By Natalie Terchek
Can social media be used to market yourself and your business? According to HubSpot, an online marketing and web analytics company, social media has increased 356 percent in the United States since 2006. With so many users, you have access to all sorts of networks and contacts that are able to help your business. It is easy to find the right people – the difficult part is figuring out the right ways to promote yourself. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for business:
- Create a business page. You can use this for commercial purposes, such as promoting listings and open houses.
- Adjust your privacy settings. You have control over what your profile says and who gets to see it. It is a smart idea to adjust your settings so you can be found by anyone, but only your “friends” have access to personal information, such as status updates, photos and wall posts.
- Get personal. By posting pictures of your family, pets or any other aspect of your personal life, it helps your friends and potential clients learn more about who you are and engage with you. Just remember that you are always representing yourself to potential employers and clients, so don’t post anything you don’t want them to see.
- Go on Facebook with a singular goal of selling. It will have an adverse effect, trust us.
- Write only about real estate. People will get bored and stop listening to you. Focus on the community instead, because people will become more interested if it concerns them.
- Spend all your time playing games. Games may be fun, but if a client sees that you’ve been playing Farmville or Mafia Wars all day, they will assume you are not doing any work. If you’re going to play games, use your privacy settings to hide the evidence.
- Use Twitter to stay informed. You can learn about the latest market-relevant information by following real estate newsmakers.
- Engage your followers. Ask your followers questions and for advice, and feel free to reply to any tweets, or retweet interesting and/or valuable information you’ve learned from them.
- Post pictures, especially pictures that feature your community. Use a platform like Instagram to help you.
- Overpromote yourself. Do not overdo the amount of your participation, or the amount of selling you do in your Twitter posts. And definitely don’t spend all your time talking about your open houses and listings. Keep your tweets subtle.
- Post long tweets. You only get 140 characters to work with, so it is important to learn how to say more with less.
- Tweet only links. Don’t tweet just a URL – describe the link you are posting. No one will click on it if they don’t know what it is.
- Keep it professional. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you should think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. Lean more towards a professional/business side versus a personal/casual side. If you have one, use a professional headshot as your avatar.
- Join groups and network. Use LinkedIn as your networking site to ask for business and referrals. LinkedIn has many groups of people who share a common interest or location; join them and interact with members, and your networking is off to a great start.
- Recommend people and ask for recommendations. Recommendations and client testimonials make i apparent that you are an expert in your field and highly qualified.
- Confuse quantity with quality. While it is important to make many connections, focus on what kind of people you want to connect with, rather than counting the number of your connections. Connect with people who will be able to offer you opportunities.
- Keep your profile private. Unlike Facebook, you want your LinkedIn profile to be a page you can show off to employers. Adjust your settings to make it easy for people to view your profile and connect with you.
- Forget to check your spelling and grammar. Once again, treat your profile like a resume. If you’re not careful enough to correct your spelling, future clients and employers might interpret this as not being careful enough to finish a job.