By Jonathan Osman
I’m awestruck at those who have totally disregarded blogging and other forms of social media as a medium for generating business for themselves. For me, it’s thanks to social media that I’m still in the real estate business today.
Rewind four years ago: I hatched a great plan to move from Annapolis Md. to Charlotte N.C. OK, it wasn’t much of a plan. During a long holiday road trip I decided to sell to sell our house, asked my wife to find a new job, and to move to Charlotte — all in eight hours (Yes I’m impulsive). Four months later, mission accomplished.
In Annapolis, I had built my real estate business around helping friends and family. In Charlotte, I only knew other real estate agents and they didn’t need my help. To say I fell complete flat on my face in my first eight months in the Queen City is an understatement. The market was shifting, sales were slowing, and I was going broke faster than Gary Coleman. Add to that, I had entered a market totally new to me and I was desperately trying to build business in a new city. It was at that point I started blogging about real estate. A couple months later, buyers and sellers were seeking me out to help them.
Fast-forward to today: I have a small real estate group built from the business I continue to generate through blogging. In 2009, my group closed 28 transactions with clients who found us through our social media efforts. Almost all of them admitted that they knew of other agents but that the blog authenticated us as the real estate experts.
So I guess you can say I’m an unabashed social media cheerleader, and rightly so. After all, if it can save my real estate career, imagine what it can do for you.
Jonathan Osman is a broker and team leader of the Charlotte House Hunter Group with Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or his Web site CharlotteHouseHunter.com.
By Laura Rubinchuk
I ran headfirst into my way into my real estate career. Back then, things like Facebook were used to stay in touch with friends and family, not to subtly remind people that you’re in a referral-based business. Twitter was a new concept many people viewed as a waste of time and way for people to know what you were eating for breakfast, when you were walking the dog, or any other idle nonsense you felt like sharing with the world. Now, we see yet another way to engage with professionals, consumers, businesses, and your next potential client.
Social media has opened so many doors for me – friendships, business, even the opportunity to blog for the YPN lounge. It’s helping to change the way real estate is done. It’s changing things so much in fact, that I’ve been able to build my business on it.
I believe the industry as we know it is rapidly changing. I think we will soon see a rise in the number of under-30s taking over substantial amounts of market share. We’ve grown up with the same technology as our peers, so we understand the mentality and the communication methods. We’re just as antsy to reply to clients as they are to get a reply from us. The face of real estate will soon be much different than in years past.
I’m so excited about this opportunity to be a part of the YPN Lounge. It’s a platform for a fresh perspective on the industry, and I’m looking forward to contributing observations and thoughts.
By Travis Broadwater
I must apologize for my lack of commitment lately. Between prospecting for new clients and trying to keep my closings on track I just haven’t had time to fill you in on my day-to-day activities. I promise I can change, can you forgive me?
Now that I have taken care of the apologies, lets get to the point! I often find myself “blogging” great topics in my head, unfortunately I must admit, not even half make it to my laptop and ultimately to the internet where they belong. My problem lies in finding the time to actually sit down and just get to work.
Well this year I have finally decided to make blogging a priority as so many of you already have. In my “planning” I have made a list of three ideal times and places where I might be able to sneak a few paragraphs without effecting my day dramatically and I would like to share them with you. Continue reading »
By Brian Copeland
From Inman’s Real Estate Connect NYC‘s morning session on Internet marketing, Gothamist.com blogger-owner Jake Dobkin shares the following:
Steps to Success:
Step 1: Produce Good Content
Step 2: Tell The Right People
Step 3: Measure Results
Step 4: Repeat
Jake reports that the real estate industry usually drops the ball at step three. He says if your blog is not seeing ROI or results STOP immediately and do something else. Sometimes, there is brilliance in knowing when to stop hitting your head against the wall.
By Stefanie Hahn
What was hot online in 2009?
1. Google LOVES Facebook Fan Pages. Have you set one up for your real estate business? You should – trust me on this… no one wants to see your business on your personal Facebook page. Setting up a Fan Page is a fast and fun way to share your business information, listings, real estate news, blog posts, photos and more with people who want to see what you’re up to in the real estate world. Set up your page, start posting and begin gathering fans. You should post your listings, real estate news and information from reputable sources, interesting and informative blog posts – yours or someone else’s – local blogs would be best, and post photos and videos of your listings and the areas you work in everyday. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages and click on +Create Page to get started. You can build your page out before activating it for the Facebook universe. And this is so great – Facebook gives you some basic stats on your “fans” – click on the “Ads & Pages” icon on the lower left (next to Facebook Applications) when you are logged in to see your fan page statistics.
2. Are you taking video? Why not?!! YouTube was the second largest search engine this year. The second!!! You NEED to be shooting video right now. Good thing for you it’s so easy to do these days! Hopefully you put a Flip Video camera on your holiday wish list… the Flip cams are super easy to use and come with software that makes editing and posting online easy peasy. Also important… invest in a tripod. Please don’t make us queasy as we try to watch your listing video. In this case, practice really does make perfect. You can even practice at you own house. Play around until you feel comfortable, turn all of the lights on, speak loudly and clearly and move slower than you think you should. Shooting your video in segments is always a good idea – you can stitch the segments together while editing. Once you feel good about it, sign up for a free YouTube account and create your own channel!
