One Step Further: Use Social Networking to Expand Your Global Connections
Once your website content and design are working for you, it’s time to spread the word about what you do for global real estate clients. Social networking will help give you more “face time” with potential clients, referral resources, and peers.
Social networking goes beyond using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and similar sites. Sure it’s important to create a profile and/or business page on each of these sites, if you haven’t already. But you need to do more than create them. You also need to work the social networking scene.
- Post to your social networking sites when you add a blog post alerting your followers, peers and friends, and including a short link to the post.
- Schedule a time to update your profiles on these networks aside from just blog alerts.
- Be friendly: social networking is a great way for people to get to know you.
- Encourage interaction by asking questions.
- Comment on other people’s profiles by responding to their posts, answering their questions or simply liking their content.
- Ensure there are quick links for all the main social networks on your blog so others can easily share your individual posts.
- Encourage people to follow you by posting links to your social profiles on your website.
If you are a social networking “late bloomer” you can get a handle on the basics by checking out Mashable’s guides. In addition to introductions to Facebook and Twitter at mashable.com/guidebook, they also offer a lengthy “beginner’s guide” to LinkedIn and Pinterest at mashable.com/2012/05/23/linkedin-beginners/ and
mashable.com/2011/12/26/pinterest-beginners-guide/. For tips specifically intended for real estate agents, consult NAR’s Social Media for REALTORS® guide at tinyurl.com/crmqp7c.
Social networking can expand the reach of your blog and entice visitors to check out your site. It will also offer you great, high-quality incoming links if you handle things properly. Besides helping more people find their way to your site, those inbound links will benefit your efforts to gain traction with search engines.
Beware the Social Networking Pitfalls
It’s easy to let your professional guard down due to the relaxed style of many social networking interactions. Be friendly, be helpful and always remain professional.
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of too much social networking. Don’t let this one aspect of your business and marketing plan monopolize your life. Instead, schedule specific times once or twice a week to check the sites you have opted to join and participate in conversations.
Regular, limited participation is preferable to constant participation for the health of your business and the sanity of your personal life. Remember: All things in moderation. That goes double for run-away social networking.
Beyond The Basics: Forums
When you are ready to jump beyond basic social networking, forums offer a great way to connect with people involved in your niche, potentially offering opportunities to speak directly to your ideal clients.
For example, you can find relocation forums and answer questions about relocating to the U.S. or living overseas. Look for expat sites by Googling “USA expat forums.” Or, if you specialize in selling Florida property to foreign investors, consider looking for topics on Florida real estate on forum sites such as:
Once you’ve identified forums related to your particular area of expertise, your next steps are to:
- Create a profile (don’t be overly promotional, but do list your CIPS credentials and spell out what that means using terms like “international real estate agent” and “global relocation agent”). Also be sure to include your website address in your profile.
- Search for real estate-related questions and answer them.
- Schedule a regular time once a week to go into the forums and find a topic where you can utilize and showcase your expertise.
- Stick with the top-ranked forum sites. (The quality of your incoming links and the number of views you get will be greater on the more popular sites.)
Advanced Networking and Linking Opportunities
If you already have the basics of social networking under your belt and are active in a few choice forums, you can reach even further to promote your site and your services:
- Consider writing guest posts for travel and retirement sites (or comment on real estate topics you may find there).
- Write articles for (or comment on stories relevant to your niche on) industry sites like ActiveRain.com, Inman.com, and Realtor.com.
- Join the CIPS Facebook page and participate in the conversations there (facebook.com/pages/Certified-International-Property-Specialist-CIPS-Network/55297212877).
- Follow Twitter feeds of complimentary services and interact with them. (For example, a search for “expatriates” on Twitter turned up a gentleman who specializes in U.S. income tax help for expatriots.)
- Consider making contact with local immigration attorneys, chambers of commerce, economic development boards and local international groups online and in person.
Social networking and other forms of online participation give every global agent an opportunity to expand their website’s reach and connect with clients across the planet. The world has no boundaries on the Internet. Once you learn the best ways to leverage your website and social networking to their full potential, even greater success as a global agent can be yours for the taking.
CIPS Directory Listings: Are You Missing Out?
A quick glance at the CIPS directory proves that many designees have not completed their profile. Yet this could be one of first places people look to find agents with global real estate expertise. To take full advantage of your profile:
Add a photo. When you are dealing with people you won’t meet face-to-face for a long time, if ever, building trust means giving them as much information about you as possible, including a personal photo.
Define your niche. In your bio, tell people what type of real estate you handle and what you can do for them. Don’t waste this precious space recounting designations and acronyms that are already listed separately under the Specialties & Designations tab.
Simplify communications. Tell them what languages you speak or if you have translators available. In addition to providing phone and fax details, tell them if you are willing to Skype or Google Talk to discuss their needs. Also offer video conferencing options.
Include a link to your site. Not only will this help people learn even more about you, but it provides an invaluable incoming link from a well-ranked site—essential for improving your results with search engines.