Forget What the Experts Say…You CAN Shortcut Your Way to Success with Social Media

The Social Media Experts I’m a fan of will tell you that if you want to succeed in applying social media as a business strategy that it requires planning, consistency, balance, originality, relevancy, and listening…among other things. And they would be right. But when it comes to real estate marketing, many agents struggle with working ON their business because they’re tapped by working IN their business. And for the most part, I’ve always considered that an excuse (myself included).

There is some validity however, to the shear amount of effort required in implementing social media marketing strategies….or ANY effective marketing strategies for that matter. And that’s why I’m not surprised when agents ask me if I can do “the social media” for them. But if you know me, then you know I’m not an automator…I’m an educator. Which means I prefer you learn about the new strategies available to you, best practices for using them, and how to measure their effectiveness.

So whether you or your marketing assistant is syndicating your listings, sending an email drip campaign, blogging or engaging in social media channels…KNOW the plan, the process, AND your role in it! By being a participant who’s just as knowledgeable about your own business as you are about your market area it’s much easier to become a trusted advisor. But obviously it’s not just about being a trusted advisor…it’s about closing deals too. So no matter the strategy or the channel…you need to create an opportunity to convert.

Now the reason I’m so passionate about social media as a real estate marketing strategy is because it gives agents who are willing to be a participant….a huge conversion opportunity. When you take an active role with blogging or Facebook comments and posts, you can directly connect with current and past clients, as well as potential leads.

For example, let’s say you’re passionate about the schools in your local market area. So you decide to get involved with a local “Back to School” cause. You post information about the cause on your Facebook Page telling locals about the supplies needed, where to donate, associated fundraising events, interviews and pictures of local teachers setting up for the school year, etc. If you’re a part of the plan and the process…as well as actively engage on the Page, then you’re creating an opportunity to convert. Especially, when you run into thankful teachers, parents and locals who you’ve been engaging with online. Taking an active roll in your online engagement means it’s easier to take an active roll in your offline engagement.

When you haven’t got a clue what social media strategies are being deployed on your behalf, you’re missing out! Sure you might be getting more online exposure for your brand and listings….but the opportunity to convert is greatly lessened. That’s because when potential client Susie Q sees you at Starbucks and thanks you for helping her neighborhood school you won’t have any idea what she’s talking about. But had you taken an active engagement role online you would be easily able to strike up a relevant and thoughtful conversation…a conversation that could possibly lead to new business tomorrow or someday in the future. And that’s your ROI when it comes to social media.

But if you’re still of the “have it done” mindset, there are plenty of “blog for you, tweet for you, post for you” services popping up. These companies are happy to take your money and create your Web presence for you, as well as automate, duplicate, replicate, and syndicate “relevant” content on your behalf. So if you’re looking for the shortcut to success with social media, there you go! And to be honest, you may very well get the exposure you want….but I highly doubt you’ll get the conversion opportunities you need to take your business to the next level. But who knows, I could be wrong.

I WILL say that there is a happy medium. The relevant content that you drip out through the various channels you participate in can be created by others (but should be supplemented by your own) and can also be scheduled. Tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck let you schedule and post to a variety of networks. In fact, I created a Tweet Plan for using Hootsuite for both general business and for real estate. And innovators, like the folks at Roost, understand the content dilemma and deployment that real estate professionals are faced with and have created a new tool that will soon ROCK your Facebook world!

Probably the biggest social media roadblock for agents is identifying content that can be shared, retweeted, commented on, blogged about, curated, etc. So I am all for making the organization of content much easier with a homepage or dashboard of content. Alltop, Regator, My6Sense, and Google all offer great options in the organization department. A few savvy real estate companies have even created their own custom content dashboards, and are regularly creating content their agents can share and re-purpose!

So clearly there IS a benefit to “systematizing” your content flow to maximize online exposure…BUT remember that if you go the route of scheduling resourceful tweets and/or posts, that you still need to be listening, responding…and initiating social interactions! More importantly, you still need to be you and bring your passion to whatever marketing strategy you plan for!

MyTechOpinion: You CAN shortcut your way to “success” with social media…but that depends on what success really means to you.

 

No copyright Infringement intended.  Source:  Forget What the Experts Say…You CAN Shortcut Your Way to Success with Social Media

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents

In today’s tough economy, real estate agents are doing everything they can to be successful and stay ahead of their competition. While many agents have reverted back to the basics to get them through these trying times, thinking outside the box may be more important now than ever before. Here, Scott Dixon, president of the real estate division, Network Communications discusses the seven habits that real estate agents should possess.

Successful real estate agents share a lot of attributes. By looking closely at their habits, we can learn a lot about how to be more successful ourselves. During this dramatic change in the housing market, we commissioned a study through OSR Research of more than 1,000 top agents to learn how they create and sustain success.

The Real Estate Agent Marketing Study for 2009 provides an easy-to-follow blueprint of what it takes to achieve. The lessons are simple. In fact, they can be boiled down to seven smart habits:

HABIT #1: Invest in Marketing. Top agents know that to build business and attract a high amount of activity, they must invest in their own business.

The average agent spends about $7,500 a year on marketing and earns around $88,750. That’s about 8.4% of their income spent on all marketing: advertising, Internet promotion, direct mail, e-mail and personal websites.

Top agents making more than $200,000 yearly spend nearly $20,000 on marketing-roughly 10% of their income. They make it a habit to get their name in front of consumers frequently and professionally.

HABIT #2: Spread the Wealth. Smart agents don’t put all their marketing eggs in one basket or take shortcuts. When asked how they spent their money, three key marketing channels rose to the top. They spend about one-quarter of their budget on real estate magazines and related websites, one-quarter on their website and one-quarter on all Internet marketing.

They know when a home shopper starts searching; they look everywhere for information. Making a strong impression from the start creates a bond of trust and confidence and turns into a profitable relationship. They make sure their personal brand is everywhere-in print, online and all around town.

HABIT #3: Track Your Results. Why spend unless you know what works? Eighty-five percent say they measure the effectiveness of their marketing. The more they spend, the more they focus on measurable results. They monitor phone numbers, measure leads to closed sales and ask about all sources used to search for homes. They make no assumptions.

HABIT #4: Set Clear Marketing Goals. Seventy-six percent consider marketing essential to getting and maintaining listings. They clearly strive to show sellers exactly how they attract buyers, gain more good prospects and sell more homes. That’s key to their business-and why they believe strongly in their marketing investment.

HABIT #5: Experiment with New Technology. As more communication channels emerge, 25% are testing new tools like blogs and social media. However, they don’t abandon tried-and-true sources of activity. What’s new comes after their base advertising decisions.

HABITS #6 & #7: Stand Out from the Crowd and Work with Market Leaders. When asked which brands were most recognized, over 85% cited long-term players like The Real Estate Book and Realtor.com. Agents know, in uncertain times, consumers interact with brands they trust, and they align themselves with the strongest in the industry.

Those are the key habits-ones with a proven impact. In challenging times like these, knowing you can adopt simple and proven techniques to succeed is strong and reassuring.

No copyright Infringement intended.  Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents