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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

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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