As a real estate investor or professional, you should know by now that Social Media is here to stay. You don’t absolutely need to implement Social Media to be successful in this business, but why start a fire by rubbing two sticks when you can use a matchbook and can of gasoline? Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Social Media for Real Estate I’m going to cover just one of the many ways that you can use Social Media to bolster your Real Estate business. And I’ll focus on… Twitter is a great micro-blogging network that allows you to interact with people of all types. I personally think of Twitter as a large party gathering where there are a plethora of conversations occurring at once and your welcome to butt in and join or you may just sit back, sip your patron, and take it all in while observing closely. However you look at it, Twitter can be utilized as a great asset for your business. But I wouldn’t encourage you to just blast your listings, open houses, etcetera. If you do that, nobody will care. Instead I would encourage you to engage in the Twitter community and contribute to it. When you start contributing, you’ll be surprised what you get in return. As not only will the leads eventually come, but you will also gain a substantial amount of insight as you stay abreast of real-time tweets. Tweet vs. Time To be effective at utilizing Twitter and any other Social Media platforms, you will need to dedicate time to make it worth your while. Since there is no set-and-forget solution to Social Media, there is no getting around this fact. However, those who are most successful maximize their resources available to them so that they can in turn maximize their assets. Shortly you will learn a technique to maximize your time spent with Social Media. Efficiently Engage To engage in Twitter, you should follow people and interact with those who share the same interests as you as a colleague or end-consumer or whatever else. A great way to interact is to “@ reply” your comments, questions, and thoughts to another Tweeter. Chances are they’ll return “@ reply” you and or maybe another Tweeter will. This is where your most valuable resource of time would normally be spent. Typically, you’d have to read and scour amongst random Tweets. Filtering all the tweets about how someone just ate oatmeal, got a parking ticket, hates Kanye West, and yada yada yada. Who cares, we want to talk/tweet about real estate and things that concern it right now. Tools to Automate There are two tools that I personally utilize to automate some aspects of Twitter. Those tools are Yahoo Pipes and Hootsuite. Yahoo Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web. Hootsuite is a multi-column user interface for Twitter that is by far the best desktop Twitter client that I have come across thus far. Tutorial Follow my lead and I’m going to show you how you can create another pair of eyes for yourself on Twitter. This second pair of eyes will allow you to “@ reply” and engage Tweeters who tweet about something very specific that’s of interest to you. For this example we’ll say that your interest lies in Self-Directed IRA‘s and you’d love to reply and engage with people who tweet about them. Step 1: Go to search.twitter.com and click on the “Advanced Search” link found underneath the search text-field. Here you can specify the terms of your search. For this example, “Self-Directed IRA” was entered into the “All of these words” search field. On the results page, you will click the “Feed for this Query” link and obtain the RSS link for your search. Step 2: Go to pipes.yahoo.com and create an account. You will need to clone the Pipe I created. Once you have the Pipe cloned you will need to manipulate it to your specifics by clicking on “Edit Source”. Below I’ll point out the areas that you can edit: Once you’ve customized the Pipe that I’ve made, you will need to click on the “Run Pipe” link found at the top of the page. You will then have the option to grab the RSS feed that is output by the Pipe. You can do so by clicking “Get as RSS”. *Due to the frequent overload status of Twitter (503 Service Unavailable), the Pipe feed will intermittently appear empty. Step 3: Go to www.hootsuite.com and sign-up for an account, if you don’t already have one. You of course will also need a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. At Hootsuite, you will need to click on the “Settings” button found in the lower-left corner. You will then click on the “RSS/Atom” tab followed by a click on the “Add New Feed” button. You will then paste in your Pipe RSS link and you can adjust certain settings to your liking, such as how often you want Hootsuite to check for new posts and how many “@ Reply” messages you want going out at once. The two aforementioned settings play a big part in setting you apart from a Twitter spammer. Nobody likes a spammer! You will need to adjust these in accordance with the popularity of your keyword terms used for your Twitter search RSS feed. For more popular keywords, set Hootsuite for less activity. For less popular keywords, set Hootsuite for more activity. Once you click “Save Feed”, you’re ready to go. Summary By implementing the steps outlined above, you will have created yourself some assistance for your Twitter activity. This technique can reduce your time spent scouring Twitter for useful tweets. It breaks the ice for you and once you have a conversation started you can override the auto-pilot controls and steer your way about Twitter as you wish. If you have any technical questions when implementing this strategy “@ reply” your question to me on Twitter. My name is @Schwaps I’d be happy to help you through.