Coldwell Banker Social Media Guide

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This document is intended to give guidance and instruction to the person who is not yet comfortable, or
knowledgeable, in social media, to provide a baseline to the real estate professional who wants to
incorporate social media into his or her business. And perhaps, the experienced player may find a
nugget or two of usefulness within the following pages as well.

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Coldwell Banker Social Media Guide

  1. 1. Becoming Social A simple guide for real estate professionals in social media By David Marine Director, Products & Innovation 1 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC
  2. 2. © 2009 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated. 2
  3. 3. Becoming Social A simple guide for real estate professionals in social media By David Marine 3
  4. 4. Contents Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 7 What is social media? ................................................................................................................................... 8 Is social media the same as social networking?........................................................................................ 8 So what does this have to do with selling real estate? ............................................................................. 8 Why should I care?.................................................................................................................................... 9 Social Networking ....................................................................................................................................... 11 What is social networking? ..................................................................................................................... 12 Where would I go to find a social networking site? ............................................................................... 12 Who should participate in social networks? ........................................................................................... 13 Why should I participate in a social network? ........................................................................................ 13 When or how often should I participate? ............................................................................................... 14 How should I participate on social networks? ........................................................................................ 14 Links ........................................................................................................................................................ 16 Blogging....................................................................................................................................................... 17 What is blogging? .................................................................................................................................... 18 Where would I go to find or create a blog? ............................................................................................ 18 Who should write a blog? ....................................................................................................................... 18 Why should I start a blog? ...................................................................................................................... 19 When or how often should I blog? ......................................................................................................... 19 How should I blog?.................................................................................................................................. 20 Links ........................................................................................................................................................ 21 Microblogging ............................................................................................................................................. 22 What is microblogging? (a.k.a. What is Twitter?) ................................................................................... 23 Where would I go to start a microblog? ................................................................................................. 23 Who should Twitter? .............................................................................................................................. 24 Why should I tweet or why should I get involved on Twitter? ............................................................... 24 When or how often should I tweet? ....................................................................................................... 25 How should I use Twitter? ...................................................................................................................... 25 Links: ....................................................................................................................................................... 27 Video Sharing .............................................................................................................................................. 28 4
  5. 5. What is video sharing? ............................................................................................................................ 29 Where should I go to participate in video sharing? ................................................................................ 29 Why should I market my business with video? ...................................................................................... 30 Who should participate in creating videos? ........................................................................................... 30 When or how often should I participate? ............................................................................................... 31 How should my videos look? .................................................................................................................. 31 Links ........................................................................................................................................................ 32 8 Keys to Social Media ................................................................................................................................ 34 1. Experiment with Social Media ........................................................................................................... 35 2. Have a Social Calendar ....................................................................................................................... 35 3. Listen First, Participate Second .......................................................................................................... 