Local Spotlight Series: Real Estate

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For those of you who’ve heard me speak in the past, you know I’ve been making a case for social media in real estate for far too long now, but limited schedules have prevented adoption.  The skill sets of real estate professionals and strengths of social media are so well-matched; it pains me to still see you guys not leveraging it. As an industry that relies on relationship building and local, social media marketing is the perfect match.

The purpose for this post is to share results Engage121 is seeing from real estate professionals using our new cutting-edge social media software solution that helps them build their social communities by providing daily content and guidance for community development… while saving time and resources. So, as Warner Wolf used to say, “Let’s go to the video tape.” (In this case, data.) 

• Over the past 7 days, agents and brokers sent over 450 ready-to-post content posts provided daily by Engage121.
• Among those same real estate clients, we’ve seen an average community growth of 4% over the last 30 days. These same customers saw an increase in reach across their networks of 411,000.
• Over the past 30 days, some agents have experienced community growth over 30% on their social networks.
• Individual users (Agents/Brokers) have experienced an average growth of 27 new community members during the same period, and an average reach increase of 4,500.
Users that sent no posts over the past 7 days saw an average community growth of 2%.  While users who sent 3 posts or more per week averaged a community growth of 6.5%!

Here are some testimonials from existing Engage121 users:

My efforts with Social Media for Real Estate total about 15 minutes a day and we are closing deals from Social Media every month!
-Terkel Sorensen, REALTOR® 

“It’s just doable. It just makes using social media very easy!”
- Glenn Bennett, Owner/Broker, Cowles Mountain Realty 

“Social Solutions makes social media marketing simple.   It was easy to work this platform into my schedule.  This is a Real Estate marketing game-changer.”
- Luke Middleton, Managing Director, Canter Brokerage

“Using Social Solutions made it easy for me because they already have the content, all you need to do is share it. How easy is that?”
- Lucy Rosenberg, ERA Curasi Realty, Associate Broker 

So what are the takeaways from this data?
1. Social does work for real estate professionals like you
2. You should listen to the folks who are using the software
3. There are a few key habits to help make you successful:
       a. Post great content that is Relevant, Interesting or Entertaining.
       b. Be consistent in engaging your community.
       c. Use social advertising to promote your pages. 

Seriously, Engage121 helps real estate professionals do all three of these things and more to drive more business opportunities.  My advice, get it now! 

Chat with me anytime on Twitter @dandrmar

Facebook Advertising, Do’s and Don’ts

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Have you been thinking about using Facebook Ads to promote a new product or service, or maybe promote a post on your timeline to gain more visibility for your business page? Before you hit that submit button you need to be aware of Facebook’s Advertising guidelines, or  your ad may not get approved.

Yup, Facebook approves every ad before it goes live, they guarantee to do so within 24 hours if you submit your ad on a business day. Usually it only takes a few hours for your ad to be approved and start receiving clicks and impressions. Here are the guidelines you need to know so you do not get stuck in “pending approval” mode.

Ads must always:
-apply appropriate targeting.
-comply with the Pages Terms that are generated through Page posts, and promote a sweepstakes, contest, competition or offer.
-clearly represent the company, product, service, or brand that is being advertised.
-lead to a functioning landing page that does not interfere with a user’s ability to navigate away from the page. 

-comply with all applicable local laws if promoting or referencing alcohol. 

Ads must NOT:
-include images comprised of more than 20% text.
-never use targeting criteria to provoke users.
-offend users, be false, deceptive or misleading or contain spam.
-contain or promote illegal products or services.
-promote the sale or use of adult products or services.
-be shocking, sensational or disrespectful, or portray excessive violence. 
-promote or facilitate the sale or consumption of illegal or recreational drugs, tobacco products, or drug or tobacco paraphernalia.
-promote the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.
-promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.
-constitute, facilitate or promote illegal activity.
-insult, attack, harass, bully, threaten, demean or impersonate others.
-contain “hate speech,” whether directed at an individual or a group.
-target to minors that promote products or services that are illegal for use by minors in their jurisdiction. 

-Ads that receive a significant amount of negative user feedback may be removed. You can help ensure that you will not receive negative feedback by advertising good, relevant content to a targeted audience for your business.

I recently wrote a post discussing the 7 things you need to consider before using Facebook Ads. which you may find helpful for learning how to target your ad to the right type of Facebook users for your business.

