Posts Tagged ‘Social Media & Blogging’

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Q&A

And fun was had by all (well, I had fun anyway) on Wednesday evening in the SWS Studio! My four esteemed guests, Lenn Harley, Robin Sherman, Karen Rice and Renee Burrows gathered around the virtual table and answered all your questions about how exactly they generate good business from the Internet. Okay, well, that’s a lie – they didn’t answer ALL your questions – not even close. Even though the show ran the full 90 minutes, I came away with five pages of listener questions we weren’t able to get to.

If you missed the show… well… darnit. You can go HERE to see Renee Burrows’ recap of the questions asked and how she answered them. Speaking of Renee, you can also go here to learn more about her online strategies, written of course, in her delightfully irreverent style (e.g. “Get Your Blog Freaky and To the Floor“). I plan to hang out there quite a bit today – maybe we’ll run into each other.

Anyway, at the end of the show, I promised to post the unanswered questions to my blog and allow my guests (or anyone else who wants to contribute) the opportunity to respond.

So… here we go!

Tom asks: “Where do you find the Google webmaster?” (referenced by Lenn as THE SOURCE for all things Google)

http://www.google.com/webmasters/

Jenny & Anonymous ask: “How often should you write or post something to your blog?”

Donne asks: “Renee – what are your syndication sources?”

I believe they’ve connected on this offline, but the rest of us would love to hear, too!

Donne Knudsen comments: “I find that I spend a lot more time and energy converting internet leads compared to the time and energy it takes to convert a referred lead.”

Great point! Would love others’ thoughts on this. 

Jenny asks: “Do any of the speakers hire out their online lead generation work or do they do it all personally?”

Nathaniel asks: “Is internet marketing targeted towards brokers only or can real estate sales persons take advantage of marketing on the net without any conflict from the broker?”

Doug asks: “Can we see some examples of good real estate blogs?”

Here are the blogs of our speakers who blog, but please feel free to add to this list!

Renee Burrows: http://activerain.com/blogs/lasvegasrealestateforyou
Karen Rice: http://www.pikewaynepablog.com/
Lenn Harley: http://activerain.com/blogs/lennharley 
 

Phyllis asks: “Other than Active Rain, where do you post your blogs?”

Anonymous asks: “Based on the leads that come online and register – how long will you stay in contact with them – 1,2,3,4 months? …. Before they actually buy… at what point do you give up on someone?”

Ruthmarie asks: “Regarding pay-per-click, did using pay-per-click help you get your site/blog established? Or did the results go away once you stopped using it? In other words – can I use PPC to establish my site and then stop and continue to see results?”

We had a lot of questions about IDX and although we tried, I’m not sure we answered them satisfactorily for many in the audience. The main question was “What’s the best IDX” or “What IDX do the speakers recommend?” Our answer was that it depends on your local MLS as to what IDX(s) is/are available to you, and whether or not your board even allows broker reciprocity. Some attendees commented that their broker don’t allow individual agents to have an IDX on their websites. Any thoughts or comments on this?

On a related note, Vickie asks: “I’m an agent with the largest real estate brokerage in the metro Kansas City area. Every agent has a personal web page with IDX. What would you recommend I do to stand out & drive business to my site?”

GREAT question!!!

Dolores asks: “Do you recommend showing or not showing the property address on your IDX feed site?”

Dixie asks: “What quanity of leads do the participants receive on monthly basis? What percentage turn into closings?”

Kevin asks: “What about successes with specific targeting of small markets or is your focus broad based in larger geographic areas?”

Nishika asks: “How important are the graphics (maps, stats, charts) used in blogs? Any recommendations on vendors who create them?”

Tonda asks: “Is Karen using her personal facebook or does she have a business fan page?”

Jenny asks: “Do you update the information on your websites on a regular basis?”

Maureen asks: “Do you recommend using your own name for your real estate website?”

Karoline asks:  “What one thing would you say makes your website a success in gaining business from the website?” and related: “What do you find reaps the biggest reward for your time, updating the website, blogging,etc….?”

If you’d like to respond (and please do!) to any or all of these questions, just copy & paste ’em to your comment. Feel free to add links to your heart’s content if they’re helpful in the context.

THANKS!!!

 

 

 

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

In my continuing effort to better understand the professional value of a presence on Facebook, I am now going to ask for help on the concept of the Facebook Fan Page.

