I was inspired to write this post because the more I talk to folks in the real estate space, the more I hear that they are getting burned out. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free There are probably many thousands of social networks out there now, and I’m sure Ning.com (anyone can create a social network in 5 minutes using the site) is responsible for quite a handful of them. I actually think it is great that people have a choice of networks to join, but is it imperative to have an account on all of them? Many social media “experts,” “coaches,” “gurus,” and “consultants” will tell you that you must “have a presence on every possible network out there! Focus on those in your niche and make sure you’ve got a profile so you can be found.” They argue that if you don’t have a profile, you don’t exist, and that is bad for marketing. Perhaps though, not existing by not having a presence, is better than not existing because you are simply not present. When is a Profile Doing You Harm? I had a conversation the other day about using social networks, and what intrigued me was that the people I talked to, thought that spreading yourself out across every network possible could be harmful to your reputation. First, given the limited number of hours in a day, it is impossible to remain active across dozens, if not hundreds of networks. I know that I have to limit myself to three: BiggerPockets.com (of course), Twitter, and Facebook. Those are the three places where I not only have a presence, but also actively interact with others, participate in the community, and work to build my name and reputation. While I have a presence on several others as well, and occasionally will participate, I’d say the total isn’t any more than 10 or 12, and each serves a specific purpose. (e.g. LinkedIn for building business connections.) So, unless you do nothing other than spend time on social networks, you’ll only be able to maintain an active presence on a select few. That leaves the hundreds of other real estate social networks for you to create an account on . . . but should you? I know a few people who, anytime I visit a new network, have a profile. This leads me to think one of two things. All they do is hang out on social networks. That’s a really bad sign. It means that you aren’t out there making deals, working, etc. They went and hired someone to do it for them. That is also a bad sign. It means that you think you can just pay to create a presence without being there. It tells me that this person wants to take the easy way out and not figure out how to engage. These people will never make quality connections because their virtual assistant is posing as them anyway. How Are You Represented on a Social Network When You Don’t Participate? Jumping back to the conversation I mentioned earlier, someone threw out the idea of the importance of showing your commitment to something. He said that by neglecting your profile, you’re proving that you are just another passer-by, looking for the quick benefit of a basic presence on a real estate social network. It actually makes a lot of sense! We have hundreds of members like that on BiggerPockets, as I’m sure does every network. Many of these people don’t even respond to inquiries because their attention is so spread out. These people join in the hope of building their name and reputation, but they are just not around to actually do that. Building Your Name and Reputation takes Time and Effort I’ll defer back to BP, because I can more easily draw examples from our site. What you see if you spend any amount of time on a social network is that each community has its own opinion leaders, culture, and style. The people who immediately come to mind as the opinion leaders are those who spend the time and effort on building their reputation and on giving to the community. These are not the passers by, but the people who commit to staking a claim in the community. What do you notice about them? You notice that you notice them! Why? Because they are involved, active, and give effort. What do you notice about the guy who created a profile and moved on to create one on another site? Nothing! Even if you’re intrigued by something you find on his profile, his lack of focus shows that he may not understand that real estate, like any business, is about building real connections & relationships. You can’t do that by signing up and taking off! If given the choice of connecting with someone who commits vs. someone who is just like a flyer posted on a college billboard, I’ll do business with the first guy 100% of the time. So . . . What Should YOU Do? Research! Get out there and find those social networks that best match your interests and needs. Find those communities that foster connectivity, and focus on quality content, interaction, and serve your particular individualized needs. Then, create a presence and participate. The self-appointed, all-knowing gurus out there need to stop spreading the wrong message here. Anyone can create a profile, but only by committing to a select few, will you truly realize the full potential that real estate social networks have to offer. I do hope that BiggerPockets.com makes your real estate social network list! We focus on creating a quality, spam & pitch free environment, that allows real estate professionals, investors, and enthusiasts alike, to engage one another without fear. There aren’t stupid questions, and no one is better than anyone else. By focusing on these core philosophies, we’ve created what may not be the largest, but what I think is hand’s down, the highest quality social network in the space. If you haven’t already, stop by and see why the word is spreading! “Just because you’re present doesn’t mean that you’re present” – Me Here are a few other interesting reads that I thought would spin your wheels: Twitter, Facebook, Digg: Can You Join Too Many Networks? What Causes Social Network Fatigue (SNF)? Social Media Profiles. How Many Is Too Many? Thoughts?