Mar 212011

What is required of Realtors today to enjoy leads from the internet? Realtors today need to think of the internet in the same way as the first Realtors on the internet did. The increasing popularity of social media over the last few years is not a major change in the the internet but a return to its core.

The internet has always been a social and communications medium. Before the World Wide Web (the graphical part of the internet that you see in your web browser), people interacted socially on bulletin boards and communicated with email and private messages the same as people do today.

There were places one could go to find information and good resources that were liked were recommended to others – the same way people like and recommend through social media today.

Realtors were actively participating and had their own groups and bulletin boards for exchanging ideas and referrals in addition to contributing in other areas that interested them.

When the World Wide Web came along people began to create web pages and Yahoo began as the place to go to find things on the web. It was a directory where all the entries were added by actual humans so everything listed there was “liked” by others – approved for you to visit.

Commercially oriented sites were few and far between as the internet was not a place where those with commercial intentions were “liked”. However, those first, actively participating Realtors who set up a website offering information were rewarded magnificently!

Then along came search engines such as Webcrawler, Lycos, Infoseek and Altavista to spider the web and it was “game on!”. Yahoo’s human edited directory was still #1 but being “found” was now equally important as being “liked” – for a short period of time anyways until Google came along.

With Google, being “liked” meant that someone thought highly enough of your site to link to it. So “like” equaled “links” and acquiring links became the focus. This worked well enough long enough for all other search engines to be rendered insignificant.

Because it was easy to manipulate, Google’s version of “like” also meant that Realtors could enjoy success on the internet without actually having to actively participate as they once did.

The social aspect of the internet did not go away though as the explosion of Facebook and Twitter onto the scene clearly demonstrated. Facebook and Twitter are changing the way people find websites. Personal recommendations are back in a big way just as they were in the early years of the internet.

Facebook allows people to click a button to signify that they “like” something and when someone sends a tweet over Twitter it is essentially a recommendation when the sender is a trusted source.

Competition from social media has forced Google to change the way it “likes” sites and they are moving away from just equating linking with liking. Google is now using Facebook “likes” and Twitter Tweets and Retweets in their ranking of websites.

In the recent past it was possible to enjoy success on the internet without any active participation by paying someone to SEO your website or by endlessly exchanging links to make Google think you and your site were “liked”. Now and in the future however, Realtors who want to gain or maintain the business received from the internet will need to return to the past. Active participation is the way to be “liked” once again.

Just counting on your website being found in Google for your internet business is no longer enough. There are a huge number of people out there who no longer rely on search engines to find things and are relying on social media instead. If you are not active on Facebook you may be ignoring up to 500 million internet users.

Do I hear groaning out there? It really is not as hard as some may think. Do you ever say anything that others find interesting or amusing or of value? Come on, you must have something intelligent to say to your clients or they would not be working with you!

Starting on the road to increasing your business from the internet can be as easy as just writing that down in your blog and/or Facebook account. Both are free by the way 🙂

While participating on Facebook and Twitter can be of value in raising your rankings in Google, there are even greater benefits to participation. Leads directly from social media can be of higher quality than leads from search engines because they are more like a warm referral.

When you post something on Facebook for example and someone “likes” what you have had to say – all of their friends are made aware of it. For a Realtor, these “likes” can be golden! The more you participate, the more chances you have of essentially being “referred” to the friends of others. You gotta like that!

These likes/referrals can be acquired from places other than Facebook too. People can notify their friends that they like a post you made in your blog or a discussion you participated in at the real estate forum at and other places too. You need to participate to enjoy the benefits though.

In addition to the “likes”, your friends and clients can and will post positive messages about you on your Facebook wall or on theirs and all of their friends and yours are notified about it immediately. A happy client posts “I can’t believe we got the house for such a low price – what a great negotiator!” becomes an instant testimonial that is not just hidden away in your website but broadcast immediately to that person’s friends and to yours. This is a Realtor’s dream!

Get with the program! To enjoy more leads from the internet, Realtors today need to go back to thinking about the internet as a communications medium and not as an advertising channel.

We make it easy for you. Helping you set this all up is included with our package of fully managed Realtor websites.