By Peyman Aleagha
RISMEDIA, January 6, 2009-Realtors know that today’s real estate prospects and consumers are using the Internet in ways that are revolutionizing the industry. By the time a prospect or customer contacts a Realtor, they have been looking at real estate on the Web anywhere from 10 to 40 hours. And so today, savvy Realtors are getting ahead of the information curve-using the power of the Internet to attract qualified prospects to them.
The attraction of social networking sites for most small businesses is cost, or lack there of. Setting up an account on any of the social networking sites out there is free, but the range of services they provide rival the abilities of costly, full-fledged media advertising campaigns. With a low-cost video camera and a laptop or desktop computer, any Realtor can become a community reporter and post valuable content on the Web.
Becoming a Local Expert
Placing your knowledge of a particular area on a high visibility social networking site can lead prospects to your door. But first, in order to do so, you need to be willing to set yourself apart from the pack-as an expert in a particular area or niche. This requires both a commitment and desire from you.
Lack of information is the biggest frustration most Internet users have. Except for a few major sites, most of the information on the Internet is fluff, or flat out advertising. More and more, people are growing tired of that, so any content that actually fills a void makes an impact. If that content is yours, they’ll remember you when it’s time to select a Realtor.
Combining this concept with YouTube, a destination for savvy Web surfers looking for entertaining video clips, you can provide a video that highlights the lifestyle and quality of living in a given community. YouTube’s format, which is easily accessible from most any computer, allows users to transfer a video performance from a computer to the site. Once uploaded, the video is searchable by the YouTube community. Why not create a series of videos that capture what’s great about living in your community? If you do this and post it, people will find it, and when they do, they find you. It’s in this searching that Realtors can find a marketing benefit to YouTube and other Web 2.0 sites.
Thinking Like a Prospect
The basic marketing concept you’re using with social networking is the same as it has always been in real estate. Think like the prospect and then show them what they want to see. Realtors have been doing business this way for over a hundred years, as it’s the basic premise of real estate marketing. The difference now is how you’re getting your message across.
If you don’t think you can make an impact using social networking sites, do this. Go out to YouTube and search anything real estate related in your community. You’ll probably notice that there is not a lot going on. It’s a gap. It’s a gap you can fill easily and inexpensively.
Using any of the social networking sites provides you with an incredible opportunity to carve out a market niche for your business. When you consider what it actually costs you to take advantage of what’s available, it’s hard to consider not using the tools to build your business.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and president of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design (http://www.realtysoft.com), Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX (http://www.realtysoft.com/freeidx.php) solutions.
For more information, visit www.RealtySoft.com.