By Jonathan Osman
You are a professional now. You dress in business attire during the work week. You have a website that has every home listed in the MLS. Your carefully written bio makes you appear as you are the greatest agent to receive a license. You may even have a killer buyer and seller presentation. However, I would bet that the story being told by your Facebook page does not match your corporate image.
A few months back, I needed to send a referral to an agent in another city for a listing. I found a few good candidates and decided to google their names in an effort to locate their websites. When I did, I ran across one agent’s personal Facebook profile, ranked No. 1 in Google and her website was No. 45. By cruising through what was available to the public, I discovered that she enjoyed drinking from red plastic cups, college sports, and looked stunning in a bikini during a recent trip to Miami. Needless to say, she didn’t get the referral.
She’s probably very good at selling real estate and could have done a very good job. However, the image that her public Facebook profile portrayed of her did not match the values that my clients held. It would be the same as if she went on the listing appointment and said nothing but I enjoy drinking from red plastic cups, college sports, and look at these pictures of me in a bikini… can I list your home?
So how can you avoid this? First, use the privacy controls. Screen your photo gallery and organize your photos intended for your real friends into a list. Next, organize your friends in various lists depending on who they really are to you. Every one of my friends is apart of a list, from those I went to high school with, to the people I work with today. Every list controls the image of that I want to reveal to each group of people. Continue reading »
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 Nobu Hata
It’s amazing how far one SPAMer or MLMer can get just by friending a couple people on Facebook. We Facebook users glance at friend invites blindly accepting those with one or two commonalities, notably a common friend.
There was someone on my friends list who I will call “Kevin.”
We’re “friends” right? – And for that I commend you. It was an annoyance once realized, I hid your posts, ignored your request for me to join your group. I chose to keep you around to study your use of social media mostly to be sure that it was the wrong way to do it. That’s what “friends” are for, right?
But you hit up my wife on FB Kevin, asking how she was affiliated with “Minnesota Real Estate” just because she had become a fan of a real estate page of my peers. Then I found you had managed to befriend an actual friend of mine by scooping him up from my personal fan page. (He has no idea who you are, thought you were a friend of mine!) I fear that you’re doing that to EVERYONE on these pages and that isn’t acceptable to me, nor any of the folks running these pages.
You see, the term “friend” is loosely used nowadays with the widespread use of social media, but just because we have a couple common “friends” doesn’t mean they’re any “friend” of yours. What you did, trolling real estate fan pages and reaching out for some semblance of commonality with fellow “fans” in an effort to convert them to leads for your real estate scheme, is akin to SPAM. And using other practitioners’ legitimate, organically grown fan pages and pilfering their fans as a vehicle for your prospecting without permission is just plain wrong.
So in an effort to steer you back on track, I’ve got some pointers:
Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to sell any thing or services on personal pages, check out Facebook’s policy on personal pages for yourself. Start yourself a fan page to legitimately sell your real estate pyramid scheme. Drive people there through Twitter.
As you’re trolling Facebook looking for – ahem – prospects, please feel free to use other incorrectly used personal pages as a tool. You know which pages I mean: those with the posed-mug-shot as an avatar with the term “Real Estate guru” being used in every other sentence. Those guys will, most likely, have the same social media business practice as you do – ta da! – commonality.
Once you find a page to pilfer, do the decent thing and ask the page’s owner for permission to do so. Permission-based sales extends to other sales people too you know. How novel. Take my fan page for instance: If asked, I would’ve told you to take a long walk off a short pier before I’d ever let you or anyone solicit any of my fans, clients, or in this case family. Most practitioners would agree. You were able to wrangle an actual real-life friend of mine thinking you and I were real-life friends, that’ll end today.
As you find a prospect, take 5 minutes to read their wall. Believe me, those willing to accept your sales approach will say so in the information provided there. Take another 5 minutes to take it in, listening, as it were. That’s what you do in social media. If what they “say” doesn’t jive with your approach, don’t friend that person.
Really, I would ask that you drastically rethink what you’re doing. I don’t want you and I to get involved in any potentially sticky representation issues. Plus practices like this are the reason why many see social media and sales is akin to SPAM and sales, so please stop ruining this for those of us trying to do the former, ok? I would ask you over for a beer to chat about this, but I don’t think we’re that close. Right?
Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis, and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros. Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.
By Jeremy Williams
Depending on which real estate company you are currently operating with, there is one truth that you probably have heard expressed over and over: Lead generation is the key to a successful real estate business. Without generation, the well can dry up and the next thing you know your scrambling to find that next client.
Methods of lead generation can include farming a geographic area, prospecting a sphere of influence, pop-bys, open houses, and many other tried and true methods. With the influence of rapidly progressing technology, new methods are developing that might be outside the traditional methods of lead generation.
One of the methods at the front of the industry currently is the use of Facebook, specifically Facebook fan pages. Lead generation will always have better results when you have a connection with that person. Facebook is a tool that allows you to develop and nurture that connection. Utilizing this tool properly not only will you strengthen relationships both new and old, but you will soon realize new business opportunities to keep your lead well from drying up. Continue reading »