Why REALTORS® Should Be Using Facebook

I found this great blog post on ActiveRain this morning written by R. Greg Osmond who’s up in Canada.

I think it’s got a lot of great information on why REALTORS® should be getting into and using Facebook, unfortunately it was an ActiveRain members only post. I contacted him through Facebook and let him know I wanted to share it on my blog. He was kind enough to give me permission to post it here since I couldn’t link out to it.

So please do give it a read and while you’re at it drop by his web site by clicking on his name above, or by clicking HERE and if you’re so inclined add him as a friend.

Use Facebook For Business or Watch Your Friends Do Real Estate With Someone Else

Honestly, about 6 months ago, I was among the sceptics about Facebook. I thought I was too busy to be engaged in people’s lives over the internet, that it was only for people who had little to do and I thought there were real privacy issues on Facebook that I didn’t have time to sort out.  Then one day it dawned on me just how powerful Facebook was.  I had an “a huh!” experience!

Facebook allows me to connect with so many more people than I would ever have time for in person. It enables me to engage in the lives of my friends who I have been feeling guilty about never calling.  If there are things I want to keep private about my life, then I just don’t put them on Facebook or I take a few minutes to set up my privacy settings.  It’s really easy.

For me, Facebook is just an extension of who I am in real life.  I am normally “greg”arious (and a pun lover) so anything that helps me reach out and interact with more people is right up my ally.  In my view, Facebook is almost a “Godsend” for Realtors who use it properly.

So what do I do on Facebook?Add Me As A Friend

I spend a few minutes throughout the day making comments, adding links, reading what others are saying and generally interacting in people’s lives.  In other contexts we call it networking.  If I am too busy today, I will give it a few minutes tomorrow.  But I try to say something on Facebook every day.

Here are seven “top of mind” things that I do that have a significant impact on generating business for me now.

1. I look for ways to say something positive, encouraging or engaging to my friends who post a status update. Let’s face it.  People post to their status to be connect with others.  When I notice them, they like it and that makes them connect with me.

One of the challenges for Realtors today is to be noticed by people who are looking for real estate services.  Have you looked at the Real estate ads lately?  There are far too many Realtors trying to get noticed in all the same places.  Facebook is a real online space where few are competing with me so it’s easy to be noticed and easy to connect with them.

2. I post comments to my status too.  These are about real estate, market statistics and my thoughts about what is happening in the market or anything I am doing in my business. This gives real estate information to my friends who without asking have learned a little bit about me and my profession.  It also shows them I am active in the business.

Here is an example of my status update. R. Greg Osmond “Just appraised a home in St. John’s.  The market is changing a little.” Someone may then comment, “How so?”  I smile and answer for all to read.  How easy it is to establish yourself as a Real Estate professional among friends!

3. I post a link to my blog whenever I write something new. Of course I exclude “members only” posts but these are very few; this one is an exception.  My primary service is to my local market place so that is where I focus when writing new content.  Posting my blog to Facebook draws outside readers into my blog and website and therefore improves my Google juice.  It also shows my friends that they can count on me as one who is an active real estate professional in their lives; someone who they are getting to know and trust a little more every day.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

4. I try to add a few new people every week that I have something or someone in common with. The greater the number of people who I can communicate with in a meaningful way, the better it is for my business.  I look for things that we have in common to add them as friends.  These are friends of friends, people like me who are interested in golf, music, university, squash, hiking, fishing or anything else I am interested in. Some people won’t accept my request for friendship but many will.  I don’t take that rejection personal.  It’s the internet for crying out loud.  They don’t know that I am not a pervert so they have a right to refuse.  It never bothers me.

5. I give away things on Facebook. If I am trying to get rid of something that has some value to someone but not much value to me I post it to the Marketplace Application.  It costs me nothing but it does bring attention to my profile.  People can then see that I am a Realtor in the community and I begin to be that person in their sphere of acquaintances who is available to consult whenever they need real estate service.

6. I post links to real estate articles, other blog posts with interesting information and helpful hints that I find on the internet. They don’t all have to do with real estate but they are always of some value.  Some might just be for a laugh.  A small amount of comic relief for friends is not a bad thing.  Most of my links are helpful information though.  I try to help others be better educated about things.  I rather being known as a serious Realtor who likes a good laugh than a joker who is hardly ever serious.

