3 Essential Steps To Building a Large and Loyal Twitter Following

As an realtor marketing on the internet, you cannot afford to ignore the power of social media. Several social sites have emerged as dominant, and Twitter is certainly one of the

Twitter success for realtors leaders. Its only real competition is Facebook, and these sites are quite different so there’s room for both. You should certainly be a on Twitter if you’re trying to expand your online presence. It’s not enough to simply join Twitter, though- you also need to build up a following. But followers won’t just flock to you automatically -you have to know how to attract them. Here are three essential useful ways to do it: Continue reading

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Realtors Planning for Social Media-Generated Growth

As a realtor you have surely heard about the promise of great rewards social media can bring. These promises have enticed thousands of realtors into the ocean of social media networking with minimal, if any, planning. But imagine for a moment if your social media activities delivered even half of the promised potential. How would you manage this social media-generated growth??

What Social Media Success in Property Industry Looks Like

The picture of you being a dominant realtor in your chosen market might look something like this:

  • you have a steady stream of leads being delivered from multiple online channels;
  • you enjoy a high conversion rate of leads to listings because of the additional strategies and exposure you can offer as a result of your social network;
  • your average selling time is less than other agents because of systems you have in place to tap into your extensive network.

If you believe the promise of social media, this picture is possible because of a successfully integrated and implemented social media strategy which may consist of these things:

  • two or three vibrant and dynamic Facebook pages that target different communities;
  • hundreds of followers on Twitter;
  • an automated email series sent to tightly focused target audiences;
  • a vibrant Youtube channel;
  • a high-traffic blog that drives visitors to your corporate website.

As great as these two pictures are, they are very hard to maintain at the same time. This is because as your social media activities drive more business to your door, you will naturally have less time to spend on maintaining the social media channels the brought you the extra real estate business in the first place. After all, you’ll be too busy following up more leads, signing up more listings and selling more properties.

Unplanned growth in Real Estate business can cause its own set of problems

Don’t let the growth of your real estate business be a burden.

The logical next step to this situation is to see your social media network suffer from neglect – or you suffer a physical and mental breakdown, whichever comes first.

How realtors can prepare for social media-generated growth

But seriously, while business growth is always welcome, unexpected or unplanned growth brings its own set of problems. One way to avoid these problems is to imagine what a successful business model will look like for you and ask yourself, “What systems or people will I need to support that model?”

If your picture of a successful business model is similar to the ones described earlier, it will be clear that there will come a time when you will need to delegate or outsource the activities that don’t have to be specifically done by you. The time to start preparing for that day is now.

The three steps offered below will allow you to ensure the foundations are in place to better cope with the business growth you desire.

  1. Take an audit of the social media activities you currently undertake. Categorise these activities into a) what you MUST do your self (Me), b) what you could delegate to an employee, and c) what you could outsource to a contractor. At this point don’t concern yourself with the cost of outsourcing and delegation. It will be more than covered by the growth in business.
  2. Writing down systems you use to fulfil your social media obligations. Just by doing this step you will be bringing the days of real estate domination closer because you will be actively looking for more efficient ways of doing things. These step-by-step systems can be then handed to others to complete for you. You may even find there are some steps within a longer process that can be delegated (e.g. the editing and uploading of a testimonial only you can record.)
  3. Set-up a specific email for your social media activities. I recommend a Gmail account because you will be signing up to various Google services which other people will need to have access to and the same Gmail login will be used by these. You will also access other third-party services and all of these will require an email address for registration so it is better to keep your personal and/or professional email detached from these.

Take these simple steps and you will be adopting a more business-like attitude to your social media activities that keep your goals in mind. This means taking a systematic rather than ad-hoc approach so you are best place to change gears and adapt to the increased demands of your core real estate business while making sure your domination of your real estate market isn’t just a passing phase.

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Is Twitter relevant for Realtors?

