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Inman News 30-Day Social Media Plan

Welcome to Inman News' 30-Day Social Media Plan! This plan will give you specific tasks and ideas to launch your social media marketing plan into action within 30 days!

www.inman.com

Questions? Contact me at

[email protected] or @katielance

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/inmannews or @inmannews

Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/inmannews or www.facebook.com/agentreboot

Copyright 2010 Inman News Select portions of this material: Copyright 2010 RealEstateCoach.com All rights reserved. This content may not be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in part or in whole, without written permission. Use of this content without permission is a violation of federal copyright law.

Tip 1: Create a Connection

The #1 thing you need to always remember about social media is that as an agent or broker, your main objective is to create a connection. Social media is the new dinner party or Rotary Club. Instead of meeting once a week at a predetermined time, you can join the conversation day or night. Social media opens the door to keep in touch with your friends, clients and colleagues.

How do you create a connection? 3 tips:

1. The "me, me, me" show is dead -- don't talk all about you! Take time to join in the dialog and comment on what others are saying. 2. Becoming the local voice of authority -- post interesting info from your local web sites (events, concert dates, market stats, school info, hometown hero's, etc) 3. You never know what is going to create a connection or a spark -- it could be your snazzy new market report -- or it could be your vacation photo. You must insert some of the personal YOU into social media for it to work!

Remember, the power of word of mouth...

25% of search results for the world's largest brands are links from user-generated content

If you aren't talking to your clients...SOMEONE ELSE IS!

Tip 2: Pay attention to differences in generational perception & trust

Do you know who your audience is? Surprisingly to many, it's not just teenagers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. When looking at the demographics, you will find 3 distinct groups on each social media channel: 1. Baby Boomers 2. Gen X 3. Gen Y

Baby Boomer (born prior to 1965)

"Experts" are out; "Trusted Resources" are in Value expertise. They want to be in control of the decision making process. They don't want to be told what to do by their agent.

Gen X (born 1965-1976)

Nothing turns them off more than claiming that "I am the expert" Distrust expertise. Highly independent, slow to trust, insist on doing their own research. Be the trusted source for great info.

Gen Y (born 1977-1994)

Trusts their circle of friends. Over 96% of all Gen Y have joined a social network Investigate online BUT their 1st level of investigation is their friends Expert = Parent. Avoid parenting and behave like a member of their posse. Invite friends/ family to be part of the process. It's easier to overcome an objection that is surfaced in front of you than it is to overcome a negative Facebook message or Tweet.

Be smart about the demographic you are targeting and adjust your message accordingly!

are complete

Before you can begin tweeting or Facebooking you need to make sure your profiles are filled out -- especially for the "big 3"

1. 2. 3. 4. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn BONUS: YouTube (not necessary for your to sign up for right away -- but if you plan to incorporate video I would recommend it)

If you have not created one of these profiles -- you MUST do this 1st before you do anything. Why be on all 3? Most people are not on all 3 so in order to reach everyone; you need to make sure you have a presence on all three networks.

Must-Haves in Your Profiles:

Work experience -- last 5-10 years and expertise. 5-7 areas of expertise. These words will be used by Google and other search engines as keywords when people are searching for specific things. Links to all other profiles: blog, web site, LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, email address 1-2 sentences -- Who Are YOU? Elevator pitch Personal and professional photos and hobbies Area you live in

Build Your Network!

Download your database into a .CSV file. Upload it to each network. Facebook & LinkedIn -- look at the top 10 people you respect the most and add mutual friends. Twitter -- the rules are different. It's ok to follow someone you don't know. Search for key words like "1st time Homebuyer" or "real estate" or Specific City, State and add those people. Add companies you respect whose info will be worth passing on: i.e. @InmanNews, @ NYTimes, @WSJRealEstate Follow hashtags: i.e. #ICSF, #ICNY, #AGENTRB (what's a hashtag? Stay tuned!!)

Even if you plan to do nothing else on these social networks -- as a minimum create your profile!

Tip 4: Content is King!

What are Some of the Best Ways to Post Content?

