Continued from page 1

Some agents are in the beginning stages of using social networking sites for business. Camilla Mayo, who is with Weichert Realtors in Bowie, has used Facebook to promote her services and is planning on using other social networking sites as well.

She said social media is a great resource for agents looking to convey useful information about the homebuying process to a wide audience.

“Social media allows you to contact masses of people quickly, delivering important information on loan programs, market trends and the ever-so-important first-time-buyer programs,” she said.

Although social networking allows interaction with clients on a more frequent and personal level free of charge, Ms. Opiela said, the No. 1 complaint she hears from agents is that they don’t have the time to do it.

That goes for agents such as Valerie Blake, also with Prudential’s D.C. office, who has a LinkedIn account but questions the benefits of social networking sites.

“I have not found my clients demanding it, and until I do begin to get requests to communicate in this way, I will probably focus on business coming via multiple avenues of communication with past clients,” she said.

Ms. Blake added that switching from email and texting to social networking also can be time-consuming and often is repetitive. She also said an older client base may not desire or require this type of communication.

Industry insiders said social media use has its advantages, but real estate agents should be aware of the do’s and don’ts.

Ms. Small said, “Some agents use it properly and effectively; many do not.”

“I think many Realtors are not using social media correctly,” Ms. Opiela said. She added that many make the mistake of using social media to bombard all of their “friends” and other connections with real estate listings. She said social networking can’t be just throwing real estate in the customer’s face.

“Real estate agents have to interact with people socially and they find that the business will soon follow. It’s about making connection with people through common interests,” she said.

Mr. Corrao agreed and said agents should differentiate and separate their personal Facebook pages from those used for business.

Real estate professionals say some common mistakes include posting mass junk tweets, bad grammar and spelling mistakes, and even being drawn into conversations about politics or religion.