Facebook and Foursquare for Real Estate Agents
Guest Post: Brought to us by Erik Braunitzer, a member of the Creative Writing Department at Douglas Elliman.
For real estate agents, keeping in contact with clients is essential and social networking is the way to get this done in a high tech world. In my experience selling Hamptons real estate, I have found that Facebook and Foursquare are great networking tools because they are location-based.
What I mean by “location-based” is that you can use these social platforms to “check in” to your current location. For example, if you are at a restaurant, you can check in and an update will appear on your Facebook or Foursquare newsfeed.
The update allows your online community to see where you are at in real time with a map and driving directions to the location. Your online contacts will also be able to see if any of their other friends are at the same event.
The power of location-based networking
What makes location-based services like Facebook Places and Foursquare so effective is that they allow you to engage with your clients more than ever before. People today are accustomed to receiving and sending information on their mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones.
The reach of the mobile Internet is growing rapidly so that is possible for people to connect to the Internet from an increasing number of locations. Today, you can reach people when they are commuting on trains, on lunch breaks or at other events from almost any location in urban areas. Even out in the country, the reach of mobile broadband is expanding at a fast pace.
What this means for real estate agents is that they can broadcast their open houses and other events in real time to their entire online community. The chances that your online contacts will see this immediately are much higher due to the social media environment.
If clients see your update online, they can react immediately if they are interested in the property. Indeed, the number of people who use location-based services to act on impulse might surprise you.
Younger people, in particular, are less likely to plan their entire day’s schedule carefully than were previous generations. They are more prone to act on a whim based on what they see happening on their social networks.
Almost everybody is on Facebook these days and it is a great platform for keeping in constant contact with your clients. The great thing about this site is the ease in which your friends can share content with others in their network.
When people share your updates on new homes to their friends, the word-of-mouth can really get going! According to some studies, everyone on earth is part of network that has only six degrees of separation.
A number of great Facebook apps can help real estate professionals use the platform more effectively. Additionally, because Facebook utilizes open source code, agents can create their own custom applications for the social media site.
Facebook allows real estate agents to post photos immediately using their laptop or smart phone, so that their clients can immediately check out new offerings. The networking site additionally allows posting of videos, articles and other content.
Unlike Facebook, Foursquare specializes in location-based social networking. For this reason, the site experiences a very high volume of social check-ins every day.
Foursquare has a number of apps specifically designed for real estate agents. One could say that Foursquare users are looking for things to do in real time, so it’s a great tool for attracting more people to your open house events. Like Facebook, Foursquare uses open source code that allows you to create customized apps.
Many real estate agents spend large percentages of their marketing budgets on paid advertising. On Facebook Places and Foursquare, you are able to network to clients and prospects without any cost at all other than the time and energy consumed.
Online engagement is the Wave of Now
As more young people enter into the workforce, the percentage of your clients that depend on mobile devices will increase rapidly. The younger generations grew up with cell phones and other mobile gadgets, and they are used to getting their information online.
Currently, Facebook has more than 900 million active users and that number continues to grow. Foursquare also has millions of active users that are focused on location-based networking.
In order to keep ahead in today’s high tech marketplace, real estate agents must learn to use and adopt these new networking tools to reach out to online consumers. Even older people are starting to conduct more of their business online.
Services like Facebook Places and Foursquare are free and they are remarkably easy to learn and use. Once you get the hang of location-based marketing, it becomes a habit and is much more fun than looking for expensive advertising buys.
My thanks to Erik Braunitzer and Douglas Elliman. This is advice all agents should heed – or be left behind as consumers turn more and more to their computers and mobile devices for both information and communication.