Why Pinterest?

Pinterest IconI LOVE Pinterest. It is such a great resource for everything from recipes to home improvement to architecture to design to whatever you can imagine. Most of my friends are on Pinterest and if they’re not I invite them to be on Pinterest. But I’ve yet to meet a REALTOR on Pinterest from my office. There are REALTORS on there, but I believe it to be a mostly untapped social media marketing opportunity.

Although I hate to admit it, I don’t use it to it’s potential. Now, I have a Real Estate Board, but I use it more as a humorous/educational tool for myself, because sometimes I need a good laugh or a reminder as to why I am in the profession. I also have a Home Decor Board and a board devoted entirely to Atomic Decor (we have a lot of mid-century homes here) and of course one devoted toGarden Pinterest Gardening.  (I have a lot more boards which you can view here). The point I’m trying to make is that all these boards have to do with real estate: homes, home buying, home maintenance, suggestions for your home and garden. There is so much potential here that I have not tapped. I should be able to drive people to my website, my blog, my contact page, and my email.

My most popular pin was repinned almost 7,000 times. Could you imagine if that had been related to my business? As it was, it happened to be a recipe for fried rice. fried riceI did try (twice only) to post homes for sale. One was my sister’s house in another state and one was a beautiful home here. NO ONE repinned. I felt as though my pin had, well for lack of a better term, “cooties”. So, I need a different strategy and I’ll keep you posted on how that works out. But I will be starting a business Pinterest account and I have a few ideas already on Boards to create. Hopefully the following infographic will help you see the value in marketing on Pinterest. And I encourage you to dip your toes in the water. Contact me if you need an invite to join (just send me your email address. I will only use it to invite you not spam you.) E.
Check out this wonderful infographic from Prestige Marketing, Inc. Click here to be taken to their post.

Pinterest Marketing Infographic

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Finding Images for Free or Cheap

I’ve been running into the issue of using and trying to find non-licensed pictures. This is an issue I’m sure others have as well. I must admit it gets tSpokane at Nighto be a challenge. In trying to be very careful I’m going a little crazy. I have purchased pictures (rather affordable, around $1) from photos.com. But free is almost always better. I came across another great resource from SociallyStacked.com You can click here to read the entire article and get links to the suggested sites. I found this image of Spokane using an advanced Google search.

Recently we’ve received a ton of questions about best practices for finding photos for Facebook posts and blog articles. One of the reasons is that there has been a lot of coverage about the fact that photos in the News Feed receive better engagement than a general status update. Facebook’s redesigned News Feed which emphasizes larger photos proves the point!

But how do you avoid violating copyright when using images? The general preference is to use a photo that you’ve taken yourself, but sometimes that’s not an option. With easy access to millions of photos it can be tempting to pull a photo from Google Images and use it to assist your blog or Facebook post. However, this is not a suggested or best practice. We recommend using images with defined licensing to save yourself a copyright-violations headache.

Use these tips for finding beautiful images for Facebook and blog posts:

1. Search under Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License are licenses that allow photographers to choose which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for their work. Some websites offer photos that fall under the Creative Commons License which have been approved by the original creator to be used by a third-party. The owners of the photos have chosen whether they want attribution or not when their photos are used, and these photos are available for use as long as you abide by the Creative Commons License. Flickr includes more than 17 million photos licensed under Creative Commons License. There are several other Creative Commons Licensed images than can be found from a simple Google search.

2. Search Google’s Publicly Reusable Images

In Google’s Advanced Image Search you can filter your image search by licensed for public reuse. When you open the Advanced Image Search an option appears at the bottom to choose Usage Rights. You can use the drop down menu to choose how you’d like to filter your Images. You can choose from “free” to use or “share,” “free to use or share, even commercially,” “free to use or share or modify,”and “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially.” You know exactly what you’re getting when you use Google’s Advanced Image Search and there are several million photos to choose from.

3. Search Free Stock Photo Sites

There are a variety of affordable sites where you can find quality (and legal) stock photography. One of our personal favorites is ShutterStock where we have a monthly subscription and are allotted a certain amount of photos to use each day. A recent blog post from TheMarketingAgents.com provides a detailed list of 13 free and cheap stock photos. You can read the article here. We’ve listed out the thirteen sites below, but for details on photo prices and types of photos offered reference the original article.

4. Create your own images

As mentioned earlier, our number one recommendation for photos is to create your own. Obviously this isn’t always an option, but self-created images hold several benefits. You don’t have to worry about copyright laws, they’re more personal to your business, and you won’t get stuck using the typical stock images that we see far too often across the web.

Video How-To: Facebook Advertising

Twitter Best Practices

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!

Best Practices

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.

Video Marketing Tips for Realtors

5 Social Media Tips for REALTORS

Realtor blue logo 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.

Social Media Success – Getting Started

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

wordpress, coffee, cup 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!

About Author

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.

Building Value for Twitter Followers in Just 15 Minutes a Day

4 Steps to Social Media Success Before You Begin

From turnitsocial.com October 5, 2012 By Sherri-Lee Pressman

4 Steps to Social Media Success BEFORE You Begin

You know you have to be using social media to achieve success, but you may not have a clue how to get started! It’s can be confusing to get started, but if you remember that it is just networking on steroids and follow these few simple steps you will be off to a great start!

Before you start on any social networks, you need to know a few things to do it properly, so answer these questions before getting started:

1) What do you hope to accomplish from your social media efforts?

Let’s face it, we all want to make more money, but with social media you have to be very patient to get to the money making part. It takes time and energy to get to that point. Until then, what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to build brand awareness? Connect with existing customers in a new way? Offer better customer service? Grow your network through meeting new people? Really take the time to figure out what else you can get from your time on social media while working on the money part.

2) How much time do you have to spend on your social media efforts in a week?

Are you prepared to make the commitment required to see this work for you? The more time you are able to put in, the quicker your results will come. You can accomplish a lot in 15 – 30 minutes a day. Do you have the time in your schedule to do this, or do you have a staff member who will take this over for you? And be really honest here, there is no point in saying you will work on it for an hour a day if you really can’t do that. Pick a reasonable amount of time and stick with it.

3) Figure out what networks you are going to focus on.

There are so many networks you could not possibly run all of them very well. And what’s the point if you aren’t going to do it well? So pick one to get started with and focus on building your connections and relationships there. You can’t just randomly pick a network though; you have to know where your current clients are spending their time so you can focus on the network that will get you the most traction quickly. How do you find out where your current clients are? Poll them, email them, send out a newsletter to ask them, have a questionnaire at your cash register for them to complete. There are lots of ways to find out Just do it. Once you know where your current clients are you’ll likely find new clients there as well.

4) Plan what content you want to share with your readers.

Know what you are going to say, at least roughly, before you start up your account. Get a sense of what information your clients – new and old – want to hear from you. Aim for sharing great content that expands their thoughts of you. So, if you are a printing company wanting to connect with clients on Facebook, don’t just post about your printing specials or your equipment or even just industry news, share tips on how to get the most out of the new batch of cards they just got, how to network effectively, how to write great copy for newsletters and more. You get the idea; really brainstorm all possible avenues you can access to offer a wide range of valuable information to your clients. This will make you very memorable in their minds and position you as a source of reliable, important information.

Now you might be expecting my #5 here to be, get out there and start your accounts and start posting! But hold your horses, it’s not quite that simple… yet! Bear with me. Watch for my second post here on your next steps to Social Media Success – Starting out!

About Author: 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.