How Do You Feel About Social Media?

Posted on: June 20th, 2012 by
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I have spent a lot of time with a number of Realtors this week, and I have learned a lot of how you feel about social media.  Below are the most common excuses to not use social media that I hear from real estate agents.

Realtors feel social media marketing is not something that’s going to work for their business, and that it is just a waste of time. Sure it works for Gary Vaynerchuk, and thousands of other business owners, but they just can’t see it working for them.  This, to me, is a huge misconception.  It is very easy to waste time with social media, but it is also very easy to waste time with anything.

Another issue seems to be that Realtors want to get everything figured out, and then they’ll dive in. It’s unlikely that will happen, because the social media platforms and rules are always changing. The way to get results is to just get started.  As I have said many times before, social media success is not something that will happen overnight.  Just like with the clientele that you have already built up over the years, building a social media network means building trust. It has to be built one tweet at a time, one Facebook post at a time and one comment at a time.

At the same time, when Realtors do jump into social media, they often expect big results immediately, but are sadly disappointed when those results don’t come.

To be successful at social media, you have to decide what success means for you. A social media program without a goal is like professional baseball team without a pitcher.  By failing to set specific, measurable, actionable, realistic goals, Realtors are denying themselves the ability to track their performance and effectively market to their prospects.

This brings me to content. Most people have problems coming up with content.  Content is not always easy to come up with, however, reflect on the conversations of the day and figure out if there is something that a client has talked to you about that you could help others with as well, and use that as a blog topic.  What you are trying to do with your blogging is create a social environment for your business.  You, after all, are the expert and your clients feel comfortable turning to you for answers.  If you are too busy to write your blog, give it to someone else to write.  Clerical tasks can be delegated to someone else, but social engagement cannot be diverted to someone else. You’re either accessible to your community or you’re not. If you’re not, you’re missing out on huge opportunities.  Social media tools allow you to leverage your time considerably, so you CAN be helpful and accessible to your audience – check out our 5 Minute Social Media Marketing Program here.

So define your goals.  By defining your goals at the outset, setting baselines and tracking your results, you’ll be able to see whether you’re on the right track — or where you need to make changes.

Can you afford to ignore the fact that almost all your customers are already online looking for you?
We are almost half way through the year now, where are you on your social media goals? Are you having any success?  What have you done to create success for yourself?  Leave a comment below to let us know what kind of success you are having using social media so far this year.


My Real Estate To Do List

Posted on: June 8th, 2012 by
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We are in a crazy business!  I’ve tried countless times to organize my daily tasks by doing what the experts say.  I’ve tried writing my tomorrow’s “To Do” list today and not adding to it.  BUZZ!  Didn’t work!  I’ve tried time blocking but with only marginal success.  Yes, I’ll drop cold calls, when a client calls and is finally ready to move forward on something. So, my time blocking gets blocked… don’t you judge me!  The real estate business is just too unpredictable to make these scheduling tricks from the gurus work properly.  We have to deal with last minute snafus like the buyer (it’s always the other agent’s buyer, isn’t it?) with cold feet who won’t show up for closing, the last minute closing package for the 5 pm closing, the termite report that causes the surprise need for a structural inspection, etc, etc, etc, etc.  Time blocking and To Do’s written in stone be damned!

The only tried and true method I’ve found of getting tasks done is the good ol’ handwritten “To Do” list.  Honestly, my list looks like a 2 year old got a hold of it with an assorted box of 20 different pens.  There are tasks written in black and underlined in red, tasks boxed in blue, and tasks astericked in black, and even a drawing of what appears to be Mickey Mouse.  I really don’t know what any of this color coding means, and I wrote it all.  There is no consistency, no meaning, no system, and no method to the madness.  Sound familiar?  (I sure hope I’m not the only one.)