Have you had success using Facebook Ads? Tweet me @engage121 or comment below to let me know!


Foursquare makes your friendships stronger by enhancing their check-in feature

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This week’s Social Media Recap is devoted to Foursquare. Have you downloaded the new app yet? It will show you how you can now check-in your friends, instead of just mentioning them when you check yourself into a location. This does sounds great, although I’m worried that people will check-in their friends when they’re not actually with them just so their friends don’t miss their check-in, you know bragging rights.

Have you used the Foursquare Time Machine yet? I mentioned it here a few week’s ago. I’ve love to know what you think of the app!

Social Media Strategies for Real Estate

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Key points:

My efforts with Social Media for Real Estate total about 15 minutes a day and we are closing deals from Social Media every month. In my last blog post, I went over some of the main points, of using social media in my Temecula Real Estate business.

One of the topics I touched on, is the ease with which you can send useful information – we know this as items of value – to our clients, and through that, increase our touches.

Some of the very simple touches that makes your followers pay attention are things that resonate, I’ll call them Relevant for the sake of simplicity.  

So, by show of hands… What do YOU think is Relevant to your sphere?

  • Number of listings you have
  • Your sales stats
  • Your great features

I think you get my drift, how about things like: How to organize a pantry, or the fact that I love waking up in the morning listening to my kids play downstairs while I smell the bacon (this was a twitter post and got a decent number of retweets and favorites).  

The thing that is now going to earn you gold stars, is figuring out what works.  

To help us with this, we are going to narrow the scope of this article, and focus only on one channel: Facebook.

Let me start this off in a good way, jump over to www.facebook.com/terkel.realtor and LIKE my page, heck, if you really feel up to a challenge – why don’t you SHARE it with your friends? 

Let me ask you this: Did you just do that? Some will say no, they are reading to learn, not to participate in my silly antics, but quite a few did.

This is one of the strongest and simplest ways to drive new eyes to your Facebook page, and it works wonders.

My assistant (who arguably is a Facebook maven), uses this once in a while to get her friends to share her page with their friends. As a result, of this and other actions on Facebook, she has roughly 16 people in pre-approval, 4 active buyers, 3 active listings and a pipeline that many would like to see for a year.

I should note that she is 6 months in the business… She is pushing hard on her sphere, but she is doing it in a way that is making her friends and generating her Temecula Real Estate business.

Have you heard of friend of friend marketing? Great, so we are trying to get to talk to friends of those who are already our friends… Are constantly posting content that revolves around us going to get that done? Nah, not likely, nobody likes a slick sales person at the door.

But, if your content is more useful – say – how to keep your grill clean so the Ribeye tastes great… and people like what you have to say, then “Asking” people for their introduction to their friends is far less intrusive.

How about this.

The Temecula Real Estate market is really heating up, vales are up 20% over last year, if you want to see what is going on in your neighborhood, head over to www.livingintemecula.com/marketinsider

Remember, I am NOT spamming with this, it is an occasional CTA (Call To Action) to  my social community. Sometimes I’ll send this out, but ask them to share it with their friends. Or, ask them to share, and for those who do, they are entered in a drawing for a Starbucks gift card. 

Let’s wrap this up.

1. Use valuable content to touch and connect with your sphere.

2. Occasionally touch with a CTA, a driver to your conversion engine (I know, engineering speak for web site).  

Once again, my effort is just minutes a day and we are closing deals monthly. This week we are listing a house for “A friends, friends boyfriend“… This is someone we would NOT have connected with outside of Facebook. Case in point, if 15 minutes a day is not worth a closing to you…

I’ll leave you with that one.

How do you find influencers in your local area to help grow your business?

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Influencers is the new buzzword in digital marketing, and everyone preaches about building relationships with online influencers but no one shares tips for how to do so. Well today I’m going to change that.  Yes, building relationships with influencers can greatly grow your business because it puts your brand name in front of new eyes, and especially those in your local area. If you’re a small business owner, or franchisee, this is a must add to your marketing strategy. But how?

First define your goals; do you want to get more people to visit your restaurant or local shop? If so, you need to find people who talk about your industry in your local community. For example, if you own a restaurant you should you should begin by searching Google for “good food in Norwalk, CT.” If you own a boutique you can search for “fashion, Norwalk, CT.” Your search results will show online business listings that match that search but there should be URLs that link to relevant online content. Some of these URLs will hopefully be blogs that belong to local bloggers. If you do not find any blogs, there should be a few local news organizations in your area that are publishing this type of information. If you look in the comments section on these sites you can probably find a few people who seem knowledgeable about your industry.