Post directly to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn directly OR use a program like Hootsuite.com works like `drip marketing' for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn With Hootsuite, you can spend 30 minutes every morning planning your updates to your 3 social networks and have them `drip out' throughout the day (i.e. 9 am, noon, 2 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm) Recommendation: plan 3-5 updates for Facebook and 8-10 for Twitter daily (Twitter moves a lot faster than Facebook)

Sample Facebook Pages to Check Out:

http://www.facebook.com/ERArealestate http://www.facebook.com/InmanNews http://www.facebook.com/thecorcorangroup http://www.facebook.com/agentreboot http://www.facebook.com/goodlifeteam

Content Ideas

Your e-newsletter Links to helpful articles from your associations Market trend reports (Altos Research is a great company to check out -- to get market stats on your web site or blog) Community events Relocation tips About the area Buyer and seller resources 1st time home buyer tax credit Inman News link Local news -- your hometown news web site

Showcase Your Expertise in the Marketplace

Blogging - not for everyone. Only blog if you like to write! Where to start? Wordpress.com is a great resource -- rich is SEO and and easy to use templates and plug-ins. Hyper-local content (outside.in -- great web site for local content) Idea: write a neighborhood blog

How to start? Brainstorm a topic list and plan!

Tip 5: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

I have agents ask me over and over again "just tell me exactly how to do it!" So below is what I call the `Secret Sauce" -- it is an easy to follow 1 hour a day plan. The key is to move fast and don't get `sucked into' spending all day on social media!

The "Secret Sauce" -- 1 Hour a Day Plan AM: 1st thing after or before you check your email

1. Turn on your computer. Open 7 windows: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your web site, your blog, your favorite news website (i.e. Inman News ), and your favorite `drip marketing' social media site (i.e. Hootsuite.com). Move fast, don't get distracted. 2. Facebook: Scroll through the page -- make 3 comments on other people's posts. Post what you are up to that day. Respond to anyone who has commented on your page or left you a message. Move fast, don't get distracted.

3. Twitter: Click your @ button (i.e. -- @katielance). Anyone who has mentioned you -- thank them publicly. Respond to DM's. Scroll through your home page and re-tweet 3 things of interest. Move fast, don't get distracted. 4. LinkedIn: Post your status update -- have it feed to Twitter (check the `Twitter' box to do so -- so easy!) Respond to any messages in your inbox. Check your groups. Not in a group? Join a group and comment on 1 discussion a day. Move fast, don't get distracted. 5. Close these 3 windows: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Keep Hootsuite.com open and your web site, blog, and your favorite news site. Pick 6-8 links to share that day in Twitter. One can be a listing. The rest must be good content or newsworthy. Pick 3 links to share for Facebook. Twitter moves faster than Facebook which is why you need to post more often. Plug your posts and links into Hootsuite. Space them 1-2 hours apart. If something is a hot topic you can schedule it to go out more than once. Move fast, don't get distracted

PM: Repeat! Next day: Repeat!

Do this everyday 5-6 days a week. If you follow this schedule it will become a habit. Also don't underestimate the power of commenting and interacting -- this is probably MORE important than posting your own content and links. Social media is just that -- social! BONUS TIP: Plan into your schedule an additional 2-3 hours a week if you are a blogger. Also plan one time a week to search for new friends, fans, and followers.

Tip 6: Three Tips to Get the Most Out of Twitter

"I have nothing to say."

I have heard this over and over again, not just by real estate agents -- but by many people who are cautious about getting involved in Twitter. To many, Twitter has become more useful as a way to tap into what's "going on today," than to broadcast their own messages. And once you get acclimated to Twitter, you might just find you have something to say after all. Biz Stone, Twitter's co-founder says, "Naysayers should simply log onto their Twitter's home page and search for a topic they are interested in, whether it's their favorite sports team, the name of their company or a topic in the news." Within a minute, they understand the appeal, he said.

Here are 3 ways to make Twitter work for you:

1. Create a custom feed. Find people to follow by searching Twitter directories. My two favorites are WeFollow or Just Tweet It. Remember, to get followers at first, you must follow others! 2. Create lists. Lists are fantastic -- and a GREAT way to organize people you follow. You could make lists for news sources, fellow Realtors, geographic areas, etc. This way you can click on that list to see what those specific people are talking about. I just created the Inman Team list -- as a place for people to contact the right person at Inman News (i.e. editorial, marketing, advertising, etc.) If you don't know who the best users are on a favorite topic, look for lists on sites like Listorious or by checking profiles. 3. Check out the most discussed topics in your area. We hear it over and over again, but real estate is truly a `local business.' Find out who is around you locally and what they are chatting about. Some Twitter apps, like Tweetie and TwitterLocal, let you search posts near you. Check the Web site Happn.in to see the most discussed topics in your area. BONUS: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Once you've gotten your feet wet, use Twitter to ask questions such as the best place to grab a bite to eat in a new city, marketing tips, or anything else you need an answer to! Some questions Realtors could start asking via Twitter are: "What's the best marketing tool that is working for you?" or, "What is the most effective thing Realtors are doing to convert leads to sales?" These questions open the door to conversation and networking!