Well, I recently discovered my new 2nd favorite tool (see this blog for my new #1 favorite tool).  This new tool is called Wunderlist, and it is wunderful!  Wunderlist is an online, rolling “To Do” list where you can reorder tasks, add new entries, mark tasks as completed, create new lists of tasks (right now, I have a Work list, Honey Do list, and a Lake list).  Wunderlist allows you to give your tasks deadlines, and any tasks you don’t complete today will automatically roll over to tomorrow.  The program is a cinch to use and very easy to learn.  Wunderlist even has apps for mobile devices as well  Check it out, and let me know what you think about it below in the comments section.  You’ll have it mastered and fall in love with the application in no time.  I need to wrap up this blog now so I can add “fishing” to my tasks for my “Lake” list before I forget.


3 Reasons to Start Your Real Estate Blog Today

Posted on: May 30th, 2012 by
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You may not know that I have recently started tech coaching Realtors with a local real estate coaching program here in Birmingham.  I coach each agent/student of the coaching program once per month where I teach them how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, search engine optimization, and email marketing to get leads, maintain communication with those leads, and turn those leads into active buyer and seller clients.

When I meet with a new student for the first time I have them fill out a quick survey to evaluate what level they are on with their tech marketing.  I am amazed at how many Realtors do not blog, do not want to blog, do not understand blogging, and/or refuse to blog regularly.  The most common excuses I hear are “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to blog about” or “I don’t write well/My grammar and spelling stink.”  I struggled with those same excuses for not blogging as well before I started blogging.  Well, today I want to share 3 of the main reasons to lose the excuses and start your real estate blog right now:

1. Google Loves Blogs – It is true that many websites ranked #1 on Google do not have blogs on them; however, I can tell you from personal experience that Google will visit your website more often if you add fresh new content several times per week.  When I started my new website I was lucky if Google visited my site once every 2 weeks.  Now Google crawls my site at least once daily.  So, how did I do it?  I blogged 5 times per week for over a year.  Google learned that my site was a source of fresh new info and it wants to index that information and present it to its users so Google started crawling my site because the information being added could not be ignored.

2. Google Loves Blogs – Blogs are the perfect place to strategically place the keywords that you are optimizing your website for.  Once you post that blog on your site and distribute that blog to the social bookmarking sites (like Digg and StumbleUpon) and Google crawls those sites as well as your site, you’ll start to see your site’s rankings improve.  You will also see your traffic increase as well. 

3. Your Prospects Love Blogs – What better way to establish yourself as the real estate authority in your area than to have page after page after page of relevant expert information on your site?  Answer… There is none!  Consumers turn to the web for info.  Give it to them, and you will profit!

So what are you waiting on?  Go now and add your real estate blog to your website and leave a comment below with a link to your site and most recent blog post.  Real estate blogging is just smart SEO, and it is just too darn good for your business as well.


3 Ways to Use Evernote in Your Real Estate Business

Posted on: May 18th, 2012 by
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I’m almost embarrassed to write this, but I am just recently discovering and using Evernote.  If you are like me a few months ago and you have never heard of Evernote, then let me tell you a little bit about it.  Basically, Evernote is your cloud based storage cabinet, rolodex, receipt manager, tax organizer, word processor, etc.  According to Wikipedia, “Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving that can be had in a paid version or a more restricted, advertising supported, free version.” Evernote allows you to categorize and store countless notes and items for retrieval at a later date.

Over the past week, I have used it to declutter my desk.  Yes, I still have a little bit left to do, but this is a drastic improvement over what it looked like before – the only unpapered spot on my desk was the approximate 18″ x 18″ work area immediately in front of my chair.  So, here is how I have been using Evernote to declutter my life, and three ways I believe it can help you do the same for you in your real estate business.

1. Word Processing – Evernote allows users to write blog posts, notes from meetings with your broker or prospective buyers, etc. from any device.  GoogleDocs doesn’t work well on mobile browsers, but Evernote does.  Once you get to a stopping point with the document or you complete it, you can simply save the document and Evernote syncs that document with all of your devices, and your web account.  Pretty cool stuff.