7. I post photos and links to my listings as soon as they are on the market. Who knows, one of my friends may be looking for a home and I may have the one they like.  Even if they don’t want that one, we may begin the process of looking for the right one for them.  If you are there on Facebook you can offer your assistance to anyone with a private message.  When someone picks up on this, you will be growing your business.

I have met and conversed with many people about real estate in the last six months just by being active on Facebook. I see the impact of my presence there growing more every day.  If you haven’t started yet, I recommend you begin today.  If you are on Facebook but you are not using it then you are missing out on a great opportunity to connect with many people professionally and dynamically.  I recommend that you be there and be engaged.

If anyone would like to join me and see how I interact with my friends I would invite you to add me as a friend and we can learn from each other. Facebook is one of the greatest tools for building relationships that modern day technology has brought us because it is dynamic, interactive and live.

If you have issues with Facebook, you should get over them now and act before your competition does. Social media is growing at a phenomenal rate and it will become one of the most powerful ways to connect with your clients in the years to come.  Facebook will definitely build your business if you give it a little time and effort.  Start and let’s be friends today!

R. Greg Osmond is a Platinum Award winning Realtor serving St. John’s and surrounding areas, Newfoundland and Labrador for over 20 years and can be reached at 709-895-2500. Visit http://www.rgregosmond.com/ for further information or add him as a friend on Facebook.

R. Greg Osmond's Facebook profile

New iPhone…New Macs With Lower Prices…Safari 4

As we were showing off the new “My C.A.R.” iPhone app for the C.A.R. and REBS staff, Apple was rolling out their new stuff in San Francisco.

I have to admit it was a bit of a blissful geek moment to know that we were doing a demo at the same time as the Apple biggies..especially since they both involved the iPhone.

What would be really cool is to eventually see the “My C.A.R.” app get demoed at Apple’s WWDC as part of a keynote.
Maybe version 2.0?

Oh yeah…the Apple news.

So the big news from San Fran was the roll-out of new laptops with LOWER PRICES, the incredibly cheap Snow Leopard upgrade, Safari 4.0, and of course the much expected new iPhone 3GS.

So I could go on about all the nitty-gritty details but a lot of other blogs/websites have done that , my favorite Apple related sites  are AppleInsider and Mac Rumors.

I’m totally in love with my son’s iTouch and have downloaded app after app for it games for the both of us, and utilities for me.

I’m just waiting for the iPhone to be “officially” supported by the I.T. staff. I can get e-mail on the iTouch but since there’s no “official” support for accessing office e-mail like that I can’t give up my Blackberry. Once it is…it’s bye-bye Blackberry, hello iPhone!

It’s an incredibly brilliant device and the amount of apps available as well as the incredibly low price of them is astounding.

I think it’s great that Apple has brought the prices down on their laptops…it was much needed, especially with the BS Microsoft ads. While there was no “netbook” announced they did bring the price of the MacBook Air down significantly, that was another brilliant move.

Offering the Snow Leopard upgrade for $29…WOW!!!! One of the boldest moves I’ve ever seen a company make and another great shot at Microsoft.

I DARE Microsoft to offer Windows 7 upgrade for the same price!

Now I don’t totally hate Microsoft…it has its place in the world. After all we need a couple of competitors for us to get the best out of the tech market. Microsoft though continues to not listen to its customers and does what it thinks is right…that’s where it fails, and has been failing for the past 5 years.

It will be curious to see how yesterday’s product announcements bode for both companies. It’ll be exciting to watch…that’s for sure!

“My C.A.R” App Featured On Inman

Those good folks at Inman were kind enough to mention our wonderful new iPhone/iTouch app on their site here. and link back to my original blog post.

We’re getting a lot of great response to this and a lot of great questions. To answer a few…

1. Is this available to real estate professionals outside of California?

The application was developed keeping re-use in mind. It will be available for re-licensing by other real estate companies and REALTOR® organizations so they can easily put in the data that they want to share with their staff or members.

