Finally. The end of year is here and I can get caught up on my sleep. I call it my GSI (Get Sleep Index) Hahahahaha.
I took my last consulting call for the year and this was for an agent in Houston, TX. When I asked her what her social media strategy was for 2013, she said she hadn't done much on Twitter or Facebook yet and didn't plan to in 2013, either.
After what probably seemed as a rude and awkward silence for 10 seocnds... I cleared my throat.
"Why," I asked.
"Well, I'm not looking for college kids and 20-somethings. They can't afford homes in the $1m price range, anyway. And I heard Facebook is going to be charging $1 per email now. It's a real waste of my time to even bother."
Ah, the classic Facebook mis-conceptions. Once again, I have to address them.
There are 5 Popular Myths or Facts about Facebook you might not know.
Here they are and in no particular order of importance.
1.) Facebook is mostly teens, pre-teens and college kids. This is not my market audience.
FALSE. Facebook, has become the next, "LinkedIn.com" and month after month is growing with a bigger business audience than millions of game-crazed teen-agers playing Farmville, Mafia Wars or chatting it up with friends. 57% of Facebook's users are women and middle-aged women 40 to 60 are one of fastest growing demographics on Facebook. Pinterest has the largest women user base at 82%. (Source: OnLineMBA.com) Out of 845 million active facebook users, nearly half are 46 or older and 47% of them earn $100k or more a year, and 57% have some college education.
2.) Social Media (advertising) and Brand Building is a Quick Fix. I'll start tomorrow.
REALLY BAD IDEA TO WAIT. You should have started building up your fan base and information exchange systems a few years ago. If you haven't started, NOW is a good time. But it will take you 6 months to get traction.
Tomorrow, eventually, someday are (3) of the WORST times to get started. If Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are not already on your New Year's Resolution list of thigns to DO right now, it needs to be on that list, just above the "Make More Money in 2013," reminder.
You don't need a software engineer to get started. You just need to start. Your Facebook page does not have to look like Trulia, or Zillow. Just get started and hire a colege kid for 3 hours to design your Facebook cover page and post it. Just get off your butt and get started. There's no excuse to NOT have a Facebook page today. This is the Nike tagline: JUST DO IT. It' doesn't have to be perfect. You can always tweak it whenever you learn more Facebook marketing and Photoshop skills.
There are plenty of people to help teach you what to do and where to get started. Lynda.com is an excellent place for Facebook Essential Training. It's just $25 bucks a month.
3.) Facebook, Twitter and Linked are one-way promotion platforms
BIG MISTAKE. This is the single biggest myth out there with REALTORs I speak with in the age 40 and up bracket. They don't "get it," so they simply "don't get it." This is sad because anybody today considering such a huge purchase such as a home will most likely do a lot of research on you, your team or your brokerage. Have you screwed up? What are the complaints (if any) on Alice the Agent or Bob the Broker? Enquiring minds want to know.
People want to know you have good business skills and a healthy sense of "ethics." They will read your testimonials and how you and your team interact with buyers and sellers at all kinds of levels long before they ever reach the closing table.
Learn to be an "expert" at writing short articles about great buys, fun things to do in your town, and get your buyers' agents to post on your Facebook page about your local neighborhoods.
Social media uses video, text, photos, live chat in which the user controls how he / she interacts with you, shares your products or services with others. There is no longer a "one way broadcast medium," anymore.
Hpyer-local community pages are key to getting traction in the search engines and it's a great way to help you stand out from the competition. People will see and read about your expertise in local neighborhoods and will reach out to you if you impress them with your knowledge.
At the risk of tooting my own horn, take a look at what I did for a Keller Williams broker in Dallas for his new Website for the local Dallas neighborhoods.
Take a look at the detail page for Heath and look at the right side response form. This is an appointment / email widget we developed that lets the user to schedule a drive in that local neighborhood. Not just another "me-too," schedule a showing of a single home.
4.) Linking Content to Facebook is too hard to learn.
PURE BS. If you can copy and paste text, then you can paste, link or upload video content to Facebook directly. It's easy. Take a look at our Facebook business page for VPiX360. Our page has videos we uploaded as well as HD virtual tours of real estate content showing High Definition VPiX Virtual Tours of Real Estate.
5.) Social Media is a Time Sucker. A Huge Waste of Time.
NOT TRUE. Businesses are seeing that social media can drive the majority of their business. In our business, we do a lot of real estate marketing. Some months, up to 47% of our new sales comes from Social Media. Social media marketing is a huge part of your business success. If you're reading this, you obviously made the leap to reading and posting blogs. Active Rain is really Blogging with Training wheels.
But after a period of time, it's time to kick off those training wheels and pedal the bike without them. Moving from ActiveRain to your own WordPress blog is a good thing. Tying your blog to Facebook posts on neighorhoods is better. Diving into Twitter, ActiveRain and Facebook two times a week is really, really good. It's an investment into marketing your website, your skills, your buyer's agents teams out to poeple who want to do business with you.
Suffice it to say: If you don't tell people about you, if they don't know about you, or where you are... they CAN'T DO BUSINESS with you. Social Media provides you with the on-line and off-line tools to inform buyers and sellers about your real estate services.
We sell virtual tour camera kits to brokers who are fed up with paying $99 a house out to Obeo, CirclePix or RealTourVision. Do the math. You list 100 homes. At $99 a house, that's $9,999. If you have a digital camera, you just need to spend $2,470 on the upgrade lens, rotator, software and the VPiX tools.
No matter where you start, Facebook and Twitter and Active Rain all play key roles in giving the ordinary real estate agent huge and powerful tools to help you broadcast what you do to the world. So long as your text is thoughtful, informative and includes a dash of humor -- people will remember you.
The highest compliment you can be paid on ActiveRain is when we recommend you for a FEATURED Post. Feels pretty good to be acknowledged by your colleages, doesn't it?
Take that same feeling and amp it up a bit more. And strive to start posting valuable information on your Facebook wall and your Tweets when you have a new home, short sale or foreclosure to tell your subscribers about.
Bottom line, Social Media is a growing trend and like I said above, you do NOT have to be a wizard at it today. The skills will come if you just make yourself the promise to get started.
Merry Christmas to all of you, Happy New Year and may God bless us all.