Staying safe on social media

Now, perhaps more than ever, real estate folks should be cautious with their social media presence and make sure they are keeping up to date on the latest in cybersecurity, according to the National Association of Realtors and Bay State Realtor magazine.

NAR has a trove of webinars and other information about social networking, smart phones, e-mail and online safety, and Bay State has dedicated a recent issue to the topic of Realtor safety.

MAR advises that agents and brokers become more familiar with their online accounts if they’re not already; make sure their privacy settings are set properly; be selective in who they allow into their social circles; and think before they post.

One place to start with better securing your online presence is by setting up a Facebook business page, rather than using a personal Facebook profile to promote your business. The pages “are known for their marketing capabilities, but they also allow you to keep your personal and professional posts separate,” the MAR article noted.

MAR also suggests taking a closer look at settings on social media accounts to customize who can see what on your various pages. The association suggests keeping profiles like Instagram public, otherwise followers must request permission to follow your posts.

Although it might make your following look more robust, take a closer look at who is allowed to follow your social media accounts and be selective on who makes the cut, MAR suggests.

“You should carefully vet future friend requests, but you can also clean out your current list of friends and followers, too. Delete anyone you don’t know and anyone you don’t want seeing your personal information,” the article suggested.

Finally, take a step back and evaluate what you’re posting before you hit the send button. Ask whether it is the right kind of post for your platform, according to MAR.

“For example, do you want to share your current location on a public business page, or is that something to share with close friends only? Do you want to share silly, personal photos with a wide audience in Instagram or are those better for your Facebook Stories?”

For more on cultivating your social media presence, watch AgentEDU’s courses on Yelp for Your Business and Developing Your Professional Image.

How to be a 5-star broker with online reviews

Written by Juliet Jacques

A strong online presence is essential for helping you attract new clients and build a good reputation. In fact, potential clients frequently turn to websites like Google Business and Yelp to see reviews by past clients. Creating good profiles on these websites and updating them showcases your business and adds a level of legitimacy. Potential clients will be encouraged by a profile with many sincere reviews, even if they’re not all five stars.

When it comes to choosing a Realtor, clients take a global view of their online presence, Anastasia Yefromova, Communications Specialist for the Steven Cohen Team, told Boston Agent magazine. “It’s hard to trace one single source of why a client works with us, but we found it’s more of a cumulative assessment of how everything looks: reviews, print and website. Having strong online profiles with a lot of reviews will help showcase your history,”

In the process of buying or selling a home, asking clients to leave reviews can easily fall by the wayside. Yefromova recommends sending an email to clients soon after they’ve used your services and letting them know it would mean a lot if they left a review. She also includes a link to the review sites to make the process quick and easy for clients.

When starting to build your profile, Elizabeth Bain of Commonwealth Standard Realty emphasized patience to Boston Agent magazine “It takes time to build up reviews because Yelp’s algorithms will hide many of them,” she said “Currently, more than half of my reviews are being hidden on Yelp. Make it a practice to ask clients for reviews and the profile will gain strength over time”

Take advantage of all the features Yelp offers, such as showing your response rate and response time. Bain emphasizes the importance of these figures. “I think the fast response time is key,” she said. “Consumers are looking for instant gratification, and the response time is one way to stand out against competitors.” Using features like this can help set you apart from the competition, she added.

With negative reviews, if there are only a few you probably don’t need to worry. Yefromova said her company decided not to respond to a negative review to avoid appearing defensive or attacking the client, adding, “It would also look odd if every review is 5 stars — it shows that this is genuine, that these are real people leaving reviews.” And if your profile has fake reviews or reviews not meant for your company, Yelp does have a process for reporting and taking these down. For more on this, check out our course, “Yelp for Your Real Estate Business.”

So don’t be afraid to ask clients to leave reviews. It’s a small step in the home-buying process but a very important way to improve your business in the long run.