Tools to avoid a social media disaster
Real estate agents' trustworthiness and reputation are vital to buyers and sellers
By Andrea V. Brambila
NEW YORK -- Before social media, the words of a dissatisfied real estate client had considerably less power than they do now, according to Jimmy Mackin, a Facebook trainer and founder of The MLS App. Mackin spoke at Agent Reboot in New York City last week.
Now, "reviews don't just happen on review sites. Thanks to social media, everyone has a voice, everyone has an audience, everyone is a critic," Mackin said.
"If (they have) a terrible experience (with you), they're going to tweet about it, they're going to write about it."
And their friends will ask, "Who's your REALTOR®, because I don't want to use them," Mackin added.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®' 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, when it comes to choosing an agent, the most important factors clients cite are his or her honesty and trustworthiness (30 percent of buyers, 38 percent of sellers) and his or her reputation (20 percent of each).
With that in mind, Mackin suggested some tools real estate professionals can use to monitor and manage their reputation online.
1. Google Alerts: sends email updates whenever a certain user-specified search phrase appears online, such as the user's name or his or her company name.
2. Social Mention: searches user-generated content in real time.
3. Radian6: acquired last year by Salesforce.com, this paid social media monitoring platform tracks and analyzes conversations on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and other online communities.
4. Xobni for Outlook: gleans information from Outlook and from social media networks LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to create profiles for users' email contacts. Profiles include photos, relationship statistics, contact information, threaded conversations, and shared attachments. Xobni has both free and paid versions, and is also available on Gmail, Android, iPhone and BlackBerry.
5. Rapportive: similar to Xobni but exclusively for Gmail. It also allows users to leave notes on contacts' profiles. Profiles appear as a sidebar next to emails.
6. Webpage Removal Request Tool: Google allows users to request the removal of a page or site from Google's search results. While not all requests are successful, this is one way real estate professionals can try to address objectionable content.
7. Faceified: imports your reviews from Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo, Zillow, Citysearch, Linkedin and many other websites, including your own testimonials. This free service also provides tools to request reviews via email, Facebook or Twitter. Faceified includes a "seal" that can be used on listings and marketing materials to point potential clients to your Faceified profile and other listings.