Let me disclose upfront that I have Fan Page and I am grateful for every one of the 305 310 313 fans who have, well, become fans. I even post there most days, and get a huge kick when someone comments on my postings.

facebook

But I must admit, I really don’t see the point. As far as I can tell, conversations generated on Fan Pages tend to die out pretty quickly since the conversationalists aren’t notified that someone has replied to a comment. Outta sight, outta mind.

And, well, this next bit is a little touchy.

I get invited to become a fan to at least a dozen fan pages a day. Mostly from real estate agents who are Facebook Friends on my personal page. That’s totally cool.

But again, what’s the point of becoming a fan of a real estate agent in another market except just to be polite? I can’t say I’m much interested in the comings and goings of their local market, or of their listings or open houses. No offense, but well, I’m just not. Now, if the point of becoming a fan IS to do so out of politeness, that’s fine, I’ll do it. I want to have good manners, to be sure. If I never visit the Fan Page, I guess no one will know, so what harm does it do?

Am I missing something? Is there something really cool about these Facebook Fan Pages that has escaped my notice (MINE INCLUDED)? I’m serious – it may very well be the case because I’m still utterly perplexed by why anyone would want to Twitter. Although, I do have a Twitter account, too… 

So… if YOU have joined a Fan Page (mine or anyone else’s), why did you do it? Because you care about what that person or company is up to? Or just to be polite?  

 

 

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

I really wanna enjoy Facebook. I do enjoy the banter back and forth with friends, old & new. I like getting positive comments on my periodic postings of silly updates. I love posting pictures from high school and giving my old friends something to be nostalgic about. I love seeing real-world, non-profile pictures of my cyber-friends. I get a kick out of being tagged for quizzes, or in photos.

But that stuff is kind of hard to find among all the advertising disguised as updates. Just now I opened my Facebook page and found nothing but links to services, products and blogs I care nothing about. Links to real estate listings in cities I’ll probably never visit. Invitations to events I haven’t the faintest interest in.

Is Facebook spam taking the place of email spam? Used to be my Outlook Express inbox was a source of joy. I’d open it up and find a bunch of messages that actually related to my life. Then, slowly, the spam took over. Now, my email inbox overflows and I have to make quick judgments as to who I’m gonna open and read and who I’m going to delete unread.

I caution agents who communicate (read, advertise) via email to be VEDDY careful about overdoing their welcome in their friends’ email boxes. The last thing you want is to train the people you know to delete your messages automatically because they’ve learned there’s nothing of value there.

It seems the same would apply to Facebook. I’m getting up the nerve to delete the “friends” who fill up my front page with advertising, thus preventing me from enjoying the non-promotional postings of people I care about.

Is there an alternative to DELETE?

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Well, duh, you say. But you’d never know it with all the fuss over whatever latest & greatest way there is for us to all bore each to death with announcements of listings stay in touch. As I wrote last month, I’ve even been told that “If I don’t Twitter, I’ll fail.” (as a real estate agent? As a writer? As a human bean?)

I’m among the crowd who “just doesn’t get it.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know – those of you IN the know are tired of hearing that from those of us who are apparently too lazy or stupid to figure IT out, so over the weekend, I dived in and created a Twitter account. After much cursing and venting, I am now an official Twitterer… and I still say “I don’t get it.”twitter

But whether or not Jennifer is too dumb to Get It is not the point of my blog today. (To read my point, visit Marty LaChance’s featured blog – he says it beautifully and I’ll just say “Uh, what HE said.“)

My point (aside from the one Marty beat me to) is to say that we in America have a crisis. An economic crisis, a real estate crisis, a mortgage crisis. No kidding, right? And I promise you, my friends, that the solution to our collective crises is NOT to be found on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. No, not even if all users “really know how to use social media.”

I believe that we in the real estate community have a tremendous opportunity in front of us to both help solve the crises that have crippled our industry, and once and for all prove our value to the suspicious general public who has long wondered what on earth we DO for those breathtaking amounts of money.

  • We can properly price our listings.
  • We can refuse (politely and respectfully, of course) to accept overpriced listings so that our market doesn’t appear even more sluggish than it already is.
  • We can help our sellers prepare their homes for market and make sure they understand the realities of BEING on the market (so they don’t innocently sabotage our efforts).
  • We can understand the nuances of FHA financing, or have a relationship with a fantastic mortgage broker who does.
  • We can think creatively and be able to communicate our epiphanies to the people who need to help us implement them.
  • We can take great photos.
  • We can own lockboxes that work.
  • We can stay on top of our market.

