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Web 2.0, The Land of Opportunity

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I had an interesting conversation with Brian Brady yesterday. All of my conversations with Brian have been interesting, lively, enlightening and engaging. We both agree that there are many ways to meet people and build relationships through the internet. I would never make the statement that what works for me is good for every real estate pro who wants a web presence, nor would I suggest that anyone who is not doing the things that I am doing is missing the boat. There are many boats, choose one.

Some would not enjoy posting on a blog every day like I do. I do much more than write a blog. I have a few web sites, a wiki, and belong to at least 20 social networks. I have had internet access in my home since 1991, was one of the first 300 people to sign up for AOL, and participated in social networks when they were bulletin boards and chat rooms. As I explained to Brian none of this is new. (I stopped using AOL after a year when a new product call Netscape navigator 1.0 became available, I received and early beta copy on a floppy disk) I built my first web site in 1996 using navigator Gold 3.0. Did I built the worlds first web site? No, not by a long shot, but I have been at it longer than most and in internet years I am at least a 100 years old.

When I got my very first email account it did not work very well for me because there were not very many people who had email. I used a program called “pine” that was rather crude to say the least. None of my family had email, nor did my friends and neighbors, and neither did my employer. Yet I saw the potential and embraced it. At the time it would not have worked very well in my business.

The picture on this post is an example of participation in a social network and part of a project in the Twin Cities called “Artsy Twin Cities”. For those who have never heard of it Flickr is a social network built around photos, instead of real estate.

Artsy Twin Cities is the brain child of a local resident who has been photographing public art around the metro area. He saw one of my photos on Flickr and asked if he could add it to his collection. I said yes and joined the group. When I joined a few months ago, there were 12 members. Today there are 45 people who belong to the group and who are submitting photos. The groups founder has started using some of my photos on his blog. I am getting to know people in the group and am enjoying the experience.

I belong to other flickr groups as well, including “The Beauty of St. Paul”, a Twin Cities group, an architecture group and more. I started a group of my own, for pictures of snow and cold. Through these groups I share the photos I take and interact with other members. I met a neighbor through Flickr and she is now following me on Twitter.

Recently I uploaded a picture of my dog to share with my daughter. A week later I got an invite to a group for people with pets named daisy. The group has 30 members from all over the country. The photo I took for another reason is out there working for me every day and helping me meet the people who live in my computer and who may be looking for someone just like me to help them with a real estate transaction.

Most people consider Flickr to be an online photo storage site, it is more than that. As amazing as it may sound real estate is not the only basis for forming a social network, and other agents are not the only people who can be found on social networks. In fact I still question the premise that people outside the real estate industry want to socialize with others interested in real estate. Time will tell.

It all sounds time consuming but the truth is most of the photos are used in my blog posts. In my spare time, when I have spare time, and if I get to do what I want to do, I take pictures. That is how I relax.

When I sent Brian an invite to connect through Flickr, he did but his immediate response was to send an email that said “show off!”. That is when I knew that Brian understood what I am doing. It is showing off, or maybe show casing my photos which include sets of photos for my listings, and photos that demonstrate my knowledge of St. Paul and of housing styles.

There is more than one way to interact with others and meet them on interent. Pictures can be a powerful form of communication and are social media. Would I ever suggest that all real estate practitioners need to have a Flickr account to succeed on the internet? No I would not, just like I would not say that real estate pro’s need to have a blog to succeed, or be active on Facebook. There are many ways to meet people and to use the interent, we are only limited by time and imagination.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    March 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Sounds like a great conversation and right on. I meet people in a variety of ways. Was on skype last night and that was very engaging. You are unique in that your photo’s speak volumes and tell a story.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Missy, I use Skype too but not with strangers, just with family, friends and business contacts, but I get what you are saying there are a variety of ways to meet people and what we are comfortable with or know how to do varies.

  3. Kathy Drewien

    March 2, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I got online in 1994: email hosting by cybernet (bought by mindspring) and a website designed using Hotdog, a product of Sausage (which I still use).

    Ahh, the excitement of that first internet connection when someone I did not know met me online and asked about real estate…

    Today, most of the new people in my life are internet connections;clients, real estate professionals and blogging colleagues, folks “in recovery”, other Faith Partners and Stephen Ministers. When we have the opportunity to meet face-to-face we are old friends.

    Generating real estate business from these connections is not the point. My life is richer for knowing and sharing a relationship.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I think the first time I went on the internet was in the late 80’s through the University of Minnesota, I guess I don’t remember. The first PC I ever touched was in 1982 or 83, donated to the computer lab at the college I was attending by IBM. None of us knew what to do with it. LOL

  5. Maureen Francis

    March 2, 2008 at 9:18 am

    You encouraged me to explore flickr further and I have found some great things there. I would love to get into the community aspect of it more. It would be a great excuse to buy a new camera!

  6. Dave Smith

    March 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Teresa,

    You take pictures?

  7. Brian Brady

    March 2, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Show off!

    Thanks for the input, yesterday, T.

