Real Estate Social Media Myths: BUSTED!

Although slow on the take up the real estate industry is finally catching on to the fact that social media is not only a viable means of marketing but also one of growing importance. This has lead to an influx of agents and offices who “absolutely have to be on such-and-such book”, which has in turn lead to an absolute flood of abandoned profiles and page owners frustrated by a lack of results for their efforts.

We’ll make some enemies here, but: Don’t Blame The Network. Like the old adage says you can’t expect results from work you didn’t do.

To help combat some of this frustration we want to offer a quick dose of reality in order to dispel some of the most common pitfalls and aggravations most real estate professionals run into when they do decide to put in the effort to run their own social media profiles.

All I have to do is post listings.
No. There is rarely a more poor way to run your social media presence. Your audience is exposed to thousands of pieces of “buy my stuff” marketing every single day; when they are on Facebook they very likely aren’t there looking to be spammed.

If you’ve branded your page correctly visitors will already be able to tell you are in real estate, and while it is fine to feature your listings having an endless stream of house pictures on your page not only does nothing to encourage fans to visit your website (where you hopefully have those listings in more detail) but it also discourages fans from caring what is on your page in general.  Solution: Post content relevant to your area, your fan base, or to showcase who you are.

Everyone I Follow Will Follow Me Back.
No. While it is good to like others pages and to interact with posts as your own business page as frequently as possible it is no guaranteed win. People sometimes will follow you back just because you followed them ( especially on twitter ), sometimes they won’t. Don’t rely on this happening. This is like showing up at a party where you don’t know a single person and expecting everyone to stop what they are doing in order to come over and talk to just you. Solution: Interact with other pages beyond just liking their page once. Frequent interaction can increase engagement.

I Shouldn’t Share Other Peoples Stuff.
No. Isn’t this SOCIAL media? Isn’t it supposed to be all about being social and sharing the great things you find? More than just a like or a plus one, sharing other peoples posts can drop the spotlight on you as someone who might be an online ally. It also allows you to more easily diversify your own content; after all, what’s more boring than someone who only talks about themselves all the time? Solution: Share! Share often!

Automation Is the Best!
Definitely NO. While automation can save you time your quality will suffer. There are even any number of services that you can pay to post content on your behalf – the drawback? It’s the same content spewed out on a thousand other pages. It’s not effective. It doesn’t show that you care about what you are providing your fans and even if that wasn’t true, particularly on Facebook, posts that are auto-generated from third parties can receive as much as 60% less visibility. Solution: Schedule your posts if need be, even hire someone to post for you, but make sure quality is maintained.

Pass Me My Blanket, I’m a Guru.
And it only took two weeks!
Yeah. About that. Not going to happen.
The internet is full of self-proclaimed gurus who know all the right buzzwords ,and even what some of them mean, but nothing worthwhile ever came easy or over night. Consistent effort will bring results, but don’t expect to have a thousand fans in just a few days without buying them. Beyond knowing how to use the tools within the systems effectively, and being able to create great content, there really are no deep dark secrets to mind blowing success in social media. Solution: It takes time; you’ve got to put in the effort – or pay someone else to – in order to see real results.

book1The good news?
None of this has to be hard! We’re glad to talk shop and offer great free tips and training to our real estate website clients. If you’re just getting started, or aren’t even sure where to begin, you may enjoy our Social Media Primer: Seizing Your Digital Destiny. We’d love to send you a copy at no cost or obligation, just send us an email and let us know you’d like a copy.

REALTORS: Reasons Why Your Social Media Falls Flat

tools

Social media social media social media – boy it sure it a hot topic these days isn’t it?! Guru’s and mavens popping up left and right, all experts – as of this month – in the great unquantifiable thing that is the silver bullet to kill your marketing monster.

We apologize for all of them. Fact is though social media is one of the most cost effective ways for you to get the word out about your services – especially if you’re bold enough to take it on yourself. To help you towards your goals we’ve put together  a quick list of common mistakes for the medium; feel free to pass them along to your page manager, guru, samurai, jedi WHATEVER they call themselves as they are likely making the same mistakes.