Tip 7: Twitter Etiquette

It is vitally important that you put effort into your conversations on all three of your social networks daily. There is a certain etiquette you want to make sure you follow! Today's email will focus on Twitter etiquette. 1. Re-tweet comments of interest. Why? The obvious reason is that you like the info and feel it is worth repeating. The not-so-obvious reason is that when you re-tweet it shows people you reciprocate! Others will start to re-tweet your posts. The re-tweet is PARAMOUNT to your success on Twitter. When you post something -- it goes to your couple hundred followers. What if 5 of those people re-tweeted it? And then another 10 re-tweeted it again? Your audience and potential leads grows exponentially.

How? Simply click the "Re-Tweet" button next to a message you'd like to retweet OR copy and paste the message and put RT @______ (whoever the person is you are retweeting) 2. Respond to all mentions and messages. See who has mentioned you and thank them -- every day! Click the @yourname (i.e. @katielance) button on your Twitter home page to see who has mentioned you. 3. Respond to DM's (Direct Messages) Send a quick `thank you' DM to anyone who follows you (but do not send them a slimy spam message!) 4. Share your lifestyle - be personal, be real. People want to connect with real PEOPLE!

Tip 8: Facebook Etiquette

It is vitally important that you put effort into your conversations on all three of your social networks daily. There is a certain etiquette you want to make sure you follow! Today's email will focus on Facebook etiquette. 1. Respond to anyone who has mentioned you or sent you a message. When you log into Facebook on the upper left hand corner you will see in red a notification if someone has commented on one of your posts or sent you a private message. Take a moment each day to acknowledge and/or respond!) button on your Twitter home page to see who has mentioned you. 2. Do not just post your listings. Make sure you are posting more than just your listings on Facebook. Post personal info/anecdotes, helpful links, blog posts, etc 3. Share helpful info and interesting links. As you are on your Home page in Facebook, you will see other friends or fan pages that have posted interesting links. An easy way to share good content is to click the "Share" button under the link -- this will then go out to your friends list and also acknowledge the person you shared it from. 4. Share your lifestyle - be personal, be real. People want to connect with real PEOPLE! 5. No need to post your life story to Facebook. There is a fine line between `over sharing' and being personal. Remember, whatever you post goes out to your entire friend list! 6. Your posts to Facebook should not be the same as Twitter. You can post the same info, but take out any @ symbols or hashtags -- for people not on Twitter this is confusing language on Facebook

Tip 10: Top 5 Social Media Blunders

I thought it was important on tip 10 of the 30-day plan to point out some common `Social Media Blunders.' It's better to learn now, then later! Feel free to pass this onto anyone `not following the rules!'

Top 5 Real Estate Social Media Blunders:

1. Talking about yourself to no end. Enough about me, let's talk about ME! Yes, social media is social -- but at some point, it is NOT all about you! This is tough in real estate, where you learn from every marketing person to `sell yourself' and `you are your brand' -- which is true -- but many people (especially the Gen X and Gen Y crowd) don't want to hear all about you -- they want to know about the interesting things going on in the community, in their neighborhood, local market stats, and other things that make what YOU do valuable to them. 2. Only posting your listings. Major faux-pas! Luckily I have not seen as much of this lately, but it's still happening. You can post your listings -- but make sure you post other great content. (See my ideas in #1 above) 3. Copying content and claiming it as yours. Big "no no" here. There is so much great content out there -- it's fine to use an excerpt of something and then credit the source, but don't copy someone else's material and claim it as your own. 4. TMI (Too Much Information.) There is a fine line between being social and giving out "too much information" -- no need to tell your social network everything and anything! 5. Speaking the same on Facebook as you do Twitter. Maybe this is my own irritation, but whenever I see hashtags and @ signs on Facebook I cringe a little. The language on Facebook is different than Twitter. I think it's fine to duplicate messages on both channels (especially since a LOT of people are only on one of the channels and not both) -- but if you do, take a moments to adjust your language to be more "Facebook friendly"

Tip 11: Three Easy Ways to Promote Your Social Media Networks

One of the easiest things you can do is to promote your social media networks to get more traffic. The more people become your fans, friends or followers, the more they are aware of you and the services you provide.

Before you get started, right now open a Word document and put in there:

Your Twitter handle and link Your Facebook page link Your LinkedIn account link Your web site Your email Your blog (if applicable) Save this document!

You are then going make sure all that info is on your:

1. Email signature. A great program for getting all your social networks into a signature is WiseStamp.com. Or if you use Outlook you can easily edit your email signature under the Options menu. 2. Business cards. Next time you order make sure you add all this info -- in the time being you can make a label to adhere to the back of your cards. 3. Social networks. Within each social network, make sure you have all the info on each of your profiles. That's it! Very simple - but it can make a big difference! In addition, you should plan to add links to your social networks on the home page of your blog and/or web site as well as on any material you would give a client.

