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social_cookies_BH&GWe are just about at that point where social media marketing is really another tool in our marketing bag, and as a result, our industry struggles with how to incorporate these tools into an already taxing and busy schedule.

When we review the statistics that 90 percent of consumers go online to do their research before they ever contact us, it becomes abundantly clear that we need a strong online presence. I always preach that a website or blog needs to be the center of that presence and every social media tool you use is a spoke to drive people back to your site.

Social media is just another set of tools to create the online conversation with friends, clients and soon to be customers. After an introduction to the advantages of social media, I usually get three responses in my class:

Hyperventilation – so excited to implement
Crossed arms – I don’t care what someone is eating for breakfast. (Translation: Please share with me the return on my time; how it will impact my real estate business)
Exasperation – I don’t have time – I am already maxed out!

I do think that participating fully in social media as a business and marketing strategy requires discipline, automation routines, and a daily commitment. Now, you’ve got to balance that with the fact that much of your activity is about building long-term momentum and deeper networks. That doesn’t always make the cash register ring today.

Let me share my systematic approach in the hopes this may reveal some tips that make your experience more fruitful:

Let me remind you why you are engaging in this new form of marketing:

• You’re an extrovert and love to connect.
• You have an agenda that is supported by this kind of connection.
• You’re researching.

First, examine your marketing mix:

• What is working? It used to be direct mail, print, newspapers, and a website. Now, it’s some of those activities, PLUS email, blogging, video and audio, and of course . . . social networking.

• Replace what’s not working with social media activities.

Next, pick your channels wisely:

• Which will you use?

• Which will you ignore?

Keeping the basics above is important, but learning more about what to consider to keep your social media activities manageable is key. For that, check out the rest of our latest Clean Slate blogpost, “Keeping Social Media Manageable.” Social media is clearly here to stay, so we’ve got to add it to our daily bag of communications tools. By thinking of it as just another way of communicating one on one with your clients and your community, and dedicating a little time to it, you’ll keep it manageable! Good luck out there!

For more on Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and to network and engage with top real estate professionals, take a moment to like All Things Real Estate on Facebook, follow @AllThingsBHGRE on Twitter, and follow our company page on LinkedIn.

Amy Chorew is the Vice President of Platform Development at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.