Thank you for joining us for Google+ Tuesdays! This is our first post over the next several weeks focusing on Google+: What it is and Why you should be using it. First we really need to ask, “What is it?” I am not a G+ guru and it is one of the social media outlets I’ve used the least. I am beginning to realize that this social media platform is gaining in popularity and from the word in the blogosphere, I can no longer poo poo Google+.
Excerpt from What is Google+? (And Why Solution Providers Should Use It), By Kristen Curtiss
First things first…what IS Google+?
According to Google, the idea is to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. Essentially, the user experience is similar to that of Facebook (a news feed based on status updates and shared content, recommended friends, etc.), but the idea here is to make it easier to share content with specific sets of people (called Circles) instead of just publishing content on your wall for everyone to see.
Here are three ways Google+ can benefit you and your clients.
1. SEO benefits. The first, and in my eyes most important, is Google loves…well Google! This means there are great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) opportunities for your business. By sharing pages from your website on your Google+ page, you are helping your business rank higher in the Google Search Engine. This gives you a much better chance of getting in front of your target audience!
2. Easier to reach influencers. One of the other great things about Google+ is how new it is. This allows you to take your time, figure out what you like about it and grow slowly. There are many influencers already on Google+, and with a smaller audience to reach out too, you can begin to build relationships with these influencers!
3. Share more efficiently. A benefit that can be very important, if/when your clients and prospective clients are using Google+, is the ability to target your content more easily and more effeciently than other social networks. Using Google+’s circles, you can place followers into categories, similar to email lists. This allows you to send your piece of content to your entire audience or specific circles of your choosing.
I’ve never understood how LinkedIn can be useful for a real estate business. All my connections are in the real estate business. There are of course others that I know personally in other fields. So, I just couldn’t figure out why I would do anything more than complete my profile if it’s all just B2B. Well, it’s occurred to me that one of the reasons I have and post on my Facebook Page is to be a useful resource AND to remind everyone that I’m a Realtor. Because nothing is worse than someone you know forgetting you’re a Realtor. So, why should LinkedIn be any different? It also occurs to me while doing all of this research to help Realtors understand and use social media that social media should be part of your marketing not all of it. I’ll write more about that latter. Today, I want to focus on LinkedIn. Again, I went to DeDe Watson’s site to get you some helpful tips. The following article is from turnitsocial.com 7 Tips to Build Your Best Personal Brand on LinkedIn; August 31, 2012 By Katie Leimkuehler
LinkedIn is no doubt the most credible of all social media networks making it essential to demonstrate your best personal brand online. Remember that before your business meeting, client presentation, or interview most people will have already scoped out your LinkedIn profile and you want it to highlight your extraordinary professional accomplishments, work-ethic and expert knowledge.
1. Write an Awesome Headline for Your Profile
How do you stand out? What is your best skill or asset you bring to your work? Put those words in your headline. Don’t just list your current company and position that will still show up below. You want to catch people’s attention, for example “Dynamite Social Media Expert Will Build Your Brand in One Month.” You can bet people will click on that LinkedIn profile.
2. Copy the Masters
If you’re wondering what your profile should look like find several people who have the jobs you want or work in the same field and mimic their profile. Notice the key words they use for their specialty skills, look at what applications they’re using and the number of recommendations they have. This will be a good point of reference for how you should design your profile.
3. Lead the Way as an Industry Expert
One of the goals of being on LinkedIn is to show that you’re an expert in your field. This includes adding your blog, portfolio, and presentation applications to your profile; not just the links. This will show people the type of work you excel at and where you can help. Highlight your professional achievements and share press releases or articles written about you—it’s okay to brag. You’ve earned.
4. Get Recommendations
One of the best and most valuable ways to build up your profile is through recommendations. Whoever recommends you is giving you their personal endorsement. This is huge for your brand development. If you have more than 10 recommendations people will take notice and chances are they’ll want to work with someone so highly recommended.
5. Participate in Group Discussions
It’s important not to just join groups of interest, but to actively engage in them. Start off by introducing yourself to your fellow members. Give some background on yourself, what you do and what you hope to learn by joining the group. Next ask a question. What is a trend you’ve noticed in your office or company? What changes are taking place? Make sure the question is not something you could discover by Googling it. Ask a question that will get a discussion stirring and then comment on current conversations. If you’re vocal about your opinion people will regularly seek you out for it and it will build your credibility in the professional world.
