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RISMEDIA, August 11, 2010—If we know one thing about today’s consumer, it’s that they are communicating online. According to the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, more than one-third of home buyers looked online for properties as their first step in the home-buying process last year.

Developing a social media strategy allows agents to start conversations and interact with potential clients online without the pressure that comes with traditional marketing methods. While a balance of various types of traditional and new marketing methods is ideal, agents who spend time developing a solid social media strategy can build top-of-mind awareness for buyers when they start their home search online.

Whether you are new to the social media realm or are already interacting and sharing useful content, take a few moments to review these tips and best practices for maximizing your Web 2.0 plan from a recent REBAC Connection Webinar. It could make a lasting impact on your business this year.

1. Mix up your content. When deciding what content to share with your audience, focus on things that interest you. What sort of articles would you like to read? What would be useful for a buyer? Be consistent in the frequency of your usage, but try mixing up the means by which you post. Include a link to an interesting article about your local market one day and a video the next. And don’t forget to join already established conversations as well.

2. Avoid over-selling. Agents who find the most success in using social media to build their business avoid the standard sales pitch. Instead of posting properties for your buyers or spamming your audience, focus on becoming a trusted resource for your clients. Your online discussions should be similar to your elevator speech. Think of what you would say to a friend you see in the grocery store who asks, “Is now a good time to buy?”

3. Build your sphere of influence. Social media provides a simple means for building your sphere of influence. Once you decide on the vehicle that will work best for you, whether that is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or otherwise, use the built-in friend suggestions and e-mail contacts to increase your connections. And the next time you meet with a potential buyer in the real world, be sure to tell them to connect with you online. This allows a client to get to know you on a personal level so you are the first one they think of when they are ready to buy.

4. Protect your privacy. The growth of social media has blurred the lines between sharing business and personal information. Fortunately, it also provides the opportunity to build your brand by revealing as much or as little about yourself as you wish. Take some time to edit your profile and security settings according to your preferences, and be sure to review your content so that you can be confident in sharing accurate information with potential clients.

Marc Gould is the executive director of REBAC. A wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 40,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

To learn more, visit