Facebook and MySpace are beginning to be recognized as useful networking tools for the online real estate agent. However, as social networking sites have become one of the pioneers in connecting people on the Internet, people are becoming interested in “niche” social networks – sites that connect people interested in specific topics. .
Active Rain is a network that has taken this concept and turned it into a growing community of real estate agents, professionals related to the real estate sector and people looking for the right agent for them. It has pages for people to post information about themselves and the services they provide, forums, blogs, and a question and answer forum where people can post questions about real estate. So far 60,000 people have become members, generating a lot of exposure on the site.
However, you don’t have to be an internet guru to create a “niche” network. It can be done with existing networking sites and applications. The key is to start by creating decent and useful information about your approach to the market. If you’re selling homes in Seattle’s Sunset Hill neighborhood, by all means start a Facebook group or your own Sunset Hill neighborhood message board. Whatever it is, make sure you allow people to comment, ask questions, and post answers.
Post information about the schools there and the issues about them, the work scene, housekeeping when it comes to Seattle weather … anything and everything to do with the Sunset Hill and Seattle homes. Make sure it’s relevant, make sure it’s up to date. Look beyond selling homes and post what concerns people buying homes in Seattle and Sunset Hill.
If you have satisfied customers who have transacted their home through you, stay in touch with them and let them know about the site. Many homeowners would be interested in knowing a site where they can find the latest in local property values, information on the new shopping center being built, or the issues facing schools in the Sunset Hill area.
If you have people visiting your site for information about your neighborhood, even if they don’t plan to buy or sell, you’ve done it. The great success of some sites through advertising is due to the popularity gained by giving away free things. If you have a decent number of consistent visitors coming to your site to get the information you post, you have a decent number of potential customers who might mention you to friends and family interested in real estate.