Your brand is the image of yourself that you promote to the world.
It used to be difficult–if not impossible–for an agent to establish a personal brand. You had to have lots of money and lots of time. Money was needed to create publication pieces or to run ads in newspapers. Time was needed to create, stuff, stamp, mail or deliver printed material to your potential audience. Because it was hard to do, agents seldom did it well, relying instead on their brokerages to promote the corporate brand.
Web 2.0 with its interactive tools has changed all that. Now anyone with access to the Internet can create an online identity and manager their own brand. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and every agent ought to be doing it.
Decide Who You Want to Be
Are you quirky? Funny? Silly? Serious? Are you a consummate real estate professional who dots every “i” and crosses every “t”? You get to decide how others will see you. You choose the words and the images that best describe you. You craft a version of yourself that lets potential clients know who you are and what sets you apart from other agents. Just always be careful that every word you write and every picture you upload is consistent with the professional image you want to portray.
Decide Which Tools to Use
You can build profiles on social networking sites. You can write blogs or post micro-blogs. You can create podcasts or videos. You can self-publish books and online newsletters. The Internet makes all this possible at little or no cost.
These new tools combined with the “old school” tried-and-true methods of building your business (e.g., phone calling, networking, farming, conducting open houses) can give you a powerful edge over agents who haven’t mastered the new technology.
Get the Word Out
Once you’ve begun to craft your online image, let people know about it. Connect with family and friends online. Use networking cites to find lost friends and classmates. Join online and in-person groups. Reference your online presence on your business card and tell people about it when you talk to them.
This part still takes time, but it’s easier than it used to be because the Internet speaks for you. It gives people a more complete picture of what you do and how you do it than was ever possible before.