When it comes to social media, there is multiple opinions about where and how it should be used when it comes to Real Estate or any business for that matter.   We have those who are for the technology and those who feel no different if they use or don’t use Social Media in their work.

In this document we are going to outline some of the things we often suggest to individuals who want to engage customers via social media and why it can be or maybe not be important to your business Today.

Social Media that been the top most frequent ones we hear about each day — Facebook and Twitter are nothing more than tools for doing online marketing.   Facebook, is more geared towards a social gathering and place to share information with friends and colleagues and twitter guides itself as a real time news breaking tool.   Facebook is a Marketing company today and will likely continue to be one for many years to come.  The biggest Marketing company in the planet is Google, which relies on millions of websites if not billions of websites on the internet to display their advertising.

So, the question we get asked by individuals is they should or should not participate on any of these networks or any other network for that matter.   Remember, there are other more specialized networks in which you can participate on as well– from Pinterest, Linked-in, Four Square, Instagram, Google+.. etc etcc.. each and every single one of them offers something different for one another so that they can survive in the space we call the World Wide Web.  You can think of all these social medias as Magazines to put it simple terms.

Each of these Magazines or social media websites, has an audience or a certain number of individuals who participate in them and engage with each one on a given day.  Some people, have lots of time during their day to navigate the World Wide Web and touch each and every single one of these during the day, but for the most part most people usually touch 1 – 3 of these on a regular basis.    Some people obsess on just one and spend all their day there, which makes us wonder how people even get work done.

In answering the question we get asked, we often respond, where do you want to find your customers?  Are you customers tweeting?  Are you customers professional business people who may only socialize on Linked-In?  or are you customers Women who love to spend hours on Pinterest looking for and designing ideas?  You see the answers is at times simple because you maybe looking for a particular type of customer, so your answer lies on which of these networks offers you that type of individual.  Remember, what we said that for the most part individuals participate in a few of these networks and at times they may not even participate in any of them all together.

We can use Facebook as an example as to why some folks join this network and participate in it.   Remember, Facebook is an advertising company and what it wants is to compete and take a part or market share away from Google for the online digital advertising space.   Furthermore, Facebook offers you some additional information about your customers that other networks don’t offer you yet, such as demographics, age, education level, marital status, etc etc.  You can then request from Facebook to run Ads for these specific demographics and attract customers to your internal Facebook page or directly to your online world wide web website.

In the end we often do an analysis of your time and how you spend your time to determine if social media makes sense for you.   It’s not something we feel everyone needs to participate on because all form of social media is just “digital advertising” and digital advertising is still a very young industry and only accounts for a small percentage of the over all market of all forms of advertising available to real estate professionals.

So, when you look at specialized networks such as Trulia or Zillow, these are specialized networks that concentrate on the market of just real estate.   So you an think of these two as the Magazine related to Real Estate for Consumers and Facebook as a General Magazine for all sort of topics.  Now you an begin to understand why for you it maybe more beneficial to place yourself amongst these networks, because the concentration of active buyers or sellers maybe more prominent on these two Social Media Sites versus twitter or facebook for example.

In the end we are left with the question of what really works?  What is the best network or social media network that a Realtor or any professional can get into to get the most out of their time and investment.   The reality is that they all work, it really does not matter which of these networks you participate in because they all have some type of audience available to you, the only question you need to answer is where does your customer lies in or the person you want to work with is located.  Recall, that all of these are just Digital Advertising so it still represent a small portion of all forms of advertising.     I used the example of Magazine to describe these social media networks, but there is a such as thing as “A physical Magazine” in which individuals still advertise on which is non-digital and so forth.

In summary,  when considering Social Media for advertising ask yourself the questions as to where do you expect to find your customers?  Are your current customers participating on any of these networks now, that you may want to join just to keep tabs with them. Remember, that Social Media or Digital advertising is a small but growing industry in comparison to already established industries. We often feel that people participate in all forms of digital media because the cost are drastically cheaper.   What does it cost to send out a mass email to 5K customers versus a postcard to 5K customers?  We often feel that customers have the misconception that all form of digital is the only way to do business Today.   Since it’s so simple and accessible by everyone that everyone automatically participates in it, which is quite contrary to reality.   Perhaps some day the inverse would be true and Digital Advertising will be the dominating medium for all businesses and professional but for now it’s still the smaller one of all.

 

One of our most frequently asked question by our customers is — how do you increase visibility of your real estate website.  The answer maybe simpler than you think and it’s actually quite easy to do and follow, but most people never really like our answer to the question, they prefer we did not even say it, because it’s a scary concept to grasp, but will outline for you why this is the real answer and why we don’t sugar coat it to our customers.

