By Toby Boyce
Let me start with this: I don’t work and am not receiving any money for this post – unless Google offers it. And to be honest, I have labored against the “mighty one” for years. But here we sit in 2010 and my mind has started to wonder about where the “G” will take the world next.
There have been hushed whispers – and some not so hushed – about Google’s plans and how they are going to impact the real estate market.
The world-wide mega-mart one-stop super MLS? Huh? What? Sorry, I wasn’t going there.
The evolution of social media is in the location-based technologies. Foursquare is supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread in 2010. Then why is it that when I’m sitting in Columbus, Ohio, there are only a handful of updates coming through my stream? Ahh, they’re on Yelp right? Hmm … no.
So where are they doing their location based searches. That’s right. Google Maps.
On June 21, I created a Google Map for my DelawareOH365.com travel site for all that happens in Delaware County. As I write this early in the morning on July 17, that single Google Map has recorded more than 8,000 map views. And I’m the only one posting information – and sporadically, I’ll admit – to the site. What if I opened this up to all residents – or fans – of Delaware County to share their favorite points throughout the county? Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
I’ve been teaching quite a few Twitter classes lately. I’m not sure if it is because I continue to push Twitter as a social-media-piece-of-cake or if agents are just starting to come around to micro-blogging and the benefits it can bring to their business. I imagine it has more to do with the fact that they are seeing, “follow me on Twitter” everywhere under the sun…and that’s okay, too.
I understand that Twitter is not for everyone – quite frankly, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole thing as well. I have come to realize, however, that Twitter has helped me professionally. How? I am now connected with real estate and social media trainers from all over the country – all of whom I can reach out to over the medium. I have met and befriended agents from all over the U.S. and abroad from whom I have learned more than I ever imagined. As a bonus, I have made new friends locally – something I wasn’t exactly expecting, and my mother is so happy she can now follow me and know what I am doing between those overdue phone calls. Finally, (since it is the metric agents always measure) I have even received a few referrals as a result of my work with Twitter.
If you are thinking about jumping into the deep end of the Twitter pool, listen first. Go to twitter.com and lurk there a bit. Try out the search box – type in “real estate,” your local market area, or anything else you are interested in reading about on Twitter and just follow along.
You don’t have to have a twitter account to see an unprotected twitter feed. Go ahead, lurk … http://twitter.com/ypn you can read all of the posts by the poster (in this case YPN) without ever logging into Twitter.
Finally, learn – even if you’re just going to lurk, you need to know some of the lingo. Here are a few key phrases: Continue reading »
By Jeremy Williams
Like all marketing in any business, especially as a practitioner working within a competitive market, your marketing must be effective. One of the most important factors in marketing, as a REALTOR(R), is visibility. It amazes me that so many agents have Twitter accounts, but they have not taken the time to advertise that they utilize Twitter on either their Web site or blog.
Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that can be used to communicate information relevant to listings, services offered or market information to real estate practitioners and the general public. Notice I have in the sidebar of my blog a widget with my Twitter feed (see http://ne-houston-real-estate.williams4yourhome.com). The Twitter feed on my blog serves two purposes. First, it notifies visitors to my blog that I have a Twitter account. If a visitor to my site clicked on anything within the feed, they would be taken to the Twitter site and if they have an account click to “follow.” Second, the Twitter feed showcases my latest Tweets with pertinent information tying back into my listings, services offered and market information. Twitter is a powerful marketing and networking tool if used properly. You might Google “Twitter etiquette” as that can be a whole separate topic.
Here is how to add a Twitter feed to your blog or Web site: 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 Brian Copeland
I recently attended a conference. I had six straight days of travel and one tiny bag to take me on the multiple city flights; so, I had no room for anything extra. At the end of each day, I found myself swimming in “SeatSPAM.” It wasn’t in my e-mail box, my Facebook inbox, or even my Twitter DM area. It was all over my chair, on the limited table space I had and EVEN sitting on my Mac keyboard after a bathroom break.