Tip 12: Generating Leads Online -- Farming Using Twitter

Lead generation using social media and other `non-traditional' sources continues to be a hot topic among agents and brokers. There is a HUGE opportunity for Realtors to start `Farming' online. If I was an agent, there are a few things I would do ASAP to kick-start my lead generation using Twitter: 1. Take your Twitter campaign seriously. If you were to start a direct mail farming campaign today -- how long would it take you to see results? 1 year? 2 years? The same is true for social media. You must be committed to the process to see results. Still not convinced Twitter can make you money? Check out what Dell has done! 2. Search for the type of clients you want to work with! Check out DemandStop -- this web site helps agents farm Twitter for local leads. Find locals based on location and keyword relevancy (house hunting, apartments, rent, condos, etc.). You can search your location and connect with real people looking for real estate in real time. Another option is to check out the Advanced Search function on Twitter. Search key words, hashtags, specific words -- all within a certain geographic area. 3. Treat Twitter like drip marketing. Tweet about what you are working on: working with new clients, building your referral network, interesting industry info, local market stats that link back to your site or blog (Altos Research is a great option for this.) Plan your tweets out -- just like drip marketing using SocialOomph or Hootsuite. Looking for more info? Check out Tom Ferry's video from Connect NYC talking about this very subject at Connect. You do have to be a premium member to watch, but this video alone is worth the price!

Tip 13: Five Things Every Realtor Must do to Be Successful on Facebook

With an audience of over 500M people -- Facebook is the top social media source that Realtors must be engaged in.

5 Things Every Realtor Must do to Be Successful on Facebook:

1. Post good content daily. You are probably getting sick of me reminding you of this -- but this is the #1 one thing that I see agents NOT doing. They spend time calling or emailing clients, but they drop the ball on their Facebook page. You should be posting 2-3 times a day. A good formula for Realtors on Facebook is: 2 parts personal and 1 part business. Corcoran does a great job of this -- they post interesting real estate and market data but also sprinkle in really cool and unique links to New York city, little known facts, places to eat, etc. 2. Have a plan and stick to it. Make a list of the top 10 sites you like to visit -- include news sites (i.e. Inman News, NY Times, etc), recreational sites (gardening, travel, etc), and of course your website or blog. Visit this list daily. This makes it very easy for you to link to interesting stories and post good and relevant content daily. 3. Do it yourself. As a Realtor you can't hire out someone to manage your Facebook account for you. You have to make time -- every morning and every evening to manage your account. You can however hire someone to enhance your page and make custom tabs with HTML. Mike Mueller is a great resource for this. 4. Comment on what others post. This is KEY! It is not all about YOU! Take 5 minutes out of your Facebook time each day to comment on what some of your friends or fans have said. 5. Be engaging. Ask questions, post photos, be a part of the conversation. Remember Facebook is like the ultimate dinner party. At a dinner party you wouldn't sit in the corner and not talk to anyone right? Nor would you JUST talk about real estate. Here are some great examples of Realtors and people in the real estate community doing many of the right things on Facebook: Sue Adler The GoodLife Team Julie Ziemelis

Tip 14: Two Easy Way to Get More Fans and Followers

Today's tip is a simple one. How can you get more fans and followers?

Two things that work every time:

1. Ask for them. Seems so simple, right? But as part of your plan, you should plan on once a month to ask your fans and followers to join your other networks and to tell others about them. For example, on Facebook you could say: "Who else is on Twitter? Follow me @ katielance". Also you can always promote your goal like "I am almost at 1000 fans -- tell all your friends! Let's get to 1000 by the weekend!" 2. Have a contest. An easy thing to do is to have a contest or drawing. You could give away an hour of your time, a gift card to a popular store or amazon.com. Make sure to set a deadline -- people have to become a fan or follower by ___ date to be entered. Or you can simply say "the 1000th fan will receive a ____" Sounds simple but people love contests. Once you've selected the winner give them lots of recognition on your blog, Twitter page, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts!

Tip 15: Getting Reviews and Testimonials on Your Social Networks

One of the very best things you can get on all your social networks are people posting positive comments, feedback and testimonials!

How do you receive these? 2 Easy Ways:

1. At the end of a transaction. When you finish a transaction, mention to your clients that you are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and that you would love a comment from them on what they thought was the most value they received from you. 2. Search for them on LinkedIn. If they are there, post a testimonial about them and your positive experience working with them. Inevitably they will post one back to you! A testimonial does not have to be an essay -- simply 2 or 3 sentences of how you know this person and why you would recommend them. How is this different from the testimonials on your web site or listing materials? To the average consumer, LinkedIn testimonials are more authentic because you did not touch or alter them in any way -- they are truly from a past colleague or client.

