Unless you have been on vacation on Mars for the past year, you have heard about Twitter. You may know that Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows you to post messages limited to 140 characters. This messages are called Tweets and can theoretically be seen by every Twitter user. Of course a person would have to be logged on to Twitter to even have a chance of seeing your message go by on the public timeline.
In practice, your Tweets are most likely seen by random people who happen to be on line as your Tweet goes by, by people who have chosen to “follow” you and by others who are conducting a search for one of the words you used in your Tweet.
For those who have taken the time to study Twitter, it has become perhaps the single best online vehicle for marketers that has been developed so far. Some may care to argue that point, but I don’t know where else you can start with no followers and with a few months of some concerted effort end up with a list of thousands who want to hear from you.
People from all walks of life and from all age and social demographics use Twitter on a daily basis and many of them are looking for services. In fact, many people turn to Twitter first before using a traditional search engine. I’d much rather get a recommendation on something I needed from someone I knew versus be sent to a commercial web page (as Google searches tend to do).
So armed with this information, I set out to see what was available for real estate agents that wanted to use Twitter to enhance their business and to provide better service to their clients.
I came up with two really nice services. Oh, did I mention that they are free?
DemandSpot bills itself as Real-Time Lead Generation for Real Estate. Notice that it is in Alpha mode which means that they are still working out performance issues and maybe even changing what they are offering! So be prepared for things to not always work as expected. But, don’t let that stop you from checking them out. Here’s a partial list of what they offer you:
- They search Twitter and FriendFeed to find people talking about their home hunting experience
- They list them in one place
- They make it easy for you to search by your area and other criteria important to you
- You can set up an automated function that searches the Tweets based on your criteria and then sends pre-defined messages to them automatically. This part does cost you in a fashion similar to Pay Per Click advertising.
You may not want to use the automatic feature, but their aggregation feature of Tweets that mention your search criteria is a real time saver. You would then manually select the users that you wanted to contact individually. You’ll want to check out their FAQ (Scroll to the bottom of the homepage) for details, but the basic search is very intuitive.
My second “find” is tweetlister. I’ll let them tell you what they are: “TweetLister is a free service that allows real estate brokers and owners to take full advantage of the vast, wide-reaching social network on Twitter.com. With TweetLister, you can easily create, post and manage all of your Twitter listings. You can track clicks on your listings, and collect leads – all in one spot. It’s easy. It’s friendly.”
Here is a partial list of what you can do with tweetlister:
- Enter information about your listings into a form on their home page
- It gets converted in to a 140 character “tweet” that contains the relevant info about your listing along with a link to a detail page on the web where viewers can see the details that you originally loaded along with the photo that you provided, two links to your blog or website and your virtual tour. There is also a Contact form that can be filled out. You would receive an email if anyone did so.
- You can schedule the Tweets to run once, daily or weekly and you can schedule the start and stop dates.
- You can also fill out a detailed profile page on yourself or company
- They have a very extensive FAQ page that I strongly suggest that you read before getting started as it will enhance the experience that you in using this tool
Finally, I want to leave you with a word of caution. Rather than be the only one cautioning you to use these tools responsibly and not as a spammer, I’ll just repeat two tweets that I have received in the past few months from different Twitter users. Pay careful attention to what they are saying:
Tweeter from Hawaii said “I love to buy but hate to be sold to!”
Tweeter from Georgia said “Ended up on a Realtors mailing list. Now I get DAILY emails on how she is dedicated to serving me. Talk about a business killer…”
Be very careful to not come on like gang busters with either of these tools. Careless use will brand you as a spammer. Careful use will help you build your business.
I’d love to hear about your experience in using these tools, so go ahead and leave a comment.