As a real estate professional, embracing new technologies while creating a true online persona can help you improve your productivity, engage your community and grow your business. Understanding all of these new technologies can also seem overwhelming. And while you may not be using social media, your customers probably are, and learning about your business and others.
Some of the things you need to think about when using social media: credibility, integrity, authenticity and transparency.
Each of these characteristics impact the others. And to be viewed as an expert in your field, I believe you need to embrace all of them. That said, many of you will claim to be too busy to participate in social media. And subsequently hire someone to “do it” for you. The voice needs to be yours as does the message. And consistency is critical to your success. Having someone “help” you with social media is fine, but only after you have built your brand, established your message and found your voice. Then they can maintain the foundation you have built.
While you probably think that adding listings to your Facebook Page and tweeting about them validates you as a Real Estate Agent, it actually only validates you as a salesperson. You gain credibility by sharing information. Knowing your community and being seen as an expert is how you gain a reputation as an expert. As people begin to look at listing their home or buying a new home, they typically want a real estate agent that truly understand what they want. Focus on helping local businesses become successful, promote someone else’s business for free by blogging about the great food at a local restaurant, or great service at a local retail shop – offer proof of your credibility. Sharing information openly and honestly enhances your credibility.
While credibility is all about the “believability” of what you say, integrity is all about honesty. It also describes someone with strong moral principles. As you become active in social media, you need think about who you are and how you want to be perceived.
A person who is authentic is true to their personality, spirit, or character. For this reason, I believe that individuals should develop their own brand and find their voice in social media. Similar to a conversation in a coffee shop, your comments on social media speak to your authenticity. So being authentic is about being genuine, removing the filters.
Putting it all together, transparency is about honesty and being open. This includes what you see and how you respond to what others say.
Even though you want to be yourself in your approach to social media, you don’t (and shouldn’t) share everything. You are entitled to a personal life, but you need to set the boundaries. Once you cross the line, you have opened the door for others. I made a decision long ago to keep my Facebook account personal, and while I have accepted requests from some people I work with, I consider them friends. It’s your decision to make, and you need to be strategic.