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Social media is one of the biggest and most effective online marketing tool you have available to your business. Most social media sites are free (or mostly free) and give you the ability to interact with potential clients, current clients, other brokers and business professionals. With this plethora of instant information and infinite possibilities at everyone’s fingertips, it can be easy to get lost among the crowd online. But in order to stay at the top of your game on social media, there are a few essential DO’s and DON’Ts:

1) DON’T Appear unprofessional.
Maintaining your professional reputation is as important online as it is anywhere else. When getting involved in dialogue or discussion online, stay professional and share knowledge and insights, ask questions, and put your intelligence and competence in the spotlight. Building trust in your skills is essential to the success of your business. In order to gain the trust of new clients and to maintain the trust of current clients, you should always brand your posts, responses, and other online activity. Be sure to create branded, professional looking profiles on all social media platforms. Include a lot of information about yourself, your brokerage, and what makes you different. Be transparent and gain the trust of the public by always appearing professional, understanding and knowledgeable.

(2) DON’T Over promote.
Your priority should be to educate and show that you are an industry leader. You don’t need to include your business telephone number, email, personal phone, and business address in every single post online. Here is a good rule of thumb: about 10% of your content should be promotional. The other 90% — the overwhelming majority of your content — on social media should be providing the reader with some value. A short article or a bit of professional advice will show your audience that you care about them and that you are willing to provide them with something they may need. Over promoting will cause you to lose your audience because they are not getting any value out of your posts.

(3) DON’T Over promise.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep! This is true in any marketing, but especially true online where everything is public and the entire world can see. Keeping your promises will ensure that when people talk about you, they will have nothing bad to say. Put your promises out there, make them public. This will not only make it harder for you to break them, but it will also make it easier for your audience to trust you.

(4) DO Be there at the RIGHT time.
You may have located the perfect client, based on interaction through social media, conversation online, or their activity on your posts, and you can see that they are in need of your services. However, upon initial contact, they don’t seem receptive. This client may not need you RIGHT NOW but, they may need you in a month or 6 months or 12 months. Pay attention to the posts that they are involved in and offer value every chance you can. The key is to be regularly active so you are at the top of their mind when the time is right.

(5) DON’T Think of social media as just social media.
It is a relationship building tool and it really shouldn’t be used alone. Integrate social media with everything else you do. Connect with your offline contacts, include links and invites in your weekly newsletters, invite your online connections to local offline events, and so on. Utilize social media as a tool for building your business, spreading awareness about your services and for sharing your insights and knowledge with others.
Social media is your biggest ally, your best opportunity for advertisement, and your number one place to interact with potential clients on a regular basis. Remember to keep your posts professional and maintain your reputation as such. Share posts that provide your audience with value, knowledge, and tips.

But when in doubt, delete the post and start over. Don’t share anything that could be detrimental to your business or your reputation. Think outside the box when it comes to graphics and blog posts, share information that isn’t readily available anywhere else and be ready to answer questions, provide insights, and start dialogues. Arm yourself with a strong online presence and the information that your audience is looking for and watch your online reputation continue to grow!