As we will see, Twitter is relevant for realtors seeking to widen their profile and extend their influence. But, to be honest, of all the social media platforms looking for our attention, Twitter is probably the one that least excites realtors as a marketing tool.

After all, what can be meaningfully said in only 140 characters? Still,It’s true the early years of Twitter did tilt towards inane updates like “I’m having a refreshing ice coffee by the beach” or “My train is running 15 minutes late.” Over recent years, though, the Twitter platform has matured into a legitimate and powerful networking tool. Now that it has passed the 300 million registered users mark it is certainly a mainstream social networking platform with daily tweets more than double daily facebook updates. Statistics also reveal that over 50% of users engage with Twitter at least once a day and 24% check in multiple times a day. Although these all equate to staggering numbers and I’m sure you just want to know, what can it do for me?

Continue reading

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Should Real Estate SEO Efforts Be Directed To Website or Blog?

Business Week Power of Blog CoverOne of the most common topics I see in real estate forums concerns Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for realtor websites. It is of course true that SEO is important to any business seeking an online presence for the basic purpose of being found. Sadly, I detect in these discussions that “being found” through perfect real estate SEO is the digital equivalent of a yellow pages ad in the real estate section that is bigger than all of your competitors.

The thing is, many of your potential clients are doing their pre-buy/sell research (usually online) well-before they get in touch with an agent. You want to begin interacting with these future clients as quickly as possible. And that is where the real estate blog significantly outperforms the corporate website. Continue reading

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Is Yours a Real Estate Website or Blog?

I am prompted to write this post because there is common misperception amongst agents that a Real Estate website and blog are interchangeable terms. Now, I know that a blog is, technically speaking a website. The reality is, however, that both these mediums serve specific purposes and functions. As a result, visitors to each site have different expectations and needs.

Differentiating between a corporate real estate website and real estate blog

Certainly, some of the confusion comes from the blurring of boundaries between blogs and what I will call corporate websites. By this I mean as blogs have become more sophisticated they look more and more like flashy corporate websites. The fact that blogs are so much easier to maintain and develop, it is no wonder that so many realtors have adopted a blogging platform as the bones of their corporate website. But don’t let appearances fool you. Continue reading

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Five Worst Mistakes Real Estate Blogs Make

I was participating in a real estate forum recently, when I came across one new thread that boldly asked, “Blogs, are they a waste of time?” Immediately I recognised this question as one being contemplated on a daily basis in the minds of many realtors and that it related to the contradiction between what all the online real estate marketing experts say that a blog is essential and the experienced reality of real estate blog owners who see little in the way of new leads coming from them.

A Good Real Estate Blog Is Hard To Find

At the time I happened to be putting together one of the initial blogging lessons for the Listing Engine Program and I needed to find really good examples of real estate blogs to illustrate the essential features of those that followed best practice. Well, this was certainly easier said than done and it made crystal clear to me that, based on me looking at dozens of blogs, around 80% to 90% are indeed wasting their time with the blogging efforts. This is not because blogging itself is a waste of time, it is because realtors themselves are not applying best practice principles.

Now that may sound harsh, but it would be more cruel to watch hard working agents squander their limited time building a real estate blog that doesn’t meet their objectives – and may, in fact, turn off those few people that stumble upon it because it doesn’t measure up to their observations. Here are the biggest and most frequent mistakes I’ve seen in realtor blogs:

Mistake 1. Unclear understanding of a blog’s purpose or intended audience.

I have ranked this is number one because so many of the other errors stem from this basic misunderstanding. Many, if not most, realtors treat their blogs as a platform to sell themselves or get an SEO bounce to their website. Instead the focus needs to be on answering specific questions or solving problems of people in or about to enter the housing market – as either buyers or sellers. Do this and the other benefits from a real este blog will follow. Continue reading

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Why realtors on Facebook should not give up.

Facebook and Realtors: A Match Made in Heaven?