Not having a goal.
It’s hard to hit the mark if you don’t even have a target. Make sure before you begin your journey in social networking, or hire a ‘professional’, that you have an actual goal in mind. Whether it be simply getting more visibility, getting more sales, or increasing traffic to your website. It’s a lot easier to know if you’re getting there if you have an idea where there is.

Not using social media.
Kind of mind blowing isn’t it?! But if you’re not actually USING the platform how can you expect it to DO anything? Go to the store, buy some eggs, take them home and put them on the counter – now sit there and stare them and berate them for not becoming an omelet. Let us know how that turns out – same thing in social media.

Not understanding likes don’t equal sales.
Visibility is GREAT! People liking your stuff makes you feel happy and fuzzy warm that you’re LIKED….but it doesn’t sell a single unit. And if you’re expecting it to, you may want to refocus your overall marketing plan. Social media advertising is NOT like the advertising agencies of old. Marketing here doesn’t always equal sales, but it can build the relationships that drive sales and improve customer service.

Not shutting up.
B-But…you…you said I needed to post a lot in one of those other blog entries! Actually, I said you need to post consistently; there is a difference, but that’s not the point to this item. The one most common mistake users of social media make is only talking about themselves or their product. People are hit with thousands of pieces of advertising every day. I can assure you not one single potential customer wakes up in the morning looking forward to being spammed or advertised to.

Be sure to diversify your content, don’t just make it about you or your product. Mix in other inspirational, humorous, or interesting information. Be absolutely certain you answer and interact with every single fan that takes THEIR time to engage with your digital presence. There are a billion faceless companies they can look up if they are wanting anything less.

Not being consistent.
Mentioned this above, so this point will be quick. Setting it and forgetting it only works if you’re using one of those rotating ovens. When you post consistently you not only can more easily target your audience but you also are creating momentum for better exposure.

Not focusing.
Trying to do it all is the best way to fail at everything. Pick the social media platforms that best fit your marketing plans and your ability to manage. There is no value to being on 100 social platforms if you are only actively updating two of them. Nothing is more embarrassing to a page owner or disappointing to a visitor than getting to a page or profile and seeing ” Last Updated June 2011″.

You guys are big meanies!
Well…I guess you might think that, but really we just want to help you build real success through social media. Nay-sayers and smoke blowers are killing the industry; many professionals are beginning to simply opt out of it all together. We think that’s a real missed opportunity! Have questions about social media, your real estate website, or how to best use them altogether? We’re glad to help!

Real Estate Social Media: Selling Versus Serving

vacuum_cleaner_sales

If you’ve been using social media for a while now ( with any success) you’ve likely already noticed that as an advertising platform it doesn’t quite work the same way as traditional mediums have in the past. Call it information overload, call it saturated with sales, call it what you will: your social media audience doesn’t want to be sold to.

…but how are we supposed to SELL anything?!

A wizened social media sage once said:

“Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected with, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to.”

The secret, like in many things in life, is finding the balance. Your marketing efforts must serve your success, but to be effective online they must also serve your clients.

Chances are the people in your sphere of influence, your fans, already know you are in real estate . Those who are newly exposed to your digital presence likely won’t have a hard time figuring it out, especially if your social media portals are properly branded.

So why are you selling selling selling so hard? And if social media marketing isn’t for selling what GOOD is it?!

Increase Awareness
With so many major national portals out there, and most agents, offering basically the same search capability on their websites the content you create on your website and social media portals may be the only chance you get to stand out from the crowd.

Shouldn’t you then do your best to show them who you really are and why they should choose you over one of the other nameless thousands?

If you specialize in a particular niche market this is especially important to focus on as even if your audience knows you are in real estate generally they may not know you have a special expertise they could benefit from.

Establish Trust and Become an Authority
People trust others that they know and interact with more often. By creating a page that is interesting, informative, and relevant to your audience you are establishing yourself as a source for quality information and as an authority in your field. Encourage fans to ask you questions; use them as status updates or blog posts.

It’s never bad to look like you know what you are talking about.

Both of these things together can boost overall brand recognition and keep your name in the fore-front of past clients minds – who as we know in real estate can become return clients! – as well as in the periphery of new fans as well.

