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Social Media and ROI. One (more) Opinion.

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What is Social Media?

Well if social media is defined as not only blogging, but Twittering, networking on Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, bookmarking, as well as commenting and contributing guest blogging, it could be a full-time marketing effort. But lets say it’s only blogging on your own site.

If time is the cost involved, what is time worth and it it worth putting into blogging over other marketing activities?

It’s More Natural For Some

First off, blogging definitely comes more natural to some. I am sort of a blog creeper… I read 100 times more than I write… it’s just what I do. What I don’t do often enough is write. Is that really bad? I guess you could say I am a good listener. As time passes, I see subjects come and go, whats hot and whats not. The great minds are out there sharing insights… then they debate, change, evolve and ultimately the original ‘point’ goes so deep and is debated ad nauseam (at least for this reader). When debates happen, ultimately some brilliant mind comes along and says: “People market differently and some do certain things better than others.” Then the air is released. It’s like Dale Carnegie’s bulletproof argument-killer: “I understand what you are saying, and if I were in your shoes, I probably would feel exactly the same way.”

This is the deep end of social media. Blogging, friending, debating, and supporting. But what about us mere mortals? When your goal is to gain credibility and trust from your prospects by demonstrating your expertise in a blog, then you should write. Right?

Consider This…

Here are 2 issues to consider: Do you have anything to say? Do you really have a lot to write about to your prospects? Are you new to the game? Would spreading your knowledge be like shooting yourself in the foot? If so. You are probably better off spending your time studying and reading what others write… at least for now. I have a close friend who recently broke into the real estate game, and I encouraged him to start a blog. So he did. The result wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The first posts were salesy, thin, contained too many capital letters and exclamation points, and just didn’t have that ‘soft sell‘ tone. In other words, blogging 101 was not completed. To date he has not gotten one prospect from it. We all start somewhere, right?

This is no different than some corporation starting a ‘company blog’ and doing it all wrong. It ends up being a turn-off because they apply the old ad-copy principals and press release spin to new media. They didn’t take the time to listen before they jumped in. A turned-off prospect after time is spent writing a blog means negative ROI. This brings me to the next issue:

One of the Biggest Factors

Time is a huge factor. I have a list of books that I am trying to get through as fast as possible. I use my “free time” to read those whenever I can. I can also say that reading them is an indirect investment in my business, since they bring me knowledge I can apply in future meetings, marketing initiatives, and conversations. Is the cost of reading zero… no, I lose sleep, time with family and friends as well as time working, or working out. I know that nobody reading this would rather spend an hour writing about real estate instead of sipping a drink by the pool (YEA I’m sure you take your laptop to the pool).

We all have the same amount of time to deal with. Some “natural born bloggers” actually enjoy writing. I’m willing to bet that they can’t wait to run to the computer to jot down a brilliant thought they had in the car. And that simple thought probably turns into a 5 paragraph blog entry in a matter of 15-20 minutes. These are the people who will no doubt get back what they put in.

ROI Varies Depending on…

So ROI can vary widely depending on the person. If you are brilliant, full of ideas, ready to share, efficient, and a fast typer, blogging will probably make you unstoppable. You business will thrive based on the fact that whoever does visit your site will be blown away by your expertise and insights. If you are focused, you will most likely convert a higher percentage of visitors. And then you have the other big benefit: Traffic. The more brilliant your articles are, the more likely you will be linked to. The content you have will be indexed more often therefore you rank for more terms. The more links and the more content, the higher you climb in Google. So you get more traffic, and you convert more of it than the next agent due to your credibility. How sweet blogging is for the elite naturals.

Then there are those who either don’t have ideas, don’t have writing skills, don’t have interesting info, need more time to mull over an article, the timid, the noobs, the jerks, the corny salesmen, the ranters, industry insiders, and the off-topic bloggers, and the folks like me. There could be a negative ROI for these people. It’s not as if it cannot change… but it must be known to be addressed. I guess if you are writing 3 articles a week, seeing a fair amount of traffic, but still not converting anything… you probably need to rethink your social media approach.

How Do You Measure ROI?

We already have seen the case studies about the super blogging agents who get an obvious return on investment due to blogging. To make a catch-all statement on how much blogging can return for agents in general begs many questions. ROI in social media will build on itself. Only you can truly measure it in the end. Is there a formula for measurement? The experts are currently working on it, but so far, no dice.

We all know it’s not a total waste for everyone… but are you willing to take the steps to become better at it? That is the question.

