REALTORS: Reasons Why Your Social Media Falls Flat

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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

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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.

REALTORS: Why Should Clients Choose You?

Realtor Websites

Ten years ago it was easy to get outstanding leads and search engine placement just by being online. The competition was low and in many cases the websites that were online weren’t much of a threat to your client base. Times have changed. There are literally millions of real estate websites online today, including big box companies like Zillow and Trulia. Today you must not only be online, but your website must be the very best in order to claim your share of this rapid paced market.

If there are millions of sites online where potential buyers can search for real estate why should pick your site? Why should they even give you a second click if you’re offering the same exact functionality as every single other agent out there? What makes the difference?

It’s simple. Quality.
Your website visitors may very well meet you for the first time through your website. Shouldn’t it present them with the best impression possible? Shouldn’t it be something more than a website in a can with the same searches, same layout, same everything as everyone elses?  YES. It SHOULD!

Here at Tour Real Estate Inc we are proud to offer some of the finest template real estate websites available that go way behind being just cookie cutter sites. Even our template sites offer you the ability to control your content, customize your website, and showcase your services.

A properly maintained website is frequently updated and relevant to your client base. It is more than a digital business card. To be most effective it must offer great information along with all of the usual expected tools your clients will want.

Want to REALLY stand out?
We offer some of the best custom designed REALTOR®, Idaho Builder, and Developer websites around. From simple stand alone lead capture sites to full custom and mobile responsive designs. All backed by an comprehensive set of marketing tools and outstanding customer service. We’d love the chance to talk about what makes you different than your competition; help you develop a vibrant online presence to support your goals for success this year!

REALTORS: Don’t let the Winter months catch you napping!

beanieIt’s the holidays at last; for many that means time to turn off the cell phone and put business aside to focus on other things. And while that is certainly true, the holidays and these colder months do tend to be slower months for real estate, so there’s no reason to just toss away productivity altogether.

It’s a good time to make the most of some extra down time in order to get a running start on Spring. If you make the most of the available time you may be surprised to find you’ve already gotten a jump on making sure the coming year is a prosperous one. Here’s some ideas:

Rejuvenate and Re-evaluate.
Take some of that time for you. No,REALLY. By not taking care of yourself you only make it harder to find the strength and motivation to do the things you must. It’s also good to take time to reflect on the current state of your business as well as where you want it to go. Give some thought towards what you can DO to make those things happen.

Clean out the cobwebs.
The ones in your contact database. We know we know! UGH! Contact management. Yeah, it’s tedious, but having an updated and current list of valid contact will only help you focus your marketing efforts more efficiently. It wouldn’t hurt to take the time once your list is clean to go ahead and get a spring time or new years mailer ready to go as well. Don’t just throw out old leads – in many cases buying cycles come back around, so even if they’re not buying now they may be in the future, or looking to sell.

Spin Some NEW Webs.
When was the last time you looked at your own real estate website? When was the last time you edited or added anything to it? Block in some time to take a look at your website and review the information there to make sure it is current and geared towards your target audience.

Go Prospecting!
No, not for gold…although, maybe of a different kind.Holiday prospecting isn’t limited to Christmas cards! With SO many networking and social events going on this time of year it would be crazy not to get out and make the most of at least a few of them! You may be surprised to hear this from a tech company but face to face time is still one of the most powerful methods of gaining referrals and making new clients around. If nothing else it’s generally a way to get some great free food and beverage!

Lay the groundwork for the coming year.
Do you google yourself? Admit it.
If you don’t you probably should. Better yet, do that first then google your competition. Study and follow and learn. Take what is good from what they are doing and combine it with whatever it already successful for you. It may be a good time to start learning some of those social media marketing skills that you’ve been putting off – it’s only going to become more important next year.

Write your 2014 business plan. On paper. With a pen.
Take your ideas and desires for the coming year and write them down on paper. This tactile experience allows you to let your imagination go wild – sketch, draw, doodle – take the ideas in your head and just get them all out in ink. Now take the best of those and put them in bullet points to be your goals. Put these plans and goals some place near where you work to keep them in mind. They can be as simple as “get an updated wardrobe for meeting with clients” or as big as “be a million dollar producer”. Think about what you want, SEE it in your mind, and then build the things you need to make it happen.

If your plans for the new year include a new real estate website – or even revamping your old one – we’d love to talk to you!

