Web Connect Real Estate Agents, Businesses Link Up with Facebook, Twitter

Article excerpt

Byline: Deborah Donovan ddonovan@dailyherald.com

Social media and online tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs seem like naturals for real estate agents, who traditionally spend time and money keeping in touch with clients.

But other concerns, from public relations firms to lawyers and restaurants, are using them in increasing numbers to boost their bottom lines.

The use of Facebook in the real estate industry has exploded recently, said Margery Shinners, deputy chief executive officer for Main Street Organization of Realtors, a trade group in the West, Southwest and South suburbs.

She said 320 members recently attended a presentation about the major media.

"People are looking for ways to connect with each other quickly and re-establish relationships with past clients and people from your past," she said.

Like many, Scott Gerami, owner of Real Time Realty in Naperville, joined Facebook to keep an eye on his 25-year-old daughter, but learned it could replace his monthly post card to clients.

"I really saw no benefits to myself, then I saw a lot of people use thisupast and current clients and friends and relatives. I was all wrong about this. ItAEs an excellent way of staying in touch with clientele and friends. Now IAEm part of their lives."

He finds Facebook a low-key and soft sell, but makes it clear that he is in the real estate business. He posts listings, asks if anyone could suggest a buyer, and lists his Web site address.

Facebook, with its short comments and responses, is easier than blogging, which is more involved and requires writing frequent articles about something of general interest, said Gerami.

Eileen Landau, Realty Executives Pro/Team, Downers Grove, agrees. While she thinks blogging takes a lot of work, writing

is one of her skills.

Her blogs have received wide media attention, including one that warned against a scam in which a company tried to get homeowners to pay for unnecessary certified deeds to their homes.

The landmark Choo Choo restaurant has attracted much attention on Facebook. The restaurant has more than 5,000 members in a group called "Save the Choo Choo," a reaction to reports the city might want the location for a new police station. …