6. Share Your Knowledge
The moment someone sees you as a resource your value on LinkedIn spikes. By posting great content articles in your status update or engaging with others by commenting on their posts you are strengthening your credibility. People will want your advice or knowledge if you constantly share good information.
7. Earn Recognition for Your Expertise
The best way to become an expert is to show you’re an expert. Answer questions posted by other people in the Ask a Question area and you will earn a profile badge that highlights your expertise. It will also show all of the questions and your answers. It’s best to answer questions in variety of different areas so people can see the extent of knowledge. Answering these questions will help build up your authority and again demonstrate that you’re an expert.
It’s important to understand how using social media can promote your business and part of that is understanding how best to use the different social media outlets. If it isn’t something you can commit to then you need to determine if you can delegate it to your personal assistant or if hiring a social media “butler” would work better. It isn’t enough to just sign-up; you must also make the time commitment to use your chosen social outlet. You can contact me with any interests you may have in my social media business services. The following article, by Craig H. Collins, honestly spells out what you need to do to make Twitter work for your business.
Twitter Best Practices
from craighcollins.com by Craig H. Collins on August 29, 2011
Learning how to leverage social media sites like Twitter is simple – but not always easy to become effective. While that may initially sound like a contradiction, the evidence is clear; many small business owners establish a Twitter account and send out sporadic tweets but fail to garner the loyalty of clients or gather new converts. The results are predictable – wasted time and effort that leaves everyone feeling frustrated. In fact, it may cause more harm than good in the loss of goodwill and reputation.
Simple Doesn’t = Easy
The simplicity of establishing a new account and getting involved in social media sites like Twitter are partially to blame; simple doesn’t always mean easy. Yes, the technical considerations are indeed quite simple but it isn’t easy to establish meaningful content that connects with clients. It’s even more difficult to create original information that gets retweeted. Building a thriving online presence is hard work!
Today we are going to cover some of the best practices in taking your Twitter activity to the next level. Some might sound like common sense but research shows the vast majority of users fail to implement these standards on a regular basis.
1. Real Time Messages – Twitter operates in real time so make that work for your small business. Understand the need for immediate response in real-time. Don’t neglect the value of spontaneous tweets that relate to the world around you and your business routine.
2. Tweet the Horn – Bragging about others is good business! Send out a virtual congratulations whenever possible to other business owners, service persons or just to recognize that special somebody.
3. Pause – Sooner or later someone will tweet a negative about you or your business. Take time to carefully consider your response prior to posting…whenever possible, put a friendly and helpful spin on the response without wasting time on negatives.
4. Spontaneous – Register for automated alerts when others Tweet about you or your company then make a practice of dropping in and responding in real-time. Whether it is a simple “thank you for thinking about us” or a more meaningful gesture like a small gift certificate, it makes a great impression!
5. Remain Positive – It can be tough to remain positive in a world filled with negative news but unless you have solutions to problems like politics, economics or religion it is best to avoid those things which you cannot change. People are searching for solutions and reasons to remain upbeat – make it part of your corporate and personal philosophy to be the solution – not part of the problem.
When I came across this News Release from the NAR I felt compelled (to say the least) to share this with you. Part of my mission with this site is to help REALTORS understand the VALUE in establishing an online presence. The more interconnected your online presence is, the more findable and accessible you will become to online buyers and sellers, and the more likely you are going to be the one they will reach out to. This will build your business!
Joint NAR/Google Study Shows More People Use Internet to Research Homes for Sale
WASHINGTON (January 7, 2013) – Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253 percent over the past four years, according to a joint study from the National Association of Realtors® and Google.
“These results parallel the trends shown in NAR’s economic research reports,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “As home sales and prices continue to trend up, more people are regaining confidence to invest in their future through homeownership.”
The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate is a joint report from NAR and Google that examines the connection between consumer Internet use and online home search and shopping patterns. The study leverages NAR’s custom research and Google’s proprietary and third-party research. Google collaborated with Compete in 2011 and 2012 to survey and analyze the behaviors of people in the market for new and existing homes. That research focused on people who had completed an online “conversion”– taking the next step of contacting an agent or requesting additional information from a real estate brand’s website.