In a nut, we can do our jobs. We can be exceptional real estate agents. We can do what it takes to get houses sold and closed.

None of which has anything to do Twittering. Oh, I understand that social media is not intended to sell more houses – it’s touted (in our industry at least) as a prospecting medium. A way to stay in touch with the people we know – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But, as Marty so eloquently says in his blog “Twitter is useful for delivering breaking news…real estate is not breaking news.”

So, enjoy the relationships you build on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or MySpace. But please don’t forget that social media is probably not the answer to selling that lingering listing or getting your FHA buyer to closing. If we can do more of THAT, we CAN positively affect the economy. And then we’ll sell lots more houses!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

BAH!

Is anyone tired of of hearing this line? Lately it’s all about Twittering, Facebooking, Linked-in-ing and networkwhatever other latest technology I’m not familiar with. At a Terry Watson presentation at last year’s Colorado Realtor Rally, he proclaimed that an agent’s Number One marketing tool was… YouTube!

HUH?

Of course, it’s not as if we haven’t been hearing this same crap forever. In the old days (and still some today), the Masters proclaimed that if you don’t cold-call, door-knock, farm or advertise, you’ll be dead in the water. Then you had to bombard your Sphere of Influence with cheesy mailers every month. Then you had to have a fully-functional website. Then you had to SEO and PPC. Oh, and you must have a PDA (the old-timey Daytimers won’t cut it). Gotta have a blog, mobile-web and GPS…

OR YOU’LL FAIL!

Nonsense. I guarantee you that if I never Twitter or go near my Facebook page again, it will not affect my success selling real estate. And I’m still enamored with my trusty Franklin Planner (the paper kind), with no plans to upgrade to digital.

Just do what has always worked for you! Upgrade to new technology when YOU’RE in the mood, not when some guru scares you half to death with the consequences if you don’t!

If I don’t Twitter, I’ll fail…” Sheesh.

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

DORKY: A style of writing, primarily used in self-promotion, which is predictable, boring, boilerplate or just plain blah. See also The Dorky Announcement Letter, The Dorky Business Card and the Dorky Online Profile.

The following is excerpted from a cool collection of blogging advice compiled by our very own Ricardo Bueno. To get a copy of the entire collection, just click here!

I know you aren’t DORKY. I’ll bet if I asked a dozen of your friends if you’re an interesting, personable, caring, creative kinda guy or gal, they’d confirm that you are. So, why is it that those in our profession insist on creating written promotional material that screams “I’M BORING AS DIRT AND HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING INTERESTING TO nerdSAY!”

You know what I’m talking about. The corporate-inspired announcement letters we send to our friends and family when we go into real estate. Our business cards with sappy, meaningless tag lines. Our online profiles that might put the reader to sleep if they actually get past the first paragraph. Where did all that personality go? Where are YOU?

When you blog, don’t be DORKY, be YOU. If you’re sappy, blog sappy. If you’re sarcastic, blog sarcastic. If you’re funny, blog funny. If you wake up one morning frustrated as heck about something or other, blog about it. Conversely, if you’re tickled pink by a recent encounter at the health food store, write about that. If you have a brilliant AHA moment standing in line at the post office, there’s a blog in there somewhere!

(Oh, one caveat. If you’re a sloppy writer, don’t blog sloppy! Use your spell check, capitalize appropriately and be sure to use your <enter> key on a regular basis.)

Don’t try to write about topics you couldn’t care less about. Not a political type? Don’t try to write about local political issues. Don’t know much about the economy? Leave the economic outlook blogs to someone who does. Not into cultural events? Don’t bother trying to write intelligently about the new opera in town. Me? Among other things, I love dogs, sushi, rollerblading and old houses. That’s what I write about.

But don’t worry too much about speaking to any particular audience. YOU do the talking and the right audience will find you. And you know what? If your blogs come from YOUR voice, you’ll stand a much better chance of enjoying the process enough to keep it up.

Blogging for dollars is a long-term prospecting project, so enthusiasm is critical if you want to see your efforts pay off. Once your audience discovers YOU and starts to tell you how awesome YOU are (how insightful, how funny, how creative, etc.), well, that’ll be some serious inspiration to keep at it! But blog with someone else’s voice and eh… you’ll probably throw in the towel within the month.

To summarize, to avoid being a DORKY blogger:

•       Write from YOUR voice, that real person who has a terrific personality

•       Write about topics of interest to YOU

•       Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read

Now, go get ‘em you UNDORKY blogger, you!