Your Social Media Reputation

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with 123 Social Media
The buzz in the past 12 months has been about blogging, podcasting, online video…hundreds of ways for people to share commentary and talk about things. Regardless of how active you want to be with social media, the general population simply doesn’t care if you are in the conversation or not. They are going to blog about you, discuss the colors in your logo, comment on how customer service issues were resolved, and possibly even try to tell you how to run your business. The community at large may be your best friend or your worst enemy…

The question on most business owners’ minds is simple: Is there a conversation going on about you?

Every day there are a thousand blogs and community portals striking up conversations about every topic imaginable. This online conversation is being leveraged for both “Good and Evil” by business and personal users, ranging from things like search engine marketing to promoting a new product on a local community site.

Here are some important tools you can utilize to understand how your business is perceived online:

1. Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts)
Google Alerts is a free service that e-mails you an update of relevant Google results based on the keywords you select. It is simple yet highly effective way to setup a weekly e-mail that notifies you of keywords with your personal name, company name, and even the name of your competitors. By staying up to date in the conversation, you can react to things as they happen and maximize your response.

2. Technorati.com
Unlike Google, which views everything as an entry of data that is sorted and indexed, Technorati tracks blogs as if they are conversations between people. It tracks how many people commented on other blogs, how many readers are subscribed to each blog, and the overall ripple a conversation has online.

3. Google RSS Reader (http://www.google.com/reader)

Google provides a free Web enabled RSS reader. This may not include your name or search strings, but when you find a blog or site that has information about your brand or your industry, subscribe to it’s RSS feed by using Google’s RSS Reader. If they talked about you once, they may be inspired to talk about you again.

To help cover the basics of what you need to monitor, here are four items you should keep an eye on:

1. Company name and slogan. If you have a name with more than one word, you can use quotation marks around it to reduce the number of false reports on your name.

2. Company Web site. Keep an eye out for both your company URL with and without the www extension. Many bloggers and commentators will only include a link to your site and may not use the proper name of your company.

3. Names of executives and team members. Make sure to add the name of everyone on your executive team or who drives significant value for your business. You can use quotation marks around full names to reduce false reports. You will also want to consider variations on basic names such as “Bob / Robert”

4. Names or properties, developments, products, or services. Any significant asset in your company that has a proper name should be on the monitoring list for your marketing and public relations efforts. There is nothing worse than trying to list a property that has a negative headline article in the local newspaper that you do not know about.

There are three main reasons to monitor your online presence as part of your weekly duties.

1. Protecting your online reputation and brand
You spent a lot of time and effort creating your brand, and your online presence may be the first interaction a potential client or business partner is exposed to it. By knowing what is being said about you online, you can protect yourself against opinionated statements and leverage good information for marketing and public relations campaigns.

2. Competitive intelligence
If you really want to know what “Web 2.0″ is, it means that the competition is moving faster than ever. Monitoring your own online presence along with competitive sites is a key way of keeping up-to-date with the marketplace.

3. Reacting to the industry
When you accept that over eighty percent of the current prospect base is turning online for information, being able to react to trends on a daily basis allow you to set yourself apart from the competition that is oblivious to changes in the industry. Having a strategy for maneuvering those obstacles as they happen is an easy way to establish your business as a leader in the industry.

It is not a requirement to participate in the conversation, but being ignorant of a conversation regarding your business is a quick way to being blind-sided by situation that could have been dealt with in the early stages. Many topics in the online marketplace tend to have a short lifespan. Knowing how to identify and monitor the ones that have an impact or growing trend allows you to make the decision to interact and allocate your effort accordingly.

About the author:
Barry Hurd is president of Social Media Systems, an online marketing and advertising consultant group working with search engine marketing and leveraging social media communities. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial Internet and online marketing experience. As an author and prolific blogger, he has reached online audiences around the world. Since the mid-1990s, Barry has been involved in numerous efforts to bring forth technical innovation through online business models. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide, Monster.com, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RISMedia.

For more information, visit the 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog. http://socialmediasystems.com/blog

RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

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Ambassador
920,146
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Barry, I love my Google Alerts. Yes, it keeps me up to date and I catch things said about me, I never would have found. In comments here on AR mostly.
Nov 26, 2007 10:58 PM #25
Rainer
10,876
Trevor Ainsworth
Century 21 Jack Associates - Burlington, VT
Burlington Vermont Real Estate
i am impressed with the content of your blogs. i am new to ar and find all of this information very useful. thanks, trevor
Nov 26, 2007 11:24 PM #26
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

Thanks to everyone who shouted out on the post. The best things can often be free (especially online), so always keep an eye out for useful tidbits.

Pam made some very interesting statements and questions, which I find to be a common understanding in many real estate agents (I heard this same thing over and over at NAR)

"In my community, there are some very very rich agents.  Not necessarily good or smart, but for various reasons they are rich.  They have this on-going, fast paced competition to out bid each other on key words on Google.  Financially only the elite of the elite can participate.

Question:  How much dis-service am I doing to my business by not even attempting to participate?

Note:  I have been in the business 16 years and have always been very pleased with my bottom line and my community presence.  However, in recent months, I am not not happy and am wondering if I am making a serious marketing mistake."

