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The Long Song of Technology: Does Your Voice Make the Cut?

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RISMEDIA, July 7, 2011—Leading economists agree that 122 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 46 dictate the growth and success of the US and Global economy. This group has become labeled as the “Economic Influencers.” Professionals in every field are working harder than ever to influence this group, which dominates the landscape in numbers, and consequently, dollars. As traditional forms of communication continue to achieve less ROI, the tsunami of social media is reaching a tipping point. With 750 million users on Facebook alone, will you drown in the crashing waves or surf toward profitability?

The “Economic Influencers” control the economy in virtually every aspect, especially the real estate market. They purchase the vast majority of homes on the market today, and will continue to do so in the coming decades. In order for your message, your brand, your service to penetrate and be heard, it is essential to be in all the right places, all of the time. Social media makes that possible. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs are the new cities that never sleep. The ever-populated and always-buzzing virtual communities spread national news, peer recommendations, and establish the emotional climate of society as a whole. These communities also tell people where to spend their money. By now, we’ve all learned that social media is not a trend; it’s the next phase in the evolution of communication. Let’s face the facts: in the eyes and ears of Americans ages 16 to 46, if you are not actively and consistently engaged in social media, they cannot see or hear you. You simply do not exist. Furthermore, in the words of former American Idol judge, Simon Cowell, “You are totally forgettable!”

Recently a National Association of REALTORS® survey revealed that over 90% of real estate professionals do NOT blog. Wow! That is a stunning reality. Why do you think this statistic is so drastically one-sided against one of the most powerful forms of communication in existence today? Some believe that many in our industry are intimidated by the learning curve required to confidently engage in this channel of social media. Others may point toward the idea that effectively engaging in social media requires too much time, resources, and/or skills that they either do not possess or are unwilling to commit. But, what is your reason? Are you actively engaging the most powerful marketing and communication tools available to you and your business today? If not, why? What is your strategy for becoming and staying relevant to the lifestyle of the most influential group of buyers and sellers?

The first step in establishing your presence in social media is education. Peer recommendations, articles from major publications, and even information from individual’s networks provide insight on how this technology works best. Look around and investigate. Model the best practices of other successful peers and ask great questions. Next, invest some energy in understanding precisely whom you are targeting with your communication. Be aware of the undeniable truths in marketing like using appropriate language and communication styles as well as acknowledging the best times to push your engaging message. Most importantly, listen! We all have a story to tell and your audience wants to be heard and they expect you to pay attention. Social media makes the ability to effectively engage in productive two-way communication and relationship building easier than ever.

Hectic schedules often make it difficult for real estate professionals to dedicate the time necessary to craft exquisite social networking pages. Blogs require attention and perhaps even some expertise to compose; monitoring vast social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn can be cumbersome and taxing. Understanding the highest and best use of your time is critical to realizing a real value from your social media efforts. Because your time and financial resources are finite, it is important to utilize the proper tools to assist you in consolidating your programs and processes into a more simplified and manageable endeavor. And, in many cases, you would be working smarter and not harder by tapping a professional to manage your social networking platforms on your behalf.

Whether you “Like” it or not, successful real estate professionals will do what is necessary to achieve the benefits of social networking. A new age has been born in communication, and the survival of every real estate professional depends on choosing to become involved. Make the choice to be present, be aware, and be engaged in the world of social media, and you will be singing from the mountaintops of success. America has voted—be sure your voice makes the cut because growing your business has a sweet, sweet sound.

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