Social Media Decision Tree Tips for Realtors and Brokers

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Chris Brogan President New Marketing Labs

Chris Brogan one of the best social media experts inspired me to write this article aimed at helping  Realtors and Brokers understand the social media decision tree. In Chris’s article “Social Media Decision Tree” he makes two very important points:

  1. “Coming up with a one-size fits all strategy for dragging companies into social media is just goofy.”
  2. “It’s not all about the conversation. It’s not a matter of whether you get it or don’t. Like all things, it’s finding what works, building from a foundation, measuring progress, and adapting to new situations.”

Takeaways:

  • There is NO one right way to utilize social media networks and tools. There is only what’s right for you
  • Experiment and find what works best for you. Experiment by listening first

Realtor-Broker Social Media Decision Tree: Yes or No

Q: Should you or your company blog?

A: Yes! I believe that all Realtors and Brokers should blog considering the fact that anywhere from 60%+ of consumers begin their search for real estate or real estate related service online by searching on Google.

A: No! If you do not have a plan and strategy then blogging is useless and in some cases detrimental.

Q: Should you be on Activerain.com?

A: Yes! ActiveRain.com is the most robust social media site specifically built for the real estate community. If you are not networking, communicating, collaborating, and educating your peers and consumers on Active Rain you are missing a huge opportunity.

A: No! If you are a superstar like Olivia Hsu Decker or you are so busy writing offers that you would neglect your work in establishing your brand on this social site then don’t bother to try to fake it.

Q: Should you be using Twitter?

A: Yes! Major global companies, brands, entrepreneurs, and mass media agencies are flocking to Twitter to engage, move information, collaborate, and network. If you want to learn it is also an incredible research resource.

A: No! If you plan on hammering your audience with listing notices, sales pitches, and a constant stream of me-me-me do NOT join Twitter. Many Realtors and Brokers think that the strategy behind Twitter is that of a “job board” where they slam their property listing up like a resume with absolutely no value attached.

Conclusion:

Facebook, Plaxo, and all the rest of the social media networks or Web 2.0 tools are only worth the time investment and hard work if you are passionate, believe in their effectiveness, and you are willing to be patient. Understanding the strategy of “giving first” is the very pillar that will determine success or failure.

Realtors Do You Support Promotions that Create Goodwill for Your Business?

Imagine a real estate business model where the customer names their price. Call it a“Pay-what-you-want-house” and you might have an interesting idea. That is the idea behind the new Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen. Check out this promotion merely to see the cool website.

Why Do People Love Promotions?

1. Added Value: is it such a bad idea to create promotions in a such dreary economic times? Even if you can’t give away the store, isn’t there an item or service you can give away? Now more than ever, bartering one of your services in some fashion would be a welcome relief to some people who need help. People want and need added value in anything they buy, more than ever today, whether it is a service or a product.

2. Consumers Remember: more economic pressure, job loss, and belt tightening is in store for 2009. Now more than ever, if you help someone by providing a promotional “prize” or service that gesture is often remembered and past forward via word of mouth. When people give under the toughest circumstances (economy), that is truly the measure of our willingness to help.

http://www.springwise.com/pix/spotlight/bencoolen.jpg

Trulia vs Realtor.com: Is There Really Any Comparison?

The Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article on my birthday!

FoxBusiness published this deansguide article on my birthday!

The following is a brief look at a comparison between the NAR site Realtor.com and innovative blogosphere favorite Trulia.com. If I were a Realtor I would take a close look at the graphic below, click through to Trulia Challenge, and consider your options. My opinion is that Trulia is the better deal, the better site, and the far more advanced social media-Web 2.0 entity. But that is just my opinion. Take a look at the comparison and let me know what you think.

Do you remember the Pepsi challenge? Do you remember how they were making those commercials as a method to overturn popular opinion that Coke was the better soft drink? And do you remember when they made the Pepsi Challenge reference in Pulp Fiction? It seems that advertisement had staying power. The question of whether the product, Pepsi, was better than Coke did not seem to change. At the time, Coke continued to rule the soft drink world. Today I received, in my Google Reader, this Trulia message: “Trulia vs Realtor.com: Take the Challenge.”