PS: If you are still looking for a measurement strategy, you can start here.

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Matt Thomson

    May 30, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Interesting perspective. Often times I wish I had just sat back and listened before putting my thoughts to my name in print! I’ve found my greatest blogging success to come from my community blog. Nothing I’ve written pertaining to real estate has generated as much business as the few sentences I wrap around multiple photographs of my town. Nothing can sell Gig Harbor as well as Gig Harbor itself. A picture is worth more than 1000 words in blogging, I think.

  2. Ken Smith

    May 30, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Blogging and ROI aren’t normally in the same sentence. There are so many bloggers that feel everyone should blindly jump in and start blogging and that just isn’t true. For many blogging is the last thing they should invest their time in as they aren’t good at writing and they have other forms of very effective marketing.

  3. Julie Emery

    May 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I resemble wayyyy too many of these remarks. Some of us might actually prefer to be immersed in real estate rather than sipping drinks by the pool, at least most of the time. Sitting by the pool gets boring after awhile and real estate never gets boring, at least, not yet! Blogging was invented for people like me who have too much to say and too many opinions for our own good!

  4. Connie Bensen

    May 30, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for linking to my post! Metrics are a challenge but I think the more important case is that you’re experimenting & trying things. The ROI on that is invaluable.

    Great blog that you have here! Lots of in-depth info – kudos to your efforts!

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    May 30, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    One of my lenders started his own blog yesterday. We met for about 45 minutes, I have him some basic ideas and he’s off and rolling. Where will it go? Who knows … starting is easy, continuing is the challenge. But I give him credit for trying to differentiate himself.

  6. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 30, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Carson, I like that you’ve pointed out that blogging is not for everyone. I personally have found other social media streams to have a higher ROI than blogging, believe it or not. Blogging suits the natural writers as you noted while other streams suit natural networkers.

    Some people measure ROI by tracking conversion ratios relating to hours input while others measure ROI relating to percentages of people touched versus people closed. For me personally, it’s more of a “pass/fail” endeavor and when the dollars go down, the scales tip toward fail and the path has to change; when the dollars go up, the scales tip toward success indicating we’re on the right path.

  7. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    May 31, 2008 at 6:32 am

    I am not a good writter but I continue to blog as part of my business plan. Doing real estate 50 plus hours a week gives me plenty of ideas and photos. Most of my blogs center aroound the photos and ideas I was thinking about that day. Its all local to New Orleans.

    Since I have a successful site that generates leads and makes plenty of money it makes it easier to blog as part of the on line plan. Its part of the job which I enjoy. Looks like I make at least $50 an hour to blog and work on the site. Just my take!

  8. Eric Blackwell

    June 1, 2008 at 7:11 am

    @Connie–Great post. Thanks to Carson for linking to it. I teach blogging (among other real estate technology stuff) to our office of 120 agents. I am going to point a few of them to your blog.

    @Carson- Yes, blogging is not for everyone. Out of our 120, about 20 have tried it and there are 3 that are turning and burning. One is kicking MAJOR LEAGUE ROI with it. It ain’t for everyone 9as Ken says…

    Eric

  9. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 2, 2008 at 9:35 am

    A lot of persons get caught up in the latest fad – blogging is becoming “fashionable” so to speak. Others are just looking for a quick fix to aid their business that seems to be dropping off. So, a great many persons are “jumping in” to the blogging community. Blogging takes a lot of effort and time. And just like some persons may make a good living off of cold calling, calling on FSBOs, or whatever – not all things are appropriate and will work for all people. The biggest priority for a blogger should be to write good quality, useful, and original content – and people will start finding their way to you.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    June 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I don’t consider myself a good writer, but once I started reading other folks, I felt a lot better 🙂

    No, honestly it’s a discipline that you grow in over time and as you build confidence. I commented on another post this morning, that folks aren’t going to put effort into blogging will not see a good return; but I feel that’s true for anything you do to market yourself.

    It’s what’s “in” now, I think a good agent is utilizing today’s tools buy also keeping an eye out for tomorrows. Lots of the ideas that are shown on this and other industry blogs are just about blogging. Kelley did one on pre-closing packets. That’s a great tool for agents to start using and isn’t a widely announced item.

  11. Ken Smith

    June 2, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Eric said “Most of my blogs center around the photos and ideas I was thinking about that day.”

    Eric you take some amazing photos and that will keep visitors coming back time and time again. I have never visited New Orleans yet from the photos on your sites and blogs over the years I feel like I know the city. Keep up the amazing work!

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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