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Social media for real estate: the secret sauce

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The secret sauce

I promised you some tips from my “magical marketing plan” in last week’s post about my inbound lead generation success.

I am a woman of my word and so here is the first ingredient in the Social Media Secret Sauce….YOU.

I was being tongue-in-cheek when I called it magical (you knew that, right?) because there isn’t anything magic about it except what you bring to the front with your personality.

You are the magic.

Now the question is, “how do I bring my personal type of magic to the front to help me with social media marketing?” The answer to that is, find your voice.

What is your niche? Who are you hoping to attract as clients and customers? What are you passionate about in your career? What do you bring to your clients that no one else can replicate? Where is your source of energy?

The answers to these questions may overlap or they may all be different, but they will help you to focus your attention to your “magic”.

This voice is the one you will use as your guidepost in social media. It will help you decide what blog posts are most important, who you are following on Twitter and what message you are trying to keep front of mind with your social media sphere.

The next step is the biggest

After you know what your voice is, the next step is the biggest: be tenacious. It takes time to build an effective social media marketing plan and even more time to implement the plan and even MORE time to see even a small result. This isn’t an overnight event, this is an investment in your future business that will take very little money, but lots of attention and time.

I started my journey a couple of years ago. It took about six months before I started to see some traction and it was a year before real viable leads came my way. I did this without much guidance because I was an early adopter. Maybe you can do it faster with the advice of those that come before you.

Two years into my plan, I have concrete results each week. Just yesterday a buyer called me after reading some of my blog posts and asked me to be her buyer’s agent. The results of a social media plan can be far reaching and very lucrative when you follow your voice.

Last week I had a double sided closing. The listing was a short sale and the seller found me after using Google to research short sales in Western Massachusetts and reading my blog posts. She had been turned away by two other agents in the area and was using Google to find help. I listed the home and a first time home buyer found me through my internet marketing. His offer was accepted by Bank of America (after a Twitter intervention). In the process of showing this home three buyers decided this property wasn’t the one for them, but asked me to represent them as their buyer’s agent. Last month the seller’s boyfriend has listed his house with me. All of those leads off of my blog posts.

All it cost me was some time and a lot of effort.

A social media plan isn’t something that you can set and forget. It is a change in prospecting mentality from outbound to inbound marketing and it takes dedication and determination to the effort. You won’t need to spend much money, but you will invest greatly if you want to see success.

Bippety Boppety now get to workety!

CC Licensed image courtesy of faeriequeen via Flickr.com.

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    June 4, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Lesley – you should really test your website westfieldhomehelp.com in other browsers – it’s not looking so good using firefox. Also you may want to invest in a more interesting theme for your other site, it’s a bit bland 🙂

    • Lesley Lambert

      June 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

      Thanks for the input. I like clean and simple and feel for a topic like distressed homes basic layout with helpful information is what the consumers are looking for. Besides, I didn’t discuss blog themes or layouts, nor do I plan to. Taste is a unique thing, but I am of the opinion, as stated above that the most important part of a social media plan is the person implementing it.

      • Barry Cunningham

        June 7, 2010 at 12:53 am

        Lesley,

        Am I missing something or am I seeing things correctly? On the blog that you mention you have had a total of 2 posts in 2010…you also herald a ranking on a keyword that NOBODY is searching for.

        I know in your last post you were asked for back up numbers and refused to provide any…so I won’t bother asking…but in this regard, you have written yet another blog post championing your take on SM and when one looks it seems the only real SM you have is her eon AgentGenius.

        In this post, you mention one closing…one single closing…am I alone here or does any of this make sense to anybody else?

        I mean seriously, some of this might make sense to newbies and those who don’t really know any better but c’mon…really?

        You say you started your SM journey two years ago but you still don’t rank for any major keywords and only have 4k twitter followers?

        You say you started your SM journey two years ago and your sites really have no PR to speak of?

        You say you started your SM journey two years ago and only have 40 links to your domain and those links are from AG, ActiveRain or sites that you own?

        So what have you been doing for 2 years to develop this “presence”? And what pray tell is your marketing plan? Or is that secret as well?