So you be the judge and take the Pepsi like Trulia challenge. The following is a matrix provided by Trulia. I am not a paid employee of either Trulia or Realtor.com. You be the judge and come back and tell me which service do you prefer?

trulia challenge - trulia vs. realtor.com

Realtor’s Virtual Sales Force: Leadvine-“The Community Is Your Sales Force”

LeadVine - The community is your sales force.

Courtesy Leadvine.com

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 11-14-08

Crowdsourcing according to the wiki by the same name is a term that “has become popular with business authors and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals.” A new service, based on crowdsourcing principles, Leadvine is the first service designed to make “the community your sales force.”

Realtors Create A New Lead Generator

1. Post Sales Leads on Leadvine: You post the sales leads your are searching for, list your referral fee that you will pay, and then “have the community act as your sales force.” The benefits:

  • Increase Sales
  • Outsource your Sales Process
  • Lower your Marketing, Recruiting, and Advertising costs
  • Leadvine is Free

This begins the process of helping Realtor’s find new customers

2. Search Sales Leads on Leadvine: ” Do you come across information that is not valuable to you but valuable to someone else? Get paid for information that is at your finger tips.”

  • Earn easy money
  • Leverage your existing network to help companies increase sales
  • Make money for information you have at your fingertips
  • Spend a minimal amount of time earning extra cash

Resources for Realtors

1. Leadvine’s Top 10 Ways to Use Leadvine

2. FAQ Section: Everything from What is Leadvine to How was Leadvine Started?

3. Leadvine’s Blog: Many strategies and tips to help find business and make more revenue

Google Base: Realtor’s Free Listing Tool, Lead Generator, Product Promotion Machine

Google Base “Shopping Bag” icon

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article June 28, 2008

If you do not want to take on the task of establishing a blog or website there still is a method to get your information listed in Google search results: Google Base. For Realtors this could be a key tool in listing your properties.

What is Google Base?

1. According to Google “Google Base is a free Google service that allows you to publish virtually any kind of information for inclusion in Google search results”

2. According to the blog chiefexecutive.wordpress.com’s, a UK site, article “Google has changed-have you?” Google Base allows a business to list it’s services or products in a different way-via an shopping bag icon and in a product search conducted by consumers:

The point is Google has changed, there are now opportunities to appear on the list (Google search results) in more relevant and striking ways than the conventional list of blue search engine links.”

Advantages of Google Base

1. You do not need a website or blog to publish your information
2. It’s a free service
3. If you don’t have a website to host your item(s), Google Base will create and host a unique URL (web address) where searchers can visit and view your content.

Google Base For Realtors

According to Google:

“Over 56% of all internet searches on “real estate” and related terms are conducted on Google and our partner sites, and the majority of those searchers are actively looking for listings or referrals to brokers and agents. Google Base makes it EASY for consumers to find your listings or services.”

How Does It Work?

People performing Google searches for Real Estate can refine their search results by adding specific property features (e.g., “4-bedroom”, “pool”, “San Francisco-Pacific Heights”) and seeing their results displayed on a map, focussed on the neighborhood and types of properties that they are most interested in

If a Realtor adds his/her listing(s) information to Google, it will ensure that the right (most qualified) potential buyers will be able to find the properties listed “right when they are most actively looking for them.”

Google Real Estate Tools Link (for more information!)

1. Brokers and Builders

2. Agents

3. MLS’s

4. IDX vendors


#1 Tip For Blog Traffic To New Bloggers: You Have To Become A Social Networker

If one thing has helped to elevate my traffic, provide incoming links to my pages, and make my blog http://deansguide.wordpress.com more valuable to my marketing efforts, it is social networking. The best thing a new blogger can do is become a commenting social networker in their industry blogosphere niche.

According to SEO expert Courtney Tuttle, www.courtneytuttle.com, new bloggers must perform the following:

1. Write 50-60 touches per day via email requests or comments on blog posts with your blog’s url embedded within the comment.

2. Write articles based on prominent blogger’s positions on topics important to your niche

How Do I Start?

Identify then target the top bloggers in your niche and region of the country. You can Google search the top keyword phrases for your niche

Then What?

Leave comments on their latest articles aka posts. Always remember to leave your blog or website url so that others can follow the link back to your site

Last Idea

When you find an article you like or dislike utilize the subject as a basis for your own article. Compare and contrast, analyze, compliment, or present an opposing viewpoint.