2. File Cabinet – I store all my monthly invoices on Evernote now.  When a bill comes to me in the mail, I simply take a photo of the bill with my smartphone and send it to Evernote with a tag of the due date.  When bill paying day rolls around, I just search for the month and year in Evernote and all of the invoices I have stored in my account are there for viewing and payment.  I am also using Evernote as a rolodex to store an image of any business cards I receive now.  Take a quick snapshot of the card, upload it to Evernote and give the card right back to the card’s owner.  Some may think that is rude until you tell them politely that you are just trying to save them money, and the environment by using Evernote.

3. Receipt Manager – I used to save all of my receipts in a desk drawer until tax prep time when I would go through all of them to prepare information for my accountant.  Once I was through with them, I would store them in an envelope inside a box for 3 years only to throw them away later.  Not anymore, now I just take a picture of the receipt and upload it to Evernote, and then throw away the receipt.  When tax time rolls around, I will just search in my receipts folder for receipts from this year.  In addition to freeing up drawer space, I can easily search the tags I entered for a receipt that should I need to return to an item previously purchased.

These are just 3 of the countless ways to use Evernote in your real estate business.  If you have another really cool way of using the service, then please leave that in the comments section below.


4 Step Plan for Inexpensive Real Estate Lead Generation

Posted on: May 3rd, 2012 by
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We are fortunate to live in a time where, when done properly, we can generate real estate buyer and seller leads for little to no monthly expense.  In the “Good Ol’ Days” of real estate, we paid for printing and postage for newsletters and postcards, mail outs to our “farming” areas, etc, etc, etc.  While all of those processes are still very effective, they are quite expensive.  Today’s technology can generate leads for you at a fraction of the cost through the process of inbound lead generation.  Inbound lead generation involves generating leads by having the prospects contact you instead of you contacting suspects in hopes that some of them will turn into prospects.

So what exactly am I talking about?  Here’s a 4 step plan to generating leads using inbound marketing.Birmingham Mortgages

1.       Blog – Adding engaging and useful content to your website on a blog allows you to showcase your expertise and helpfulness to potential buyers and sellers.  “But I don’t… (enter excuse for not writing blog posts here)”  Then, hire someone to do it for you!  It is much cheaper than you think.  In fact, I know of a company who offers a program that you can subscribe to that will send you a “Done for You” blog post up to 3 times per week for a little more than a dollar a day.  All you have to do is copy and paste the post to your blog.  Click here for more information or to subscribe.

2.       Social Media – These amazing tools allow you to distribute your blog content to hundreds or thousands of people for free.  Socializing on these sites will help your business tremendously. 

3.       Webinars – You will have to spend a little money on this one to subscribe to a webinar service, but I promise you the expense is worth it.  A first time homebuyer webinar that you’ve promoted on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is an incredible lead generation tool.

4.       PPC and SEO – Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization are tools that can help to increase the reach of your marketing efforts.  These two will help drive traffic to your website or blog.  We all know that traffic equals more buyer and seller leads.

Implement these 4 steps in your marketing plan to generate some very inexpensive leads to carry your real estate sales into the dog days of summer, and if you have an idea you would like to contribute to this topic, please leave it below in the comments section.

Photo compliments of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1708


2 New Facebook Tools to Increase Your Engagement

Posted on: April 20th, 2012 by
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We all know that Facebook is constantly changing, modifying, and adding new functions to their platform.  Within the past several months Facebook has added new features/functions to their platform that I believe can help to increase your engagement with others. 

The first, and probably the most controversial, way is to enable public subscribers on your post.  Facebook now allows you to post on your personal profile page and allow public subscribers to see your post.  Enabling this feature is done in the account settings area of your profile.  Some of you are going to say, “Now wait a minute, I don’t want everyone knowing what I have to say on Facebook. Not all of my posts are for people I don’t know to see.”  And to that, I say, “Hold your horses.  Read on.”  Once you have subscribers to your feed, you can determine which group of people sees your particular post by clicking the dropdown box next to the “Post” button.  Select “Public” and post.  That’s it!  You just sent that post to everone subscribed to your news feed whether they are a friend or not. 