35 4. Be Honest ........................................................................................................................................... 35 5. Sharing is Caring ................................................................................................................................. 35 6. Act like a Real Person ......................................................................................................................... 36 7. Don’t Be a Costanza ........................................................................................................................... 36 8. You Will Be Criticized, So Prepare to Learn from It............................................................................ 36 About the Author ........................................................................................................................................ 38 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. Introduction I am not a social media guru. In my mind, no such thing exists. Social media can be used in an infinite number of ways so I find it hard to believe one person could be knowledgeable enough in all facets to be considered a guru. Some understand social media and embrace it without a second thought. For most it takes trial and error. This document is intended to give guidance and instruction to the person who is not yet comfortable, or knowledgeable, in social media, to provide a baseline to the real estate professional who wants to incorporate social media into his or her business. And perhaps, the experienced player may find a nugget or two of usefulness within the following pages as well. Social media can be a powerful tool for the real estate professional. It has the ability to help you reach new customers, create better relationships with past clients and colleagues, and open up doors to resources that you never knew existed. My hope is that after reading this document you will walk away with three things: 1. An understanding of what social media means 2. Ideas for using social media sites to help your business 3. Guiding principles for how you should participate in social media 7
  8. 8. What is social media? Social media is a term that is often viewed as complex, but in actuality is a simple concept. According to Wikipedia.org, here’s how the public at large views the term social media: “An umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the constructing of words, pictures, videos, and audio.” In plain English, social media is people having conversations online. What is socializing? It’s what we do every day away from our computers; we share opinions, listen to friends, show photos and videos, ask questions and seek answers from those we know and trust. Move that “socializing” onto a browser, and voila, you have social media. Is social media the same as social networking? A lot of people think that social media is the same as social networking. Social media encompasses social networking as well as a slew of other online activities including: Blogging Photo Sharing (Ex: Flickr) Microblogging (Ex: Twitter) RSS (stands for Really Simple Syndication) Widgets (Ex: Widgets.yahoo.com) Social networking (Ex: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) Message boards Podcasts (Ex: iTunes podcast directory) Video sharing (Ex: YouTube) Consumer reviews (Ex: Yelp.com, TripAdvisor, Amazon.com Reviews) Each of these areas has its own community of users, but often times these communities overlap. For instance a Facebook user may post pictures that were also uploaded to Flickr or link to videos uploaded to YouTube. This creates a huge online web of interweaving communications that helps people to stay connected with others and share the things that are of interest to them. So what does this have to do with selling real estate? Excellent question. The offline concept of social media is something that Coldwell Banker Sales Associates have already mastered. As Sales Associates, you’re already connected within your local communities. You know 8
  9. 9. where the best places to live are. You probably know the best restaurants too. Your contact list is as long as a wait at the DMV, and your business grows because of referrals. That’s the very essence of social networking. Your business forces you to be connected with your community of customers. Social media is just an outlet for you to expand those connections online. Why should I care? Reason #1: Social media will only grow in popularity But don’t take my word for it. Let the numbers do the talking: 83% of active Internet users are watching videos online1 In the United States, there are 31.9 million bloggers2 71% of active online users read blogs3 Nearly 66% of active Internet users have joined a social network4 71% of active Internet users are visiting their friend’s social network page5 In April 2008 an Internet Advertising Bureau report summed it up succinctly: If you’re not on a social networking site, you’re not on the Internet6. Naysayers like to call social media a fad. It’s something for teenagers or “techie” types. They are wrong. It’s not a fad, but rather a seismic shift in the way people communicate. Remember how just a few years ago there was no such thing as email? Can you imagine running your business today without an email address? If you feel email is as important to your business as any other tool, think about this: In 2008, social media usage surpassed email usage.7 That’s not a fad. Reason #2: Social media is the home of your future customer Again let’s look at some statistics to make my point: Three-quarters of Generation Y (Gen Y), or Millennials, use MySpace, 65% used Facebook, 14% used Twitter and 9% used LinkedIn8 making Gen Y a dominant player within social media. 1 Power to the People – Social Media Tracker Wave 4; Universal McCann, July 2009 2 Power to the People – Social Media Tracker Wave 4; Universal McCann, July 2009 3 Power to the People – Social Media Tracker Wave 4; Universal McCann, July 2009 4 Power to the People – Social Media Tracker Wave 4; Universal McCann, July 2009 5 Power to the People – Social Media Tracker Wave 4; Universal McCann, July 2009 6 IAB Platform Status Report: User Generated Content, Social Media, and Advertising – An Overview, April 2008 7 Global Faces & Networked Places by Nielsen Online, March 2009; http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp- content/uploads/2009/03/nielsen_globalfaces_mar09.pdf 8 Anderson Analytics, “Social Network Service(SNS) A&U Profiler,” provided to eMarketer, July 13, 2009. 9