There is not limit to "free" online. There are many ways to launch effective sites online, ranging from free services like ActiveRain and RealTownBlogs, to affordable website solutions from hundreds of providers. There is a huge amount of creativity in marketing yourself, and believing budget = creativity is wrong. I've seen many $100k accounts in the past that were doomed to fail because the decision maker couldn't think out of the box.

You need to be online. Period. 

Google is not the "end all" of online marketing. In fact many of those elitist brokers and super-agents are wasting valuable money on pay per click campaigns. Simply put: they don't know how to run an effective online campaign, so they throw a lot of money at it and hope it works.

I would actually suggest to you this: those elite real estate professionals may be on top of Google PPC, but does that mean they are succeeding or floundering wildly in public?

Nov 27, 2007 02:36 AM #27
Rainmaker
509,926
Ann Heitland
Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
Wow! Thanks. I'm going to update my Google Alerts!
Nov 27, 2007 09:32 AM #28
Rainer
27,598
Mary Richards
Reece & Nichols Realtors - Kansas City, MO
Mary Richards
Barry:  Thanks for the information.  There is just so much to learn.  I have bookmarked this so I can figure out how to use the tools you recommended.
Nov 27, 2007 03:07 PM #29
Rainer
85,703
Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent
Realty Executives -BRIO - Seattle, WA
Thank you Barry.  Today I began work on another blog for a friend's business (not RE) and I am going to use some of these tools, particularly Google Alerts,  from the "get go" as well as my own outside blog.
Dec 04, 2007 03:33 PM #30
Rainer
48,998
Tucson Real Estate Experts Anne McKechnie
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Tucson, AZ
Previews Property Specialist

Thank you Barry great post

Anne

Dec 05, 2007 01:44 AM #31
Rainer
1,378
Christi Meats
Evergreen Home Loans - Seattle, WA
Thank you Barry. I am new to blogging and this was great to read, it gave me more insight.
Dec 08, 2007 05:22 AM #32
Rainmaker
756,462
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Barry....great points! I've got a 3 ring binder just to my right of my laptop on my desk. It's tabbed for various things I working on now, including social networking and blogging. I've noted a couple of your comments in my "blogging" section.

Thanks again!

Dec 08, 2007 03:57 PM #33
Rainer
13,589
Brad Whiteman
Coldwell Banker - New Haven, CT
Brad Whiteman
Very useful and insightful. It will be an interesting world now that no one can be a fading memory. Will we ever be allowed to grow from our past mistakes? Isn't that part of life? Fall, get up, grow, fall get up, grow...Thanks, great post.
Dec 11, 2007 10:07 AM #34
Rainmaker
47,320
Rick Turner
Key Realty - Toledo, OH
Puts People In Their Places!!

Barry,

Thanks for the pointers, and like you mentioned, "the best things can often be free"! 

 

Dec 17, 2007 08:17 AM #35
Rainer
1,313
Julie Sigwart
Wailea, HI
Addendum to what you said about Google Alerts: they're highly customizable and you can search a number of different ways. You can track news from a specific source, by keywords (like you mentioned), and then there are other alerts you can set up like the alerts for Google Blogs. You have to actually go into the Blogs section to set up alerts for them.
Dec 23, 2007 10:50 AM #36
Rainer
17,612
Cody Sperber
Clever Investor, LLC - Chandler, AZ
Real Estate Investing Education
Great Post...lot's of good info!
Dec 26, 2007 02:45 PM #37
Rainer
48,922
Clark Hitchcock
Re/Max Nyda Realty Inc - Chilliwack, BC
Realtor - Fraser Valley

Thank you for sharing all this helpful information.

Dec 30, 2007 09:30 AM #38
Rainer
88,363
Carol Spengel
Prudential Rubloff - Wheaton, IL
Wheaton IL
Once you start keeping tags on yourself you are more conscious of what you write on message boards and other people's blogs. 
Dec 30, 2007 09:43 AM #39
Rainmaker
830,347
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service
Thanks for the info. Great Post!
Jan 02, 2008 06:26 AM #40
Rainmaker
44,505
Rich Quigley
Chicago, IL
Barry-Thanks for the informative post. I haven't been using those tools but will check out Google alerts today.
Jan 07, 2008 03:59 AM #41
Rainmaker
466,230
Ralph Mark Maupin
National Real Estate Network, LLC - Highland Township, MI
Michigan Real Estate Investors Host
thanks, I use Google Alerts to track my information and my competions-- very good blog post
Jan 07, 2008 12:16 PM #42
Rainer
1,644
Zoom Visal Media
ZOOM Visual Media - Phoenix, AZ

Impressive.  I love reading blogs like this...great info.

Jess

Jan 10, 2008 02:11 PM #43
Rainmaker
188,743
Christina ONeal
At Home Real Estate Group - Ripon, CA
Realtor - Ripon California
You have a great point.  We work so hard to have a great reputation & bring value to the table.  We definitely need to make sure that our brand is being talked about respectfully.  thank you :)
Jan 11, 2008 05:01 PM #44
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