The second and probably the best way is to build an interest list.  This is a list that other Facebook users can subscribe to.  These lists are akin to an RSS feed for a particular group of Facebook users.  Use this tool to build a list around topics and draw people to subscribe.  You can also see the updates of only these list members, like a news feed, and interact with them that way.  Use this function by clicking on “Add Interests” under the menu section of your “Home” page (you may have to click “More” to find it).  You can build your list first and Facebook will also suggest people to add based on the topic.  Once you’ve added people to the list you can comment on their walls and posts to create much more engagement.

Try the above two functions and see if your Facebook engagement level increases.  Remember marketing online is about being top of mind with suspects and prospects.  Being engaging will keep you top of mind.

So, are you scared of the posting something for possibly the whole world to see as described in the first tactic?  Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below.


5 Twetiquette Tips for Real Estate

Posted on: April 18th, 2012 by
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I’ve been accused of only liking Twitter for one reason… so I can put the letters “Tw” in front of any words I use when discussing the social media outlet.  Of course, that is not the ONLY reason.  The real reason I like Twitter so much is because it is a very quick way of getting a “to the point” message out to hundreds or thousands of followers.  Oh yeah, and because there is at least one really cool way to grab leads from Twitter very quickly.  Many of the Realtors I speak with are either just learning Twitter or have decided to ignore Twitter altogether because of the misconception of the average Twitter user.

Today, I’m giving you 5 etiquette tips to help you get more enjoyment and buyers and sellers from using Twitter.

1. Do Talk Back – No, not the way a teenager does to his parents, but be sure you interact with those who correspond with you.  If someone retweets you, then thank them for the retweet or even retweet them.  Respond, retweet, or direct message soon after that person contacts you.

2. Spread the Word – If you are going to be tweeting a lot because of an office open house or holiday party, then let your followers know ahead of time.  You are far less likely to lose followers by informing them of an upcoming busy day of tweets.

3. Keep Your Personal Business Personal – Just like all social media platforms Twitter is all about developing relationships with your followers; however, you should refrain from sharing your personal affairs all over Twitterland.  You can share some info but don’t make any more than 10% of your tweets personal in nature.

4. Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry – If you have an unsatisfied buyer or seller tweeting about you or your company, then get that conversation on the private side of Twitter by using DM’s or just taking that conversation offline (highly recommended).  No matter what you do, do not ignore the unsatisfied client.

5. Refrain from Over Tweeting – Do NOT tweet too much.  In a recent tech coaching session with a Realtor, my student asked me to help her log in to her Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to unfollow and disconnect with a few people who tweet or update their status on those networks too much.  So, how much is too much?  This is impossible to know for sure without asking your followers what they would like to see from you.  But, as a general rule of thumb, try to tweet no more than 3 times per day.

Whether your an experienced Twitter user or a Twewbie (Twitter Newbie), keep these 5 tips in mind when using the platform.  You’ll find that you and your followers enjoy using Twitter much more because of it.

If you have any Twitter gripes or tips, please feel free to leave those in the comments section below.  We can all benefit from reading them.


2 Ways to Use Mobile Marketing to Improve Your Real Estate Business

Posted on: April 15th, 2012 by
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Mobile is taking over our world.  I discussed this in a blog post I wrote Thursday.  Read that post by clicking here.  The Realtors who are embracing mobile marketing are positioned to give consumers what they want when they want it and will reap the rewards because of it.  The Realtors featuring mobile marketing in their listing presentations will get more listings because they can offer more for their clients than those Realtors who are not.  The Realtors using mobile marketing to market their listings are in a position to pick up more buyer prospects than those Realtors who are not using mobile.  Ok, I know you’ve had enough, and you want to know more about exactly how you should be using mobile to market yourself and your properties.  Well, here are 2 ways to use mobile marketing to get more buyer and seller leads.