  10. 10. Gen Y accounts for close to 80 million individuals, outnumbering the 78 million baby boomers reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.9 Gen Y has $1.3 trillion (yes, trillion) in direct spending power10 99% have a profile on a social networking site 11 They average 53 friends per profile12 And, most important of all, they care what their friends think Let’s recap. Your future customers are already the largest users of social media, will be entering the home buying stage of their lives in the near future, have the money to spend on a home, and are most influenced by those with whom they connect. Whether you want to accept it or not, those Sales Associates that start to incorporate and embrace social media into their business will be in a better position to influence and service future customers than those Sales Associates that don’t. Now that we’ve covered why social media is relevant, let’s move on to discuss how some areas of social media can be more applicable to your real estate business than others. There are four facets of social media that make the most sense for participation as part of your real estate business. That’s not to say participating in alternatives won’t be worth your while, but we’ll focus on the following four segments in greater detail: 1. Social networking 2. Blogging 3. Micro blogging 4. Video sharing Within each of these four segments we will breakdown the five Ws (and one H) to get a better understanding of each of these mediums. The five Ws (and one H) will include: What – What is this segment of social media all about? Where – Examples of sites Who – Who should participate? Why – Why does this make sense for my business? When – Time constraints, frequency of updates, etc. How – Do’s, don’ts, and best practices for participation 9 “Using Computer Simulations to Recruit and Train Generation Y Accountants” by Polimeni, Ralph S, Burke, Jacqueline A, Benyaminy, Diana; May 2009, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5346/is_200905/ai_n31965174/ 10 “Welcome to the New Millenials” by Littman, Sarah; May 1, 2008, http://www.articlearchives.com/population-demographics/demographic- groups-generation-y/1880895-1.html 11 Participatory Marketing Network Study: Gen Y’s Are Not Yet Taking Flight on Twitter; June 1, 2009, http://thepmn.org/pressreleases/060109 12 Web 2.0 and Social Media by Shantanu Adhicary; http://www.slideshare.net/shantanu.adhicary/web-20-and-social-media 10
  11. 11. Social Networking As I’ve already mentioned, social networking and social media are not synonyms; social networking is a subset of the larger social media spectrum although many credit it with being the starting point of the social media movement. 11
  12. 12. What is social networking? As a real estate professional, I’ll venture a guess that you’re already involved in social networking, but possibly just not involved online. The current idea of social networking is simply taking the same “networking” you do on a regular basis (business card exchanges, meeting people in the coffee shop, etc.) and moving it into the online realm. Instead of keeping in touch with people via phone, cards, or in-person, online social networking let’s you communicate with all your connections in a more conversational realm. Here are a few highlights of the most common things to do on a social network: Create an online profile Share photos, videos, links and more Send private messages, post public comments, or instant messaging Learn more about people, brands and organizations Join groups of interest ranging from the world of business to entertainment to music Where would I go to find a social networking site? There are hundreds of social networking sites out there, each with their own niche, but you’ve probably heard of the more popular sites, for example, MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. While MySpace is credited with launching the social networking craze, Facebook has turned out to be the long term favorite as far as social media usage and growth. According to Facebook’s own site, over 100 million users log in to Facebook at least once every day with more than two thirds of Facebook users being outside of college.13 While LinkedIn does not have the same size audience as Facebook, it does cater to a more professional crowd and is a good tool for networking amongst peers as opposed to connecting with consumers. In my opinion, both LinkedIn and Facebook can have a role as a part of the real estate professionals’ social networking activity, but the two sites are very different in approach and audience. LinkedIn is a great site for networking with other real estate professionals. LinkedIn is not as social as Facebook, but is more of a “business” tool. Think of it as an extension of your coldwellbanker.com profile page. Your profile page is basically a miniature resume of the services you offer, your experience, achievements, etc. LinkedIn gives you an expanded profile and gives you an online place for managing your business contacts. It doesn’t offer the casual and personal means of communicating that many other social networks provide, but it is a good place to participate in message boards and groups with other professionals both in your area and across the country. If you were to think of LinkedIn as an online business luncheon, think of Facebook as the mall. On Facebook you’ll run into anyone from your co-workers to old classmates from college to your neighbors 13 Facebook Press Room; June 22, 2009 http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics 12
  13. 13. to your customers. It’s a causal, informal online social network that gives you a peek into the everyday lives of people with whom you want to stay in contact. Facebook gives you an outlet to stay in contact with customers in a personal way outside the realm of professional services. Who should participate in social networks? There are some who will tell you that everyone should participate on social networks. In my opinion, that’s not true. It’s not for everyone. If a person tries to force himself into participation, just because everyone else is, ultimately he will fail. Social networking is for eager participants. It takes time and energy to incorporate a social network into a business, especially doing it in such a way that is not overly self-promoting. If you’re already on a social network for personal use, it’s easier to add your business resume to your profile than it is to join Facebook for business purposes. Facebook is for the socially inclined person. You have to be willing to participate on a regular basis. Update your status, post photos, comment on other people’s activities are all part and parcel to being a Facebook participant. You can have 500 friends or more, but the power of Facebook is in maintaining relationships with your contacts on a personal and informal level. LinkedIn is for almost everyone. If you have a coldwellbanker.com