The cold hard facts about any given website in any industry, weather you’re doing Real Estate in Miami or doing e-commerce or trying promote your business is actually doing the work.   There is no secret formular or special tactics or magic that is going to propel your website from the back of the row to the very first position of google.   Yes, often time we hear the Search Engine experts dispute this argument about how and what they know will get you to the top of page on google or any search engine.  But, what they know is how to try to find shortcuts to cheating a computer to achieve this, to then at the very end have your website go from top of the line to the end of the line.

You see the most valuable thing you have is a domain name.  That is your domain name that you paid for $12/year to have the rights to use this name.   Now how do you add value to your name?  Well, the answer is simple,  you have to actually provide knowledge or be willing to share with others what you know about your product or services with anyone, without asking for anything in return except that they value your information.

You ask, why would I spend hours giving up my time so that someone could just come and take this from me.  All my hard work and effort so, that someone else can benefit from what I do.   Well, the answer is quite simple, you actually get rewarded with your hard work and that is in the form of people sharing what you had to say with others freely.  That’s the real magic in making anything you do on a website become relevant and stick around for a long time.  Meaning that’s how you get placement and hardly ever do you get bumped down to the end of the line.

You see, sometimes your competitors have been doing this well enough for a long time that they have in a way earned the right to be up there.  So, lets pretend that you just started in the business.  Take for example the position of you doing tons of hours of research, lots of hours of pounding over mls data as a Realtor, to then one day publicize and share your information with the world or in this case your local peers or potential customers, to then quickly realize that another person came and took this information from you so, that they could in turn put it on their website.  Because let’s face it, it’s extremely simple to copy and paste now in days and that only requires a second of my time to do so.

So, the argument becomes— Wow! that guy really did a nice job, you know thanks buddy for putting all this information together for me, I will just take it and place it on my website.  Would you considered what this person did to be fair?  Should they get fair treatment because they took your hard work and placed it on their website?

The answer is simple, — There is no treatment for taking other people’s work —  why would they get any credit since it took them 10 minutes to take it from you, when it took you hours if not days to put it together?  —  This is why Google and other search engine treat your information with value, so that when someone takes what you put many hours of work into as resourceful and treat it fairly, to give you ample opportunity for you to share this information freely without the fear that someone would take credit for your hard work.

The point of my story is that yes, your hard work is rewarded and if you try to take shortcuts by taking other people’s information from their domains and placing it on yours, you’re actually hurting yourself and helping them with the cause.   So, always think about how your might be taking shortcuts when you take information that is out there and just placing it on your domain. .

We have been in this industry for more than 16+ years, and I have seen in my time many websites rise and many fall, but if you are to move your website from the back of the line to the front of the line, you have to see and look for your opportunities in the form of what is lacking from your competitors and try to fill in that void that they’re not meeting.   It’s impossible to ask of Google or any search engine to take what you started to contribute and place you ahead of the line, over someone how has been doing it for quite some time. Well, there is a way and that’s to pay google with advertising monies, but to be fair they may take you to the front of the line without monies if your information is worth and is of value to someone and those people enjoy or like your information, because in the end Google and other search engines goal is to pair the right or best answer with the question.

 

Google+ is a Social Media Network that competes with Facebook and in case you have not heard of it’s Hangout Feature — which is a really nice feature of their service, which allows you to setup video conferencing with friends family and colleagues.   If you have not seen this feature in action, check out the commercial below by google.

Suggestion for using Google Hangout for Realtors.

The only requirement you will need in order to use this nice feature of Google+ is a Microphone and a Camera, which most forms of laptops and tables now in days have.

  • Host a roundtable discussion about the state of the market in your neighborhood.
  • Collaborate with virtual assistants to get your work done.
  • Give a guided tour of home/condo.
  • Offer foreign buyers guide and information on what they need to buy real estate.
  • Discuss with other Realtor your transaction details.
  • Coordinate a virtual meeting with your Title office, loan officer, inspectors.
  • Host a guided tour of a new real estate development.

With Google+ and hangout you can achieve more in person discussions with your client, even if he or she is miles from where you are.   If you can think of other great ideas in which you can incorporate google+ hangouts to your real estate career let us know, we love to hear what other suggestions you may have.

 

In an effort to increase the tools for our real estate clients, we are happy to have release some new themes for 2012 for our single listing website pages.  The single listing website allows you to easily create a website for any listing.   Creating a single website for a listing is extremely simple with our tools, all you need to provide is an MLS number and all the information is pre-populated for you, thus saving you time.

