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Social Media in Real Estate – Part 3: ActiveRain

Are you a part of the largest real estate network? If you’re not, you should be. It’s FREE to join! What are you waiting for!? Join Now!

If you are, then you’re already taking the right steps towards success. I am of course talking about ActiveRain. From the site: “Our goal is to ‘Empower the real estate professional‘ and as an extension empower the consumer.” So what does this mean for you, the real estate agent, you might ask? Well let me tell you.

ActiveRain is a social network for real estate professionals. Whether you’re a real estate agent, attorney, mortgage broker, appraiser, etc (for a full list and to sign up go here) you can use ActiveRain to connect with local professionals as well as professionals nationwide.

Now instead of telling you why ActiveRain is so powerful, and how it can increase your business, connections, etc, I’m going to share with you some real life success stories I have collected via various conferences, tweets, emails, etc.

Termite Questions to a Listing – While at the NAR conference in Orlando, FL I was speaking with a gentleman from Hawaii who is an avid ActiveRain user. His story starts with blogging about home inspections and termites, which then lead to the questions “what do you think my house is worth?” which then lead to “can you list my property?” So by simply talking about what he knows, and engaging in conversation with consumers, he got a listing off of ActiveRain.

Closed a referral… got my landscaper… got 3 listings – This is what another ActiveRainer shared with me. What more needs to be said about this success story. He uses ActiveRain, is an active member, and has many success stories to show for it.

Closing on Friday… I was teaching a course on social media here in the Boston area and asked the question “Does anyone here use ActiveRain?” and a woman raised her hand and said “I am closing on Friday from buyers who found me coming up here from Virginia Beach.” This right here shows the power of not only connecting on a local level, but on a national level. Fact is people relocate. If you use ActiveRain to show consumers you are THE expect in your area, they will choose you to find them the perfect home.

And if those success stories don’t cause you to immediately join ActiveRain, then you may want to get your head examied! However, maybe this quote from Brad Andersohn, Community Builder at ActiveRain, will put you over the edge: “Just go for it. Always my best words of advice! :-)” and that’s the truth. You’re not going to break anything by jumping into social media. If anything you’ll meet some new people, learn new things, and increase your online presence. Furthermore, you’ll increase your business. Start 2009 the right way, get involved!

As Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) of WineLibrary.com says “In 2009 it’s not an option to be involved in social media; it’s a necessity.”

If you have any ActiveRain success stories to share please do so in the comments. I’d love to hear how ActiveRain is working for you!

Also, be sure to add me as an associate! – http://activerain.com/zipvo

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  • OK, time for a stupid question. If you already have a blog, what will Active Rain do that the blog won’t do? How can you use both without duplicating the effort?

    Thanks,

    Chuck

  • Active rain seems to get crawled by google almost immediatly!

  • I agree Active Rain is a great platform….
    Thanks for your post….great info

  • Chuck,

    Active Rain shouldn’t replace your existing blog but should compliment it. One of the things I like to do with my Active Rain blog is use if after I add a new blog article to my existing Las Vegas Real Estate Blog. Once my new article is submitted, I then write a brief summary with either the same or similar title on my Active Rain blog and indicate that if you want to read the entire article, click on the link below which will take them to my Las Vegas Real Estate Blog.

    You have to look at sites like Active Rain as a marketing tool!

  • Tony,

    Thanks for your reply. I see how you’re using Active Rain to extend the reach of your primary blog. Certainly, any way to widen the reach of your blog is probably not a bad thing.

    I spent an hour or so this morning perusing dozens of random active rain blogs, and while it appears that many of the sites are getting significant traffic, I couldn’t help but notice that EVERY single comment that was written on any Active Rain blog (without exception) was from another Realtor. I could not find a single comment from someone who appeared to be a potential client…

    So that raises the obvious question — who is actually reading Active Rain? Home buyers and sellers, or just other Agents? I think the agent-agent networks can be a valuable way to exchange ideas, hence that’s why I subscribe to sites like Agent Genius, and of course the Geeksters on this site.

    But is anyone really getting clients through Active Rain sites? I’d love to hear some success stories — I just don’t see the dialog on the blogs that shows that clients are chiming in.

    Blogging takes a ton of time out of our day — I author more than one site, so I know what kind of a time sink it can be. I’m just trying to figure if Active Rain is a worthwhile investment of my already shrinking on-line time allotment.

    Thanks in advance for any/all comments to this….