Once you've received a few testimonials, I recommend copying and pasting them into a Word doc making sure to mention if they came from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. After time, these comments will "drop off" -- specifically on Facebook and Twitter. This makes it easy to use on your listing materials or web site in the future.

Tip 16: Don't Forget to Do Your Research

One of the most important things you can do once you get rolling in your social media plan is do some research to make the most of your social media networks.

3 Ways to do Your Research

1. Set up google alerts -- monitor your brand. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. I recommend setting up a couple alerts: your first and last name, your company name, and perhaps the city or area you cover (i.e. San Francisco Real Estate). You can then monitor any positive or negative stories and then be proactive -- i.e. go onto those sites or blogs and leave comments and include links back to you or email the author. 3. Subscribe to relevant local blogs and Twitter users. Not necessarily other Realtors, but others in your area. You would be surprised at the number of people in your area who are blogging, Tweeting, on Facebook, etc. These are people like moms, local business owners, sports fanatics - these people are blogging and online. What topics are you interested in? Search for local bloggers and Twitters who have interests you are interested in. This is the new way of prospecting! You can also review sites such as CitySearch and Yelp to see what people are talking about in your area. 6. Ask your customers what social networking sites they use and what your business can do for them there. As part of getting to know your clients and prospects -- when the time is right, bring up what social networking sites they are on. If you include your social media links on your business card -- that is one easy way to see what networks they are on. These little things can make a big difference -- and will help you work smart! Set aside a 2-3 times a month to monitor your brand. The more you do it the easier it gets -- and the faster you will get! Once you get the hang of it, this is an easy weekly task you should add to your social media schedule.

Tip 17: Do's and Don't of Sharing Personal Information

Invariably once someone gets really excited about social media -- they tend to flip on a switch. It's called the "over share" switch! So how can you still remain authentic and personal not over share? Here are a few simple do's and don'ts:

Do's:

Share what you would at a dinner party when you meet someone for the first time. Where are you from? What area do you live in? Married? How long? Kids? Your job -- how long? What do you specialize in? Hobbies/interests Organizations you are passionate about Recent travels

Don'ts

Tell your whole life story -- no need to mention every move you make! Going into too much detail about your family -- follow your own comfort level. Decide if you want to reveal ages, names, photos -- some people are more comfortable with that that others. Other people's kids -- ask the parent's permission first Your specific home address Political or religious -- this is another personal choice, but I tend to avoid these topics on social media because they can be very polarizing topics.

Tip 18: What the Heck is a Hashtag?

Now that you are almost 3 weeks into your social media training, it's important to review what hashtags are. A hashtag is something that looks like this: #ICSF A hashtag is a string of text that people add to their tweets so that others can readiy find tweets about a subject.

Common hastags for real estate include:

#ICSF #realestate #realtors #technology #tech #sm (stands for social media) #fb (stands for facebook) The #ICSF hashtag is a hashtag we at Inman News use every time we tweet about our conference, Real Estate Connect. Also attendees who are going to the event will tweet and add that hashtag. On Twitter's home page in the search bar, you can type in a hashtag, and you will see the stream of conversation. Hashtags are great to use during an event or conference. If you have a smartphone, you can monitor the event hashtag -- you can meet up with people, find out who is there, which sessions are going on, hear "golden nugget" tips and more. On a side note, hashtags are particularly helpful during a crisis. Next time there is a world event or natural disaster -- check out the conversation with hashtags on Twitter. Not sure of the hashtag? Just type in the city -- like Haiti. Pretty soon you'll see the conversation -- and more often than not the tweets are reporting the news from people first-hand than a news broadcast could ever get out.

Additional links:

Hashtags.org -- This is the website to track real time Twitter hashtags being invented/used. @Hashtags -- This is the twitter account to follow in order to submit your new hashtags.

19: Tips for Staying Focused and Inspired

Just like anything, social media can be a TOOL or a DISTRACTION.

Here are my top 3 tips for staying focused:

1. Remove all distractions. Don't answer your phone. Don't answer your email. For your 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night -- be focused and don't let the phone and email distract you. It's time to show up to work.

2. Set a timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, measure your activities. Are you on track or did you get caught up on a completely different mindset. Just by having a timer will help you stay focused! 3. Don't jump every time the phone rings, chirps, or vibrates. It can wait. Finish what you are doing and then check your messages.

How do you stay inspired?

One thing that really helps me to be inspired and to stick with social media is to follow and become fans of other people or brands who I feel are using social media really well.

