I was reading Chris Brogan’s post on “Slicing Your Social Media Pie” over at American Express’s Open Small Business Forum on Saturday, and it got me to thinking about our business.
Chris asserts that “There are three basic components to social media: listening, creating, and communicating. That’s it. Listening is how you find out what people are saying about you, your competitors, your community, and whatever else matters. Creating is where you make blog posts or shoot video, or build upon ideas that show you’re a thought leader in the space. Communicating is a mix of commenting, responding, reaching out, and taking part in community.”
He goes on to share that he slices his “pie” as 20% Listening. 40% Creating and 40% Communicating. In other words, if you spend 2 hours a day on your social media tasks, 24 minutes should be on listening, 48 minutes on Creating and 48 minutes on Communicating.
I think that is excellent advice and here is how I would advise Realtors® to go about accomplishing it.
Google Alerts – for Listening
One of the best FREE ways for you to hear what others are saying about you, your competitors, the market, a neighborhood or anything else that you can think of is to create a Google Alert. Head on over to http://www.google.com/alerts/ and fill in the simple form. You don’t need a Google account, but you do need to find the confirming email that Google sends and click on the link it contains before Google will start sending you alerts.
So what is a Goggle Alert? Here is what Google has to say: “Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. You can also choose to have your alerts delivered via feed to the feedreader of your choice (e.g., Google Reader or add the feed to your iGoogle page). We currently offer alerts with results from News, Web, Blogs, Video and Groups.” You can have up to 1,000 alerts. Each alert has a link to the content that Google found so you simply click on the link to read what it found. In other words, you have set Google up to automatically search Google for you.
This gives you the opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying, both good and bad. Once you know what is being said, you can respond accordingly.
Blogs – for Creating
One of the all time BEST tools available to a Realtor® today has got to be a blog. A blog allows you to create your own customizable “home base” on the Internet. You can store and display all of your past sales, your current listings, any documentation, forms and check lists that you’d like current, past and future clients to have, and it can all be done by anyone with only a basic knowledge of computers. You can link your blog to your current static website, but you could also get rid of that website (and the monthly bill it generates) and put the content that it contains that is yours on your blog. And there are many free choices for you: Blogger, RealTown Blogs, Realtor.com Blogs and my personal favorite and the one I heartily recommend, WordPress.com.
I know that writing content can be difficult for some, but if you are listening you will be presented with many ideas for content. Even so, some people would rather have others write the content for them, so here are a couple of services that will do that for you. (Note: I am an affiliate for both of them. This means that should you buy their services I will earn a commission. It won’t be enough for me to make a living on, but it will help to defray the costs of running this blog).
The first can be found here: http://budurl.com/LeadBC. For v$29.95 a month (at the time of this writing) they will produce 20 articles that you can insert into you blog after you do some minor changes like adding your name and location. These are real estate specific and will give quite a bit of content for about a dollar a day.
The second source is here: http://budurl.com/brtb. For $57.00 per month they will create a daily blog post for you and actually place it on your WordPress or Blogger blog. Again, this is real estate specific content.
facebook and Twitter – for Communicating
The final piece of Brogan’s pie is communicating back. A large part of what makes social media marketing work is the act of engaging with people. One of the finest tools available today is facebook. With over 350 Million users worldwide, it would be the third largest country in the world, behind China and India, if it were a country.
Join facebook and fill in your profile completely so that you are able to be found by people that you went to school with, that you worked with, that you served with and by people who live near you. Search facebook for the same groups of people and connect with them. Then engage in the conversation. Don’t talk about yourself from a self centered approach, instead talk with them about their lives and then some about yours. Be interesting, fun and educational. Provide value in your commentary so that people look forward to what you have to say.
Do the same with Twitter. Here you are limited to communicating in short burst of no more than 140 characters, so this will force you to get good at saying a lot in a little space…it can be done!
Once you are engaged with people on facebook and Twitter, it’s an easy and believable step for them to visit your blog when you invite them to do so and you may find that because they feel that they know you well from your facebook and Twitter interactions, that your referrals from them will increase.
And that my friends, is the Holy Grail.
About the Author: Jerry is a 23 year veteran of the real estate industry and has done it all from listing and selling, to managing single and multiple offices. He has been the IT Director for a major SF Bay Area company, and has also been the Training Director for another major SF Bay Area company. In addition to writing this blog, Jerry is the Principal of Jerry Kidd Training and Consulting, specializing in showing real estate professionals how to utilize today’s exciting social tools to create and nurture relationships with home buyers and sellers. Visit http://www.JerryKidd.com to learn more about the training and consulting services offered.