Facebook is, without doubt, the flagship of social media in this era, and realtors were amongst the first professional service providers to jump aboard. Its phenomenal rise since forming in 2004 is legendary and placed the concept of social networking front-and-centre in the eyes of forward-thinking businesses and service providers. It wasn’t long before real estate brokers heard it was ESSENTIAL to have a Facebook profile. This is reflected by my specially commissioned survey, which found 91% of realtors on Facebook with at least  a personal account. So, that was the hype. But like so many new paradigm-shifting developments, after the hype comes the disillusionment. Despite this significant penetration of brokers into Facebook, the same survey revealed that only 21% of brokers felt their social media efforts have helped secure listings.  It seems only some realtors on Facebook have been able to crack the code to make it work as lead-generating platform.

These numbers reinforce why I often talk about social media being both a blessing and a curse, and Facebook is the perfect example. The blessing rests with the fact that its potential positive impact on business is huge while being super easy to set up and free. You can bet if it was expensive and hard to get onto Facebook, people wouldn’t be jumping on board without a plan.

The curse comes after the easy and free setup because you’re now faced with the burden of filling it with content and attracting fans. What was free in terms of dollars and cents now ends up costing a sizeable chunk of time to avoid it having a possible negative impact on your business because Facebook users who check you out as a potential broker are left unimpressed by a poorly conceived or maintained Facebook page.

Objectives of a Realtor’s Facebook Page

Of the six goals the Real Estate Listing Engine is directed towards, a successful Facebook strategy are best geared toward accomplishing these four:

  1. Generate more leads
  2. Win more listings
  3. Enhance your credibility
  4. Expand your profile

The Successful Mindset of Top-Performing Realtors on Facebook

  1. The secret to success for realtors  on Facebook is to recognise it as community space rather than a branding opportunity for you or your brokerage. Branding and sales belong to your website where leads will eventually end up after engaging with you on a social media platform like Facebook.Mindset diagram for Realtors on Facebook
  2. The essential qualities to achieving top-performing broker status are to be a recognised, trusted, and credible member of your community. Increasing people’s perception of you having these important qualities comes NOT from selling yourself, but by participating in your community in a meaningful, honest and willing way. Of all the social media platforms we look at, a realtor on Facebook who is willing to engage in a meaningful way with their community is most likely to the best at enhancing these qualities in the eyes of your target market.
  3. Create your own community or communities. Provide a valuable and valued service to different groups in your community and they will have you top of mind when they have a need to sell their home down the track.

So instead of giving up on Facebook, many (if not most) realtors will need to take a fresh look at the platform and its potential. To start with, you will need to answer the question:

How do I ensure my participation in Facebook supports my objectives as a realtor?

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Infographic Showing Realtor Attitudes to Social Media

Click On Image to See Larger VersionRealtor attitudes to Social Media Infographic

Click Image to see larger versio

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Realtor Attitudes To Social Media

We can at last reveal the results of a recently completed survey into the attitudes held by real estate agents and agency executives towards social media marketing.In total, 80 realtors from three modern, western and English-speaking countries were telephoned and surveyed.

Click image segment to view full infographic in new windowSee here for full Realtor Attitudes to Social Media infographic

Certainly this drive is resulting in a gradual change in behaviour. Already, 63.6% of real estate executives surveyed have stated they have either stopped or reduced their print media advertising – and this at a time when (in the last three years) 50% have increased and 36% have maintained their marketing budget. This begs the question: where is the extra money (that is not being spent on print advertising) being directed?

While a little over half the respondents to the survey being real estate executives, one question was directed specifically to brokers: they were asked: “Do you promote yourself professionally on social media networks independently from the agency you work in?” In one of the biggest surprises of the survey is that 83% of agents admitted they did act independently. And yet, in a related question to executives, it was thought by 68% of managers that “less than 50%” of their brokers promoted themselves independently from their agency. This reveals a gap between perception and reality among real estate executives; a gap that is perhaps partly explained by the next finding.