  8. Benn Rosales

    March 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Teresa, I had an itch to brag about you the other day and I did, but was reserved because I never know what’s a secret.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Maureen – most any camera will do the job. 🙂
    Dave – go away the internet is not big enough for both of us.
    Brian – Thanks for letting me show off and input. I enjoyed it very much.
    Benn – I have not idea what you are talking about . . but I am sure I will send you an email and ask.

  10. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    March 2, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Your Flickr group idea is great. Of course, it helps that you take such wonderful pictures.

    What you are saying has more relevance than most people realize. Not only are there a myriad of ways to connect with people via Web 2.0 and social media, what is most effective varies not only by individual, but also by geographic area. Some areas are more wired than others, some areas have vibrant message board communities, some have large Facebook networks, the list goes on. . .

    To use your metaphor– choose a boat!

  11. Eric Bouler

    March 2, 2008 at 11:49 am

    You are right on. The more ways you have to connect is great. If you can tie it in with something you enjoy doing it is just that much better. Photography, internet skills, real estate, and a knowledge of your local town or city is an asset. If you are going to get a camera get something that has a future.

  12. TheRECoach

    March 2, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Well Tboard, it’s obvious by this post that you are more than just a “Twit”, you are a gifted and talented writer, a successful Realtor, and socialite! Really enjoyed the article, you are now on RSS for me. Not sure why you were not before, my loss. See you on “Twitter”. The Coach

  13. Chris Lengquist

    March 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    “There are many boats, choose one.”

    This sums it up. A top producer in our office, #2 in fact, still takes 3 hrs a day! to make phone calls. That’s it. His entire lead geneating in 3 hrs a day. No web. No blogging. No mail. But he does it each and every day and he’s really good at it.

  14. Brian Brady

    March 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Teresa-

    I’m back for an extended comment; I was rushing off this morning but wanted to acknowledge your good work.

    I so enjoyed that conversation because you understand that social media marketing isn’t new; it’s been happening for 10-15 years. I was quick to judge your efforts and should not have labeled you as a “blogger”; you, Teresa, are a marketer, a Web 2.0 marketer.

    I hate to link in others’ posts but I want to show you a “pre-blogging” local blog:
    https://groups.yahoo.com/group/nelalist/

    This has been around for 7 years, and has 1200 local members. This is exactly the type of forum where Teresa (and I) might have tried to demonstrate local expertise and engaged consumers.

    Thanks, again for a great conversation. This isn’t about “telling people what to do” it’s about exposing them to practical ideas that can jump start their business; you did just that with your Flickr example. Please keep “showing off” T; we’re all learning

  15. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the emails, and yes I should have linked to my twitter account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tboard/

  16. Jennifer Castillo

    March 2, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Teresa, thank you for enlightening me about Flickr. I did not know it was also used for social networking. I thought it was just another place to upload and store photos. I will explore it further.

  17. Ines

    March 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I know this post goes way beyond flickr, but wanted to tell you that I only recently signed up and it was to create a mobile blog – it’s amazing what has transpired in those 2 weeks of opening the accound and uploading photos from my phone. You know I love photographs and your church ones are my favorite.

  18. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Ines, also try “blogger” for mobile blogging. I think I have been running mind for a year now. Very easy to use.

  19. Kristal Kraft

    March 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Well TRUMP this!
    🙂

  20. Raj C.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

    For whatever reason, (age,or simply becuae they haven’t had to) agents have been slow to embrace the various avenues offered by the internet. Flikr should be new to no one with the internet, and even less to those whose business so highly relies on the very medium in which Flickr participates. Fortunately for home buyers, the geeks have rode in on their white Segways and we’ve seen a proliferation real estate companies like Trulia, Movoto, and Neighborcity using a lot more than picture to change the way homes are sold. No business is exempt from web 2.0 and while there may be many boats, there might be just one river.

  21. Cape Cod Investments

    May 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I was also one of the first people on AOL….i forget what that very first publicly released AOL version was though. As for “pine” that you used for email….i remember I used pine in college about 4 years ago with a unix based system. I was wondering if this is the same “pine” we were talking about.

  22. Sue

    June 3, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I am amazed at your background and how you seem to pick up on things early on. You are obviously a very innovative, curious and recognize potential when you see it. I have to investigate flickr because I LOVE the photo aspect myself and totally relate to you in that its relaxing and fun…anything artsy. Thanks for the info on how things just blossom…social networking is still somewhat new to me, so its helpful.

  23. Ann Cummings

    June 5, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Teresa – thanks for sending me to this post. I now “get it” – didn’t realize flickr was far more than just picture storage.

    Thanks again!!
    Ann

  24. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    “Well Tboard, it’s obvious by this post that you are more than just a “Twit”….”

    Forgive me fo this post that adds nothing other than I found my way back here and this made me laugh….hey, got to have fun, right?!!

  25. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    ugh the typo, I’ve had a glass of wine.

  26. Matt Hellman

    July 18, 2008 at 9:23 am

    That’s a great picture. Flikr is great.

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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