We 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.
- Join ActiveRain
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!