On Facebook, some of my favorite fan pages to follow include:

Inc Magazine Mashable California Association of Realtors TechCrunch 1000 Watt Consulting The bottom line is this: stay focused, don't get distracted, and keep your eye on the ball! You can do this!

Tip 20: Facebook Fan Pages -- Should You or Shouldn't You?

One question I get asked frequently is: "Should I have 2 Facebook accounts? One for personal and one for business?" According to Facebook, it is against their terms of service for someone 2 have two personal accounts. So, an alternate option is to create a Facebook Fan Page. Fan pages are fantastic -- they are for businesses, organizations, groups, brands, and more.

There are 2 key benefits to having a fan page:

1. Your fans are not necessarily your friends. Fans will become fans of your page to get specific updates from you about your business. This allows a nice separation for you -- you can still have a personal account for your friends but for business keep a fan page.

2. When you post a status update to your fan page, it works the same way as a personal profile -- it shows up in your fan's news feed on their home page. So, for example, maybe you are a fan of Coca-Cola or The Gap. When those companies post info, links, photos, etc. to their page -- it shows up in your feed (if you are a fan.) This is a huge marketing tool!

So do you need a personal page AND a business fan page?

If you are brand new to social media -- I recommend that you wait. Wait until you are comfortable with your own personal page and then in a few months decide if you'd like to start a page. I have found real estate pages to be most effective with brokerages, agent teams, and agents who start specific neighborhood or community pages.

Tip 21: 5 Key Elements of a Great Facebook Page

Every great Facebook page has a few commonalities. Here are the 5 most important ones:

1. A consistent message. If you are going to maintain a Facebook page and expect ROI, then you need to plan to update your page 3-5 times a day with content, shared links, stats, links to your site, videos and more. 2. Photos and/or video -- preferably both. A great way to engage your fans is to include photos and video. How about a quick 30-45 second video about a local event or a community you specialize in? Post photos of yourself, events you attend, community photos, and more. 3. Pay attention to your landing page. You can change your landing page to create a customlanding page -- this is the page people land on when they first come to your page. Choose if you'd like it to be your wall, your info page, or perhaps you even create a custom page! 4. Have fun! Don't be afraid to have a little fun! For example on my blog, I try to always post a "Fun Friday" post. You could also have special "Facebook only" contests or give-aways. 5. Engage your fans -- ask questions, ask for feedback. Don't let your page just be a sounding board. The best pages are ones where the fans are involved, asking questions and providing their comments. And don't forget to THANK your fans!! Still not sure about Facebook pages? Or need some inspiration? Next time you are on Facebook, at the top where you see the `search' field, type in your favorite brand or company -- I bet they have a fan page. Seeing what other companies are doing on Facebook can really help to give you a jump-start!

Tip 22: 5 Topics to Get Your Social Media Juices Flowing!

So, you've been at my social media plan for 3 weeks now and maybe you are getting stuck.

"What should I post? I have nothing to say"

The best way to overcome this is to have a topic list or a `go to' list of links for great info. If I was a real estate agent, these would be the top 10 things on my topic list:

There are basically 2 big categories that everything falls in:

1. Lifestyle content 2. Real estate content Lifestyle content: 1. Local events. Go to downtown and chamber web sites. I always love to post event info on Fridays -- right before the weekend. Don't forget local Farmer's Market info! 2. School info. Go to your local school district web site for info: new calendar dates, school board meetings, and announcements. 3. Fun places to go in the area. Where do you like to go in your areas? Post links to great parks, museums, sports, points of interest and more! 4. Little known facts about specific communities. This is where your expertise about the area comes in. An idea for a post could be "Did you know....(and then include a little-known fact!)" Many times your city or chamber web site and a `historian' section with tidbits of info. 5. Home improvement tips. HGTV is a great site filled with tips to pass onto your fans as well as your own personal stories of what your clients have done to improve the value of their home. Don't forget to mention things like "Need a great contractor or gardener? Email me today and I will send you my preferred vendor list." Reminding people you of your local expertise and network is very important!

Tip 23: 5 Topics to Get Your Social Media Juices Flowing! Part 2

It's important in social media to have a good balance between lifestyle and real estate content.