BUT HOW DO I SELL STUFF?!
Patience grasshopper. The path to enlightenment is wrought with dangers and distractions on all sides. It is good to feature your services or product from time to time, especially if you have something worth tooting your horn about.

For best results follow the hamburger rule of social media: 80/20. You want 80% of everything you post to be interesting, relevant, humorous, or related to your audience or your community – the 20% that’s left?  That’s for your harder marketing. Give this technique a try and see how it works for you!

Working in this industry we see the best and the worst of what’s being put out there on the web by real estate professionals. We’ve got to tell you, there is no surer way to cause your fans to become non-fans or  even worse to have them just zone out of your efforts altogether by creating a stream of posts that is nothing but pictures of your listings. Face it, it makes for REAL uninteresting reading. Every once in a while take a look at your own page from an objective viewpoint.

Keep these things in mind when evaluating your impact:

Would YOU want to read the things you post there?

Does your content feature local area events or interests?

Are you establishing yourself as a SOURCE for what your audience needs?…or just adding to the noise?

When you DO market are you be sure to drive traffic to your main hub?

We’d love to hear the things YOU are doing on social media to be different and to better serve your clients rather than just trying to SELL to them.

Real Estate Website Myths: BUSTED!

extraWith the return of real estate this past year there have been website companies popping up left and right all offering the “best real estate websites” online. Despite the success of the internet as an advertising platform many real estate professionals still have preconceived notions on what can and cannot be done – much less what should be done – and unfortunately this can cause a lot of myths to be created and a lot of relationships to be destroyed.

We here at Tour Real Estate have had a singular focus for over the last decade: providing great, effective, real estate websites. So before lending an ear to the myths you’ve been hearing, or straight up falling prey to some fast talking smoke blower, consider these top real estate website myths and allow us to put your fears at ease.

A Website is Going to Change Your Life.
Uh, no. We stress this strongly in order to be fully up-front with our potential customers. A website is a tool. Nothing less, nothing more. If you do not use that tool by customizing it to your market, and advertising it to your sphere it is still fully functional but you simply can not expect to see amazing results. Like much else in life you get out of your website what you put IN to your website – this also means leveraging the visibility of your website by social and real world networking.

You Are Stuck With the Search MLS Provides.
In many systems this is true. It comes in pre-canned, framed in, and fairly awkward. The way we do things here at TourRE is a little different: We take the raw feed from MLS, reformat it, optimize it, and push it out to your website in a dynamic fashion. This allows us to provide custom searches instantly for out clients like: Today’s New Listings, REO Homes, HUD Homes, Searches by City, and just about any other criteria you will find in MLS itself.

The Free Site from my Brokerage Is Just as Good.
Big no to that. The old adage of you get what you pay for is true! That’s not to say you can’t have a free site and possibly even get some use out of it. A simple, free website is certainly better than no website at all. However we generally caution people to just be aware of what they are (or aren’t) getting as part of that deal. Most freebie websites offer very little customization or control – meaning that to your visitors and to search engines you look exactly like a million other real estate sites out there. What incentive does that give potential client to choose YOU?

Having a Website Takes Too Much Time.
You’re not a geek, you want to be moving real estate, not punching buttons – we understand that. No website is ever going to be brilliantly effective if you just set it and forget it, but thankfully our websites are very easy to get setup with very minimal effort. Once there the functionality of the site largely takes care of itself – your listings, your offices listing, and the entire MLS is automatically pulled into your site without any effort from you. We still recommend using the large number of additional marketing tools we provide at least once a week; for those who are really interested into taking their online presence to the next level we can gladly provide guidance and consulting.

It’s a Nightmare to Get Help.
Most other web companies are from out of state, and then have call centers in other countries. To even change your name or contact info you could be waiting weeks to even hear back from a tech. Tour Real Estate is proudly located in Idaho’s beautiful Treasure Valley. Our system allows you to control most every piece of text on your website; if you don’t have the time, or just can’t figure it out our customer service can’t be beat. We reply quickly and resolve issues fast. When you call us you’ll be talking to a real live person who can generally get your request taken care of immediately.