SeatSPAM is the tiny paper rulers, tons of cards, note pads and standard sheet fliers that are littered throughout almost every conference we all attend.
I know we have a comments section on this blog, so I really need your help. I simply do NOT understand. Here’s the picture. Every single table after the conference sat full of the SeatSPAM at the end of the day, the floor space below the tables were littered and the trash can audit revealed the death of an entire forest in rural America. Now, to make it even more confusing, every conference attendee’s information was clearly on the website, the social media sites, and even in a Google group.
Why do we feel so compelled to litter each other with our “crap?” I understand business cards, and I need to do better about carrying them. Shame on me!
When I arrived in New York City for Inman this week, I “came out” to a few friends about my disgust and lack of understand of this practice, and they agreed. It’s intriguing that as I audit the SeatSPAM, the average age of the culprits have an average age of roughly 48 to 60. At Inman, where the average age is easily in the mid-thirties, the only SeatSPAM you get is from the sponsoring vendor or conference owner. At max, I only received three pieces at Inman. Hmm?
YPNs obviously tend to stray from this practice, but if you are following anyone who participates in this practice, consider the actions you can complete to green-up your real-life conference networking experience.
1. Have your contact card complete on your Smartphone, including your photo with your city Photoshopped across the bottom.
2. Encourage the conference coordinator/speakers to create downloadable PDFs with all attendees info, as permitted.
3. Download the iPhone App “ForgetMeNot” to help you remember who you met, when and where.
4. Create moo mini business cards made from recycled paper with a personalized photo from Flickr of your city as your one hand-out. http://bit.ly/3ADeh5
5. Start a Twitter hastag for your event and spread the word to use them. Keep the discussion flowing.
6. Get on “foursquare” and network before, during and after while having some digital fun.
7. Get a MiFi, name your connection the equivalent to “@NashvilleBrian’s Free Connection.” When people open their phones and laptops, they’ll see you have connection available, free for them and grab a marketing opportunity.
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 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 Stefanie Hahn
Hashtags are everywhere on the Web right now.
During last week’s RE BarCamp Atlantic City and the Triple Play 2009 REALTOR® Convention and Trade Expo, anyone in attendance could follow along and get messages via the virtual map created by the #REBCAC and #TP09 hashtags. Attendees, presenters, and vendors were using these hashtags when posting information, photos, and videos online so that even those who were not in attendance could follow along. The #TP09 hashtag offered (and continues to offer) a view inside the conference — with bits of info from those tweeting about their class, sharing photos from the different events and video from the convention floor, or just offering up their PowerPoint slide deck for the benefit of the group. As the old saying goes… information is everywhere, you just need to know where to look.
Hashtags are a beautiful thing. So, what exactly are they?
Well, if you blog, you tag your post with certain words that identify what your post is all about. Hashtags work in much the same way. When you tweet about something, you can use a hashtag to tie your update to others that share the same tag. For example, if I were to tweet something the presenter said in my Triple Play class that I thought was truly great and must be shared – I could use the #TP09 hashtag to tie my single tweet to those of all the other Triple Play folks.
Not on Twitter? Not a problem! Go to http://search.twitter.com/ to see the posts and get an idea of what you missed. The hashtag also allows me to tag my photos and videos from the event when I upload them to my photo and video sites.
Hashtags can be used for any topic. Find out what hashtags are trending at http://hashtags.org/.
Most of you are familiar with tagging from your social networking on Facebook, where you can be tagged in a photo, video or note. This tag works in much the same way, the person tagging you is associating you with the post.
You can also geo-tag a post — adding geographical information to your update, photo or video. Geo-tagging shows the location of your post. In late November, Twitter enabled geo-location functionality – go to Settings, then on the Account tab, click on the “Enable Geo-tagging.” This will only work with third-party applications and not on twitter.com itself.
So, can’t make it to the next big real estate conference or RE BarCamp? Just follow the tags! You will be amazed at what you can learn.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.