Archive for the ‘Marketing Tips’ Category

I write a lot about how to better improve your virtual presence but today I thought I would write about some grass roots strategies.  For those of you who never attended a business networking event, they are great for making new contacts and in the Real Estate Industry it is all about the people.  So if you are willing to give it a try here are 10 tips you should know.  By the way a great place for find a Networking Event is on http://www.meetup.com

1: Bring Business Cards: Yes I know it sounds silly but a lot of people forget or do not bring enough.

2: Be prepared to talk, show your value. Instead of going to your next event and just winging it, try to think about what you want to say.  Avoid a canned sale pitch and instead talk about who you are and what value you or your company can bring to the person you are talking to.  Also remember your value might not be in what you can bring the person you are talking to but maybe in someone he/she knows.  Referrals are everything.

3: Make good use of your time. When we did our speed networking session last meeting we gave everyone about 1 1/2 minutes to talk.  We did this specifically because most people will decide on how good or interesting you are in under 2 minutes. In my world of web design people a person visiting your website makes an unconscious decision to stay on your website in under 10 seconds by visualizing color, images, space and key text.

4: RSVP early. Doing this helps in 2 ways.  The first way is it forces you to commit early when your schedule is more likely to be free. If you wait until the last minute you run the risk of being busy that night.  The second thing it does is it helps to foster more people to attend.  People signup a lot of times based on the number of people already going.  So if you see 20 people are already registered you are more likely to register yourself.

And don’t forget you can cancel your registration with most events up until the day before, so go ahead and RSV now!

5: Set time to meet everyone, don’t just talk to the people you know.

6: It’s always not about you: Some of the most successful people tend to put their own personal motives aside to connect other people. This can take place at the networking event or afterwards, but try to make connections between the people who you have recently met. This also helps people remember you because both people will remember you as the person who connected them. I was told from a colleague that she did not really make a connection until she met someone about 2-3 times.

7: It is not only about the event. After you leave take the time to connect virtually.  With today’s social tools it is easy to extend the relationship after the meeting. Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

8: Post via your Social Networks. After the meetup post something on LinkedIn or Facebook about the event.  It helps to connect you to the people you met by reminding them where you both met.

9: Followup: Try to follow-up with the people you met within 48 hours.  Visit their LinkedIn account and leave message, connect through common interest social groups or send a personalized email. Do not think of the new connection as just about what they can do for you; offer to refer contacts to others, ask questions pertinent to them.

10: Plan your next event. Networking is not just a once in a while thing.  The more you practice networking, the better you will become. Take some time to see what you did good and what could be improved.  Make note of these for your next event.  Make a goal to attend at least one event or more per month.

I hope this might help you make your next meeting more successful.

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First let me define infographics for you — they are graphic visual representations of  information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. With an information graphic, businesses can develop and communicate concepts using a single symbol to process information.

We’ve taken this trend to mind…and figured why not make some for REALTORS®! Below is one of MANY infographics we will begin to spread throughout our blog and social networking sites. If you have any idea for an infographic that would help with your internet marketing – let us know!

Click Me for the Full Picture!

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Viewers say they are 78% more likely to stay on a website offering video. Here are 3 tips to make your virtual tours better:

1. Add the Sound – LATER

Typically when you walk through a home you are in different rooms, with different features, different wall coverings and different architecture. High ceilings, granite counter tops and small bathrooms will completely throw off the sound of your video. Do your walk through and add the sound when you are able to sit down at a computer and record it.

2. Rethink your Script – Make sure you are Actually Telling them Something New

The point of your video is to inform your potential buyer…so walking into the kitchen and saying, “here’s the kitchen” is a big No-No! Show your buyers how the breakfast bar faces the beautiful bay window overlooking the bright back yard — or talk about the potential in the living room, sitting in front of the wood burning fire place after a day in the snow. Again more then 90% of home buyers start online, meaning they probably know A LOT more about your listing than you think. Make sure your virtual tours illustrate something they couldn’t find online.

3. Sell the Neighborhood – Not the House

Yeah it is great that you just listed a beautiful 5 bedroom colonial on quiet Main Street – but think about how much more appeal your listing would have if you included the proximity of this beautiful colonial to the coffee shop down the block, grocery store 2 minutes away and the jaw dropping, professionally landscaped park across the street! (don’t forget about proximity to schools, restaurants, highways and public transportation)

Spoiler Alert – there is no ‘perfect’ video length. Whether your video is 30 seconds or 5 minutes if it is not grabbing your buyers attention they will not watch it! Adhere to the tips above to increase the probably of turning that interested home buyer into a happy home owner!

