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Taking your Online efforts Offline – Part III

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One month after Inman Real Estate Connect, most of us start forgetting what we learned and go on with our routine.  A post like this one that tells you about my presentation may sound like any other Yada Yada Yada…..but listen up – you may get something from it.

Part I of this series talked about rewarding your sphere with your online influence and it reminded you to keep it real.

Part II talked about being creative, branching out your blog and creating a brand that makes an impact and is remembered.

In Part III I want to talk about taking all those efforts and actually focusing on F2F (Face to Face) meetings that will strengthen connections and make your efforts tangible.

Easier said than done

Tweet-ups are HOT now and someone somewhere is trying to arrange some kind of Twitter get-together now.  Let me tell you that it’s easier than it looks and it doesn’t matter the size of the group either.  With the help of TweetDeck I have managed to group my Twitter followers into different categories and this helps me follow different types of conversations at the same time.  I have my local followers, I have my close Twitter friends and I recently created an architecture group to follow even another type of conversation.  (Rick does think I’m crazy, just in case you were wondering).

So one night I posted a photo of a mojito on TwitPic and a local follower said, “when are we having mojitos, Ines?” – one thing lead to another and we arranged a Miami Mojito Tweet-Up 3 days later.  10 people showed up and we had a quaint but very powerful get together at a local bar in South Beach.

What’s amazing about this small event is that I felt so much closer to each one of these individuals.  Their tweets were meaningful, I went out of my way to re-tweet and pay more attention to what they had to say and our relationship was strengthened.  This applies to any F2F type of interaction.   From this small tweet-up I received a call to participate in the local social media events, to participate in a case study on the use of social media for business and was even featured in a business directory in the UK….and the best part is that we enjoyed mojitos and had a great time!

F2F can be achieved from any of the social media outlets – think of individuals with like-minded interests and make it happen.

No Face to Face Effort is too Small

The next type of F2F interaction without actually sharing the same physical space is video.  Although we are seeing more people use video today than we were seeing 6 months ago, I cannot stress how important and how easy it is to use video on a day to day basis.  There are so many platforms out there that make this possible and you have no excuse NOT to use these.  Here’s a few:  Seesmic, Skype, Facebook, TokBox, EyeJot….please go take a look, you will be surprised how easy it is to use these.

Jeff Turner was telling me a few months ago how surprised he was that Facebook Video was so underutilized – I began following his lead and leaving Happy Birthday Video Messages and from one message to a Venezuelan friend from my childhood I actually sold a vacation home here in Miami…..that easy!!  Video happens to reinforce that connection when actual F2F is not possible.  (I personally don’t know what I would do today without Skype…..we video chat with people from all over the world….a truly amazing tool).

What are others doing?

Linda Davis from Eastern Connecticut Real Estate Blog and who has had a well established real estate business sends a newspaper to over 6000 homes in her market area.  Because Linda’s customers are not web savvy, her blog provides content for her newspaper.

Linda was the same person who said in the last Bloggers Connect in San Francisco, “If your Real Estate Business sucks, blogging is not going to help!” – ( I *heart* Linda).

Our own Mariana Wagner, with powerful on-line as well as off-line marketing, incorporates some traditional methods with technology.  She has a newsletter that pimps out her blog, she still does door knocking in her neighborhood, has neighborhood picnics and if you haven’t received or at least seen a “@MIZZLE sticker”…. then you should consider removing the rock from over your head.

St. Paul’s only Teresa Boardman could not be left out of my presentation.  If you know anything about T, you know that she loves photography and will find her with camera in-hand at all times.  Teresa has managed to document the whole city and gets called by her community to use and display her photos.  In addition to that and with the use of Flickr groups, she goes on “photo walks” and achieves F2F with like-minded individuals (or at least people with the same passion for photography).

Joe and Rudy accomplished the ultimate F2F event ever with their Blog Tour USA in 2007.  To think that they actually toured the US and met hundreds of bloggers from all over the place.  I personally felt a connection when they came to Miami and was so glad we got to spend quality time together.  I’m not telling you to go tour the US, but I am telling you there are no boundaries.

And finally – Agent Genius Extraordinaire himself, Benn Rosales.  Benn admitted to me that he uses no print media at all.  His efforts vary from coffee socials small in scale and he uses social media to help others and in return they often pay it forward.

It goes back to the concept of using your on-line influence to help others without expecting anything in return.  The ultimate goal for anyone using the Internet and Social Media to market their business is to achieve some sort of real, live connection.  Social Media is about keeping it real, about being genuine and about not having a hidden agenda.  Transparency has reached a new height and you will be outed if your motives are contrived.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    February 2, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Ines, this is so true, they were planning a Detroit tweet up and I posted I couldn’t come as I was going to be in Norfolk, VA that weekend visitng my son.

    A few minutes later I got a DM from someone in Norfolk they were having one that weekend and invited me to come.

    Love all the videos you and Jeff are doing on FB. You can tell the folks whose birthdays they are having are wow’d.

  2. joseph ferrara.sellsius

    February 2, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    A smiley face will never replace the real thing. (And I’d much rather hug you in person.)

    Rudy and I learned a lot from the meetups we did around the country– I remember one of our first in Laguna Beach w/Jon Washburn, Laurie Manny, Brian Brady, Loren Nason and a whole band of bloggers who showed up to share food, drink, good conversation and laughs. Those meetups were the inspiration for the cross country Blog Tour (we visited over 30 cities & went 10,000 miles). There was nothing better than seeing all the folks we had met online. It helped us forge deeper connections, that remain to this day. (and one day the videos will be revealed– right Rudy?) And Ines, thank you for making our time in South Beach even hotter than that 103 degree day (remember Miami Ink?).

    Nothing is definite yet, but there is an around the world blog tour brewing.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Missy – it’s the little things that make a difference and people do remember. Going out of your way isn’t that difficult and makes it so worth it. I for one have loved every minute of our get togethers IRL – with you and Christa, of course 🙂

    Joe – you ROCK! I still remember you and Rudy walking into the ocean at South Beach with your Bermudas with sweat rolling down your face! 🙂 PRICELESS!! and can’t wait to hear what you cook up with an “around the world blog tour”.

  4. Monika

    February 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    We recently had a NH tweet up and it was a blast! I can’t wait for the next one. Ines will you be attending RE Bar Camp in VA next month?

  5. Linda Davis

    February 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    As a matter of fact, I finalized my newspaper today – my annual state of the market issue. I’m of the “there is more than one way to skin a cat” philosophy. And Now I have lots of material for my blog after writing it.

  6. Ines

    February 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Hey Moni – tweet-ups can only be good 😀 (unfortunately I will not go to the VA REBarCamp) but I will be at RETechSouth in March (Atlanta).

    Linda…I can’t say it enough….you are DA BOMB!

  7. The Harriman Team

    February 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    If I had to pick one agent in Connecticut to be like when I grow up, it’s Linda! If all goes right, we’ll be meeting her this Friday night for the first time at a tweet-up at our Mohegan Sun casino. It’ll be our first tweet-up so we’re looking forward to that! We were in Hawaii last month and had a tweet-up in Waikiki that was actually set up for us, but we had to miss it due to flight changes. That bummed us out big time. How often do you have a chance to attend a tweet-up in Paradise?

    Oh yeah…me have no @Mizzle sticker…rock on head hurt like hell…

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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