If you have kids, then you probably know that most schools teach character education along with the ABC’s and 123′s. And when I was teaching elementary school, there were 10 lifeskills in particular that I focused on with my class each year: integrity, active listening, effort, respect, caring, responsibility, cooperation, trustworthiness, courage, diligence.
These lifeskills set the stage for better communication between teacher and student, student and student, and even child and parent. The lifeskills provided me with the opportunity to help my students interact more positively, engage in cooperative learning, and problem solve when disagreements arose.
With the advent of new marketing techniques (namely social media strategies), it seems rather apparent that we should infuse the lifeskills we learned back in the day (when we began learning to better communicate and cooperate) within our current business goals and strategies. So I’ve taken character education full circle here by suggesting the following: “10 Social Media Lifeskills for Real Estate Professionals”.
1. Integrity- Be the real you. Strive for authentic engagement by being the same person you are online that you are offline. Instead of selling what you do, share who you are and your daily experiences. And when it comes to your avatar (profile picture) be a person, not a real estate logo. People connect with people, not signs and buildings.
2. Active Listening- Although it’s important to share your interests, it’s even more important to pay attention to others. Learning what your network is passionate about only helps you ask better questions, provide better resources, and become a better advisor. Who’s Talkin? and SocialMention are 2 social search engines that make it even easier to monitor certain people and topics you care about.
3. Effort- Add value! Know your expertise and passion well enough to identify resources that may be helpful to your network. If you’re not sure where to look for great resources, try a social bookmarking tool like Delicious or Digg where others share their favorite articles. Monitor your resources and share regularly, provide your own insight and strategies for implementation.
4. Respect- You gotta give it to get it! Show respect for others, even your “competitors” in your niche. And when it comes to connecting with new people on social networks like Facebook or Linkedin, consider sending a brief authentic message explaining why you’d like to connect or how you know them. Don’t bombard people with spammy or salesy messages. Social Media is NOT about hard-selling, it’s about mutual respect.
5. Caring- Reach out to others, colleagues and clients alike! And do good things without being asked like retweeting others tweets, “liking” or commenting on Facebook posts, and commenting on or praising blog articles you enjoy. Connect and befriend local clients and business owners online. For example, join local interest or business based Facebook groups that you care about or want to get involved with, or create your own. Join or volunteer for a local cause. This shows how much you care about the city and neighborhoods you work and live in.
6. Responsibility- Think before you act and take responsibility for your social interactions. If you write an article or share a resource that you found from someone else, be sure to source that person by linking back to the original article or a social profile. If you make a mistake or offend someone unknowingly, apologize. And be sure to welcome feedback and be responsive to it.
7. Cooperation- Sometimes you can get to your goal that much faster by collaborating. Share and work together with others in the real estate industry or in your local market area. Draw upon the strengths of others and pool your resources whether it’s organizing an event, creating helpful Web content, or asking for help with a project. For example, co-host a blog based or Facebook contest, help plan a Tweetup or nearby REBarCamp, guest-post on local business or interest based blogs, co-author a local ebook for homeowners, co-sponsor a charity event, etc.
8. Trustworthiness- If you make a promise to someone, then do it. Don’t be a slim shady and betray someone’s trust in you. That’s the fastest way to get unfollowed or unfriended. Provide clear expectations on your blog and social profiles about the real estate services you DO provide. If you list your expertise as working with independent women homeowners, make sure you deliver that expertise online and when working with clients. That’s how you become your network’s trusted advisor!
9. Courage- Try something new! Are you interested in getting your feet wet with video? Don’t be afraid to dive in and give something a try! It’s all a learning process anyway, and even failed attempts can be endearing!
10. Diligence- Create a custom social media marketing plan for your real estate business and commit to it. Schedule daily check-in times for maintaining your social profiles and/or read and research time for blog articles. Be consistent!
One last reminder….measure what you make! If you share a resource via Twitter or Facebook, use a URL tracking tool like BudURL, Cli.gs, or Bitly. If you blog, be sure to take advantage of what good analytics can tell you, try Google Analytics or GetClicky.com. Studying what your clients do or don’t react to can provide you with insight as to what kind of content or resources your network finds helpful! This way you can reach more folks and keep the conversation flowing!