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So what is the future of real estate websites with all the craze of social media and blogging? Hyper Local Websites!

These sites are used like single property websites, but for your niche. Creating a few hyper local websites allows you to brand a single area without worrying if you are discouraging prospects by limiting yourself by location since you ARE focusing on just one area.

These hyper local websites are great for new home buyers AND current residents. What should you include on your single community, hyper local website:

  1. Custom IDX Searches – like ‘Springfield Homes 550 K – 750 K’ and ‘Springfield Golf Community Homes’ or ‘ Springfield Short Sales’
  2. Information on local emergency services (talk about the volunteer fire dept) and DPW (garbage/leaf pickup)
  3. SCHOOL INFORMATION – duh! Talk about school activities, concerts, important events and meetings
  4. The lifestyle in that community – discuss restaurants, local shops, parks, nightlife anything this is going to attract buyers
  5. Town recreational sports. Keep you current residents updated with schedules and sign ups
  6. Keep the town and buyers updated on local news…pickup the town newspaper and ‘re-blog’
  7. Be a resource! Have a QA or FAQ web page, similar to a blog, that allows others to post questions and answers
  8. Always make sure you have a page for town pictures and videos – this should go without saying!
  9. Be sure you have a page devoted to your listings, open houses and relocation services
  10. Get some call to action/lead capture on your hyper local website – something similar to this:

Now even though you are focusing on a community within your niche, instead of having your cumbersome Real Estate Website that covers several counties – be sure you still SYNDICATE your content to Facebook, Twitter or a Blog if you have one. You can even break into Pinterest with your photo sharing. Share, Share, Share!

Have you thought about these hyper local websites? Are you looking to have one/some created? Let us know!

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Even with the popularity of Social Media as a way to get noticed by home-buyers and sellers, many real estate agents still overlook some simple, yet effective ways to drive traffic to their Web site and Social Media Sites.

  • Your Voice Mail  – I call many agents only to get a voice mail message with no mention of visiting their Web site for additional information. By announcing your Web address, it encourages potential clients to visit your site for up-to-date listings information as well as other valuable resources.
  • Sign Riders  – Be sure to include your Web address on all sign riders. Quite often potential buyers will take a weekend drive to see what is available. Placing your Web address on the sign is an easy way to for the potential buyer to visit your site for more information.
  • Marketing Materials  – Your Web Address must be placed on all property brochures.
  • Email Signatures – This is my favorite. Be sure to include your social media icons and Web address in your email signature. I have found that adding LinkedIn to your signature is a plus as it shows your experience and also any testimonials you have received. By placing these icons to your signature it also invites potential clients, past clients, friends and colleagues to connect with you.

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What is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in the news feed. The algorithm hides boring stories, so if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it.

For those unfamiliar with Facebook, the news feed is what you see when you login to Facebook.  This is all the things happening with your friends on Facebook.

Every action your friend takes is a potential news feed story.  Things likes posting a picture, status update, game milestone, post from a business page etc. are considered news feed items.  Facebook refers to these things as “edges”. So whenever a friend posts a status update, comments on another status update, tags a photo, joins a fan page or RSVP’s to an event it generates an “Edge” and that Edge might show up on your news feed.

The problem is you cannot see ALL the posts because that might be very overwhelming – so Facebook came up with EdgeRank to kind of rating system where Facebook ‘looks’ at your interactions, likes etc. and provides you with news feed information around that.

How does EdgeRank work?

EdgeRank relies on 3 things to determine how well you will rank.

  1. Affinity Score
  2. Edge Weight
  3. Time Decay

Affinity Score

The Affinity Score is how well connected are you to your Friends Edge. For examples, I am friends with Megan Lade. I write on her wall all the time and we have 20 mutual Friends.  So since we have a strong connection when I post something it will probably hit her news feed.

Facebook calculates affinity score by looking at specific actions that a user takes. These actions are:

  1. The strength of the action
  2. How close the person who took the action was to you
  3. How long ago they took the action

These specific actions can include clicking, liking, liking a fan page, commenting, tagging, sharing, and friend-ing a person. Each of these interactions has a different Edge weight and the more effort you do to create the action the typically the higher the Edge weight will be.  So commenting will carry more weight than liking. Commenting on something is worth more than merely liking it, which is worth more than merely clicking on it.

Affinity score measures not only my actions, but also my friends’ actions, and their friends’ actions. For example, if I commented on a fan page, it’s worth more than if my friend commented, which is worth more than if a friend of a friend commented. Not all friends’ actions are treated equally. If I click on someone’s status updates and write on their wall regularly, that person’s actions influence my affinity score significantly more than another friend who I tend to ignore.