        I mean no disrespect, but you have to understand…there are some of us out here who can easily see the wholes in what you have been saying. Maybe we shouldn’t be reading these posts and maybe we should just keep quiet and move on. But it just does not seem right that these kind sof posts are appropriate here on AgentGenius. It kind of makes the “genius” part of the moniker lose a little luster.

        It may be fine for Active Rain…but I really don’t think this kind of a post needs to be seen here.

        However I guess I should applaud you for now taking advantage of your tenure here. If you play your cards right it can only serve to help your stature on your other sites…that is if you begin implementing the marketing plan you seem to be touting.

      • Bruce Lemieux

        June 7, 2010 at 7:46 am

        Barry – given the amount of time you invested on this rant, you could have clicked around Lesley’s site a bit more. Lesley can defend herself, but she’s been regularly posting on her primary blog for over two years. If you actually read her article, she didn’t say that she has only one sale from SM – she only cited a couple of examples.

        • Barry Cunningham

          June 7, 2010 at 8:55 am

          Bruce you obviously don’t know me nor have you read my postings. This is hardly a rant, it’s direct questioning of a post that speaks directly to the integrity of the author and the information she is providing.

          I also don’t know where you visited, as the blog she links to in the article (westfieldhomehelp.com/) has only had two posts this entire year, like I said in my comment.

  2. Diane Guercio

    June 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Lesley, the fact that you went from #7 to #1 in your company speaks volumes to me. If you were doing that with postcards, I’d go out and buy stamps.
    The rest is all dog bones, if you ask me.

  3. BawldGuy

    June 4, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Hey Lesley — In your opinion, what would happen to your annual production if you added serious local DinosaurMarketing to your mix? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Lesley Lambert

      June 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

      I hate that kind of marketing. I was never good at sticking to it because I didn’t like it and thus I moved to my inbound social media plan. Since I don’t use it effectively I moved my time to what is working for me. Each agent is going to have their own unique results based on a lot of factors….that goes for social media marketing or “dinosaur marketing”.

  4. Clint Miller

    June 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Lesley…

    First off….Massive kudos to you for the advancement in-house! That is awesome and quite the testament to the idea that you know what you are doing…and do it well.

    Secondly…I am a huge fan of the information you provided in this post…especially the importance that you put on being tenacious! You have to want it…bad. And, you have to be willing to do whatever is needed to get it. Rinse. Repeat.

    Keep knockin’ em out the park, darling!!

    Clint

  5. Susie Blackmon

    June 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Hi Lesley, I enjoyed your post very much, and agree with you … it takes time and effort, but is well worth it. We all have to do what works for us, not somebody else. Automated lead generation turns me off, and I don’t think the new generation of buyers are going to be ‘leads;’ many of them will be readers or followers of ours.

    The more I got into real estate, the more I realized that the Cowgirl in me is much more passionate about helping horse people, offering horse properties and information, and promoting the horse industries that are dear to me as the result of my years showing and raising horses, and never-ending passion for them, than being a RE Broker, per se. People naturally gravitate toward me with horse and horse property questions, referrals, etc. None of that shouting stuff needed. Love it!

  6. BawldGuy

    June 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    > I hate that kind of marketing.

    I figured that out, which is why I didn’t ask the question, “Hey Leslie, do you like DinosaurMarketing?” 🙂

    I’d love an answer to the question I asked, if that’s OK.

    In your opinion, what would happen to your annual production if you added serious local DinosaurMarketing to your mix?

    • Lesley Lambert

      June 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      I guess I don’t understand what you are trying to get at and am a bit unclear on your question.

      If you are asking me if I think my production would improve if I did a bunch of advertising and mass mailing in my area, then my answer is: it might. But it would cost me a lot of money and the leads generated would be less familiar with me than the leads that find me through social media.

      Hey, work what works for you.

  7. Lisa Oden

    June 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Great article and perspective. I’m visiting the links to read more.

    You’re so right about “finding your voice”, which is sometimes the most difficult part. Probably the most important thing you pointed out is the effort and committment required. You don’t put up a post and have your phone start ringing. It takes a consistent effort (which I’m working on) to build a following and have people find your information when THEY need it.