Real estate content:

1. Your web site or blog. Go through your site -- every link on there is potentially something to share. Here are a few examples: "Curious what homes are for sale in your area? Sign up for a free email update" "Are you a first-time home-buyer? Check out this link for info on what you need to do to get pre-approved." "Who pays for what? Check out this link that explains who pays which costs in _____ county" 2. Market stats from your brokerage or local or state MLS boards. Many associations have great reports they provide to you monthly that you can post to your web site and then post onto Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. 3. National real estate news. Let people know what is going on nationwide. Be the source of great news! Some of my favorite news links are: Inman News, NY Times, WSJ Online. 4. Local real estate news. Check your hometown newspaper web site or your local news station for local news. This is also a great source for "hometown hero" stories. 5. National and local trends. Include things like 1st time home buyer tax credits, top cities to live in the U.S., great vacation home areas, real estate investment info. BONUS: 1. Holiday messages (i.e. `Happy holidays to all my Facebook fans! Thank you for your support!") 2. Calendar reminders. Everyone loves reminders like Daylight savings, tax time, don't forget to vote, etc. A great place to start with all of these topics is Google News. When you go to Google News you can edit your news page and add in custom categories. This is great for a real estate agent! How about creating 5 custom fields -- each with a <city, state> that you serve. I'd also create a custom field with <your state>, real estate (i.e. California Real Estate) -- great place to get regional content. Another popular topic to search for is Foreclosure News.

Tip 24: Shortening URL's -- What, Why, and How

A very important concept to understand -- especially in the world of Twitter is how to shorten a URL and why you'd want to do this. In Twitter, you only have 140 characters -- so every letter counts. By shortening long URL's you are able to write more of a message instead of the whole message being taken up by a URL. Also, people are more likely to re-tweet your posts when you use shortened URL's. With any URL shortening service, you copy and paste the long URL into the shortening program and it automatically gives you a shortened URL. You can then take that and post it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. For example, this link: http://www.inman.com/news/2010/03/29/mlss-seek-control-mls-domain - can easily be shortened into this: http://bit.ly/9DzojH There are lots of services that will do this for free, but my two favorite are: 1. Bit.ly (www.bit.ly) has a great statistical function so you can see exactly what links are getting the most traffic. It is a great way to keep track of the links you share. 2. Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) This program which you can use just like "drip marketing" for social media (I talked about this is Tip 4) -- also has a built in URL shortener. I use this one for all my Twitter postings and I use Bit.ly for my Facebook and LinkedIn postings to keep them separate.

Tip 25: Twitter No No's

We talked about Social Media Etiquette in tips 7-10, but now that you have been actively working on your social media plan, I thought it was appropriate to review a few big "Twitter No No's"

Un-following:

Don't ask someone why they un-followed you. It puts them in an awkward spot -- no need to ask! Don't announce to the world that you un-followed them. When you un-follow someone, do it discretely!

Your Tweets:

Don't tweet things that no one cares about. Only famous people can post things like that and people get excited about it! Post content that is interesting and relevant! Review tips 22 and 23 for great content ideas. Don't use long links (see yesterday's tip for how to shorten URL's)

Your Photo:

Don't use a personal photo that is outdated or too risqué. Make it a photo that looks like you! It can be professional or casual but it should look like you! One more thing - don't send automated DM's (direct messages) -- send out personal direct messages when possible! Automated ones are annoying and will probably get deleted.

Tip 26: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

1. Update your profile. Hopefully you did this when you read tip 3, but if you didn't -- log into your account and make sure you have the basics in there: updated photo, work history, dates, experience and education. 2. Add your specialties. This section is key (located under the `Summary' section within `Edit Profile') -- this is the section google is going to pull from. Think of this section as the `keywords' or `meta tags' for your profile. Pick 7-10 key words to describe your specialties and/or areas of expertise. Add 3 additional links. Under websites -- select the drop down `other' -- this allows you to add 3 different links and name them whatever you'd like. Instead of being limited, you can add specific links within your site or blog. A few ideas here: link to a market stat page on your blog/website, link to your property search (IDX feed) page for a specific area/county, link to your Facebook page, link to community info on your website or blog. 3. Add connections. Add past colleagues and past classmates (see tip 3) You want to get your clients onto LinkedIn ASAP -- why? See reason #4.

4. Write 10 testimonials. One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn, are the testimonials you can generate. How do you get people to say nice things about you? Say nice things about them! Write 10 testimonials -- do 10 a day for 5 days and by the end of the week you should have at least 10 from people `returning the favor.' A testimonial does not have to be an essay -- simply 2 or 3 sentences of how you know this person and why you would recommend them How is this different from the testimonials on your web site or listing materials? To the average consumer, LinkedIn testimonials are more authentic because you did not touch or alter them in any way -- they are truly from a past colleague or client. 5. Join a group. A great way to stay connected to LinkedIn is to join like-minded professionals -- with over 6000 groups available -- there is something for everyone. The 3rd largest estate groups on Linkedin is Inman's Real Estate Connect group -- here you will find news and discussions about the market as well as conference updates and highlights.