Edge Weight

Each category of edges has a different default weight. Comments weigh more than likes for example.

Every action that a user takes creates an edge, and each of those edges, except for clicks, creates a potential story. By default, you are more likely to see a story in your news feed about me commenting on a fan page than a story about me liking a fan page.

Time Decay/Recency

As a story gets older it will loose Edge points simply because it is old news!

EdgeRank is a running score.  So as your post ages it looses points because newer stories with higher Edge points will replace it. Your update will only hit the news feed if it has a higher Edge point score–at that moment in time–than the other possible news feed stories also being posted.

How can I optimize my Fan Page for EdgeRank?

Since most of my post is based on what I have read since Facebook does not come out and directly say how their algorithm works my best strategy advise would be to compel your readers to engage you.

All of your posts need to generate “likes” or comments.

Some examples:

  • “Click ‘like’ if you’re excited that we just released our Mobile Real Estate Website.”
  • “Fill-in-the-blank: I want my new house to have a ______. “
  • “Yes or No, I think Real Estate Prices are DROPPING.”

All those likes and comments will increase the Affinity Score between each fan and your page, boosting how many fans see your status updates in their news feed.

Using images.  In general you see more posts with images then those without.  So go ahead and attach a photo or video.

So if you generally try to engage your readers at the end of your posts you are already increasing your EdgeRank.  So what types of closings do you use and are they working for you?  Let’s build a list here for everyone to share!

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Last week I posted an article on Facebook Business/Fan Pages and why it is important to your business to get involved with social media – particularly Facebook if you are a Real Estate professional. Hopefully over the weekend you were able to digest that information and came to the conclusion that you NEED an online presence if you want to succeed in Real Estate today – so as promised here is my list on the ‘WHAT’ and ‘HOW’ to post on your Facebook Business/Fan Page:

WHAT and HOW to Post Effectively to your Facebook Business/Fan Page:

  1. Photo and video posts yield 85% more interaction among fans than plain text updates
  2. Post at least twice a day
    • Think about your niche market (are they local or national…or international for that matter!) and post a useful link, tip or informative update between 9am – 12pm (if you live on the east coast and market to west coast prospects you need to wait 3 to4 more hours).
    • Your nightly post, after 6pm, can be a link to a news article or blog post you find relevant to your market.
    • Keep in mind that morning posts yield 65% more interaction.
  3. Content format should be:
    • 25% personal (this keeps the soft sell in mind and a personal side to your online business). Example you have 2 children and there is a local community pumpkin decorating night – broadcast that special event.
    • 25% promotional (offer freebies, run specials, giveaways). Example you have an REO specific fan page, run a special that will award fans a free market snapshot of distressed homes in your area for interacting with your page…’like this photo (could be your listing photo) and receive a free market snapshot for the Pleasantville area!’
    • 25% hyper-local (very specific area information). Example your fan page is about a specific community; write a restaurant review (of a local favorite eatery) and post a video tapped interview of the head chef or restaurant owner.
    • 25% market resource info (buyers and sellers tips, market statistics, national events/news). Example your local MLS should provide you with much of this information but offering monthly market stats or a sellers checklist is always beneficial to your fans.
  4. There are 3 main types of business/fan pages for REALTORS®
    • Geographical: should include local area information, school reports, restaurant reviews, local park and recreational activities, town sponsored events etc.
    • Niche: should include information on your niche, whether it be REO’s, short sales, retirement communities, rentals, vacation homes, lake front homes, country clubs etc.
    • Referral: should NOT include anything about ANY listings. Your main goal is to gather a community of national/international REALTORS® and broadcast your expertise in your area (market stats, REALTOR® tools/videos etc.) that way when a REALTOR® has a client looking to relocate they have an easy contact – YOU!

A great mind-set for a Facebook Business/Fan page is to simply be informative! You do not want to constantly blast information on your listings, your office listings and…oh yeah more listings! You want to grow a community of like minded individuals and once you are branded as a resource to that area or niche your ‘word of mouth’ marketing will go far beyond your followers. Keep the ‘I HAVE A GREAT LISTING’ posts to a minimum – open houses are good weekly posts; even new to market listings but cut your listing promotions there.

I do hope these past articles have helped you better understand Facebook and how to harness and leverage it’s power in this technology driven market. If I’ve left out an important point please share with us – how do you succeed in your online marketing strategies with regards to Facebook or other social networking sites?

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