    As far as the Dinosaur Marketing question… If you work it properly, it still works well for a lot of people. I personally do not have the patience, money or desire to go that route. And basically, I retrieve the mail from my mailbox, go straight to the trash can and pitch anything that isn’t a bill or a card from my mother. 🙂

    By the way… I still LOVE your site header with you holding the little house in your hand! It communicates well the level of care I know you give to each of your clients.

    • Lesley Lambert

      June 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Persistence is key in all endeavors. Social media is no different. I agree with you about the mail, Lisa. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!

  8. BawldGuy

    June 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    > I guess I don’t understand what you are trying to get at and am a bit unclear on your question.

    What part don’t you understand? What’s unclear? You probably don’t mean to, but you’re insulting my intelligence.

    > If you are asking me if I think my production would improve if I did a bunch of advertising and mass mailing in my area, then my answer is: it might.

    I can’t top that one.

  9. Lesley Lambert

    June 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I am completely not trying to insult you or your intelligence, I am guessing that it is me that is missing something here.

    My way isn’t the only way, it may not even be the best. It is just me here sharing what works for me in case someone else can benefit.

  10. BawldGuy

    June 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘the best way’. Factoid: 100% of my business since 1/1/2004, with the lone exception of referrals, is through SM. But I don’t, or at least haven’t had the choice ’till just now, of using anything else BUT SM. The reason is because I was forced to abandon my local market. I’ve had no local market since late 2003.

    I’m now able to come back, if only on the listing side, as a result of the massive correction. You can bet your last commission check I won’t be eschewing 2.0 marketing. However, I’ll also be using much of what’s worked well since I began so long ago. I’ll make a prediction: The income I generate locally will be split roughly 2/3 from OldSchool efforts to 1/3 SM.

    Don’t wanna go out on a limb here, but I suspect the results won’t depend much on if I like doing or not. 🙂

    • Lesley Lambert

      June 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      That is great, I don’t think we need to be judging each others idea of marketing here.

      I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavors and hope your business is booming however the leads find you.

  11. Lisa Oden

    June 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I think what Lesley means, and certainly what I mean, is that one is more likely to practice consistent behavior in an activity they enjoy and from which desired results are believed likely.
    I don’t shy away from traditional marketing just because I don’t like to do it or that I think it’s not effective. I don’t use it because it’s not the right method for me, so I won’t do it the best it can be done. I firmly believe that if you’re not committed to practicing a method to the best of your ability, you will not see the desired result. I know plenty of people who use traditional marketing with great success. I think that’s wonderful and wish them continued success.
    As for me… it’s not part of my future marketing strategy. I do wish you great success with the blended approach you seem to be taking. I’m certain that if your faithful to your strategy, you’ll find the desired result.

  12. BawldGuy

    June 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I’ll try my hardest.

  13. Bruce Lemieux

    June 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I think the winner of the Old School vs. SM debate depends on your overall business strategy. If the foundation of your business is based on acquiring listings in a geographical area, then Old School is the only way to be successful. You need to *physically* reach out to sellers via direct mail, print and other *physical* media.

    If the foundation of your business is to acquire buyers, then SM is one of the most effective methods since buyers are online.

    I have both – but listings acquired via old school marketing is the foundation of the business. I don’t see this radically changing in the coming years.

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Social Media

Reactions to Twitter Blue from real subscribers, p.s. its not worth it

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, gives more control over tweets and custom UI, but subscriber reception has been lukewarm.

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Twitter Blue Sign Up Page

Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that gives users increased control over their tweets and the appearance of their interfaces, launched this summer. Subscriber reception has been lukewarm, foreshadowing some resistance to shifts away from advertising-based revenue models for social media platforms.

The allure of Twitter Blue isn’t immediately apparent; beyond a relatively low price tag and increased exclusivity on a platform that emphasizes individuality, the service doesn’t offer much to alter the Twitter experience. Twitter Blue’s main selling point – the ability to preview and alter tweets before sending them – may not be enough to convince users to shell out the requisite three dollars per month.

Other features include the option to change the theme color and icon appearances. Twitter Blue subscribers can also read some ad-supported news articles without having to view ads courtesy of Twitter’s acquisition of Scroll, a company that provides ad-free news browsing.