profile page or even have a resume, you should be on LinkedIn. It’s simple to sign up and create your profile. There’s really no upkeep necessary. You can participate as much or as little as you want and update your profile as you gain new experiences or achievements just as you would your resume or profile page. Then you can use LinkedIn to find other agents in your area or across the globe to network with or pose questions to various topic groups and message boards. Why should I participate in a social network? The biggest question I’m asked about Facebook is how to monetize it. What’s my Facebook ROI? Valid question to which there isn’t a concrete answer, but I often pose this question: What’s your ROI on those postcards you mail out on a quarterly basis? Or what’s the ROI on those eCards you email on major holidays? What’s the ROI on those refrigerator magnets or personalized calendars that you send every year? They may not have a definitive dollar figure associated with them, but you do it to maintain a relationship with past customers and clients so that you’ll be first in their mind when they are ready to make their next move. The same is true for Facebook. It’s an online tool to keep you at the forefront of their mind and allow you to maintain a more personal relationship than a postcard or personalized magnet could ever do. 13
  14. 14. A friend of mine is a real estate agent for another company. He’s on Facebook and has a few hundred friends and clients that he connects with. He’s on Facebook on a regular basis updating his status, posting links to real estate articles, sharing photos and videos as he finds them. So when my friend got married this past year, he posted pictures from his wedding to his Facebook profile. Now he’s getting congratulatory wishes and emails from past customers that he hasn’t specifically dealt with in more than a year. Would he have sent them a wedding invitation? Probably not. Would he have sent them a marriage announcement? I wouldn’t think so, but because he’s on Facebook, and because getting married is a universal event that warrants both congratulations and curiosity, he connected and renewed relationships with clients in a way that was previously unthinkable. The reason people ultimately choose to work with a real estate agent has as much to do with how they connect with a person as it does their professional experience. No one wants to work with a person that they can’t get along with or don’t like, no matter how good they are at their job. Facebook is one of the online avenues that can allow potential customers to get to know you in addition to learning about how good you are at what you do. When or how often should I participate? As I mentioned before, your LinkedIn profile does not need to be updated on a daily basis. Update it when you have some new milestones or career changes. If you’re participating in a group discussion, you should follow the conversation stream on a regular basis. However, participating in a social network, like Facebook, is a daily event. Facebook works through a “news feed” showing activity of all friends in chronological order. If you’re not participating on a regular basis, your updates will continually be pushed down and your friends will soon forget you’re even on Facebook. But please update with moderation. No one wants to be friends with a person who only talks about herself. The same is true on Facebook. Your participation should be to get to know or stay in touch with people and not a soap box to constantly proclaim your real estate expertise. How should I participate on social networks? Let’s highlight some “Do’s & Don’ts” of social networking: Do’s 1. Create a page to promote yourself: You can’t get involved if you don’t participate. Don’t be afraid to crawl before you walk. Create a profile. If you know of others who are participating, take a look at what they’re doing to get some ideas and tailor them for your own use. 2. Point your fans to your blog or website: You can use your social networking presence to compliment some of the other things you are doing. If you have a blog or a website that has content or articles that are updated on a regular basis, share those on your social networks (as 14
  15. 15. long as it’s useful information for your audience). You can add your blog’s RSS feed to your Facebook profile14 so your friends and followers can get your blog updates right on Facebook. You could find new readers and even drive traffic back to your blog by sharing your posts with your network. 3. Encourage a discussion and participate frequently: Use social networks as a way to get feedback or find out what others are thinking. Pose questions in your status updates or link to an article but include your commentary on it as well. This will give you some insight into what your sphere of influence is thinking and even guide you on some ways to improve your business interaction with customers. A popular question is how do I “participate?” Participation on social networking sites is relatively simple. It’s like talking with your friends. Comment on their photos, status updates, or links they share. Join groups, fan pages or try out some of the Facebook applications. Post your own links, photos, or videos. There are tons of ways to participate without being in “sell mode.” Use social networking as a way to engage with friends and customers on a more personal level. Business can play a part, but it should not be the main character. 4. Upload photos – In addition to photos of your listings, share personal photos. Let your contacts get to know you, not just your listings. 5. Share links – Find articles from your local paper or maybe a national news outlet that talk about real estate or maybe even home improvements tips. Post the link to your social networking profile and comment on the article. Coldwell Banker On Location™ (youtube.com/coldwellbanker) has some great video content that you’re free to share. 6. Make time to be social – Set aside 15 minutes a day to go on your social networking profile and make updates, see what others are doing. Pretty soon it will become part of your routine. 7. At the very least, create a LinkedIn profile: It’s simple to create a LinkedIn profile and at the very least extends the information you have on your coldwellbanker.com profile page or personal website onto another platform. A great idea is to use your LinkedIn profile to showcase customer feedback. Each LinkedIn profile has a unique web address and also allows for people to provide “endorsements.” You can get former customers to “endorse” you on LinkedIn by writing a brief comment on their experience working with you. You can then share that positive critique with future customers by directing them to your LinkedIn profile. It’s a simple and effective way to showcase your customer service. Don’ts 1. Create a page/profile and fail to maintain it: Staying engaged and relevant is the key to making social media success in your business. Letting your social networking profile go stale is the most detrimental thing you can do in social media 2. Try a hard sell approach: Don’t be the guy at a party who can’t stop talking about every great thing he’s done and how wonderful he is. Even though your intentions are probably not to boast, those who consistently talk about and promote themselves in social media will quickly be 14 Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_2031209_import-rss-feed.html 15
