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RISMEDIA, August 3, 2010—Social media’s not just for kids anymore. As the medium evolves, savvy business people and consumers are relying on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others for commercial and financial applications that go far beyond just friending your neighbor.

Astute Realtors, along with home sellers and buyers, are increasingly using social media to market properties in a sometimes frustratingly slow market. The advantage offered by social media is outreach to a wide-reaching audience, targeted to your specific topic.

Importantly, social media, like any effective sales program, does require a strategy. Launch into indiscriminate outreach and you’ll rapidly alienate your audience. In this brave new world, it’s important to first study the lay of the land before choosing your path.

1. Select Your Tools
To lay a foundation for a social media campaign, identify which social media channels will be most effective for you. To market a home, you could consider:
-Launching a website
-Producing home-tour videos, uploaded to your site and to YouTube
-Updating your Facebook page to let friends know the house is for sale

2. Make the Home the Star
Creating a Facebook page to market an individual house or all your company’s listings is a strong way to showcase real estate. Post photos and information on Facebook, knowing that while many fans and friends are not currently in the market for a home, they’ll often forward the listing to friends who are. A listing that is passed from one Facebook page to another generates a great deal of exposure.

3. List the Home on Facebook Marketplace
If your Facebook friends are using Marketplace, it’s worth listing the property there. Marketplace serves as Facebook’s classified ads, which prompts your contacts that a listing has been posted.

4. Cast a Lure
Is there something unique and exciting about the home? Use that information as a lure to create buzz. For example, a recent Twitter campaign drummed up interest by focusing on the fact that the residence was near many celebrity haunts. A few sample Tweets:
“Madonna just bought a townhouse two blocks away.”
“Justin Timberlake’s Southern restaurant is right around the corner.”
“Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha filmed ‘Sex and The City 2’ right down the street.”

Each tweet included a link to the Realtor’s listing so people could learn more right away.

5. What Makes it Special?
Appeal to whatever is happening in other areas. Do you live in sunny Miami? In early January when temperatures around the country are brutally cold, post Facebook and LinkedIn reminders that it is 70 degrees and sunny in Miami and provide a link to the listing. Is the home on a beautiful lot with grass and trees? Post information in large urban areas. Remember that old saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” and attract attention by showing people what they could have.

6. Remember “Strategy, Strategy, Strategy”
Facebook, Twitter and others can be tremendously valuable tools for selling a home. However, posting too often or repetitively can quickly turn into spam. Don’t post unless there’s something truly relevant to write about, like specific features, a large property, or other detail. Above all, tweeting and re-tweeting the same posts is almost guaranteed to thwart your own effort. Repeated posts incite people to remove you from their distribution lists, which is counterproductive to establishing relationships via social media.

Ultimately, social media, used shrewdly, is a boon in the arsenal of real estate selling and marketing techniques. Put them to work effectively and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Dan Steward is President of Pillar To Post, North America’s largest home inspection services.

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