Twitter for Business: Plan of Action (Part IV in a series)

Services for Real Estate Pros with Social Media Handyman

Here's the "money post" I promised. It outlines my thoughts on how to use Twitter to network, make connections and generate leads. (Here are links to Part 1, 2, 3 and 31/2) But first...

Resources from Ogilvy PR

Over the weekend I came across a couple of resources from Ogilvy PR that present the best business case for using Twitter that I've seen, hands down. The first is a PPT slide deck and the second a list of best practices.

Do yourself a favor and review both resources.

And now...

My Twitter Business Plan of Action

I'm going to begin by outlining a simple, workable social media marketing strategy that applies to any form of social media engagement, including Twitter. So simple, in fact, it consists of only two words, listen and engage.


My mother always told me, "Paul, God gave you two ears and one mouth. He did that for a reason. Listen twice as much as you speak." (Bet your mom told you the same thing, right?)

You cannot become an effective in social media marketing if you don't first listen to what's being said about you, your company, brand, service, industry and competition. Listening is the new marketing, someone said, but it's not something we're prone to do. Still, that's where it begins. 

There are two ways to listen via Twitter: 

  1. Search - Complete searches using Twitter search and other such tools - Tweetscan and Twemes are two that come to mind - on relevant keywords, including those related to your geographic area. 

  2. Follow - Start following others where it makes sense to do so. 
Keeping in mind that Twitter is just another marketing channel, go back to the basics and ask yourself the same questions you'd ask when considering any other form of marketing: "Who is my market?" "Who am I attempting to reach?" "What niche am I seeking to penetrate?" 

Is it a certain demographic? The average Twitter user is 35 and older, is likely male (60% of users are) who has between 100 - 500 followers. Is it a certain geographic area? Find those people and start following them. Many will return the favor. 

(That's not to say you don't follow others who don't exactly fit your target market criteria. It's just to suggest that you be very intentional and purposeful in your selection.)

Not being a Realtor, I'm working under a set of assumptions regarding where your business comes from:
  • Buyers/sellers in your geographic market (and occasionally from outside your area)
  • Referrals from other Realtors. 
If that's the case, it's as important to build relationships with others in your profession as it is prospective clients. 

(One group it makes sense to follow are those you already know, some of whom might be using Twitter. If you use a Web-based mail program such as Gmail, the platform will search your list of contacts to find them. You can also send invitations to those in your database not currently using Twitter.)

In addition, if you're connected to fellow Realtors and prospects via Facebook or LinkedIn, connecting on Twitter will only serve to strengthen and personalize your relationship even more.


Once you see what people are saying relative to the keyword searches, the next step is to jump into the Twitterstream and respond. 

Years ago, my father took a rather "direct" approach at teaching me to swim. One summer's day we boarded in our small boat and paddled out to the middle of the pond on our property. Dad grabbed me up, threw me in the water and stated matter-of-factly, "swim or drown." 

Looking back, I'm sure he would not have allowed the latter. At the time, however, I determined the best course of action was to make for the shore, which I did with all haste. And, guess what, in the process I learned to swim. 

I'm a bit like dad when it comes to Twitter in that I think the best approach is to joining or starting conversations is "swim or drown." Just jump in and start conversing.  

OK, for the faint of heart, here are some "rules of engagement":
  1. Respond to what others are saying by adding your "two cents." Remember to use the "@" symbol when addressing an individual. 

  2. Provide information those in your target market would consider valuable. It could be links to other sites, answers to questions, advice or opinion. Position yourself as a trusted resource. You're already doing that on your Web site and/or blog. Do it via Twitter as well.

  3. Engage in casual conversation with your followers. There are some who would suggest that, for business purposes, you shouldn't share the minuitia of your daily life or engage in casual conversation. To that I say, "Phooey." Social media marketing is as much about getting to know you on a personal level as it is professionally. Not only that, how are you going to get to know others if you don't converse with them. I think it's a matter of balance.

  4. One thing you don't want to do is solicit business or "pitch" people. You know the type: "Thanks for the follow. Check out my blog at _________." It's okay to let people know what you do, but Twitter is a medium for conversation, not solicitation. Include a link to your Web site in your bio. those who have an interest will check you out.

When Does the "Magic" Happen?

I was afraid you were going to ask that. You see, by participating in the conversation, the magic is happening -- but you have to give it a chance. 

Social media marketing does not lend itself well to formulas. "Markets are conversations" and "participation is marketing" is the only formula I know that works. You have to win the right to be heard. By participating in the ongoing conversation, you turn strangers into friends and friends into customers. But, there is no "X times Y divided by Z" equals a lead or conversion.

That's true with a lot of advertising, is it not? Can you easily factor the ROI of a billboard, newspaper ad, or TV commercial? One thing is for sure, conversing on Twitter is a lot less expensive than a television commercial!