  16. 16. tuned out. It’s ok to promote your business, but do it in moderation. Remember social media is about engagement with others. Make sure that you’re participating, not just promoting. 3. Spam: As much as your friends like you, spamming them on social networking sites will be met with the same reaction as if you were spamming them through email – you’ll drive them away. Some people don’t realize they are spamming, but if you’re sending messages to your friends multiple times a week about homes you’ve listed or contracts you’ve closed, it will not be seen as an astounding achievement, but rather a nuisance. Try to keep blast communications to a minimum. A monthly or, even better, a quarterly update about market conditions is reasonable. Links Coldwell Banker Facebook page – www.facebook.com/coldwellbanker LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com Video: Social Networking in Plain English - www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc Adding an RSS Feed to Facebook Notes - http://www.ehow.com/how_2031209_import-rss-feed.html 16
  17. 17. Blogging According to an August 2008 report by comScore MediaMetrix, blogs have received over 77 million unique visitors in the United States alone. There’s no denying that blogging has become a viable medium for Internet users to get news, information, entertainment and more. Chances are that you’ve read a blog post in the last week or maybe even written one, but if you were to name the most popular blogs out there only a handful come to mind. So what makes a blog a good one? Should you be blogging? How can it help your real estate business? Let’s answer those questions and more, but first a few basics. 17
  18. 18. What is blogging? A blog, or web log, is a type of website that consists of regularly updated content traditionally displayed in reverse chronological order. The thing that makes blogs different than traditional information sites is the quick, casual style of the posts, and the personality of the writer that comes through the writing. But a blog is more than just writing: it’s a conversation. Michael Arrington, writer at TechCrunch.com, said it best: “I believe the term ‘blog’ means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.”15 A blog is not a soapbox. While the author initiates the conversation, the real value is in the dialogue between author and reader and the readers’ ability to agree, disagree, and comment on the topic. Where would I go to find or create a blog? Blogs are everywhere. Do a search on Google for any topic and I would venture a guess that at least one blog appears in the first ten search results. There are a few sites that have directories of blogs or are specifically for searching blogs. The largest site is Technorati. Technorati touts itself as the site for “collecting, highlighting, and distributing the online global conversation.”16 The site is basically a search engine for all the posts in the entire blogosphere. But blogging has become so mainstream that any search engine will help you find topics from any variety of blogs. If you’re starting a blog, the blogging platforms WordPress and Blogger are the two most popular destinations. Both offer simple enough interfaces to help you create and start a blog within minutes. ActiveRain is a blogging destination specific to real estate. The site allows you to create blog posts, share them within the ActiveRain community as well as distribute it to a variety of other social networks and online destinations with zero to little effort. With over 152,000 users17, it’s a place any real estate professional should explore when thinking about entering the blogging world. Who should write a blog? While anyone can be a blogger, everyone should not be a blogger. There are three key attributes that make a good blogger: 15 “50 Thoughtful, Funny and Polemic Blogging Quotes”; http://www.dailyblogtips.com/blogging-quotes/ 16 Technorati About Us section; http://technoratimedia.com/ 17 Number of users posted on ActiveRain.com home page on July 10, 2009; http://activerain.com 18
  19. 19. 1. Writing skills - In fact the term blogger should really be replaced with the term “writer.” Blogging is daily writing that’s thought-provoking and compelling. If you aren’t a skilled writer, you won’t be a successful blogger. 2. Dedication – Behind a successful blog is a dedicated blogger. A blog needs to be updated on a frequent basis and readers can tell if you’re “mailing it in” or if you’re putting some true thought and insight behind each post. Blogging is not for the person who wants to dabble. A good blog requires time, upkeep and thought. 3. Personality – What makes a blog unique is the style and personality of the author. The casual nature of blogging highlights the author’s insights and personality. It’s another avenue for customers to get to know you, and if you’re not comfortable expressing your personality in your writing, you’ll miss a connection with your readers that would separate your blog from others. Why should I start a blog? Blogs serve to establish you as a transparent, relevant, and active expert in your business. Transparent because your blog is a dialog with your readers. You’re not shouting, preaching, or lecturing, but sharing insights and ideas as part of an online conversation. Relevant because you are an essential part of the community and know what is going on within the local real estate market on a day to day basis. Active because you’re dedicated and will update your blog regularly making it an essential resource on the local real estate market. And expert because you have knowledge that others don’t, but will need when entering the home buying process. When or how often should I blog? A good blog is updated daily. A great blog is updated regularly. What’s the difference? Daily updates are par for the course in blogging. A blog that has old, stagnant content quickly loses interest. You have to update your blog on a daily basis to establish yourself as dedicated. Otherwise people will quickly lose interest and won’t read a blog that’s only updated every so often. Regular updates are for blogs that are a cut above. The good blogs are updated as things change or new information is received. Don’t rely on a 9 a.m. post every day so you can check off “blogging” on your to-do list. Make it a logical part of your business. Did you receive a new report on market conditions in your area? Write a post about it. Receive a few emails from customers asking similar questions? Write a post answering those questions (without naming the source of the questions, unless you get permission to do so). If you regularly update your blog, answer questions of those who comment, and interact with your readers, your blog will become a more valuable marketing and communications piece than your IDX website, your postcard campaigns or any marketing flyer ever created. 19
