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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

Facebook pays $52M to content mods with PTSD, proving major flaw in their business

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook will pay out up to millions to former content moderators suffering PTSD to settle the 2018 class action lawsuit.

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Facebook’s traumatized former content moderators are finally receiving their settlement for the psychological damage caused by having to view extremely disturbing content to keep it off of Facebook.

The settlement is costing the company $52 million, distributed as a one time payment of $1,000 to each of the 10,000+ content moderators in four states. If any of these workers seek psychological help and are diagnosed with psychological conditions related to their jobs, Facebook also has to pay for that medical treatment. They pay up to $50,000 per moderator in additional damages (on a case-by-case basis).

Facebook also will offer psychological counseling going forward, and will attempt to create a type of screening for future candidates to determine a candidate’s emotional resiliency, and will make one-on-one mental health counseling available to content moderators going forward. They will also give moderators the ability to stop seeing specific types of reported content.

According to NPR, Steve Williams, a lawyer for the content moderators, said, “We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago. The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”

Honestly, this job is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. Like the hard-working, yet not unfazeable police officers on Law & Order SVU, seeing the worst of humanity takes a toll on one’s psyche. Facebook’s content moderators are only human, after all. These workers moderated every conceivable–and inconceivable–type of disturbing content people posted on the 2 billion-users-strong social media platform for a living. Some for $28,800 a year.

I wouldn’t last five minutes in this role. It is painful to even read about what these content moderators witnessed for eight hours a day, five days a week. While Facebook refuses to admit any wrongdoing, as part of the agreement, come on, man. Graphic and disturbing content that upset someone enough to report to Facebook is what these people viewed all day every day. It sounds almost like a blueprint for creating trauma.

This settlement surely sets the precedent for more class action lawsuits to come from traumatized content moderators on other social media platforms. The settlement also shows this business model for what it is: flawed. This isn’t sustainable. It’s disgusting to think there are people out there posting heinous acts, and I am grateful the platform removes them.

However, they have to come up with a better way. Facebook employs thousands upon thousands of really smart people who are brilliant at computer technology. Twitter and YouTube and similar platforms do, too. They need to come up with a better plan going forward, instead of traumatizing these unfortunate souls. I don’t know what that will look like. But with Facebook’s sky-high piles of money and access to so many brilliant minds, they can figure it out. Something’s got to give. Please figure it out.

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Twitter will give users a warning before a harmful tweet is sent

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter is rolling out a new warning giving users a chance to edit their tweet before they post “harmful” language, and we aren’t sure how to feel about it.

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Twitter is testing out a new warning system for potentially offensive tweets. If a tweet contains language Twitter deems “harmful,” Twitter will pop up with a warning and opportunity to revise the potentially offensive tweet before posting. The warning mentions that language in the tweet is similar to previously reported tweets.

If internal alarms are going off in your head, congratulations, you are wary of any censorship! However, if you read a tweet spewing with bile, racism, or threatening violence against a person or institution, do you report it? Do you want Twitter to take it down? If you said yes, then congratulations, you want to protect the vulnerable and fight hatred.

If you are wary of censorship, yet want to fight hatred and protect the vulnerable, welcome to the interwebs! It’s a crazy and precarious place where almost anything can happen. Despite decades of use, we’re still navigating our way through the gauntlet of tough decisions the proliferation of platforms and ease of use have given us.

First, how does Twitter gauge a potentially harmful tweet? According to Twitter, the app responds to language similar to prior tweets that people have reported. Twitter, like Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms, already has hateful conduct rules in place. In fact, Twitter has a host of rules and policies intended to protect users from fraud, graphic violence, or explicitly sexual images.

Their rationale is detailed, but explains, “Our role is to serve the public conversation, which requires representation of a diverse range of perspectives.” However, they “recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves.”

We’ve heard stories of teenagers–or even younger children–killing themselves after relentless bullying online. The feeling of anonymity when insulting a living, breathing being from behind a computer screen often causes a nasty pile-on effect. We’ve seen people use social media to bully, sexually harass, and threaten others.