2. I’m a member of the California Association of REALTORS®, how do I get a copy?

The app was initially rolled out in pre-release format, and made available to the members who attended the business meetings last week in Sacramento. We’re going through the final approval process with Apple and once it’s approved our plan is to make it available through Apple’s App Store. Keep an eye on www.car.org and the C.A.R. Newsline for an announcement  once it’s made public.

3. How much will it cost me?

The app will be FREE for all members of the California Association of REALTORS®.

Another Google Innovation…Google Wave

I am continually impressed by what Google introduces to the tech arena. Their products show a lot of thought, contain a great amount of intelligence and as any good company should they listen to their customers wants and needs.

Last week Google introduced their new product Google Wave. From what I’ve seen and read it’s taking collaboration, social networking and social media to new levels.

If you want the quick and dirty, check out this article on Mashable.com.

If you’d like to see some video on it, check out the YouTube embed below.

Keep in mind it clocks in at around 1 hour and 20 minutes

I’m looking forward to seeing this in real life and have signed up to be notified when I can get it. If you’re interested in signing up as well, click HERE

Note to Microsoft – Would you please pay attention to what Google’s doing? Especially the listening to the customer part.

The White House Is Tweeting…Are You?

I gotta say that I’m incredibly impressed by how much our government has embraced social media and networking. They’re getting information out to people in a manner in which they really like to get it.

Found this great article on how the White House is now using Twitter to communicated updates. It also talks about how the different technologies are being implemented across the board.

So for all my REALTOR® readers out there that have as yet to fully embrace the goodness that is social media and social networking…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??????

Please don’t tell me that you’re going to let the federal government out do you….

Time to start socializing on Facebook, Tweeting important updates on the market and posting home tour videos on YouTube.

It’s all free too! All you need to do is invest some time and be open to getting into something new…trust me it’ll be worth it.

Another Tweet Article….Businesses Increasing Revenue

It’s been a week full of Twitter news.

Check out this great article about some small businesses using Twitter to increase their business, or update customers.

Now I’m just absolutely floored at how much Twitter is being used. Was that the “tipping point”, we just reached?

So Much Social Networking…So Much To Manage

Valorie Stover who I mentioned earlier this week, turned me on to the following site that helps you organize all of your social networking profiles.

It’s called Ping.fm.

It’s really easy to get set-up on and works with a multitude of social networking sites.

Hopefully I’ll get some more time to play with it later.

The Internet – Turning Our Children Into Zombies One Facebook Page At A Time

Yet another professional is telling us that we’re all going to turn into mindless, non-social zombies (especially our kids) because of too much Internet use and video games.

See Realtors….if it’s become so bad that a professional is saying we’re using the Internet too much then you know where all your clients are….yup…the Internet.

Be sure to pay attention to the segment on Hilton Perez, a blogger who’s getting more hits on his site than the New York Times…told ya blogging was big!

Check out the video HERE

The Impact of Social Networking

As those who have attended my tech sessions will attest I stress a great deal of importance on Realtors using social networking to market themselves.

President Obama used it as one of the core components of his campaign, many believe that it was one of the major factors if not THE ONE that led to his victory.

Many found out about the water landing of U.S. Air Flight# 1549 in the Hudson through Twitter and Facebook some of the first pictures of the scene came from those who posted them through those sites.

Most recently CNN used the Facebook status feature for those watching the inauguration (both online and on TV) to share their thoughts and feelings with others all over the world as history was made.

So Realtors…if you’re not getting into social networking, why not? If not now, when?

Need further proof? Check out this great article over at CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/01/22/social.networking.news/index.html

Complex Topics, Simplified In An Entertaining Way

Blogging got you confused? Not sure what a podcast is all about? Don’t understand what social networking is?

Look no further than “The Common Craft Show”.

They feature the most simplistic, and entertaining explanations on everything from social networking, to podcasting, to Twitter, to RSS.

This is some really great stuff…now if only I had come up with it.

To check out their videos you can visit them on YouTube at www.youtube.com/leelefever
or their official web site at http://www.commoncraft.com/show

And my favorite one…click play below…