But even with this variety of small customization options and the promise of more to come, users are skeptical. Android Central’s Shruti Shekar is one such user, beginning her review with, “Right off the bat, this feature isn’t worth the money you’d be spending on it every month.”

Shekar posits that the majority of the features are wasted on long-term users. “I think a lot of my opinions come from a place of using Twitter for so long in a certain way that I’ve gotten used to it, and now I find it challenging to adapt to something that would theoretically make my life easier,” she explains.

One of those adaptations centers on Twitter Blue’s “Undo Tweet” feature – something that belies the notion of proofreading and using common sense before sending thoughts into the nether.

“For me, 95% of the time, I really do pay attention to my tweets before I send them out,” says Shekar.

Twitter Blue checking Tweets before sending.

Shekar does praise Twitter Blue’s “Reader Mode” feature that allows users to view threads as uninterrupted columns but argues that the feature would probably end up being underutilized despite being a cool concept.

The aforementioned color and theme customization was of little interest to Shekar. “I actually found it a bit challenging to get used to the other colors, not because they’re ugly, but again because I am just so used to the classic blue,” she says.

One problem here is that the options to change link and theme colors and put threads in reader mode seem more like accessibility features than premium content. Twitter might do well to make these available to all users, if for no other reason than to avoid criticism about locking quality of life updates behind a subscription paywall.

Shekar’s criticism hits on a crucial point for any social media company looking to emulate Twitter Blue’s subscription model: Even if the subscription price is low, companies have to be prepared to make actual meaningful changes to the user experience if they want satisfied subscribers. That includes building in options that don’t fundamentally alter the basic aspects (or appearance) of the platform.

For more on Twitter Blue, check out their blog post on it here.

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Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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Social Media

Truth Social: Trump’s long-standing battle against Big Tech backfires

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Truth Social is an example of how a new platform, though necessary to keep competition alive, can prove to be fallible before it succeeds.

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Man holding iPhone with Truth Social app download page up, as well as the stock market and Trump in the background on computer screens.

Former President Donald J. Trump announced a new social media platform, dubbed “Truth Social” last week. The platform has since been the recipient of cyber attacks by hacker collective Anonymous and the Software Freedom Conservancy has accused the Trump Media and Technology Group of violating the terms of their software agreement.

The circumstances plaguing Truth Social provide a small (if nuanced) look into the rigors of creating and sustaining new social media platforms in the modern-day. While expanding the number of social media platforms available creates more competition, this platform, in particular, raises some questions about the wisdom of investing in a service that creates an ideological echo chamber, as well as demonstrating that not just anyone can run a social media site.

There’s no denying that this new entry into the world of social media is off to a rocky start. Cyberattacks just hours after Truth Social’s test run left the site in disarray, with fake user accounts for Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump appearing at various stages of the launch. Truth Social’s hosts eventually took it offline, and the sign-up process is halted for the time being.

Woman holding iPhone showing Truth Social's feed.

Truth Social also has some interesting rules regarding user interactions on their platform, including a non-disparagement clause and the assertion that users can be sued for the content they post, Time reports.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” says one section of the Truth Social terms of use.

This clause is in stark contrast to the ethos behind Truth Social – a platform that, according to the press release, was “founded with a mission to give a voice to all” and “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The disparity in messaging versus reality is an understandable mistake, as much of Trump’s mindset was most likely impacted by criticism levied against him on mainstream social media when he had his accounts – and anyone in the same position might reasonably make the same call. However, restricting users to agree with one set political ideology is a perilous precedent to set. Echo chambers aren’t particularly conducive to longevity.

iPhone showing Trump's suspended Twitter account.

The Trump Media and Technology Group also violated the terms of their open-source software of choice when they uploaded the pilot version of Truth Social. According to the licensing agreement associated with Mastodon – the software company TMTG used – users must have access to the source code for the product in question (in this case, Truth Social).

Since the initial users of Truth Social did not receive that access, the social media platform is at risk of permanently losing its rights to the code.

While some of these pitfalls feel proprietary to Trump insofar as his high-profile battle against social media is concerned, the truth is that any development of new social media entries will be messy and fraught with obstacles. Truth Social is just one example of how a new platform – something that is absolutely necessary to keep competition alive – can prove to be publicly fallible far before it ever succeeds.

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