As a real estate agent, good communication and social etiquette are no-brainers. But what about when it comes to requesting new digital connections? Here are some practical tips on digital etiquette, making it as easy as swapping business cards.
Connecting with homeowners, home sellers and potential vendors is key to real estate marketing, but navigating the do’s and don’ts of social media in this age of digital interruptions can be fraught with danger and you might find yourself easily deterred. It’s a perilous tightrope. Take one step in the wrong direction and risk the ire of an entire generation. Hesitate, and you could miss out on a potential client.
But requesting these new digital connections is in fact easy, free and should quickly become instinctive. It means using your email more efficiently, and making the most of the opportunities offered by Facebook and LinkedIn. As a real estate agent, the benefits for you include:
- More visibility for your updates and blog articles.
- Less chasing via outbound calls.
- Less interruptive activities.
- More leads that come to you.
Networking tips in the world of social media
Millennials think showing appreciation by sending a text message that just says “thank – you” is rude. They are also known for their pet hatred of voice mail. Older clients will prefer face-to-face communication and good old-fashioned manners.
As a real estate agent, you need to be capable of handling the entire gamut of communication styles with gusto. But no matter what end of the spectrum your prospective home seller or vendor belongs to, requesting a new digital connection will enhance your communication, and you can’t afford to miss out on it.
The art of netiquette
Google “Digital etiquette” and this is what comes up:
“Digital etiquette, or netiquette as it’s sometimes called, is a basic set of rules you should follow in order to make the internet better for others, and better for you. It’s just as important to treat people with courtesy and respect online as it is in real life.”
Nick Bilton, a former technology and business columnist for the New York Times, takes digital etiquette to the extreme. He says he has no time to waste with emails when text messages are by far quicker. But, he says:
“The worst offenders of all are those who leave a voicemail message and then email to tell you they left a voicemail message”.
Such petulance made me laugh, and obviously not everybody will agree. But there are many ways to blend traditional and digital forms of requesting new connections that will improve your efficiency and visibility without causing offence.
Tips for requesting new connections
Your phone contact card
One idea suggested by an agent is a clever digital version of the traditional exchange of business cards. Why not ask new people you meet if you can share with them your contact record from your phone, via text message, so that they can add you straight into their phone. Make sure that you have included all your social media accounts on your phone record too – that way they are just one swipe away.
LinkedIn Phone App
Another digital business card that you cannot sidestep is the LinkedIn Phone App, which allows you to connect then and there. When you meet a potential client, ask them if they are on LinkedIn and then look them up using the app, and confirm you’ve found the right person.
You will need to explain the benefits for them when you do ask to connect. You could say:
“Would you like me to keep you in the know with new properties before they are formally put on the market?”
Or: “I send out a monthly property market update for your area, would you like to connect so that you’re kept in the loop?”
Your digital signature
Another obvious option is to add all your social media profiles to your email signature. This includes your Facebook business page and LinkedIn personal page. Use Vanity URLs so that your profiles look consistent and are easy to locate.
So, just like you might shake hands and engage in conversation, make requesting a digital connection a natural part of what you do each time you meet people in the course of your day. Exchange phone, email and social media accounts to make better connections.
But that is not, quite yet, the end of it. Just like the punchline of a joke, timing is everything when it comes to digital communication. Having succeeded in requesting that initial connection, either online, by email or face-to-face interaction, the next step is to make the most of this new opportunity and establish contact while you are still fresh in that person’s mind. Time is of the essence: keep the momentum happening.
Trying to make contact weeks or months later – as you happen to be cleaning up your database, is the desperate equivalent of rummaging through a drawer full of dusty business cards on a quiet day. It’s not a good look. Connecting immediately, on the other hand, shows that you are super savvy and efficient, just the type of agent attributes potential clients would expect.