  20. 20. How should I blog? The simple answer is “well.” Beyond that it gets complicated. However, there are a few basic parts composing the anatomy of a good blog that are highlighted in these do’s and don’ts. Do’s 1. Use unique headlines - The posts’ titles are the best way to pull readers into your blog. They may be reading that title via a search results page, an RSS feed, or even from the home page of your blog. Catchy and intriguing post titles can pull readers into your commentary better than anything else. 2. Post regularly – I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important to reiterate. Keep your blog updated. Post as much as your content ideas allow. Look for ways to create blog posts from things that occur during the course of a day and to keep your readers’ interest. 3. Clear and concise topic – You are a real estate professional with extensive knowledge of your local market. Stick to that topic. Don’t talk about politics or entertainment news. People will read your blog if you stick to the topic in which you’re an expert. But if readers come to your blog one day to read about local market conditions and the next day you’re talking about how you dislike a political figure, you will quickly lose the people you’ve worked so hard to attract. 4. Respond to comments – Being engaged with the blogger is what makes people come back to your blog. If someone poses a question, answer it. If they state their opinion, comment on it. Always do so in a professional manner, but if someone disagrees it’s ok, at least you know they’re reading your posts. Don’t start an online argument, but acknowledge their opinion and use it as constructive criticism for future posts. 5. Occasional multimedia posts – People visit blogs to read content, but who doesn’t like a pretty picture every once in a while? Adding the right photos or videos to your posts from time to time enhance the look and feel of the blog and can support your points. Your blog shouldn’t become a clip art holding house, but colorful and supportive photos and videos can make your blog more engaging. 6. Add multiple tags to every post – Tags are one or two word descriptors that you can add to each post to help categorize and describe your topic. They are a native feature on pretty much every blogging platform. Get into the habit of adding multiple tags to every post. 7. Tell everyone about your blog – Your mom, your dad, your cousin, your friends, your coworkers and everyone with a heartbeat should know about your blog. A good blog is better than any run of the mill agent website. It’s got better content; it’s probably more updated and is a whole lot more interesting than your standard website. So be sure to promote your blog as much (if not more) than you would your normal website. Add the URL to your email signature, business cards, e-newsletters, and any other marketing piece you put into circulation. Don’ts 1. Cut & paste someone else’s work – There are two issues with this. The first is plagiarism. Never, ever, ever take someone else’s story and try and pawn it off as your own without giving them credit. Plus, cutting and pasting a story does nothing for adding value to your blog. Anyone can 20
  21. 21. post a link or paste an article. If you come across an interesting article that you want to share, go ahead and share it, but add some commentary to it. Let your readers know your opinion on it. That way you’re not only sharing a good story, but you’re initiating a dialog with them. 2. Strip out all voice or personality from your writing – In business writing, there’s the common concern that a writer needs to be more “professional” and that this is accomplished by removing personal style from the writing. That’s not true for blogging. Your personality and style should come through the writing. While we should always be professional, it doesn’t mean you have to remove your sense of humor or perspective from your online commentary. 3. Go fallow – It’s hard to find a reason to use the word “fallow” in a sentence these days, so when I get a chance to use it, I have to. The definition that I like best comes from Answers.com. Fallow means “Plowed but left unseeded during a growing season.”18 While other blogs are producing fruit (i.e. leads, potential interested customers, loyal readers, etc.) yours is collecting cob webs. While farmers can plan for harvest, you never know when your blog will reap its rewards, so be vigilant. Keep that hand to the blogging plow and your bounty shall come. 4. Start a fight: If a commenter wants to start an argument, don’t give in and begin an online fight. You can address their comments and even agree to disagree, but dragging out an online shouting match is never a good idea. It will turn readers off and you’ll start to lose credibility. It’s necessary to discern when the opposing party is attempting to provoke a reaction. Links Blogger – www.blogger.com WordPress – www.wordpress.com ActiveRain – www.activerain.com The Official Guide to ActiveRain – www.activerainguide.com Video: Blogs in Plain English - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2I1pWXjXI Blog examples: Curbed – www.curbed.com (great example of real estate blog for New York City) Inman New Blog – www.inman.com/blog (really good blog for real estate news) Future of Real Estate Marketing – www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com Myrtle Beach Homes Blog – www.myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (run by Coldwell Banker agent Jeremy Blanton who gets huge traffic and readership) Seth Godin’s Blog – www.sethgodin.typepad.com (not real estate oriented, but considered the king of all blogs) 18 Answers.com definition of “fallow”; http://www.answers.com/fallow 21
  22. 22. Microblogging Microblogging is one of the most difficult areas of social media to explain and one of the hardest concepts to grasp, but is one of the hottest online commodities on the Internet today. 22
