There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week. To maximize your impact and efficiency as a real estate professional in the digital age, social media use is a must. As we already know, networking and marketing are at least half the battle in the real estate industry. Luckily, the strategic employment of social media in your business can tackle both these aspects at once.

Social media is all about networking—connecting instantaneously with large groups of people, finding and targeting audiences and building and strengthening a consumer or visitor base. It’s also all about performing—marketing yourself or your business to these networks. With social media you can find new clients, strengthen relationships with potential clients, establish an image of yourself as reputable, increase your presence and availability and positively associate yourself with trusted entities of good credibility that can pass that cred onto you.

There is no secret to good social media use. Just dive in and keep things simple and open. Networking with other professionals through real estate-specific social media platforms can help you not only connect with other professionals from whom you can learn, but can also lead you to opportunities and potential clients you may not have found otherwise. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be especially helpful in this regard. I’d also recommend following, engaging with, and possibly tagging the big sites, like RealEstate.com or Real Estate Global, while also connecting with any and all relevant experts for referral purposes. The larger your social network, the higher the probability that you will meet other professionals and potential clients with just a click of your thumb on your smart phone.

The purpose of marketing yourself and networking on social media is also to make yourself constantly and instantaneously available. You can quickly reply to inquiries or share information via Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, etcetera, and it’s important to have the apps for the most relevant social media platforms downloaded on your smart phone.

You can also use your pages on social media to display and develop your branding. You should upload photos, tweet about activities and offers and keep target clients engaged by communicating through chats and conversations, responding to questions, hosting contests, etcetera.

It’s also important to reinforce your reputation as an expert in your field and enhance your credibility through information sharing. Make sure to post articles and links while consistently updating a blog. The blog can be used in a variety of ways, but it is most important to focus on building your image by sharing information and advice with prospective homebuyers and sharing industry information. Blogs allow you to connect with potential clients on a more personal level and you should use your discretion to share relevant information about your business while providing hints and tips, soliciting feedback and generating traffic and leads as well.

When used strategically, social media can be an essential tool in connecting you with potential clients around the world. It’s amazing what kinds of connections you can make just by tapping at your phone.

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