By Jeremy Williams
Are you looking for a new way to drive traffic and generate leads? Are you working with a marketing budget that has been scaled back? What if I told you that you could do this for free with the exception of owning a computer, simple video building software and a YouTube account? While reading this blog post, feel free to reference my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/williams4yourhome as an example.
For my business, I use Microsoft Movie Maker software to build my videos. With this software you can import both video and still photos. Microsoft Movie Maker also gives you the ability to add slides, including both title and credits. For the most part I used still pictures in my video and essentially create a slideshow. Using Microsoft Movie Maker, you also have the ability to add music to the video and transitions. Once the video/slideshow is built, the newest version of Microsoft Movie Maker has a button to submit the video to your YouTube site. Of course you will need to have your account established with YouTube prior to this step.
Once your file has been submitted to YouTube, you will want to edit the video by adding keywords to the title, a description including the keywords you used for the title, and tags that reflect both the keywords used in the title and the description. Using this keyword method will help your video be found in the search engines by potential customers. Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk
Unlike the old playground version of Foursquare, when you had to keep the ball within boundaries, the online/mobile version actually encourages you to venture out and explore new areas and venues…oh, and meet new people.
Foursquare gives you points for every “check-in” you make, and gives you more points for new venues. You also can collect badges, for example: “Super User” for checking in at 50 different venues, “Local” if you check-in to the same place three times in one week, and even a “Crunked” badge for checking-in to four different venues in one night (yes, I have one…call me a social butterfly if you must).
While entertaining to keep track of your friends (i.e. stalk, let’s be honest), the real reason I got hooked on it was when I heard the founder, Dennis Crowley, at Inman Connect in New York talk about the marketing implications of check-ins. For areas that allow billboards, think of the demographic information they can collect when they want to target a certain area for a particular product – they have thousands of check-ins and user information (male/female, age, etc. etc.) to base their decisions on where to spend their marketing dollars.
So how can Foursquare help your real estate business? Continue reading »
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 Brian Copeland
I’m consistently reminded by my peers “you’re online too much,” “you can’t possibly get any work done,” or “you must not have a life to do what all you do.” Every time, my blood boils inside, and I find myself breathing harder to calm down and smile kindly. My response is then, “Yeah, I manage,” then I simply shut up.
What most of my fellow-market-REALTORS® don’t know is that while they are paying $0.25 to $0.45 for postage, spending hours of time fishing in an abyss of non-measurables and spending hours chasing potential, I’m sitting back every day with free leads coming through my door with no money spent and minimal hours worked. Why? I know how to capture my bloggable moments.
Posterous, iPhones, and quick boot laptops have made our efficiency soar in the recent years. I can work any time in those gaps in my days. What are the bloggable moments you are missing or not even noticing in your own business?
Being chauffeured. I’m writing this entry while riding in a shuttle from a Canadian airport. While not all of us travel a lot, if you’re stomach can handle it, you’ve likely got a 30 minute ride when you arrive somewhere on business. Turn that idle time into productivity.
Waiting on healthcare. Doctors, pharmacies, and health providers are notorious for being behind schedule. If you simply plan ahead to bring a keyboard device, you can turn that inconvenience into a victory. You don’t Internet connection there? Big deal. Open a Word (or like product) document and start typing. The joy of the cut and copy lives forever. Continue reading »
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 Stefanie Hahn
I am a Google Gal to the core. I love *most* things Google. Needless to say, I was excited when I heard about the possibilities of Google Buzz, the new micro-blogging tool to come from Google HQ. In the weeks leading up to its launch the rumor on the street was that Google Buzz could kill Facebook and Twitter and gain top-level market share very quickly. Kill Facebook and Twitter? Wow. That’s big news in my little geek world.
At first glance Buzz looks and feels like FriendFeed, another micro-blogging tool recently acquired by Facebook. From what I can tell so far, the best parts of Buzz are that I am not held to 140 characters, I can upload a photo directly on my Buzz page, I am able to add links without requiring the use of a URL shortener and my followers’ comments on a post are attached to that post and displayed underneath. I can also “like” a post.
By highlighting these strengths in Buzz I know it sounds as if I am bashing twitter. Okay, the character thing is what makes twitter. I get that part. But twitter also needs a ton of upgrades on the user experience side of things – as can be seen just in the number of third party apps that are out there to make the experience better.
Getting back to Buzz, though, I can already tell after a few weeks that there are a few things I don’t love. Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
For a very long time I hated Twitter. Hated it. I hated that I felt like I was broadcasting my life to people I didn’t know. I hated the amount of DMs (direct messages) I received from porn stars, perverts and others trying to sell me SEO tricks and the like. I hated the cumbersome search to find people that I was interested in following, and I am not a fan of a “these people are cool so follow them” list. Most of all, I hated that actually using twitter.com to manage your Twitter account basically sucked.
But my part of my job is to get out there and try these tools and then advise my agents – so I gave Twitter a fair shake… I thought. By the time RE BarCamp Philadelphia rolled around last May, I had broken up with Twitter and moved back in with FriendFeed. If you ever attended a BarCamp you know – your Twitter handle is almost more important than the name on your badge. I attended a session with the TwitterQueens @LesleyLambert, @HeyAmaretto and @MayaREguru and learned more about Twitter in 45 minutes than I could have ever imagined. I felt left out afterward and I decided to give Twitter another chance. This time around, I broadcasted less and shared more. I learned the unwritten rules of the retweet, the hashtag and other Twitter tweaks and tricks.