1.       Quick Response (QR) Codes – QR codes are those funny looking codes you can scan with your mobile phone or tablet to get more information about whatever the designer of the code wants you to see.  QR codes allow for far more storage capacity than a standard UPC code that we are so familiar with.  So, how should you use QR codes to get more buyers and sellers?  Generate QR codes using this website for each of your listings before your listing presentation.  Have the QR code take those scanning the code to the single property website for that prospective listing (or to the property listing on your personal website) and demonstrate how it works to the seller and then get ready to enter that new listing into MLS because not many other Realtors are using QR codes and single property websites to market their listings.  Using QR codes gets buyers calling you about your listings after they view your new listing on their tablet or smart phone.  From there, it’s up to you to put the charm/sales pitch on them to make them your buyer clients. 

2.       Mobile Websites –  Mobile websites are websites that are designed to display perfectly on mobile devices.  Design a mobile website for that prospective listing and feature that mobile site during  your listing presentation and again get your listing agreement out because your competition is most likely not using mobile websites to market their listings.  As you know, anytime you can add additional value to your buyer or seller clients you are strengthening your odds of becoming their Realtor of choice.

If you are looking for some ways to increase your business, then consider adding mobile marketing to your list of services provided to your clients.  If you need some help building a mobile website, then please give me a call at 205-979-4412  or email me at andy {at} gaglianomtg.com.  If you are currently using mobile marketing in your efforts to increase your business, then please leave a comment with some of your success stories.


3 Reasons Why Realtors Should Use Mobile When Marketing Real Estate

Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by
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mobile marketing for real estate

It seems like everyone and their brothers have smartphones and tablets these days.  It could be because they do.  Smart marketers have definitely noticed this trend and have completely embraced mobile in their marketing efforts.  So, what exactly does “Mobile” mean when it comes to marketing?

Well, mobile marketing is the process of marketing on or with a mobile device.  We all know that we live in a society of instant gratification and when consumers are mobile our marketing messages need to be mobile also in order to reach them.  What does this mean to you as a Realtor?  It means you need to incorporate mobile marketing into your current marketing efforts.

This is not just my opinion.  Here’s what the statistics from a recent survey completed by The Real Estate Book show:

1. 98% of all home buyers who use a mobile device in their home search process consider it a “valuable tool” – 46% of those surveyed state the device was “essential” to their search and 52% state the device as “helpful” in their search.

2. 68% stated they contacted a real estate professional to view a home based on their mobile search.

3. 85% of previous non users of mobile search will consider using a mobile device in their next home search.

So, hopefully, now you can see the importance of mobile real estate marketing.  Saturday, I’ll show you two quick easy ways to make sure you’re using mobile marketing so that you and your listings can be found on mobile devices.

 

Photo courtesy of Twobee

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2020


2 Services to Use for Captioning Your Real Estate Videos

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by
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I wrote a blog yesterday about how captioning your real estate videos is important for SEO purposes and to assist the hearing impaired.  In a previous blog, I wrote about www.fiverr.com – the website where you hire people to do things for you or provide services for you for $5 per job.  Well, I’ve hired transcriptionists on fiverr.com to transcribe my messages in the past, and I can tell you that I’ve been quite pleased with most of the transcription work as well as the bump with the SEO.  Today, I want to introduce you to two more services that can help you with transcribing your videos.

1. Omega Transcripts – For $8.25 per minute of video, Omega Transcripts will transcribe your video into a .srt file for you to upload directly into YouTube.  Or you can have them transcribe your video into a Microsoft Word document for $1.25 per minute for a 5 day turnaround.  You can then upload that Microsoft Word transcription file into YouTube using their Beta captioning upload – which I have had very good luck with.

2. Verbatim IT – These folks provide a video transcription service for a flat rate of $1.50/minute, and they will even upload the file for you.  If you have a heavy accent, no worries… VerbatimIT has you covered with no extra transcription charges.  VerbatimIT will also give you an hourly rate of $30 for transcription service for those long videos.

Don’t forget to checkout www.fiverr.com as well, but these 3 options are likely all you need to handle your transcriptions.  If you know of any other transcription sites that are awesome or do something very neat, then please leave those sites below in the comments section.

 



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