It's become sort of a cliché in the social media world… real estate agents don't always use best practices. It's easy to make mistakes, but as most of you probably know, it's important to use social media for just that, social interactions. Many Realtors and other sales type professionals tend to use social media as their own, personal billboard. This can create a negative image in the eyes of the public, if they're not careful. Here are some of the most common social media mistakes Realtors make, and how to avoid/fix them!

1. Posting every property you list:

One of the biggest faux pas a real estate agent can make is blasting their social media contacts with every single property they list (and only THEIR properties). This is a really easy way to drive people to UNfollow you. Nobody wants to be blasted with non-relevant information while they're browsing their social media feeds.

It also makes it look to the public like your biggest reason for being on social media is to make money and promote your business. A good fix for this situation is to post only the best properties you list, ones that you think your network genuinely needs to know about (like if you know it's going to sell FAST). Be sure to pepper in posts about other peoples properties once in a while (perhaps a really affordable foreclosure in a great part of town that you know your network would love). This will show followers that you have their best interest at heart, and really care about them finding the right home as opposed to just driving your commission.

2. Not developing a PLAN:

Like any other marketing tool, being successful at social media requires a results-focused plan. Likes will not magically appear; you'll have to promote yourself! Set aside a certain amount of time per week. This can be one hour a day, or 10 minutes a day, depending on your schedule. During this time, pick interesting, engaging content to post to your followers, and make sure you comment, share, and engage with them as well. Set a weekly goal for yourself outlining how much you want your social media reach to grow weekly (10 new followers weekly? 100?). If you stick to your plan diligently, and continue to interact online, you'll notice your sphere of influence grow exponentially - organically!

3. Exaggerating success or bragging constantly:

Everyone likes to show off sometimes, but many people in the real estate business like to exaggerate their success on social media. Think twice before posting about how "busy you are" or "how many deals you're closing"… especially if you're not doing those things. Not only can potential customers look that up, but if a customer is having trouble selling their home or they are in limbo waiting for a short sale to go through, they won't appreciate how much fun you are claiming to be having. Letting people know who you are and what you have accomplished can be helpful to business, but over-exaggerating is unnecessary and potentially harmful to your career. A good rule of thumb for social media is: be real, be engaging, be friendly, and be someone people will naturally be interested in without you having to brag.

4. Comparing yourself to others in your field:

It can be tempting to compare yourself to that competitor who has 10,000 likes, followers, or contacts. In some cases, it can even discourage people from using social media to it's full potential. It's helpful to keep in mind that these people probably dedicated a lot of time to growing their networks this much (unless they paid for follows, which is not the way to go, IMO). If you continue to engage with your networks, post interesting and relevant content, and maintain consistency then you, too (more than likely), will enjoy a large following some day.

People also tend to measure their success based on others' success. Many people exaggerate their success on social media (remember #3?), and no one should allow himself or herself to feel unaccomplished based on what they see on social media. Concentrate on your own career, and be mindful that you are growing and evolving at your own pace… and that's ok!

5. Posting all about you:

This is probably the biggest mistake most people make on social media. Many people who aren't familiar with best practices think that social media is all about free self-promotion. While it is a helpful tool for promoting yourself, it's best to promote indirectly on social media. Your goal is to set yourself up as an influencer, an expert, and a trustworthy source that people will want to reference naturally. You accomplish this by posting things that are genuinely helpful to your target audience. If you haven't heard of the 80/20 rule, it's a very important ratio to remember when posting on any and all social media sites. 80 percent of your postings should be other peoples content. It should have something to do with your niche, it should be interesting, and it should be something that people are going to want to share with their networks. The other 20 percent can be self-promotional, but even then, it shouldn't be too blatant. Posting about an event, new business development, new listing, or new promotional materials is acceptable as long as the 80/20 rule is followed.

These are rules that everyone, not just people in the real estate profession would be wise to follow. The biggest thing to remember is to ENGAGE. Social media is not all about "you", it's about providing tools, resources, and updates to your customer base. In exchange, you will see your network grow organically, and your customer base (or potential customer base) trust your opinion as in influencer.