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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    digitalsummitLast Thursday I had the pleasure of speaking at the second annual Westchester Digital Summit, where I discussed social media to keep your edge in business.  My partner in conversation was commercial real estate thought-leader Josh Berger, Managing Director for Norman Bobrow & Company in New York City.

    Social media provides powerful insight for real estate professionals to better serve clients. Visual channels like Pinterest and Instagram are inherently aspirational.  Agents can quickly discern whether clients dream of chef’s kitchens or gorgeous gardens. Have a client re-pin imagery that inspires them and discuss it. Agents have asked me if it seems intrusive to view a client’s personal page: my opinion is that, if the account is public and you aren’t putting that information to use, someone else probably is!

    Social media can gauge market dynamics. In a competitive business like real estate, social can help to identify your differentiation. Houlihan Lawrence has pointed a laser focus on high-quality cinematography to tell stories about the communities we serve, but we once struggled articulating why when pitching to sellers. Social media aided demonstrably by revealing our videos not only had more views, but that we had four times the amount of them as our next closest competitor! Consider the investments you’ve made and how social media could assess if your competitors have done the same. Your data discoveries could help sales.

    Social channels can also provide enlightening sound bites for advising clients.  Stay current by following relevant influencers who curate real estate information. For example:

    • Diana Olick, CNBC Real Estate Correspondent
    • Jed Kolko, the Chief Economist @ Trulia
    • The Real Deal, NYC Real Estate News
    • Beth Comstock, CMO @ GE (for digital marketing ideas)

    Finally, social media can help define your digital first impression. My opinion is you either take control of your virtual image or be controlled by it. More than 90% of home buyers start their search on the internet: like it or not, you’re being judged on the information available on it.  Consider your strategy, and tailor your choice of social platform accordingly.  Decide where you want to commit based on how much time you plan to spend updating. If you own your own business, a blog and newsletter to promote it might be the right answer. For fewer words, start a Twitter handle.  A mentor of mine once gave me a great tip: try tweeting out interesting articles you read as it serves a dual purpose – you’ll have a place the info is saved, and you establish yourself as a source of good information.

    How else do you use social media to keep an edge in business?

    Anne Marie Gianutsos is Director of Digital at Houlihan Lawrence. Tweet her at @amgiant to keep the conversation going.