  23. 23. What is microblogging? (a.k.a. What is Twitter?) Twitter is the most recognized and widely used microblogging site. I’m sure over the course of the last few months, you’ve heard about Twitter in the news or even from a friend. But the question “what is Twitter” is a reasonable question with a number of possible responses. The best answer I have is: it’s USAToday for blogging. It’s short and concise posts on a specific topic shared with whoever is following. Some people use Twitter as a way to keep up with what their friends are doing. This often alienates people. They envision their friends posting updates about how they are taking a nap or eating a hot dog or other such mundane tasks. Twitter can be used for following friends’ mundane tasks, but it serves a better purpose for those wanting to use it as a business tool. Many use Twitter as a social RSS feed of people. You may have an RSS feed from your favorite blog or news site that sends you updated articles as they are released. Instead of following a site feed, Twitter lets you follow a “people feed.” These don’t have to be people you know or they could be those you know quite well. The idea is to follow people that interest you and that you can learn from. On Twitter, I personally follow real estate writers, tech columnists, Shaquille O’Neal, co-workers, Coldwell Banker agents and even employees of competing brands. These are all people that can teach me, keep me informed, entertain me. Twitter is the platform to connect, share links, articles and news in real time in one place. Before we proceed any further here’s a glossary of the most common Twitter terms: tweet: the act of updating your Twitter status retweet: abbreviated RT, the act of taking another person’s tweet and sending it out yourself followers: those people who have selected to follow your Twitter updates following: those people whom you have selected to follow tweeple: Twitter people reply: similar to email, the act of responding to another person’s tweet direct message: a private message sent to another Twitter user hashtag: similar to tags on blogs, hashtags add contextual descriptors to tweets to categorize them around a common topic; hashtags are preceded by # (i.e. a tweet about real estate may contain the hashtag #RE) tweetup: an in-person meeting of tweeple Where would I go to start a microblog? Twitter.com is the place to go. While there are other microblogging sites exist, Twitter is the dominant player and the place to start. Creating an account is free and simple. There are a number of third party applications that let a person use Twitter without visiting Twitter.com. Many of these applications have notification features and enhanced functionality that take the Twitter experience to a new level. Some of the top applications include: 23
  24. 24. Tweetdeck - http://tweetdeck.com/beta/ Twirhl - http://www.twhirl.org/ Twitterrific (for iPhone) - http://iconfactory.com/software/twitterrific Ubertwitter (for Blackberry) - http://ubertwitter.com/ Twitterberry (for Blackberry) – http://twitterberry.com Who should Twitter? Thousands of people setup a Twitter account, but never send a tweet. However, that’s not such a bad thing.You don’t have to be a blogger or an avid social network participant to get some value out of Twitter. Twitter can enhance your blogging and social networking activity, but it’s not a prerequisite. There are different levels of Twitter users who each find a different value from it. Let’s look at a few of these users in more detail and you can determine which one suits you best. The networker: The networker uses Twitter to increase his sphere of influence while maintaining the relationships he already has. This person uses Twitter to keep in touch, find out what’s new, and gain insight from his “tweeple.” The networker uses Twitter as an extension of instant messaging or as a replacement for quick emails and instead sends 140 characters or less updates to stay connected. The investigator: The investigator uses Twitter to listen but not to speak. This person follows a variety of different people including friends, coworkers and the competition so he can stay on the pulse of what others are saying, doing and sharing. The distributor: The distributor uses Twitter as an enhancement to her social media profile. She has a blog and each new blog post is set up to automatically send a tweet to her Twitter followers. Twitter auto-updates her Facebook status. Any newly uploaded YouTube video is linked to a new tweet. Articles and retweet posts are shared. To the distributor, Twitter has become a hub for distributing information across the social web. The tweener: The tweener is a combination of all the previous profiles. On some days his use of Twitter is for distribution, and other days for investigation. He is not a “power user” but is comfortable enough with the medium to get key information and reciprocate with those who follow him. Whichever profile or combination of profiles you classify yourself as, one profile isn’t better than another. Unlike blogging or social networking, Twitter is easy to dabble in and allows the flexibility to make it work the way you want it. Why should I tweet or why should I get involved on Twitter? Don’t believe the hype that you’re too old or too young or too busy to get some benefit from Twitter. There are a number of smart reasons why at the very least you should be “listening” to what’s going on Twitter if not participating. 24
  25. 25. Reason #1 – It’s always good to know what the competition is saying You can’t always be a fly on the wall at competitor’s sales meetings, but Twitter can give you the next best thing. Start following the competition’s agents on Twitter. Who knows? You may even get some good ideas. Reason #2 – It’s always good to know what the experts are saying Experts in your local area as well as in the real estate industry are active users of Twitter. Look for real estate writers, bloggers and top producers on Twittter. Often they share discoveries that have helped their business. Reason #3 – Creates a holistic social media profile If you have a blog, you should be on Twitter. If you’re an avid social networking participant, you should be on Twitter. If you regularly post photos, videos, or content to a variety of sites, you should be on Twitter. Twitter can help distribute your content from other social media sites and grant additional exposure to your social media profile. There are a number of automated sites that can take content posted to social media destinations and seamlessly distribute it through Twitter. Sites like Twitterfeed.com are built with the purpose of extending your social media activity to Twitter. When or how often should I tweet? