Social media and the resulting social networks have been invaluable for the world of real estate and investment. What used to require a lot of leg work has been simplified with sites like Twitter and Facebook, giving “instant gratification” with building professional relationships. But like cell phone etiquette in the mid to late 90’s, the social media rules governing these sites are hazy at best. When should I tweet? What should I say? Do the people around me really need to hear every detail of the day? The successful adopters of social media, especially Twitter, generally have a similar list of “Twitter Do’s and Twitter Don’ts.”
DO: Be personable. View your interactions online with the same courtesy and respect as contacts you have in person. Talk to people. Respond to something that particularly inspires you or was especially educational. If you’re introduced to someone, return the favor. We’re all here to help each other and competition should be tempered to facilitate the networking atmosphere. You never know when an act of kindness will be returned as closing on a huge deal or finding the property bargain of a lifetime.
DON’T: Try to sell something with your first interaction. No one likes the person at the party who shakes your hand with their right and holds out a business card with their left. Be considerate with your introduction. Ask questions. Make small talk. Remember details. When you send a message to initiate a business transaction, people will be more inclined to engage if they know you’re not just out for yourself. Setting up auto direct messages on Twitter? It’s like eating garlic before a first date: avoid the temptation.
DO: Fill out your profile. Add a picture of yourself and give a small description of who you are. While many people decry the loss of “privacy,” you want to give an accurate representation of yourself. You don’t need to reveal every detail of your life to be genuine. This will build trust with potential contacts and show that you have a personality. People like interesting people. Show them how interesting you can be! Include keywords like “real estate” and “investment” to help your profile come up when people are searching based on profession or expertise.
DON’T: Set up “ghost” accounts or multiple accounts. Unless you are familiar with how to create an alter-ego, it’s best to be yourself online when building professional relationships. Multiple accounts may discourage networking if word gets out that you have three other profiles - people may wonder what you have to hide.
DO: Build your network of followers/friends around your target demographic. Social media is all about laser-proficient target marketing. Look at the profile information of the people you’re following or adding as friends. The best networking is with people who are also passionate about real estate and investment. They’ll double your efforts by telling their networks about you.
DON’T: Aimlessly add friends and followers. Beginning on Facebook or Twitter is overwhelming, resembling the panic that set in when you were the new kid in school and didn’t know anyone. Resist the temptation to start adding as many friends and followers as you can in the first few weeks. It may feel like you’re getting somewhere if you’re following 2,000 people on Twitter or add 500 friends on Facebook, but the sheer number complicates getting to know people. Start small, build slowly.
DO: Be business appropriate. For the most part, you control what people read about you online. When your online presence is polished and professional, you’re regarded as polished and professional. Talk about what you’ve learned about real estate investment over the years and the helpful article you read this morning. Skip the conversation about the latest family drama. It’s your personal brand - treat it like it’s your own rendition of Coca-Cola.
DON’T: Keep your updates and profile private and protected. This may seem counter intuitive to business: “I don’t want my competitors or other investors to see who I’m talking to!” But this will discourage networking. If your main goal is to build business, open up for all to see and follow.
DO: Post with a purpose. Along with being business appropriate, it’s also smart to have a goal in mind when posting. With a 140 character limit, these small bits of information cannot be empty calories. Make every tweet/update/link/note/comment count, packed with highly nutritional food for thought. Think of your Twitter stream in a condensed form - so powerful that a little bit goes a long way.
DON’T: Be an attention-hog. Remember the guy we talked about earlier who hands you a business card when introduced? The other social media party pooper is determined to do whatever it takes to have the spotlight following their every move. You know the type - loud, typically obnoxious, and starts conversations with, “Enough about me. What do YOU think about me?” While it’s appropriate at times to talk about yourself, remember basic rules of conversation. Social media is not a monologue.
TWITTER - anitarny / FACEBOOK - anitarny
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