Still, I found Twitter to be dull. A necessary evil at this point, but not something I enjoyed. I continued to teach our agents about Twitter and the various ways they could use it for their business, but I’m not sure too many of them bought it, because really, I didn’t buy it.
I can’t say exactly it happened, but something suddenly clicked into place for me and Twitter. In the last 6 months or so, I have learned to tolerate Twitter and even (shhh ….) enjoy it. Why? This part is easy – connection. I was craving connection but broadcasting instead. Once I started actually connecting with people on Twitter and building real relationships – I got it. Finally reaching out to others and putting myself out there allowed me to make real connections.
Initially, I would reach out via DM – a private “hello, how are you?” to someone, and then connect by way of the @username mention. There is nothing cooler than meeting someone in person that you have connected with online in a meaningful way. It’s like running into an old friend that you never met. Twitter has widened my business and my social circles – I have connected with agents on Twitter that I might never have met offline, real estate and technology trainers from all over the place and even made a few friends along the way. I teach my agents that want to use Twitter for their business to find and follow the locals, connect and build relationships and attend or host Tweet-ups to achieve that IRL (in real life) interaction with folks using Twitter.
And Twitter – the twitter.com, I mean – has improved along the way, too. Now I can create and follow lists, a feature I love as a list-person. I can search and even save my searches from right on the homepage. Even the Twitter spam reporting is easier now. That said, I still use TweetDeck to manage my Twitter account(s).
Twitter is not for everyone, I know that… and I’m still not in love with Twitter. But I get it now.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
By Nobu Hata
I was just getting used to the concept of sharing my Facebook status with folks other than my family and friends when Twitter came along a couple years back.
Then came 2009; the year of the citizen journalist; the year near-instantaneous sharing of events, pictures, and Web-links with your friends/family/clients/anyone in general became the new norm. It was the year Twitter went from being a “thing” to a verb, akin to Facebooking and Googling. It was the year Twitter broke into mainstream use, and it’s not looking back.
On deck for 2010? With the recent proclamation of Foursquare.com as the “Next Big Thing,” the broadening use of social media outlets as an initial consumer search tool, the recent additions of Twitter “tweets” and Facebook “status updates” in Google/Bing search returns and the expectation of the new-consumers’ need for immediate communiques, it’s clear: the time is now for the use of real-time, hyper-localized use of social media as a business tool.
Essentially, what you did/saw/read today isn’t as relevant anymore as what you ARE and WILL BE doing/seeing/perusing right now, and it’s that concept that will rule in 2010. Foursquare (for example) linked to Twitter and Facebook helps you share just that. So, how else will we need to address this new mind-set shift?
Empower yourself. Get to know how the newbies Foursquare and Gowalla – upstarts that are driving this new real-time/hyper localized mentality — work. Learn how they integrate with your Twitter and Facebook profiles on both your laptop and mobile phone, it’s literally as simple as starting an account. It’s the power of these updates that will rule this new social media landscape.
Real-time relevant content. Content is still king, and relevancy of that content goes hand in hand with it. Become the “Mayor,” a la Foursquare, of your open house and link it to Facebook status updates. Rave about a new listing you previewed on Twitter and Gowalla and link it to your Facebook Fan Page. Become a neighborhood specialist by touting the newest restaurant or shop by “checking in” and giving a shoutout while there — better yet, partner with that business and raise the presence of both yours and theirs online. Add a Twitter feed (perhaps one comprised strictly of new listings once active, complete with hashtags?) to your website and link it all together for SEO happiness. The development of these tools opens a world of opportunity to reach our to friends, fans, and peers in real-time.
Don’t panic. Many of the SM rules still apply: know your audience/demographic, determine the all-important type of message and frequency of broadcasting that will apply to them, then follow through. Treat it like an old-fashioned marketing campaign — seriously! — and don’t over-complicate it.
Be mindful of the noise you’re making. Unless your friends, fans, clients, and prospects like hearing about your real estate biz 24/7, (chances are, they won’t) don’t over-do it. While, there’s no better CRM tool than social-media, listening, interacting, and watching for behavior change is going to be the best way to use these tools. If not, we better start watching for the “Death Knell of SM as a Business Tool” as the next big thing in 2011.
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
You work hard to add content to your blog so why not allow all that great content to be shared to the masses. Two of the biggest social media platforms right now are Facebook and Twitter. Millions have chosen to get connected whether socially or for business networking purposes. Sharing your blog with Facebook and Twitter users is easy with just some simple html.
First you will want to create jpg buttons containing the following text: Share on Facebook, retweet, and tweet this. You will want to save these buttons on a site like Flickr or Photobucket so that the image will have an http reference. Once you have the buttons created you can copy and paste them into your blog. For this exercise you can reference my blog at www.activerain.com/blogs/williams4yourhome.
Now you will need to make the buttons in your blog a link to carry out the specific actions. Here is the html for each action that allows content to be shared with Facebook and Twitter users.
Share on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=”link of blog post to be shared”
Retweet – http://twitter.com/home?status=RT%”link of blog post to Retweet”
tweet this – http://twitter.com/home?status=”link of blog post to tweet”
Allowing your blog content to be easily shared among Facebook and Twitter users is a powerful way to reach the masses. The more informative or interesting the blog post, the more likely people that read will share it among their Facebook friends and Twitter groups. Gain exposure through this viral means of social media marketing. More exposure allows for opportunities to develop relationships, which can lead to developing potential home buying and home selling clients. Start sharing…
Jeremy Williams of Keller Williams Realty NE in Kingwood, Texas specializes in the residential real estate market of Kingwood, Atascocita, and Humble, Texas. Visit his Web site at www.williams4yourhome.com.