Twitter cites research showing women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other vulnerable populations are more likely to stop expressing themselves freely when someone abuses them on social media. Even Kelly Marie Tran, who played Resistance fighter Rose Tico in Star Wars, took down her Instagram photos before taking a stand against haters. And she had Jedis in her corner. Imagine your average person’s response to such cruel tactics?

We’ve seen hate groups and terrorist organizations use social media to recruit supporters and plan evil acts. We see false information springing up like weeds. Sometimes this information can be dangerous, especially when Joe Blow is out there sharing unresearched and inaccurate medical advice. Go to sleep, Blow, you’re drunk.

As an English major, and an open-minded person, I have a problem with censorship. Banned books are some of my favorites of all time. However, Twitter is a privately owned platform. Twitter has no obligation to amplify messages of hate. They feel, and I personally agree, that they have some responsibility to keep hateful words inciting violence off of their platform. This is a warning, not a ban, and one they’re only rolling out to iOS users for now.

I mean, in the history of angry rants, when was the last time a “Hey, calm down, you shouldn’t say that” ever made the person less angry or less ranty? Almost never. In which case, the person will make their post anyway, leaving it up to masses to report it. At that time, Twitter can make the decision to suspend the account and tell the user to delete it, add a warning, or otherwise take action.

Every once in a while, though, someone may appreciate the note. If you’ve ever had a colleague read an email for “tone” in a thorny work situation, you know heeding a yellow flag is often the wisest decision. This warning notice gives users a chance to edit themselves. As a writer, I always appreciate a chance to edit myself. If they flag every damn curse word, though, that will get real annoying real fast. You’re not my mom, Twitter. You’re not the boss of me.

This isn’t your great granddaddies’ book burning. This is 2020. The internet giveth; the internet taketh away. It’s a crying shame that evil creeps in when we’re not looking. Speech has consequences. Users can’t edit tweets, so once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if they delete a tweet within moments of posting, anyone can screenshot that baby and share it with the world. Part of me says, “Good, let the haters out themselves.”

Twitter has shown itself to be open to differences in opinion, encouraging freedom of expression, and has opened up a whole new line of communication for traditionally underrepresented populations. They are a private company, and their rules and policies are posted. What, you didn’t read the terms of use? Gasp!

It’s Twitter’s rodeo, after all. This warning gives users a quick, added heads up to posting something that will likely be reported/removed anyway. For better or worse, Twitter’s still leaving it up to users to post what they want and deal with the potential fallout. Hey, I have a great idea! How about we all be respectful of each other on the internet, and Twitter won’t have to come up with this kind of thing.

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Yelp adds virtual services classification to help during COVID

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Yelp constantly adds new classifications for how to find a business to meet your needs, now because of COVID they have added virtual services.

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Yelp is making efforts to accommodate businesses whose operations are adapting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Several new features will help businesses display updated services.

The company has added an information category titled virtual service offerings. Business can display service option such as classes, virtual consultations, performances, and tours. Yelpers can search for businesses based upon those offerings.

Yelp has already noticed trends where users are incorporating virtual services into their business profiles. In an report by TechCrunch, Yelp’s head of consumer product Akhil Kuduvalli said “With these new product updates, businesses of all types that are adapting and changing the way they operate will be able to better connect with their customers and potentially find new ones.”

Virtual services in categories like fitness, gyms, home services, real estate, and health are already increasing in popularity. Yelp intends to showcase businesses that are providing those services by creating new Collections.

Once business owners update their virtual service offerings on their Yelp for Business profiles, we will surface those updates to consumers through new call-to-action buttons, by updating the home screen and search results with links to groups of businesses offering these new virtual services, as well as surfacing them in other formats like Collections,” said Kudvalli.

Also in the works is a curbside pickup category for restaurants. Additionally, Yelp introduced a free customized banner for businesses to post updates on their profiles. About 224,000 businesses have used the banner so far.

Yelp hasn’t stopped there. It’s made its Connect feature (which allows businesses to share important updates to all Yelpers on their profile and their email subscribers) free to eligible local businesses as part of the Yelp’s commitment to waive $25 million in fees to support businesses in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

During COVID-19 businesses and consumers need all the help they can get, and thankfully Yelp is there to – help.

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