Social Media in Real Estate

When people first begin to consider using social networking and social media sites, one of the early concerns is how much time it's going to take. Another early concern is not knowing which networking or media site to use or how to use it.

These two things are related because if you don't use the "right" social site then it will probably take you a lot longer to achieve your marketing goals. This column is about picking the "right" social site. To get there, however, let's start with a little bit about what social sites are and what they're all about.

Social objects - More than a few years back, the marketer Hugh MacLeod came up with a concept called the social object. At the time, social sites were just beginning to be noticed and used by marketers. The idea behind social objects is this: the social activity on a site (commenting, friending, liking, recommending, etc.) tends to be focused on a particular thing.

On LinkedIn, much of the social activity is focused on a user's career or work history. Users spend much of their time on the site either reviewing or updating their own work history or communicating with others about work histories.

Another example might be Flickr, a social photography site. People post and comment on photographs at Flickr, so photographs are the social object. Here's a list of social sites with their most prominent social object:

    * Flickr: photographs.    * LinkedIn: work history.    * Foursquare: current location.
    * Plancast: future location.    * Twitter: pithy thoughts.     * Your blog: blog posts.
    * Facebook: personal history.    * Vimeo/YouTube: video.

To use social sites effectively, you'll want to be comfortable sharing and commenting and communicating about or with the social objects of the social site. Which I suppose is just a fancy way of saying that if you don't like taking photos, then Flickr isn't the "right" social site for you.