We excel at what we do because we care. We excel because we’ve chosen to focus on doing one thing, and doing that one thing very well, for over the last decade. If you’re unhappy with your current real estate web presence – or don’t yet have one – we’d love the chance to talk with you in order to show you how we can help you. Visit our website, or check out any of our social media portals below to find out more!

Social Media Tips for REALTORS®

frustrated-computer-guyThe world of social media can be a daunting place. It’s hard to know who to believe, or even what works from what you research on your own. The way is wrought with fast talkers and smoke blowers ready to promise you the moon and stars – and hopefully you’ve not had your taste for social media spoiled by them. If you’ve heard the hype and seen the success stories and are ready to start making use of social media we’ve got a few tips to help you get on the fast track.

First, let it be stated that social media is not the silver bullet for all your website ails. It is merely another tool to apply to your overall digital strategy. It is not guaranteed to boost sales, traffic, or leads; at it’s very core is merely another advertising medium.

Social media isn’t marketing. It’s prospecting. It’s putting yourself out there. It’s making yourself known, and available. Social media allows your potential customer to find you and interact in a conversational way rather than via a promotional one. So it’s important to: Be Interesting. Be Relevant. Be Rememberable!

Not sure what to say to get the conversation part of things going? Listen first! Keep an eye on what topics are trending in your industry, locally, or across the country. Listen to what your customers are interested in, then get to work. Otherwise, you are just shooting in the dark.

Be Persistent. Social media success is made up of the things you do every day. Every day. That means you need to be in there posting, working the system, nurturing followers on a daily basis to see the best results. Considering many systems have algorithms in place to limit your visibility to fans post frequently is often the best way to insure your posts get seen.

Don’t make it all about real estate. Yes, you are REALTORS® yes, it is part of your job to advertise listings – BUT – one of the biggest mistakes we see real estate professionals doing in social media is posting nothing but links to their listings. Sure, it’s fine to link to that Just Listed property, but look at it from a potential fan (who may not even currently be in the buyers market)…are they going to be interested in seeing 15 posts a day that just advertise your listings…or would they rather enjoy more diverse content that might include local event info, home fix-it tips, or other information…? EXACTLY. So, make your content about more than just hyping that next listing.

Use pictures. Social media is a very visual platform, because we as humans are very visual creatures. Text based information posts are great but be sure to mix it up with some good visual content as well. Now, that doesn’t mean just post pictures – unless you are on Pinterest – but be sure to include pictures now and again, with some good “hook” language to describe the image.

Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected with, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to. Keep the relevancy of your content focused on the interests of your fan base to see the most success; be sure to keep at it!

Lead Capture Counts: New Counted Logins!

countedAs you may already know, your Tour Real Estate website comes pre-built with a few different login options: None, Soft (which allows users to skip registering), and Hard (which forces visitors to register). Each of these allows you to control how strict your registration access is when a visitor goes to view listing details.

Now you have one more option to choose from! Counted Logins! This great new feature acts as an in between for our other great choices. Basically it allows visitors to view up to 4 listing details pages before it forces them to register to view more. This is a great option to allow visitors time to navigate around your site before they must provide their contact details.

One more powerful tool added to your online arsenal to give you greater control over your website and it’s lead capture abilities — all at NO extra cost to you!

REALTORS: Does Your Website Need Help?

Our Websites Come in One Flavor: AWESOME!

We don’t fast talk or up-sell you with pricey packages you don’t need. We don’t lock you in to long costly contracts. We JUST deliver results.

For over the last decade Tour Real Estate has consistently provided the very best real estate websites and marketing tools available online. ALL of our websites are highly search engine friendly; come backed by powerful dynamic code which allows you to control your search engine visibility.

For less than the cost of a single print ad, or a few months of unreliable pay per click advertising you could have your own website online 24 hours a day 365 days a year showcasing your listings and services.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

( that’s like 7.148 tweets if you’re counting! )

We founded our company on virtual tours; we still offer some of the best and most affordable real estate photography services in the area.

Better Photos = Better Sales. It’s as simple as that.

A REALTOR.COM survey showed that homes marketed with professional quality photographs sold for nearly 12% more than homes with bad or no images.