Even if you think you are an expert, consider these guidelines.

By Randall M. Craig

Randall-Craig-informalSocial media is used by recruiters to look for “hidden” candidates and to disqualify inappropriate ones. It is used by sales reps to look for new prospects and connect better with existing ones. And it can be used by you to connect outward to those you know, and to develop your reputation with those you don’t.

For all these reasons and more, our prospects and clients spend increasing amounts of time on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, often without a clear return on their time investment, and sometimes doing more harm than good.  And if they are spending time in the world of social media, then they are not spending time on our own websites.  (Most professionals know this has been true for years, even before social media came onto the scene.)  So if prospects are using social media, most real estate professionals know that they should be doing something there as well.

While the early adopters may have figured out precisely what that something is, the vast majority of real estate professionals are just now beginning to move into the social media world.  This “rush” holds great promise, but also has the potential to injure reputations, create embarrassment, and waste a huge amount of time. Social networking vs. social notworking.

Even if you think you are an expert, consider these guidelines:


* Don’t be presumptive and assume that everyone will want to be your connection or friend. If there is any question in your mind that someone may refuse, then call them up and ask first. After all, a key goal of social networking is to facilitate real networking.

* Don’t automatically assume that everyone wants to give you a written recommendation. Some people feel uncomfortable giving blanket public recommendations, while others may not want to give you one at all. Best ask in a way that doesn’t put the other person into an embarrassing position.

* Don’t accept connections with people who you don’t have a real-world relationship with. If you do accept these unknowns, then they will pester you for introductions to your colleagues – or call them up directly and use your name. Yikes.

* Don’t be inconsistent with your image across the various social media sites. It raises a red flag. And at the same time, make sure that there are no embarrassing – or out-of-brand – images of you posted on these sites. These raise a redder flag.


* To prevent identity theft and to ensure that you are being represented properly, make sure that you claim your profile on the various profile aggregator sites. (www.Zoominfo.com is one of them).

* Do remember that everything that you ever wrote, if it was posted online, is findable online – even if was deleted. The Wayback Machine and Google have seen to it.

* Do check your profile regularly on each of LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, MySpace, or wherever you have a presence, to ensure that nothing inappropriate about you was posted by your connections.

* Limit your time to a finite amount each day to “manage” the process.  If you’re not getting the results that you want, then either reduce the time further, or get some training to learn how to better utilize social media.

Despite the risks, social media represents a tremendous opportunity to significantly extend your personal and professional profile. The only question is whether you use the tool strategically or not. One more “Do”: this week, go through each site that you are registered on, and make sure that each is up-to-date, and consistent.

Randall Craig is the president of Pinetree Advisors and the author of numerous books, including the best-seller Personal Balance Sheet, and the just-released Online PR and Social Media for Experts.  He speaks and consults on Networking and Social Networking. www.OnlinePRSocialMedia.com.

Posted: 2010-02-10 07:14:24

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