Keep in mind, you've been selective and purposeful in choosing those you follow. And, you've concentrated your efforts on providing valuable information and, as a result, have become a resource others trust. And the longer you do so, the more trust you'll earn.

So, let me challenge you to try Twitter and join the conversation. Over the past several days I've given you the insight, resources and ideas needed to get started. The only thing I can't give you is the impetus. That has to come from you.

If and when you do become engaged with Twitter, I'd be honored if you'd follow me. My handle is @pchaney.

Happy Twittering!

Re-Blogged 1 time:

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Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate
Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA

Paul, Your Twitter series has been remarkable and is a must-read for any Active Rainer or in fact, anyone looking to expand their network and their business via Twitter.  So thanks !  Also listened to Twitter gone wild which was helpful.  And also, just followed you on Twitter ! LOL... great series !

Nov 23, 2008 11:09 PM #1
Paul Chaney
Social Media Handyman - Lafayette, LA

Thanks for the kind words Christopher and Stephanie. I do hope others find it equally helpful. Thanks for the follow as well.

Nov 23, 2008 11:35 PM #2
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Paul, excellent tutorial on twittering for business through social media. My ears have been doing most of the work on twitter the last few weeks, not much time to drop in but I know what everyone is up too. I'll watch the video later this evening.

Nov 23, 2008 11:53 PM #3
Cathy Tishhouse
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak Real Estate

I am new to Twitter - and I am seeing Twitter EVERYWHERE!!  I had been avoiding it because I felt intimidated - working from home today and it is all about getting up to speed with twitter.  This is very useful and I will have to go back and read parts 1-3.  Thanks

Nov 24, 2008 12:59 AM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Excellent, Paul. What a useful overview of how one can use Twitter (and how not to). The resources you provided have added a dimension I have only briefly thought of. Need to take a closer look - bookmarked.


Nov 24, 2008 01:25 AM #5
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Hi Paul - just finished writing a post that compliments this (personal experience) - sorry for the link but I know you love me :)

Nov 24, 2008 04:38 AM #6
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

Paul - Great tutorial on Twitter - after some skeptism I am now on twitter for about a month now and love it. Twitter is a great added feature and is growing tremendously. A must have for social media.

Nov 24, 2008 04:57 AM #7
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

Paul, thanks for the twitter series, there is so much to absorb and do it as fast as you can. Followed you on twitter as well. ~Rita

Nov 24, 2008 05:37 AM #8
Mother Lode
Real Living Sugar Pine Realty - Sonora, CA
Real Estate Master

Your insight is invaluable. I've been a sponge reading people's how to's to twitter. Yours is among the best. Thank you. Mike C

Nov 24, 2008 07:32 AM #9
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL

Twitter's my next challenge. I think it's just like in real life - if you promote what you do overtly, people turn you off. If you add value because of what you do, subtly, they'll pursue you.

Nov 24, 2008 11:25 AM #10
John Cannata
214-728-0449 - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

These are some great tips on using twitter Paul.  Thanks for sharing them.  I myself have only been using twitter for a little over a month. I pretty much fit your profile to a 'T' ...  35 and have 231 followers.  :-)  There are many that could benefit from your tips because most think Twitter is about soliciting soliciting soliciting... its really about getting to know a person, which then opens things up to other convo and possibly a referral down the line.

Nov 24, 2008 10:58 PM #11
Annette Smith
Allen Real Estate Services, Inc. - Sarasota, FL
Sarasota Real Estate Agent

Paul, great points as usual.  I think if you remember way back when you did your blogging book, I told you I used my blog to humanize me in the eyes of my customer.  At that time, others were blogging real estate advice and statistics.  Now I see them jumping on the bandwagon to let customers know more about themselves and the city where they live.  Twitter is a great place to expand this concept!

Nov 29, 2008 07:06 AM #12
Misty Faucheux

Hi, Paul:

I hope that you don't mind, but I linked back to your post in my blog. To read it, click here:

Thank you.


Misty Faucheux

P.S. While I'm living in Colorado now, I'm originally from St. Rose, LA.  My sister was the Cotton and Yambilee Queen.

Dec 12, 2008 09:26 AM #13
Ann Dail
Baton Rouge Area Homes, Louisiana, USA, 225-761-0551 - Baton Rouge, LA
Broker/Realtor,CRS, ePRO, SRS, B.A.Chem

Great tutorial series.  I'm considering joining.   I'll follow you for sure when I do.  Best of 2009.

Dec 30, 2008 09:58 AM #14
Krista Fuchs
Prudential Fox & Roach - Exton, PA
Chester County Realtor - (484) 459-8025 - Home Buying and Selling

More awesome info!  Bookmarked again so I can catch up with everything!

Feb 19, 2009 07:52 AM #15
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