Always link to the article, preferably from a prominent well established blogger, as a way of paying homage to that person’s effort. By doing this you may then quote or copy small passages into your blog article without plagerizing their work. Always give credit where credit is due

Final Analysis

If new bloggers are unwilling to spend the time it takes to perform these “touches” and socially network in the blogosphere, their efforts to gain readership will be greatly hampered. Imagine writing great information with no audience–because that is what awaits without a action plan for social networking

SEO “Keyword Research” Module #2: Realtor’s Guide to Understanding Your Target Audience Language

Published on Active Rain for the Real Estate Community

Keywords, keyword phrases, and keyword research are the next step to understanding how to attract traffic to your blog. In our first Module “SEO Basics” we provided links to SEO information to begin your education into this very important step in your marketing campaign. Searchenginepeople.com writer Ruud Hein provides an excellent look at how important keywords and keyword phrases are to your business.

Audience Language

Your aim should be to identify the keywords and keyword phrases that your target audience will utilize in searching for information about your product(s), service(s), business, industry and the area you operate within

Keywords and Keyword Research

List of Keyword Tools To Help You Find Your Audience “Language”

1. Google Adwords Keyword Tool: Get fresh ideas from the leader in the industry

2. Free Keywords: Another place to find new keywords is at freekeywords.wordtracker.com site

3. Keyword Discovery: “Over 80% of online transactions begin with a keyword search” and according to NAR over 70% of consumers interested in buying or selling real estate begin their search online. This site is a fantastic spot to begin your search with the Keyword Discovery tool.

Realtor’s Guide to “Return On___”: Make A List And Measure Your Results

One of the most widely recognized business measurements is “ROI” aka “Return on Investment.” As defined by Forbes media company Investopedia “A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment.”

When you consider your career and your social life you can use the “Return On” formula to measure your success, progress, and results for any aspect of your life.

Exercise for ROI

Write down a list of terms beginning with Return On__. Start and go through the alphabet in order creating a Return On__ for each letter. Imagine each word you use as a measurement for performance in your business or social life.

The gurus at valuebasedmanagement.net assert that “Net Income” our value for Net Results “is an unreliable corporate performance measuerment, the outcome of the formula for ROI must also be unreliable to determine success or corporate value.”

Although this is true we can still apply ROI measurement to our business and social lives if we determine the value of our personal “Net Results” the corporate world’s measurement for Net Income.

5 Factors That Determine The Degree To Which “Economic Value” aka our personal “Net Results” May Be Overstated by valuebasedmanagement.net

1. Length of project “life” Ex: Realtor’s time spent at open houses
2. Capitalization Policy Ex: Amount of time it takes to write a blog article
3. Rate at which Depreciation is taken Ex: Stale print ad messages as main lead generation tool
4. Time between investment outlays and recoupment of these outlays from incoming cash flow Ex: Time spent blogging before lead generation begins
5. Growth rate of new investment Ex:Time to launch and write a blog vs marketing exposure

Independent Brokers Network Meeting: Realtor’s Misconceptions About Zillow

FoxBusiness.com published this article April 3, 2008

Marin County is one of the most expensive specialty real estate markets in the United States. A wealthy suburb of San Francisco, Marin real estate has continued to thrive in today’s tough economy.

Unlike the rest of the Bay Area where Realtor marketing meetings are a weekly opportunity for Realtors to present listings, mingle with affiliates, and network with investors, the only marketing meeting available to agents in Marin is the Independent Brokers Network meeting.

April’s IBN meeting was a discussion about Zillow.com specifically Zillow’s problematic property valuations, the effects this information has on public perception, and how Realtors can deal with consumer perceptions due to this information. Meeting facilitator, Frank Soda of Sunshine Realty, opened the floor to discussion with great results.

Jim Branscombe, President and CEO of Norcal MLS aka Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc, provided the best most accurate information to the audience.

Realtor Misconceptions

1. The biggest misconception about Zillow by Realtors is that Zillow is attempting to move into the real estate business, compete for property, listings, and open their own brokerage. WRONG

Analysis: Zillow’s business model is built around advertising specifically per click revenues generated through their traffic rankings ( Zillow’s Alexa ranking is #399 in the US and 3,136 Globally). Jim made this point in order to set the record straight.