3. Twitter exploded in 2009. Are you tweeting your listings and more? Twitter is a necessary evil. You should be on Twitter and tweeting three to four times a day about your business. Tweet your listings, links to all things real estate, what you are up too… Follow local people – many of the people you follow will follow you back if you seem interesting enough. Twitter can grow your online network insanely fast. Begin networking with locals that follow you on Twitter, consider attending local Tweetups in your area and take the online conversation offline at an alarming pace. Continue reading »
By Jessica Hickok, 2009 NAR Conference Blogger
They say that birds of a feather flock together. That is so true, especially here at the NAR Annual Conference and Expo currently taking place here in beautiful San Diego, California.
If you want to find out where the hot sessions are, where the go-getters, YPNers, and motivated agents are while at the conference then you need to follow them. Hang out with people who inspire you. Start by going to the NAR CRT Blogger’s Lounge located in room 7A of the Convention Center. There is free WI-FI! Go meet with people while you tap out your next blog post, upload your conference pics to Flickr or just check your e-mail.
While you’re there, talk to people about the sessions they are attending. Then get their Twitter name and follow them on Twitter for the rest of the conference. They will talk about where they are having lunch or what party they are attending later that evening. Then follow them and be where they are. These are your people! Flock together with them and find the encouragement and inspiration to keep you and your real estate business moving.
Didn’t make it out to the conference? Then live vicariously by watching the live Twitter stream. Go to http://search.twitter.com and put in the hashtag #nar09, #ypn or #nardiego. We’re a fun group, you’ll see!
Jessica Hickok, a self-proclaimed blogging and Twittering fanatic, is with Dizmang Properties in Springfield, Mo. Visit Jessica’s blog: www.jessicahickok.com.
By Brian Copeland, 2009 NAR Conference Blogger
Zero money was spent on ads. Zero information went out through overly official channels. Social media and organic communication lead more than 500 registrants to NAR’s first RE BarCamp held at Stingaree (a venue bar in the Gaslight District). The day kicked off with a whole lot of amazing networking.
I always worry about what I call “social media dissonance,” what you expect when you meet a person face-to-face after networking with them online for months/years. Needless to say, in 99 percent of the situations, the meeting exceeded my expectation. And, by the way, I’ll be hosting a RE BarCamp in Nashville, Tennessee in 2010…if Taylor Swift can win entertainer of the year for the CMAs, Nashville can pull this off!
Once everyone got oriented to how the day was to flow, a day of impromptu session, everyone gathered around several big dry erase boards to find out where they were going to spend the each of the 30 minute segments. Sessions centered around the social media theme and included video blogging, mobile apps, WordPress SEO, social media brand equity, blog content, legal issues in in social media and blogging, advanced Twitter, distressed sales/short sales and brokerage of the future, just to name a few of the 58 topics.
By Drew Burks. 2009 NAR Conference Blogger
Downtown San Diego had a special electricity in the air this morning. As I was pulling up to the Stingaree, location where RE BarCamp is being held, I immediately noticed small groups of people buzzing around. The energy was similar to small children waiting to open gifts on Christmas morning, anticipation and enthusiasm oozing from every person there.
It was a who’s who of the Social Media and Blogging world. One person commented to me that this was his first barcamp and what he immediately noticed was the positive attitude from everyone there. He was correct, there was no negative attitudes or haters.
Maybe it’s all the hard work put in by the volunteers or the beginning of a “movement” as Jim Marks stated in his opening comments, but I am not sure there was a better group of people in the world to be around than the group of people who were at RE BarCamp San Diego this morning.
That’s it for now…I gotta get back to the bar camp and learn more from all these great people.
By Jeremy Williams
Writing a successful blog does not just happen. Just like anything that is successful, planning is required. Winston Churchill said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Instead of worrying what to write, just focus on thinking and planning, then the subject matter will reveal itself.
I see many people start a blog, but over time they run out of things to write about to keep the interest of readers. These bloggers started without a plan. You loose the readers and soon you are just keeping a daily journal for yourself. Here are a few steps that will help you write a successful blog.
Identify your audience. Without a specified audience, you are writing to yourself. Are you writing to reach first-time home buyers? Or are you writing about how you can help someone sell their home quickly for the most money? Your writing needs to be specific to the intended audience to maximize the response of your efforts. Continue reading »
By Drew Burks
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogging …
I get asked this question all the time: “Can I really close more business using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a blog?”
The answer is YES!
I know that many are skeptical, so I interviewed quite a few REALTORS® to find out what their experience has been over the past year. The evidence is in…
But before we get to the results, I want to answer another question that I frequently get from REALTORS®: “Do I need to be active on all of these sites and how do they integrate with one another?”
The answer is YES!
We are experiencing a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and you need to be capable of communicating with the consumer via their preferred method if you want to survive in today’s business environment.
Your blog is the foundation of your online presence — the destination — and social network sites are like the roads and freeways leading back to your destination.
On to the results: