 9:54 am · Reply

    I think social networking is great for real estate agents but some think its a waste online they want that personal contact, but I still think any type of social networking is a fantastic way to build your business.

  12. Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker Franklyrealty.com December 13, 2007 at 1:24 pm · Reply

    Soon I’ll be using Facebook to allow friends of home buyers help with the home search.

  13. Steve Castaneda December 27, 2007 at 3:47 pm · Reply

    @Maggie Morris: I agree! Many facets of online social networking have yet to be fully explored and utilized. Those fortunate enough to embrace online networking and master it at an early stage will be the ones most profiting 2-3 years down the road.

    @Daphna: To those agents that think it’s a waste of time; I really feel that’s a limiting belief. What about referrals? Many agents attend networking events (person to person) to generate inter-office referals, so why not online? It’s less confrontational and far easier to break the ice.

    I think you’re spot on; it is a great way to build your business.

  14. Rebecca Ragland January 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm · Reply

    Great article. I would like to invite all RE professionals to come network with us at EREE Business Social Network. We have a nationawide network and welcome Real Estate Professionals nationally and worldwide. Registration is free. erealestateexec.net

  15. RK February 8, 2008 at 6:47 am · Reply

    you should also consider looking at rentalandrealestate.com

    its also a social network for the real estate people

  16. JENNIFER DAZET February 9, 2008 at 11:56 am · Reply

    I post alot of my articles on myspace and other networks.
    I have had a great response from them

    Thanks, Jenn

  17. Jay February 23, 2008 at 8:37 pm · Reply

    I have been getting referrals from active rain. It is impressive how technology has been changing the real estate world, and more to come.

  18. Sue April 11, 2008 at 10:10 pm · Reply

    Steve, very good and informative post. I started blogging on active rain and have expanded although still getting the hang of it. I do have clients calling me from my blogs, so its useful to them and me.

  19. Ascension Real Estate April 17, 2008 at 7:49 pm · Reply

    In today’s competitive real estate market, timing is everything. Many good homes are sold before they are ever advertised. Beat other homebuyers to the hottest new homes for sale with my New Listings Notification.

    -Edited to Remove Promotion-

  20. Johnnie May 25, 2008 at 10:53 am · Reply

    Thanks to the internet, selling homes has never been easier. To bad our economy is all messed up and the housing crisis is still going on otherwise this would be a great time to be a real estate agent.

  21. Tax Forclosures June 23, 2008 at 3:25 am · Reply

    yes Internet is becomming very necessary day by day and i think it will find it due place in every home of the world till next decade

  22. Chicago real estate June 25, 2008 at 4:56 am · Reply

    I must say that this is a great blog. You are very right. Internet became very important and in many domains of activity people just can do their work if they don’t have access to the internet. This fact has good and bad sides. The good thing is that you spend less time when you want to buy something or when you need some informations, but the bad thing is that the internet makes us so dependent on it.

  23. Arlington Clarendon real estate June 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm · Reply

    I’m convinced that a huge source of referrals awaits those using Facebook strategically to set up fan pages that are joined by previous clients even if it means paying them to add it to their profile. Another idea is by uploading a photo of any home you sell when it closes. This gets sent to all the friends you have and they can see you’re closing transactions regularly and are actually a trusted source for RE business. Also this helps friends who had no clue about your RE to learn about it in a non threatening manner. you’ll be on the back of their mind when it comes time for them to buy/sell a home.

    Blidgets by realbird allow you to set up a real estate search widget that people can install on their facebook profiles. very cool and keeps you on people’s minds. That’s a start for everybody. Still feelin’ it out on my own but honestly I enjoy it for personal use more than professional. you can see that from the NC surfers group I joined in advance of moving to NC sometime–and I’ve never surfed before. But you can see I have big dreams, eh!

    jay

  24. M. Boyd - GetMyHomesValue.com August 22, 2008 at 7:33 am · Reply

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Twitter? My company has a Twitter account to distribute news on the housing market and company information. I have seen a lot of realtors nationwide using Twitter, and while I can’t speak to its powers in lead gen, I do find it a very powerful for communication between agents and consumers.

  25. Loan Modification November 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm · Reply

    the problem with soicial bookmarking sites is that they vary greatly in their effectivnes (in marketing) and now there are literally thousands of them so to really manage to usefully allocate ones efforts isnt so simple.

  26. Chrissy Wallis July 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm · Reply

    Great article! I’ve embraced social networking, and probably at least every week I have a real estate question, lead, or opportunity. I have a network of over 700 people, most of who I know personally, which has been key to utilizing this powerful tool to keep the word out that I’m staying in the business. I believe this is the most important part of social networking, as so many people are switching careers in this challenging economy, what a great way to let the world know you are in it to stay!

  27. Ballenisles Real Estate December 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm · Reply

    Great article! Thanks for the information. The only thing that matters these days in Real Estate marketing is the internet and social media and online networking is a great way to get the word out there.

    thnks!!

  28. Rosalyn Alexander-Hulbert May 17, 2013 at 10:03 am · Reply

    I am exploring more into social media. I was working specifically new home sales with walk in’s coming to me. Now that I am in existing sales I find it more challenging and rewarding finding my own clients, mixing with other agents and networking outside of the model home. What a breathe of fresh air!

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