In a real estate landscape where technology reigns, agents today must master social media as a tool in marketing their businesses and listings.

The days of placing ads in a newspaper to attract potential clients looking for properties for sale or coming the telephone directory for an agent are long gone. Spurred by younger buyers, most potential clients today start their search for a new home or property online.

Kent Clothier, founder and CEO of Real Estate Worldwide, wrote in Forbes that it is key for real estate agents to use social media in marketing their businesses and listings.

“And while any realtor can open a Facebook or Instagram account, it’s not always as clear how to use social media as a tool to send the right message to the right people at the right time,” he said.

Clothier noted that the key things all agents must do include posting photos on Instagram to generate leads; have a presence on Facebook; tweet to promote listings; make a mark on LinkedIn; be hands-on in the management of social media accounts; use more videos and photos; and measure social media metrics.

According to Clothier, Facebook is the king of social media.  It has more than 2 billion users around the world. He said he relies on the 80/20 rule with his updates, with 80 percent of his posts customer-centric and 20 percent about the business.

While Twitter is not as widely used as Facebook, agents can still take advantage of the social media platform.

“The challenge here is crafting a Twitter timeline that resonates with buyers and aids in lead generation,” Clothier noted.

Tweeting in volume will boost an agent’s exposure. More tweets can equate to more leads.

However, for professional networking, LinkedIn is the top platform. While it has fewer users than Facebook, it has a solid marketing and engagement system that can benefit agents. It offers group discussion boards, private messaging and blogging.

Moreover, as agents develop a social media presence, it is vital to post consistently and strategically.

Sharing video clips and images can help boost the engagement level that an agent has online.

Finally, it is important to track social media metrics to gauge what is working and what isn’t.

According to Collin McDowell, a real estate leader and marketing guru, agents who remain discontent with social media or refuse to learn and grow with the social community do so at their own professional peril. They may lose on the customers who were once their sweet spots.

Those customers run to the people who are connecting their companies’ messages with those who are looking and participating in the active world of social media,” he told Forbes.

As an agent, if you stop thinking like a marketer and start thinking like a customer, you will begin to understand the secret to social media is in the “social” more than in the “media.”