You've heard it before: if you don't have an online presence, you're missing out on potential business. Even the most technology-averse agents have resigned themselves to this new reality and created a website. But the Internet is constantly evolving, and your online presence needs to keep up. If you're relying on the website you created two years ago (and haven't updated since!) to accurately portray your personal brand to clients, you might actually be hurting your brand reputation rather than helping. Here are three simple ways you can make sure your personal brand is presented positively and professionally online.
Step 1: Regularly update your website.
A great real estate website has three main components: current listings, an updated calendar, and correct contact information. Make sure you have a section on the main page that prominently displays your listings. ePropertySites provides you with a property widget that can be installed on any page of your site, and updates automatically to keep your property information accurate. If you don't have a calendar displayed on the main page of your site that shows upcoming open houses and community events, create a message section that you can update frequently. Websites with new content are not only seen more favorably by Google, but will keep clients coming back to stay updated on current events.
Your contact information and links should be reviewed regularly to make sure the info is accurate and the links are unbroken. Fix any outdated information or broken links the moment you notice them to ensure your site continues to be a reliable resource for clients.
If you haven't created a personal website yet, you can use the pURL provided with your ePropertySites Producer or Professional account. We even help you create a personalized domain name to make it even easier for clients to find you online. Here is an example of an ePropertySites pURL (personal URL).
Step 2: Keep your Google results fresh.
If you are relying on your name to become a strong personal brand, it's very important to make sure that anyone who searches for you finds consistent results relating to your brand. Close any old accounts that appear in search results when you Google your name, like that old Classmates.com page you never finished creating or the second Twitter account you don't use anymore.
Make sure that personal information not relating to your business (your Yelp restaurant reviews or your Flickr album from the high school reunion) are either set to private or deleted entirely. Anyone searching for you online should only find relevant, useful results that will help them find you and contact you easily.
Step 3: Monitor your brand.
Set up Google alerts for any buzzwords relating to your personal brand, including your name (and any common misspellings of your name) and phrases like "San Diego real estate agent". You'll receive an email notifying you each time one of these phrases appears somewhere on the Internet. This will help you keep an eye on how your personal brand is represented on sites that you don't control, like your clients' Twitter feeds. You'll be able to respond immediately to any content posted about you online, helping to ensure your brand retains a positive and responsive image. Other sites like Reputation.com offer fantastic ways to monitor your online presence if you don't mind paying a fee.
Once you've done the big stuff, like setting up Google alerts and getting your website created and updated, taking control of your online presence shouldn't take longer than a few minutes each day. It's a small investment of your time with an enormous reward; maintaining a consistent and reliable personal brand online will help your clients learn to depend on you as a real estate resource and help you connect with more and more clients as your Internet presence broadens.