REALTOR Marketing: Content is (still) king!

Content Marketing for Real Estate
The rules for SEO change. The trends in social media come and go; the networks themselves are constantly changing their formats. One thing that has not changed is that your website visitors want good content – noGREAT content. And if you are actively providing relevant, interesting content chances are you are not only going to see more traffic but also more visitor engagement. Enter Content Marketing.

Content marketing is not a new thing, in fact, in it’s most simple form it has been around as long as there have been people online with whom to interact. There should be no doubt then that it is not a fad; as consumers gain more and more control over what they choose to take in their appetite for straight hard sell marketing is waining. Just like the way DVR has given the end user the ability to simply fast forward through commercials, so too the web offers surfers the ability to turn off ads or to simply unfollow sites and pages which are too ad-heavy.

Creating great content is more than just regergitating what others have written, and it’s more than just becoming your own personal press. It will never (thankfully) be as easy as copy/paste; seeing real results from this marketing technique not only requires time to build momentum but also effort to run the long race. More than just creating content, you need to provide the answers to the questions your customers are asking. This is especially true in the real estate industry as there are literally millions of websites – including big name national brands – where people can search and find homes. The content you create may very well be the thing that sets you apart and seals the sale.

Here are some statistics to consider:

90% of all home buyers use the internet to find homes.

78% prefer getting to know an agent rather than know their ads.

70% believe companies providing quality content have more to offer.

Effective content marketing provides 3 times as many leads as paid search.

The key to putting content marketing to work for your real estate strategy is simple: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. This should be no surprise as that is one of the keys to any effective marketing. It makes sense that the same content that appeals to Generation X and Y will not be interesting to retiree’s. Single’s won’t have the same interest as small families or baby boomers. So do your research; know who you are looking to work with and how to sell to them in the manner that they will most easily receive.

Once you’re on the path to content creating nirvana remember: it is essential to let people know about what you’ve written! If you are simply writing in your little box it won’t do you a lot of good – no matter how much your mom likes it! – so be sure to publish and distribute your articles on social media, your website, and other sites like stumbleupon. A little bit of cross platform sharing can go along way – now get out there and create!!

Not All Website Templates Are Created Equal

housesUpWith the return of real estate we’ve seen an influx of up and coming fly by night website providers passing through the area – talking fast, blowing smoke; making big promises.

But fact is, we’ve seen the other templated real estate web designs out there; they simply don’t measure up.

When you have the same exact same website that a thousand other REALTORS® the search engines can tell; what’s worse your potential clients can too! Not all website templates are created equal! A picture and a paragraph won’t win you much visibility in searches, and while there are any number of cheap, or even free, website systems out there none of them offer the level of customization and content control that a real estate website from Tour Real Estate Inc. can offer.

We know the real estate industry – we’ve been working to help build it for over the last decade – and we know how important technology is for this industry because we’ve been part of it’s growth in prominence. We know agents don’t want to be pushing buttons, the want to be moving houses, and we strive to make technology something as approachable as possible.

All of our websites come with a powerful client side content management system that allows you to control nearly every piece of text on your website and to customize how search engines and clients will see you online. We invite you to talk with us about your website needs – whether you are looking just to get a template up quickly or have visions of a full custom design, we can help!

REALTORS: Getting Online Doesn’t Have to be Difficult!

holding_keysSmallFor most real estate agents, the understanding that you need to be online in today’s technologically focused market is a no-brainer. It’s a fact of being in business, much like having business cards, or yellow page ads once were. There are plenty of options out there, and while it may be a little biased of an opinion, we think our system is among the very best –  especially for those looking to get online quickly and without a lot of hassle.

In most cases we can have one of our templated real estate websites up and running within 24 hours!

What’s more with a real estate website from Tour Real Estate you get more than a set it and forget it web presence! Our website system actually consists of two site – one that the outside world see’s and a second Client Toolbox site that puts you in control of your content! Just some of our standard features include:

Automatic MLS updates of your listings and every property on the MLS.

Multiple ways to search the MLS.

Create an number of custom pages.

Create unlimited links to showcase partners and area vendors.

Multiple points of lead capture.

Social media link display…and much more!

Whether you are an agent new to the market, or an old pro who needs to get with the times, we can help you get online! More than just websites in a can, we provide you with a ready made toolbox of resources to create a dynamic website for your clients. Contact us today – or visit us on any of our social portals to get connected!!