Tip 27: Moving Your Fans, Followers and Friends to Action!

1. Ask a question. A great way to get people to respond to you and to join in a conversation is to ask questions. Some questions should be non-real estate related. Ideas for questions: What is your favorite family activity for ____ town? How do you feel about______? Which town would you rather live in: ____ or ____? If you were buying a house would ________ this be important to you? What is the number one thing you look for in a real estate agent? 2. Keep it short and sweet. We have a very short attention span. 3. Respond quickly. When people ask you questions or leave you a message directly -- respond fast. This is one of the benefits to using a smartphone -- you can instantly scan your social networks and reply to anyone who has left you a message. 4. Address people by name. Little things make a big difference!

5. Tag your fans. You can do this on Twitter by using the @ sign plus their Twitter handle. On Facebook, if they are your friend, you can tag someone in your status update by typing @ plus the name of the person. You will see a list of names pop up as you type -- click on the correct name. Now this person will be tagged and your post will show up on your wall AND their wall.

Tip 28: Tracking Your Progress

It's important to track your results to see what is working and what is not. It's also very motivating to see your numbers increasing day in day out. Before you start monitoring -- decide what you want to monitor. Do you want to monitor: Number of fans, followers and friends? Which posts get the most clicks? Which posts get the most comments? What are your demographics of the people coming to your social media pages? (age, male/ female, area they live in) Where do they find you? The web, mobile app, email link, etc

2 easy ways to monitor your success:

1. Use URL shorteners. As mentioned in tip 24, a URL shortener, especially bit.ly or hootsuite can track how may clicks you received from links and where they came from. I check my stats once a week to monitor which stories and links get the most clicked! 2. Insights on Facebook pages. When you create a business fan page on Facebook, you can view how many new fans you are getting, your demographics, what type of interactions your fans are having with you, and tons of other useful stats to monitor your success. As part of your weekly plan, plan 15 minutes a week (I prefer Monday) to look at your stats and see what is working and what is not. You may even chose to keep track of your stats on a spreadsheet because it's great to look back over 3,6, or 12 months to see how far you have come!

Face-to-Face Networking Ideas

One of the best things about social media is the opportunity to reconnect with people you know and to reach out to people you don't know. There are several ways to turn your social networking into a live, face to face networking event.

Tips for a successful event:

1. Plan for more people than you expect 2. Check out the venue 1st - make sure the place has wi-fi. Places to host could be: 3. Local restaurant, pub, or coffee shop Local library Chamber or downtown facilities Your brokerage office 4. Give people a reason to come Give away a free guide (1st time home buyer guide, guide for getting your house ready to sell, etc) Have a contest or drawing for a gift card to a restaurant Offer free food

3 easy ways to create an event

1. Create an event on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have a Facebook page you can easily create an event. Here's an example of our Real Estate Connect SF 2010 event tab on our fan page. Input all the pertinent info and then you can invite your fans and even upload a list of emails of people to invite. Make sure you follow up and send updates as the even gets closer. I love the discussion board feature on Facebook pages -- it really helps to build a "buzz" around your event. 2. Tweet-Ups. Tweet-Ups are a networking event that is organized either on Twitter or Facebook. Submit your Tweet-Up to @tweetup to be promoted! Here's a great example of a Tweet-Up Facebook page in Northern California.

3. Plan a Meetup. Meetup.com allows you to join and participate for free. When you decide to become an organizer for events, there is a subscription fee for accessing those tools. You can charge for events through Meetup if you want to. The great thing about Meetup is that it announces your new Meetup Group to the community. You just pick a topic, describe your Meetup, and you're ready to go. Out of all 3 choice I listed, Meetup is probably one of the best ways to reach outside of your network to invite people to an event.

Tip 30: Your Final Tip! Putting It All Together

You did it! You finished 30 days of Social Media training! My hope is that out of the 30 days of tips you are able to find a few things that work really well for you and your business and you can implement them immediately. For the final tip, I am going to repeat tip 1, because it is the most important thing to remember every day that you sit down to your computer to work on your social media plan.

Create a Connection

your main objective is to create a connection.

determined time, you can join the conversation day or night.

How do you create a connection? 3 tips:

1. The "me, me, me" show is dead -- don't talk all about you! Take time to join in the dialog and comment on what others are saying. 2. Becoming the local voice of authority -- post interesting info from your local web sites (events, concert dates, market stats, school info, hometown hero's, etc) 3. You never know what is going to create a connection or a spark -- it could be your snazzy new market report -- or it could be your vacation photo. You must insert some of the personal YOU into social media for it to work!

If you aren't talking to your clients...SOMEONE ELSE IS!

Thank you for sticking with the 30-Day plan!

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