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Social Networking and Real Estate

While social networking and blogging once was thought to be the purview of college kids and twenty-somethings, logging on and linking up has become tools of the trade for a multitude of industries, including real estate. REALTORS® who recognize the value social networking brings to their business are reaping the benefits, while those who chose to avoid it fall behind.

C.A.R. is committed to providing its members with the tools they need to prosper, and by making social networking easily accessible and highlighting its uses, we are helping our REALTORS® upgrade their business for a new generation of clients.

Download the Social Networking & Real Estate PDF

Q: I hear about sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and ActiveRain … do all of these social networking sites do the same thing? Do I need to be on all of them?

A: Facebook, LinkedIn, and ActiveRain are only a handful of the many social networking sites available. Just as you prefer the look and feel of certain newspapers or magazines over another, each site takes on its own tone and purpose. As these are the three most popular social networking sites, these are where C.A.R. has established the greatest social networking presence. Facebook allows users to network with colleagues or reconnect with old classmates or friends, while LinkedIn is strictly a career-oriented site and ActiveRain pertains only to real estate professionals. You do not need to be on all of them, and may find yourself vastly more comfortable with certain formats than others. However, if you are comfortable with several, establish “profiles” (your presence, in other words) on as many sites as you would like; think of it as free advertising for your potential and existing clients.

Q: How can REALTORS® use social networking to boost their business?

A: Establishing a strong social networking presence allows REALTORS® the ability to maintain casual yet regular contact with their existing and past clients, attract new prospective clients, and forge valuable connections with other industry professionals. C.A.R. Past President Alexander Chaparro has more than 2,200 “friends” on Facebook, and has already generated new leads through his social networking presence.

Blogging and Real Estate

Where is the very first place a contemporary prospective homebuyer will go to begin their search for a real estate agent or property? Not the Yellow Pages. Not the local newspaper. “67% begin their search on the internet, according to the Illinois 2007 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.” Given the complex market conditions, REALTORS® who distinguish themselves as experts (whether through designations or familiarity with particular neighborhoods) are more likely to attract business from inquisitive first-time buyers.

Blogs were once regarded as nothing more than online diaries; but the advent of the online news blog (such as CNN’s Political Ticker or the Chicago Tribune’s daily section blogs) changed all of that. Blogs have since become trusted sources of information on every topic imaginable, from making the perfect pie crust to underwater basket weaving. Unlike social networking, which is all about connecting with other social networking members, blogs allow the writer to speak directly to an audience, without limits, on any topic they choose.

If a prospective homebuyer looking to purchase a house in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood types “Andersonville REALTOR” into any search engine, the results will include a number of C.A.R. member blogs, particularly those who serve the Andersonville community. “I was initially a real estate consumer,” one such REALTOR® writes on his blog. “I purchased my first property in the mid-1980s and have personally bought, sold and negotiated all sorts of residential and investment properties through a myriad of real estate climates as a Chicago Luxury Home Buyers Agent.” The personal details this REALTOR® shares with prospective buyers immediately makes him more relatable, more likeable. His statement about working “through a myriad” of market conditions instills confidence that he can help customers even in this economy.

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