According to the analysis, buyers used specific online tools at different points during their home search process. Buyers tend to rely on search engines and general websites when they begin their search, use maps more in the middle of the process, and engage mobile applications most toward the end of their search. READ FULL ARTICLE
With 90% of consumers going to the internet first to research real estate (realtor.org), your website is the first impression you are going to make. And we all know what they say… “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Nothing is a bigger annoyance than going to a website to find a plethora of unfriendly issues. So, when I come across a website that is user unfriendly I leave and go look elsewhere. I often go do DeDe Watson for advice and insight into social media marketing. She is so very knowledgeable and makes social media very accessible for those who don’t think they have the time for it. I was of course on her site turnitsocial.com and saw this post from DeDe and I absolutely had to share it! Your website is not a “set it and forget it” type of media. It requires some attention and monitoring. But not to worry! DeDe Watson has some wonderful and easy tips on how to maintain your website to make that stellar first impression!
5 Easy Tips for Maintaining Your Website
Building a website can be very time consuming and financially draining. So, you want to be sure that you have carefully thought out both what you are trying to convey on your site and that it is user friendly!
Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Website
1. No clear message as to who or what you are from visiting your home page. I cannot even tell you how many sites that I have visited where there is no visible clue as to what a company offers. You have perhaps 5-10 seconds to gain someone’s attention. You might have an amazing company, but if there is no visible benefit for the viewer, your opportunity will be missed!
2. There is no homepage link or it is broken. Be sure that you have a visible homepage link. The best advice is that it says “home.” If someone begins browsing through your site and wants to go back to your homepage, it must be easily accessible for them to return. Also, make sure that it works!!
3. Make sure that your site works on multiple browsers and MOBILE!!! Your site must be easily viewed on mobile networks as a significant percentage of your viewers will be checking your site from their cell phones.
4. Too much flash is not your friend! Flash can be an exciting feature to add to your website but, it is not seo friendly, can slow down your website and can actually detract from people viewing your website. A little is okay but don’t make your homepage all flash and no content!
5. Don’t allow your website go stale. This can happen when businesses are not web savvy or have very little interest in their website maintenance. Sometimes, products no longer exist, contact information changes, links are not working or worse yet, a website can go down! Even if your website does not require constant updating, it is important to check in frequently to make sure everything is up to date and working properly.
I hope that these tips will help you to keep your website running smoothly!!
I was doing some research about social media and real estate marketing. As you know these are two forces I love. I came across this wonderful article from blog.hootsuite.com by Katie Lance. She is the CEO/Owner of Katie Lance Consulting and Chief Strategist at Inman News. I hope you find her write up to be as valuable as I do. I have come across a number of Realtors who just don’t see the value or desire to make the time commitment to social media marketing. This wonderful, concise article spells out the “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” of social media for real estate professionals. Make the time and a plan to incorporate social media marketing into your business! You’ll ask yourself, “why didn’t I do this sooner?!”
5 Social Media Management Tips for the Real Estate Industry
1. Be Consistent
The key to being successful in social media is consistently posting content. You can’t Tweet or post to Facebook once in a blue moon and expect results. You need to be there everyday—just like you are with your phone calls, email and the rest of your marketing strategy. One of the best parts of using a tool like HootSuite is the ability to schedule your messages. You can spend just 15 minutes a day and schedule 3-5 new posts to “drip” out during the day. This is like drip marketing, but for social media.
2. Have a Content Strategy
You have to have a content strategy to be successful in the long haul with social. Ask yourself, ‘what type of content would be most relevant for my brand, for my audience and where am I going to get that content?’ Next, create a content grid or editorial calendar where you can map out topics you plan to post about over the next 30-60 days. Curate content by using Google Alerts or by creating specific lists on Twitter for specific types of content you’d like to re-tweet or re-post.
3. Never Forget: Real Estate is Local
When you are planning your content strategy make sure to include things that only locals know—like the best place to get a slice of pizza or the best place to get a cup of coffee. Buying or selling a home is so much more than the home—it’s the local parks, the school districts and so much more. Your audience and potential clients love that hyperlocal information—and as a real estate pro that is one area that will really set you apart.