Do not have fear if you didn’t find any blogs, you can head to Twitter and
do the same search there. Go to search.twitter.com and search for fashion or food and target your search to your specific geographic location. If you’re an Engage121 user you can easily do this in your Explore tab, and save the search for later. Your results should show some tweets that are relevant to your industry. Click on the profile picture in those tweets, and check out the bio of that person who tweeted the relevant information, as well as scroll through their tweets to see if this is a subject they discuss often. Don’t forget to click the URL they have in their bio, it might be a link to their blog.

You can repeat these steps on every social network. Now that you’ve identified a few key influencers in your local area, what do you do next?

Here are 4 steps for building relationships with those influencers:

  1. Start interacting with them online. For example, if they are a blogger make sure you read their content often and comment on their posts to show that you find their information valuable. Make sure to share your thoughts on the content they publish. In time they’ll see that you are a repeat visitor and will take interest in you, and show their appreciation for your comments.
  2. Share their blog content on your own blog, your Facebook Business Page, Twitter account and tag them on other social networks they use. I refer to this as “scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.”
  3. Once these influencers start interacting with you, and it’s a 2-way conversation, invite them to visit your local establishment because you would love to meet them in real life (IRL).
  4. Once you get to this step you’ll have formed a relationship with this influencer, and you need to continue to do the 3 steps above. If you have not seen them mention your brand online, feel free to offer an incentive. Some people will argue against this point but if you’ve gotten to this step I personally think its ok because they know who you are, and you are no longer a stranger. For instance you can offer them a free product or gift card that they can raffle off on their blog.  They’ll love this because it will help them increase blog traffic, and it will help you gain more brand awareness and hopefully new customers. 

If you’re providing great content on your own blog and promoting your social networks in your store then you might not need to do these steps. However, make sure you connect with your offline customers, online and build relationships with them to secure customer loyalty and guarantee repeat business.

How did you find influencers for your business?

How iOS7 will impact your Business

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Apple held their developer conference, WWDC, today in San Francisco to reveal what’s next. The biggest announcement for me was iOS7, although they do have a new desktop computer, Mac Pro, which sounds amazing.

iOS7 has many new, and very cool features. Many critics are saying that the updates reveald are just cosmetic but these cosmetic upgrades greatly inprove productivity, and usability for iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

How will iOS7 impact your business? Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Mobile will rule the world:
In terms of mobile web share alone, iOS has 60% — far and above the competition, and 600 million iOS devices have been sold. If you don’t think your customers are using iOS you’re wrong. Make sure that your website is mobile friendly, and especially your blog. If you are sharing the content you are creating on social networks it needs to be accessible through a mobile device. WordPress is a great platform to use.

2. Siri now shows web search results direct from Bing: 
Why does this matter? If someone asks Siri about your business, whether it’s for your contact info or website,  you need to make sure that your online business listings are accurate. Search your company name on
Bing.com to see if the results are accurate.

3. Design matters:
If 60% of mobile users are using iOS and experience the user-friendly, sophisticated interface design daily on their smartphone or tablet they will not want to switch over to an archaic layout that has poor user-functionality to read your information. Make sure your website, blog, Facebook business page, etc are attractive to your viewers and keep your followers engaged.

Technology is propelling our lives forward at incredibly fast rate, don’t let your business get lost in the dust. Are you an iOS user?

The Future of Social Media Management

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On Tuesday at Engage121 we held a company wide meeting to discuss Social Media Management, in its current state and how we predict it will change in the future.

The different perspectives shared on the subject were very interesting. There was myself… the typical user, the sales guy, the client service rep, the software developer, accounting team & our CEO. My takeaways from yesterday’s conversations were not new revelations for me, but it was the first time I realized that people in non-marketing roles share my thoughts and perspectives.

The future as we see it:
1. Social Media Management needs to be fast,  easy and intuitive – including great overall user interface design!

2. Social Media Management absolutely needs to be linked to selling more stuff for a brand or local business.

3. There are now several levels of responsibility with any given organization – and we need to focus on all users and their individual needs. For example, the CMO requires reporting (does this work or not), the publisher wants it to be fast & easy, the sales team wants a social CRM which shows that the social activity contributed to a purchase, and so on.