When we set out to build this project back in 2009, we were thinking about the future and how this tool can help you better market your listings.  Sellers’ love our single listing website because it allows them to see how you market their individual properties.  A typical single listing website includes:  Listing Information – Remarks, Amenities, Year Built, Address, Price, Availability, Photographs, Neighborhood Information, Map Location, Animated Virtual Tours, Social Media Sharing Tools, Your contact Information and much more.   Below is one of our sample screen shots for a single listing page website for 2012.

You can view a sample of a single listing website at singlelistingpage.com.   What’s great about these single listing websites is that they allow you to create your own domain such as 123elmstreet.com.  Having a single listing website will help you in your marketing efforts and keep your sellers happy.  Since importing a listing to a single listing website is extremely simple, we have taken the headaches of managing things.  If the listing is Active in the MLS, we will continue to update the information for you, so that you don’t have to worry.   Even if you don’t have your listing in the MLS you can always use our single listing page tool to create a website for any listing.

If you are a Broker or Agent and would like to use this product head over to singlelistingpage.com and sign-up today.  Our prices are extremely competitive an we offer bulk discounts for brokers who are looking for a single listing website solution for their organization.

 

If you have been waiting to get a real estate website solution for yourself or the company you have been waiting too long.   The pace at which information is changing and how the industry is moving could mean you are falling behind if you have not jumped in yet.   What do I mean by jump in?  The answer is extremely simple, you need to have a presence online so that your Real Estate clients can find your Real Estate website online.   Consumers are quickly jumping online the minute they need to research or find out what’s the price or better yet if now is the right time to buy Real Estate.

I ask my customers all the time.  How much time do you spend marketing yourself or your brokerage online each week or month?.  I am surprised by their answers most of the time,  little to no time at all.    I always recommend all my clients to start marketing yourself or your company, even if you don’t select us to build you a great Real Estate solution or help you in your Professional Real Estate Career.

Below are some suggestions of the things you can do until you are ready to use our products and services:

  1. Register a domain name.   You can get a name for less than $7 dollars a year now in days.    Registration of a  Domain names will give your Real Estate website a head start.  Google looks at the history of a registration as points for Real Estate Search Engine optimization, think of it as having an office in space that has been open for many years.   (Register a domain)
  2. Sign up for Social Media Account – We hear about Twitter everywhere we go Today.  Conan O’Brian, ESPN, CNN and other main stream media not only use them as an effective means of communication but also promote them.  Facebook.com is another big name.   Even if you don’t have the time to use these products now,  sign up for an account and reserve your presence so when you’re ready you already have a head start.
    1. Facebook Sign up page)
    2. Twitter Sign up page
    3. LinkedIn Professional Networking
    4. Real Estate Networking Site
    5. YouTube Video Marketing
    6. Yelp Social

    Ask us how you can be more connected with your customers and effectively market yourself or your Real Estate Brokerage firm online.

  3. Search Engine Accounts – Create yourself an online presence with the major search engines.   If you have an email address you can sign up for an account with the major search engines to utilize their tools to better position yourself online.   Google Offers lots of great tools that can help you on your way to creating an line presence.
  4. Devise an Effective Marketing Plan –  We often tell our customers to create a Marketing Strategy and implement it.   The most successful online real estate websites have some form of Marketing plan in place for their website.   The Marketing plan does not have to be complicated and can be as simple as dedicating 1 hour a week to writing a blog on your website or any of the Social Media sites mentioned above.
  5. Location! Location! Location! – You understand that Real Estate is about location, we understand that Real Estate websites are also local.   We always advise our clients to “specialize” or “create a niche website”.    Google will favor websites that have a niche and can offer the local market the information it wants and needs.   If you search for a plumber on google, it’s smart  enough to direct you to your local candidate,  so  you have to think local when it comes to online Real Estate Websites you are on the right path to success.
  6. Get a starting website or blog – We offer an array of different products to suits everyone’s need including an excellent starter website  that includes all the features a website should have without a heavy price tag.  We even offer a Continue Reading if you are looking to replace or enhance an existing Real Estate Website you may already have but is not performing like you like it to.   We also offer a full fledged Real Estate website that includes the most comprehensive tools available to any Realtor or Real Estate firm that wants to establish market dominance.
  7. Hire a Professional who understands your business – I have seen customers of ours who get burned when they find any company that can build websites, to quickly find out that they have to spend hours, days and months explaining industry terms and concepts like what an MLS is.    We love what we do and understand your professional real estate career so we can give you the competitive advantage over your fellow Realtor.   Contact us for aContinue Reading or quote.