4. Dip Your Toe Into More Than One Stream
Understand the conversation doesn’t just happen on your Facebook page or Twitter stream. Conversations about real estate are happening in Facebook groups, in personal chatter on social platforms, and throughout Twitter. It isn’t enough to just post to your social channels—be aware of conversations happening in your social circles about real estate and jump in. The conversations are there whether you are there or not—wouldn’t it be better if you were there? You can add several “Streams” in your HootSuite dashboard to listen in on the topics of your choice.
5. Find a Way to Measure the Success of Your Efforts
Do you know which Facebook posts or Tweets get the highest number of clicks or engagement? Do you know how much of your web traffic is coming from social networks? Do you know where your audience is? Make sure you are checking your HootSuite Analytics once a week to gauge your success. Also make sure you integrate your Facebook Insights and Google Analytics into your HootSuite account so you can really see the big picture.
from turnitsocial.com October 30, 2012 By Sherri-Lee Pressman
So you have read and followed my advice from my first post 4 Steps to Social Media Success BEFORE you start on Social Media:
1) Know what you want to accomplish
2) How much time can you spend on your social media
3) Narrow down the networks you will participate in
4) Plan your content
And now you are ready to get going with the next steps.
I know you are eager to get moving and to start seeing results, but don’t jump over these steps they are very important to reaching that success you so want and deserve. They are the foundation to everything in the future and believe me, it’s easier to do it right the first time than to have to go back and fix it later.
Am I suggesting you will never change these things once you have set them up? Not at all… in fact I recommend you review the previous 4 steps regularly as a way to evaluate the success of what you are doing and to review the upcoming steps often as well.
As your goals grow and change, as the social media world changes and as your business changes, you need to review these items regularly. That’s not the same as skipping steps now to get going and having to go back later to do them because skipping them shorted you on some success. So invest in yourself and go through the steps now!
So what do you do next?
1) Know and follow the rules of the networks you are joining: Most of these social networks are free so it’s their sandbox and you are getting to promote your business for free… the rules are there to make it fair for everyone so take the time to follow those rules so you aren’t penalized for breaking them. This could mean losing access to your accounts to having them shut down completely. It would be a shame to lose all your hard work because of a rule being overlooked.
2) Fill out your account info completely: This is a great opportunity to tell people who you are and what you do and it’s where people will make a judgement about you and your business. So take the time, fill it out completely and then review it at least quarterly to ensure all your details stay accurate.
3) Find the right people to follow to build your network: Use the search option on the network you using, try a variety of terms. Find a leader in your industry and follow them, then follow the people following them as well, these people are looking for your info, you just need to connect. Add your numbers, be selective about who you connect to, send a hello to them, start the conversation and connect.
4) Listen: Spend time on your social networks listening to other people’s conversations, contribute when you have something useful to say (not just “me too”). Use the search field to find conversations relevant to your industry to participate in.
5) Give before you receive: Start sharing and responding to other people’s posts. People notice this and usually then make an effort to do the same back for you. We all want people to engage with us, be the first to go and engage with them. It will be noticed.
6) Add value, be the go-to resource for information in your field to the people in your niche: Find useful information that the people in your niche need to hear and be the one to share it. Don’t worry about being the one to create the content; sharing content is a powerful way to position yourself as the go-to expert.
7) Ask for the action you want: When you post a thoughtful, useful or just fun item and you want people to engage with… don’t be shy to ask for what you want, sometimes people need to be guided. They are sitting at home nodding their head in agreement, but the thumbs up or retweet is the virtual head nod… ask them to do it!
These steps are the basics of any successful social media campaign on any channel. They will guide your interaction with the goal of growing your network, engaging with people in a caring way and building relationships. Don’t short change yourself or your business by not doing these steps; the results won’t be the same without them.
I’d love to hear how you are doing on your social journey!
Sherri-Lee Pressman is Your Social Media Minder, helping business owners use Facebook and Twitter to grow their businesses. She is a Social Media strategist, educator, speaker and coach. She lives near Vancouver BC, Canada with her two kids, one crazy cat and an even crazier puppy. You can visit Sherri’s site here.