86% of the executive respondents said their real estate marketing activities did include social media. Yet in another question exactly zero executives stated they DID NOT engage in any social networking sites for what was called “professional reasons.” This puzzling difference indicates there is a percentage of brokers who don’t see their professional networking on sites like Linked In as being part of their “real estate marketing activities.”

It appears that the networking on Linked In (which 90% of executives say they currently use) is not always considered social marketing. This is a shame because successful social marketing IS networking and involves engaging on multiple platforms in order to interact with clients and potential leads where they feel comfortable hanging out online.

What do you think about these statistics? Do they seem to match up with your perception of attitudes out there?

See here for full Realtor Attitudes to Social Media infographic

 

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Goal Setting Your Way To Socal Media Success

Whenever we enter a new year, realtors, like many professionals, often take a few moments to reflect on the year that has past and set goals for the year to come. Are you one of the many who have put mastering social media on top of your “to-do” list. I pose this question at the time of the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”: a term I hate because it implies that the actions or changes in behavior we consider necessary require a simple change in date to make happen. It is not as if all the barriers to inaction (whether real or imagined) are going to suddenly disappear to free up time and energy so you can achieve long-held goals or ambitions.

Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are generally recipes for starting the year with a failure because at least two things are lacking: 1. a clear set of goals, and 2. a logical and realistic pathway to achieve those goals. Both the goals and the pathway need to be realistic in terms of your personal and professional circumstances. I don’t mean to imply that goals should be set low. Setting goals high present you with a stimulating challenge are important and the pathway you create requires the breaking down of that goal into smaller, achievable goals. To me, the often-repeated quote by Anthony Robbins,

“we often over-estimate what can be achieved in one year, but under-estimate what can be achieved in ten”

says much about the high failure rate of New Year’s resolutions. Think about the positive changes your life has seen in the last ten years: the progress, the successes, the joys, and ask yourself how much of that was predictable ten years ago.

If we now take Robbins’ quote and apply it to the goal setting of the typical realtor seeking to master social media networking to generate more property listings, we might paraphrase it to say: “we often over-estimate what can be achieved in one week, but under-estimate what can be achieved in one year.” The fact that you’re reading this post lets me feel comfortable in  making the bold prediction that you will join thousands of other realtors around the world resolving to get better at, and more involved in, social media to generate more listings and faster property sales. I feel confident in saying that because all major sources of research into small business intentions with regards to internet marketing point one way: more resources and engagement with social media. (See here for some statistics on internet marketing intentions).

Well, sorry to say this, but “to get better at, and more involved in, social media…” isn’t a clear goal; nor does it offer a logical and realistic pathway to achievement.

The best chance of dominating your local real estate market through social media networking require 1. sitting down and writing your goals and 2. mapping out a pathway to achieve them. To accomplish the second part effectively, it worth noting some general principles concerning the way we learn (and these principles are supported by the highly-regarded 4MAT curriculum design system).

4MAT Instruction Delivery Model

4MAT Instruction Delivery Model

Firstly, there are different kinds of learners which means some people learn better by reading or listening or doing (physical learners) or viewing (visual learners). Best learning practice takes into account all of these styles to provide an effective “mixture” of learning experiences.

Secondly, becoming proficient in a particular skill or highly knowledgeable in a particular subject involve moving through distinct phases, although there may be overlap between each. These phases are:

  1. Foundation
  2. Development
  3. Consolidation
  4. Extension and Refinement

I expect that these phases are fairly self-explanatory, but I want to offer you more than just words to get you underway. When you download the Social Media Curriculum Planning Template you will receive further guidance on how to fill it out with your specific circumstances in mind. Investing a little time on this plan can save you many wasted hours of directionless internet searches.

It seems that these days access to the internet is all THE CONTENT you need to learn just about anything. However, you still have to set realistic goals and map out at least some sort of plan to ensure you can take advantage of that content.

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