I don't think you can exist in this world today and not have at least somewhat of an idea of what social media is even if you don't use it in your everyday life. And I don't think you can be in the real estate business -- or any business for that matter -- and not have it as part of your overall marketing plan.
Today I was reminded yet again just how powerful it is and what a benefit it can be.
In the past 24 hours, I've had a great business plan template emailed to me from a fellow CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) member via LinkedIn. She posted a message and offer to share her plan via the CRS LinkedIn group I joined months ago. She gave me some much needed motivation to sit down and really think about my goals for the coming year and to get it down on paper. Time to hold myself accountable for my real estate business.
I also received some direction from a fellow ActiveRainer on direct marketing and ideas for a simple, yet effective monthly postcard program. You can't interact with this individual and not feel enthused.
Over the past couple of years, I've connected with lenders, real estate agents from my market area but also market areas around the country, home inspectors, past co-workers, and childhood acquaintances and friends. They are now all aware of what I do for a living, and hopefully we can exchange some referrals down the road.
But in recent weeks, I've also seen the not-so-good side of social media. I've seen some inappropriate posts left on Facebook by some professionals whose services I've referred out and local businesses I've patronized.
You hear it all the time -- be careful what you put out there. Watch the language and the tone. Think about how what you write could be misinterpreted by the reader. Think about how it could taint your reputation.
Sometimes I wonder if any of us really understand how far the internet stretches -- how many people now know about us. Once it's out there -- it's out there.
Use social media as part of your business plan. Benefit from it. Learn from it. But perhaps keep the angry commentary, the colorful language, and the sarcasm as a part of private conversation instead.