2. The second biggest misconception about Zillow by Realtors is that Zillow is useless to them. Jim pointed out, and I concur completely, that Zillow provides marketing exposure opportunities for Realtors. Zillow allows Realtors to place their listings on the zillow.com site. This site is more powerful than any Marin Realtor site to date.

Analysis: Marin County is a wide open market for any blogger. There is not one dominant blogger in the county who is a Realtor; therefore keywords and phrases are just waiting to be monopolized. If none of the Marin Realtors are willing to blog, the next best bet (beyond their paid websites for marketing) is to list with Zillow. Utilize Zillow as a marketing tool.

Could Zillow.com “Expedia” The Real Estate Industry?

Due to a lack of cooperation from MLS companies, Zillow is considering the option of establishing a real estate division.

If the real estate industry does not embrace Zillow, and partner with them, they may actually have to face Zillow as a competitor in the near future. Jim’s analogy that Zillow could cut the commissions of Realtors and brokers and change the real estate industry similar to what Expedia.com did to travel agents in the travel business is prophetic.

How To Engage A Home Buyer Task #1: Perception Is Your Best Weapon and Your Worst Enemy:

US News & World Report, a very well respected media source, staff writer Marty Nemko authored “Overrated Career: Real Estate Agent.” The report has such perception crushing lines like:

“Because it’s an easy field to get into, there’s a real estate agent on every corner.” This idea challenges the reality of the “professional Realtor” a person dedicated to the industry with valuable experience and even better connections to the market–exactly what every consumer wants when they are making the biggest transaction of their lives.

Perception: the majority of Realtors are know nothing bored housewives or worse yet “trophy” wives, retirees with nothing to do, or part time entrepreneurs who figure they can wing it and make a few bucks.

“And demand for agents is declining, since the Internet makes it possible to buy and sell property with little or no help from a professional.” This is simply false and stupid information. Unless you are an attorney or former agent, you best not try to go it alone and buy or sell property, without consultation, online to save money.

If you are a Realtor and reading this you SHOULD be outraged! In fact you should be ready to challenge these perceptions. But sadly the majority of Realtors and their brokers do not have a blog that would help them defend their reputation, defend the perception of their industry ie job description, or provide rebuttal commentary thwarting the continued misconceptions that are being falsely ingrained in the public consciousness one media article at a time.

Task #1 Perception Is Your Best Weapon and Your Worst Enemy

Timing and Opportunity: Today’s housing market crisis is the greatest single opportunity for outstanding professional Realtors to ONCE AND FOR ALL distinguish themselves while locking out their competition–forever. By staying in business, selling homes, representing clients, and continuing to practice at the highest ethical levels you will set in stone your reputation and create the perception that is reality.

Substance Factor: Create a completely transparent profile of your business practices as a Realtor, your educational background, your complete career track record of sales, your involvement within the community(s) you sell or represent, and list any awards or honors you have received for your work both professionally and volunteer. You do volunteer within your community right?

Tone: Advertising in newspapers, radio spots, or even television is perceived as “a blatant sales pitch” something consumers will scrutinize rather than evaluate. The “tone” Realtors use is akin to a used car salesman’s pitch and so outdated it can be painful to watch. Stop selling yourself as the most reputable, most experienced, most intelligent, hardest working, or best of everything! Nobody believes these self ingratiating claims because they are coming from you the Realtor–they have no credibility with someone who has never met you.

Your mantra should involve GIVING AWAY VALUE WITHOUT ASKING FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN.

Action Plan Perception to Reality

1. Start blogging today and write about your community, schools, small businesses, market, weather, and everything that makes up the areas you serve.

2. Speak in front of every civic group, rotary, grassroots organization, Kiwanis Club, association, and consumer lead groups you can convince to have you present. GIVE them valuable information with NO sales pitches–just information each group can use.

“State of Your Market” free weekly Town Hall meetings where you present and then allow the community to give feedback live.

3. Newsletter circulation begins with exposure so write about your State of the Market address, recent helpful homeowner tip, speaking engagements and groups you addressed, or a new development within the industry. Keep people informed and they will consider you an expert and perceive you as a professional Realtor.