More than 3,000 HAR members make up the 40 and under NextGens (NRG). This young leading edge and growing segment of the HAR membership does business a little differently. They are using Web-based tools like blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace for marketing and lead generation. Here are examples from a few of our NextGens explaining how social media applications are taking their businesses to the next level.
LinkedIn is my professional business suite. I started on LinkedIn about two years ago because someone said I should. I played around with it and eventually put together my full profile. I like LinkedIn because it is all about business. As a relocation specialist, I often compete for listings with agents in my area, many of whom have just as many years of experience as me; some have experience dating back to before I was born.
Last year I was contacted by a company that relocates employees across the U.S. They found me on another website and then again on LinkedIn. They chose to contact me because I had a presence on LinkedIn which they considered a professional network. I also had two sellers pull my LinkedIn profile before making a decision to list their home with me. Each one appreciated the time I invested in using creative avenues to expose my services as well as my listings. My LinkedIn account is linked to my Twitter account that’s linked to my HAR.com profile. Each time I have an open house, price reduction or one of my listings sells, it’s automatically updated on my LinkedIn profile. Being a young professional can be a challenge. However, social media and technology have helped to leverage my business. The more tech savvy consumers become, the more we as REALTORS® have to adapt.
Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors® – Inner Loop
MySpace.com has generated sales to my business and has given me a premier Internet presence. I can personally attribute five sales in 2008 to this social media site. My first client was a classmate from sixth grade. She reconnected with me via MySpace. I sold her existing home and helped her family purchase their dream home. Three additional sales were to friends I met through the John Evans Band, the National Band of Texas. They knew I was a REALTOR® and confirmed the information on my profile. They’ve all referred me to their friends and family ever since.
MySpace may be a little old school for social media, but when you search my name at Google.com, my MySpace profile is third from the top. It was the first popular site that taught me the importance of social media.
Melissa “Honey Bee” Seureau
RE/ MAX Realty Center
As a wife, mom of two teenagers and active community member, Facebook is an effective communication tool that I desperately needed to successfully network with others since I’m rarely able to attend various events. In my business, I consider Facebook an online cocktail party. Therefore, just as I wouldn’t only discuss real estate when meeting and socializing with others, Facebook holds the same ruling.
From “making rounds” in the conversations of my Facebook friends, I consistently receive a minimum of 3-5 new Facebook referrals each week. I am a firm believer in sales calls. So when I connect with someone in a conversation on Facebook via instant messages, in-box conversations or status updates, I count that as a sales call. This makes reaching 50 sales calls daily an easy and fun goal to achieve. Now, instead of making telephone sales calls to see how my clients are doing, I can immediately see that on Facebook and we can have a conversation simply about status updates.
When requesting referrals, I send in-box messages that can be copied and pasted to multiple contacts and now I actually pick up the phone to simply say thanks.
Facebook is paying off with huge dividends for my marketing and networking goals, and I am loving this online cocktail
party with my friends, past clients, business professionals and fellow REALTORS®.
Coach Reeshemah Holmes
I Buy Realty
Twitter is a great tool for my real estate business because, unlike Facebook, I can search to see what people are talking about. Twitter lets me search to see if someone is looking for a home in my area, what’s going on in politics or at my local Association, as well as for National Association of REALTORS® Midyear and National Conventions and other activities. I can build my online relationships in 140 characters or less. Through the use of Twitter, I have sent out referrals to agents in Arizona, found virtual assistants that I have been interviewing, and found a graphic artist that has redesigned my brand for me @ryanzundell. Great real estate people to follow on Twitter are @mayareguru, @therealclint, @respres, @utahrepro,@tcar. Search #nardigras or #hartrepac for real estate info.
Amy Smythe Harris
Blogging is an interesting way to market. I started my WordPress blog in October of 2009 knowing that no one would find or read it for several months. Blogging has a cumulative effect with the search engines. The more you write, the more your site is associated with real estate in your area. I also have my social networking sites (personal Facebook page, team Facebook fan page, LinkedIn and Twitter) automatically update every time my blog is updated. After getting my CDPE designation, I wrote an article about short sales. A couple was searching for information on short sales in my area and found the article. That linked them to my site where they sent me an email through my contact form. I cultivated that lead by answering their specific questions and later requested to meet with them. I got the listing and closed it two months later. That particular article got me three short sale listings in the first two weeks. I currently get over 70 percent of my business this way. My listing inventory is spread around town because I am getting leads from all over as a result of my blog. Clients often tell me they see me all over the internet and that’s not an accident.
Look to these young agents to set the next trend in marketing for real estate in the greater Houston area.