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Which Social Networks Should I Be On?

November 19, 2012

One frequent question I get from REALTORS® is “Which social networks should I be on?” With so many out there, they often don’t know where to start or which to invest their time in. It seems that every couple of months a new “hot” social network is in the news – Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, etc. With so many options it is no surprise that agents are asking which networks they should be on. However, there isn’t a simple answer to this. Which network works from some people doesn’t work for others. Below are some things to think about when choosing which social media site to be on:
What are your goals?
This is always an important one to start with. Are you on it solely for business? If so, what business goals do you have? Is it to deepen relationships with past clients? Connect with potential future clients? Is it to make a name for yourself among others in the industry? Is it to connect with other REALTORS® and discuss industry related issues? Depending on what your goals are, different networks will have different appears. It’s also important to note that if done right, most networks can be used for any of these goals.
What is your audience?
This is closely related to your first question. If you know who your ideal audience is, you can also make guesses about where to connect with them. Professionals? Likely to be on LinkedIn. Very mobile? Try Instagram and Foursquare. Not quite sure? Well … Facebook has the most users.
Where are you most comfortable? What are your strengths?
This is possibly more important than either of the other two questions. The thing about social media is that being genuine is the most important aspect of it. Social networks are meant to build real connections. They’re meant to humanize the users. If you aren’t comfortable and not genuine, it will show – and people aren’t on these networks to connect with someone that doesn’t feel genuine. One thing that helps determine where you’re most comfortable, is identifying your strengths. If you don’t like to write, don’t start a blog. If you don’t have an eye for photography, Instagram isn’t for you. If you don’t want to keep up with a real-time network, Twitter isn’t for you. Are you an expert about local business? Maybe you should try Foursquare or Yelp and be an engaged member.
Learn the culture of the network you’re about to join. Ask yourself why other people are on the network. How are people engaging with them? Sure, LinkedIn is a great place to post your accomplishments and your resume – but where is the relationship building happening? It’s happening in the groups. Are people on Facebook sharing information just about their business? Or are they communicating a little bit more about themselves as a person. Are people using Twitter just to blast out messages? Or are they having interactions and dialogues about real-time events? Learning what makes each network engaging to its users is crucial in determining your success. The goal should be to figure out the culture of the network and then determine how you fit into it. Blasting just your listings in an attempt to accomplish your goals will not only make you stand out like a soar thumb, but also have the opposite effect of your goals.
Try out a network. Not what you want? That’s ok. You can try another. Getting to know the networks and what makes them unique will help you determine where you should be.
Don’t over-commit or overwhelm yourself.
You don’t have to be on every network. You don’t have to be on the latest and greatest network. Often, the latest networks rise and fall. Instead of trying to be everywhere, focus on doing one well. If you try to do too much, you’ll overwhelm yourself and end up doing them all poorly.
While there is no easy answer for which network to be on, hopefully putting some real thought into the ideas above will help guide you. Best of luck!

About Author:
Andrew Violante is the Social Media and Communications Coordinator at Alain Pinel Realtors where he oversees social media strategy and implementation for the brokerage.

Photo Credit: “Social Media Explained” Douglas Wray, Instagram.


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