There are so many different social networks these days and platforms where you should have a presence that it’s hard to keep track. But one that is commonly overlooked and misunderstood is Google Plus. Google Plus is two years old now and has over 500 million users as of December 2012. Even if they are not all active members, there are plenty who are and one would be foolish to dismiss numbers like that. Real Estate agents want to drive the highest number of people to their websites to obtain prospective leads, convert them into clients, and close deals. Right? So why not try Google Plus and see if it produces results for you.
I’m sure you are using Facebook for your personal connections and you should also have your own page for your real estate business. You are also probably using LinkedIn, which is a great place to maintain your industry connections with those you already know. What is great about Google Plus is it allows you to network with other like-minded real estate agents and professionals in an entirely new way as well as tap into a new potential market of prospective leads. Combine this with the power of tapping into Google search and you have a force that cannot be ignored.
Here are the top things you should be doing as a Real Estate Agents on Google Plus:
1. Create Circles.
Circles are one of the key features of Google Plus because it allows you to segment your connections and share certain content with specific audiences. James Call is a former Real Estate Agent turned Webmaster and founder of RealtyCandy.com. If you do a web search for an IDX plugin (an MLS integration for realty websites), his name is likely to pop up. He is selective on his social media usage but uses Google Plus for his business. “What I really like about using Google plus is that I spend all day in my Gmail inbox. When I am reading an email, from a prospect or a client, I can quickly add them to my “Real Estate” circle or my “Prospects” circle. Or both,” Call says.
With Google Plus you can segment your connections into circles. You can follow an approach similar to James’ by creating circles and categorizing them in the following ways:
- Real Estate
– Fellow Real Estate Agents
– Industry Professionals
– Thought Leaders
- Prospective Leads
You can also create additional circles for friend and family, of course. By creating these circles, you can customize what you send to each audience. For example, Instead of blasting all over LinkedIn or Facebook and saying “View my new listing on 22nd Street,” you can send it exclusively to your “Prospects” circle. Or if you want to discuss the state of the market with other Real Estate Agents, you can send to your “Real Estate” circle and have a powerful conversation. Or if you want to share a picture of your child at the zoo, you can choose to only share with your “Family” circle. There is no need to clog your Facebook feed of family and friends with information not relevant to them. And if it is relevant to them, add them to multiple circles. There is no limit on the number of circles a person can be in on Google Plus. Cut down on the noise and keep your personal connections personal and your business connections business related.
2. Add Plus One Buttons and A Google Plus Follow Button to your Website
We all know the importance of social sharing and Plus One buttons are no exception. Just like the “Like,” “Tweet,” or “Pin It” button, Plus Ones are another avenue for potential clients to share your content. It allows your website visitors to instantly share your content with their circles. Google also stores all of your Plus Ones across the web so they are viewable within a member’s profile. You can see an example of this on my profile here.
The Google Plus Follow button is another widget you should add to your website. It instantly allows visitors to add you to their circles without leaving your website. You can add one here.
3. Promote Your Posts
Now that you have your Plus One buttons on your website, promote your content to the relevant circles on Google Plus EVERY time you post something new – video, link, photo, or blog post. If you post video tours of your listings on YouTube, share them on Google Plus. If you have new photos of a property, share them.
If you think this is too time consuming, here is what James Call has to say about promoting his content via Google Plus. “I depend on blog posts for my inbound marketing at RealtyCandy.com. So when we launch a new real estate theme or an IDX service, I just click on the button on the bottom of the page, and BOOM, it will shoot something out to my “Real Estate” group. I can see that I get immediate responses on my site. Within 5 minutes, I usually get about 5% response. That is great.”
4. Join Communities
The active members of Google Plus are highly engaged and you have the opportunity to tap into the power of an entirely new network of people. Start by joining the Official Google Plus Real Estate Community . It already has over 4,700 members. And here is a link to the top Real Estate People and Pages on Google Plus. You will have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded professionals and learn helpful tips and share information with one another. You can also use features like Hangouts to connect with these people over video and IM chat features.
Google is the king of search, and they are placing more and more emphasis on social factors when determining rankings. The hidden power of Google Plus lies in search and interaction. The more active you are on Google Plus and the more people add you to their circles, the higher your rankings will be. More people interacting with your content means increased odds of being discovered in search. And if one of your social goals is to find new prospective leads, you would be foolish to ignore the power the Google Plus. Go on, what are you waiting for?