4.  There is now a need for software that no only allows publishing, engaging and measurement but also curates content for the user. At Engage121 we have built a content curation platform, and it will be interesting to see how others follow suit, and how this process transforms to fit the user’s requests.

Along with my comments, I wanted to share thoughts from my colleagues.  Below are the takeaways from a member of each department within our company. Comment below and tell me what you think the future of Social Media Management looks like.

If we are to truly help Franchises or Corporations that support local commerce, we must provide social business solutions that enable “local business growth.” As an SMMS provider, our future success will be determined by every additional slice of pizza, ice cream cone or dress sold – by local businesses, through social media. —Mark D’Andrea (Marketing)

It’s clear that the Social Landscape is continually evolving, and it’s hard for businesses to keep up with the newest sites or features that appear.  The best SMMS will insulate their customers from these changes so that they can focus on their business. —Dave Whalen (IT)

Our discussion made clear that we now have the technology to connect social media success to the business outcomes. Our challenge today is to package and market that technology to clients in a manner than can be easily understood and deployed. —Jon Victor (CEO)

In selecting a SMMS, companies shouldn’t look at just big brand names or a list of features and functions.  Instead, they should focus on how the SMMS fits their business structure, and work with them to define and track goals and objectives. —Steve Paster (Sales)

My biggest takeaway from yesterday’s exercise was a renewed sense of importance regarding local social media. I am excited to assist in developing an innovative software platform that will ultimately help small business owners leverage social media to their advantage.  —Parthena Aprea (Client Service)

Facebook rolls out Verified Pages and Time Range targeting for Ads

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It’s Social Media Recap time and today I have a treat for you! You’ll have to click play to see.

This week Facebook secured both updates, they finally rolled out Verified Pages and Profiles for big brands and celebrities. Good job Facebook, Twitter has had this function forever. You can not request to get verified, Facebook has to reach out to you.

Facebook has a new feature for advertisers, and one that I’m very excited about. You can now allows target your ads to those who have recently interacted with Facebook. For example, you can target ads to those users who recently checked into your shop or restaurant over the weekend. This will be the great way to follow up with attendees after your host an event.

What did hear in the news this week about your favorite social networks? Comment below if you like my sunglasses.

The change Social Media presents Real Estate Professionals today

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As Real Estate professionals struggle with the fit for Social Media, consider the following as a lesson from SDAR members learning how to solve the problem.

Is Jennifer your next prospect? 

Jennifer moved to San Diego last year.  She just got promoted with a new title and a nice raise. She works hard, so she has few friends outside the office.  Your physical business network doesn’t reach her, but your social media network can.

As Jennifer updates her LinkedIn profile with her cool new title, she recalls her father’s advice: “stop wasting money on rent”.  She searches LinkedIn for “realtor” plus the city and state where she lives.  She finds many agents with limited content, and a few with a nice mix of industry news and community posts. She learns more on Facebook. She checks Tweets. Jennifer is getting to know the agents she will contact. 

Would Jennifer contact you?

Consider why so many agents signed up for Engage121 at the SDAR EXPO…

Engage121 can position you in Social Media as a local real estate expert. Engage121 gives you compelling industry news and local stories you can post in minutes to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. A daily Hot Content email offers five suggested stories to post from your phone or tablet or computer.  And you’ll engage all your social contacts on one convenient page.

Does this describe you?  You know you should do Social Media Marketing, but….

  1. you don’t have enough time
  2. you don’t know what to post
  3. you can’t tell if it’s working

Engage121 solves these three problems for SDAR members.

“Engage121 makes social media marketing simple. It was easy to work this platform into my schedule and I’ll be strongly encouraging all my agents to do the same. This is a Real Estate marketing game‐changer.” –Luke Middleton, Managing Director, Canter Brokerage

“It’s just doable. It just makes using social media very easy!” –Glenn Bennett, Owner/Broker, Cowles Mountain Realty 

Engage121 enable you to become a local expert, find more leads, and help sell more homes! To learn more now, visit: www.engage121.com/realestate

Google Money, Google Design, Google Music, it’s all about Google this week

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Google steals the show for this week’s Social Media Recap! You can now send money via Gmail, as long as you have Google Wallet.

Google+ just got a fresh new look, watch out Pinterest. Google seems to also be in competition with iTunes because they just launched a music subscription service. But wait a minute, Bing had one big update this week, they added Facebook interaction to their search results.

Click play to learn more. What did you learn this week?