    Chuck

  • Chuck,

    Here’s some other examples of people finding success through ActiveRain:

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/880416/The-POWER-of-Active-Rain
    http://activerain.com/blogsview/886947/My-First-Active-Rain-Success-Story-Why-I-turned-down-a-client-in-this-economy (Members Only)

    And if you search the site you’ll find more.

    Here’s a post on consumers and ActiveRain:

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/880833/Do-consumers-even-visit-ActiveRain

    Hope those help you understand the power of ActiveRain.

  • “Great Post”…..grrr that is my problem with ActiveRain…some call it Active strain…My time is to valuable to be reading these ignorant comments that are just looking for backlinks.

    I have tried to do what you suggested Chuck, with posting the excerpt, or summary, then linking to my main blog. I think a couple of them actually made it published. Gave up because the html editor did not like the copy/paste from the WordPress html editor…what the.!.!..it should be the same it is html. But I would prefer no funny characters or poor formatting. As I said, social networking already takes enough time, and now with business picking up…have to choose your battles wisely.

  • Hey Jay,

    Just to give credit where credit is due, it was Tony’s suggestion about posting the summary with a link to the “main” blog. But in theory, it’s not a bad idea IF (and only if) you’re able to just cut and paste part of the original post from WordPress or TypePad and drop it into the AR blog. No time to re-invent the wheel.

    I actually just took Tony’s idea and tried it with Trulia’s blog service. Why? Because a) Trulia handles the copy/paste from WordPress very easily, and b) I think more buyers/sellers actually read Trulia than AR.

    Despite the links that James kindly provided above, I’m just not convinced that the individual agent sites on AR get the kind of SEO that make the effort worthwhile. After sampling a couple dozen AR blogs, and seeing the insane amount of agent-to-agent back-linking, I decided to see if the proof was in the pudding.

    I fished on Google using all of the normal real estate search terms in my area, and not one AR blog came up in the first 5 pages. That could simply be that nobody in this area uses AR, but I doubt it. Lots of other blogs came up (including mine, whew!!) Another key indicator is that none of the AR sites I sampled had a Google Page Rank higher than 2.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m not knocking AR…I’m just trying to understand who is really getting the most benefit from it. Like you said Jay, if it’s not a buyer or seller, then it’s not a good use of time.

    CG

  • I agree entirely about Trulia being where the prospects are, BUT, Trulia is using all of us to take over search engines. They are a NOFOLLOW site, and they are taking over page rank we should all have, from our listings.

    I think using AR for linking to your main blog is great, other than the downfalls I already pointed out, I think the end is near with that on the freebie service, with the new “Outside Blog” they are pushing now, changes may be uh comin’ But I am no insider, and try to stay focused on clients, so I may be entirely wrong and out of line there.

    Of course the happy alternative to all this would be Zillow, they are not greedy with the google juice, and really put some nice stuff out there for agents for FREE, are you listening REALTOR.COM…but anyway. In my market area, Zillow is not very popular, plus they get a lot of bad publicity, and negative word of mouth from agents (mostly unjustified and unintelligible). Which they are addressing now I read earlier.

    Oh BTW, “Great Post” 😉

  • Active rain is a great place to get started and an excellent way to get indexed in Google. Tie it back to your website and second blog and you can start getting some presence going in your market online.

    Even though it is mostly Realtors talking to each other, buyers will find you for relevant long tail search terms.

    If anybody asks me about blogging, I suggest they start on Active Rain and branch out from there. – Tie it in to your facebook and twitter accounts too!

  • I’m definitely a big AR fan – that’s where I choose to blog, and I think it’s a great community. But there’s no doubt that if what you’re looking for is potential clients, AR is not the only place to spend your social media marketing resources.

    A site like Zillow, with almost 7 million unique monthly visitors, is a great place to prospect. Zillow Advice gets about 1.5 million monthly pageviews per month and you can answer questions locally (down to the neighborhood level). You can also subscribe to receive email or RSS when new discussions or questions appear in your territory. So it’s a fantastic place to prospect in your farm area.
    See you there. 🙂

  • Active Rain can be a great solution for those who are looking to network with other realtors. Consumers are more likely to flock to Localism when it goes live.

  • James thanks for the link to my article about the power of Active Rain. I just changed it to a public post so more people can see some of the benefits of membership. Active Rain has brought me quite a bit of business and of course some great relationships.

  • thanks for the share

  • thanks for the share

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