Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About

Peruse this list of social media sites that real estate professionals are using to reach out to new customers.

September 1, 2009

What's Facebook? An open-access social networking Web site on which people can "friend" you, send you private messages, write on your profile, and become a fan (and vice versa).

What's it good for? Getting blanket messages out to your network. Staying up-to-date on what your sphere of influence is saying, reading, watching, and doing. Creating fan pages for your business that people beyond your sphere can join.

What's Twitter? A free microblogging platform through which users can send and read short messages, known as "tweets."

What's it good for? Sending real-time updates to your sphere of influence. Serving links to articles and items of interest. Following leading news outlets and industry thinkers.

What's LinkedIn? An online business network that allows you to link up with other professionals across industries; it offers paid and unpaid levels of membership, with more features for the former.

What's it good for? Promoting your professional qualifications and accomplishments. Joining groups to share knowledge and build referral networks. Asking other members for business.

What's ActiveRain?  A free social network and marketing platform for real estate professionals.

What's it good for? Building relationships within the industry. Getting search-engine optimization through a profile and blogging platform.

What's Flickr?  A picture and video hosting Web site and online community that exists primarily for exchanging and commenting on photos.

What's it good for? Storing and organizing pictures of listings. Creating slide shows for your blog, social networking profiles, or Web site.

What's RealTown? A free site that provides a number of online communities and e-mail–based discussion groups for real estate professionals. You can also set up your own groups, start a blog, and read articles.

What's it good for?  Networking with fellow real estate professionals. Posting your questions about industry issues and technologies. Sharing information with other users.

Brian Summerfield is the former manager of business development and outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services.