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. One person may find Twitter to be helpful without sending a single tweet while others find success by tweeting every hour. The idea is to first determine what you want to use Twitter for and then find a comfortable way to integrate it into your regular business activities. If you’re thinking of using Twitter just to monitor what other people are saying or use it as a condensed RSS reader, a good idea is to set aside some time each day to review what people are posting. Fifteen minutes during your lunch break or ten minutes when you first get to work are great ideas to help incorporate Twitter into your business day. For those that want to be active participants, you really have to jump right in and start using it. Watch what others are tweeting and get a sense of how you want to participate. One interesting stat to note comes from Sysmos who did a study on Twitter usage and found that the most popular day for tweeting and to have your post retweeted is actually Tuesday followed by Wednesday and then Friday.19 How should I use Twitter? The following is a simple list of ideas for how you can use Twitter. Depending on whether you want to be an active participant or a behind the scenes listener, there are at least a few items here that can apply to anyone with a Twitter account: 19 An In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World, Sysmos Inc. ; June 2009; http://www.sysomos.com/insidetwitter/ 25
  26. 26. Do’s 1. Sound like someone who is part of the Coldwell Banker brand: Remember you’re a real estate professional and you represent a brand and local company. Keep your tweets professional too. 2. Put a friendly face on your product: Taking into account point #1, you can still have some fun and be personable in your tweets. Like every other social media medium, this is a way for people to get to know you so don’t be afraid to add some of your own personality to the mix. 3. Pose and answer questions: Is there anything more complimentary than having someone ask your opinion about something? The same is true for Twitter. Build relationships, as well as collect insights, by posing questions to your followers. Don’t be afraid to answer questions asked by those you follow either. Participation is the key. 4. Promote blog/content: There’s nothing wrong with promoting your blog or website through Twitter so long as it’s not the ONLY thing you tweet about. Let Twitter help distribute your content beyond the URL of your site. 5. Share timely information: Timely is the key word here. Post items to Twitter as things happen. Twitter is very “in the moment” type of medium and it craves information in real time. If something happened last month or last week, don’t tweet about it. Make sure you’re sharing up to date information 6. Share market information: This is the information that can really set your tweets apart from the rest. You have access to knowledge and statistics that few others do, and the ability to share that with an audience is advantageous to your business. Look for market trends, average home price information, time on market stats and other essential points of data that will make you a resource that people want to follow. 7. Share useful links: Articles, blog posts, or interesting websites are all great things to share via Twitter. At its core, Twitter is very much a link distribution network and those that consistently find and share useful links are often the more popular people to follow. 8. Build credibility and relationships: Don’t think that only your tweets are the most important. Retweet interesting items that other people post. Send a reply of thanks to those that retweet your posts. Communicate with those you follow and who follow you. Ask questions. Give answers. Remember social media is about engagement. Don’t make your Twitter feed a one way street of information. Participate with your network. 9. Follow competitors: If you never send a single tweet, use Twitter to see what your competition is doing. Find them on Twitter and be a listening ear. You’ll be surprised at the intelligence it might bring. Don’ts 1. Sound like a press release: Remember, personality. 2. Spam: Don’t send constant links to your website, either in tweets or private messages. It’s okay to share this info from time to time, but don’t shove it down people’s throats. Everything in moderation. No one wants to be called a spammer, but it’s more common on Twitter than you’d think. 3. Setup an auto response whenever someone follows you: One of the most annoying things on Twitter is when after you follow someone they send an automated direct message to you thanking you for the follow and how you should check out their blog or Facebook page as well. 26
  27. 27. Everyone knows it’s an automated message and it will turn people off more than making them impressed. Don’t do it. Links: Twitter.com – www.twitter.com Twitter Search – search.twitter.com Coldwell Banker Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/coldwellbnkr We Follow Twitter Directory – www.wefollow.com Twitterfeed – www.twitterfeed.com TweetDeck – www.tweetdeck.com Twitpic – www.twitpic.com (picture sharing functionality for Twitter) Twitter Fan Wiki - http://twitter.pbworks.com/ (resource for Twitter terms, practices, add-ons & more) Coldwell Banker Twitter backgrounds - http://www.flickr.com/photos/coldwellbnkr/3598852360/sizes/l/ 27
  28. 28. Video Sharing According to a June 2009 study of online video, 77% of Internet users have watched an online video with 43% watching videos weekly, and 12% watching videos on a daily basis.20 It’s safe to say that online video has become a common practice, but now the act of producing and sharing video content is almost just as popular. While you may think that video sharing should be left to those wanting to brag to the world about the exploits of their children or roller skating dogs, it also provides significant advantage in real estate marketing. 20 Magid Media Futures™ 2009: Opportunities in Online Video; June 2009, http://www.magid.com/metacafe.pdf 28
  29. 29. What is video sharing? Video sharing is just what it sounds like; it’s the simple process of taking a video and distributing it online to share with a specific audience or the entire World Wide Web. YouTube has made online video a mainstream medium, but video sharing has gone beyond just watching videos on a single site. Social media sites have embraced online video and made it portable. Today a single video posted to YouTube can be seamlessly and easily integrated into Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media sites with a simple cut and paste of a link. While online video may have begun as a means of sharing family videos or giving budding film makers an inexpensive distribution channel, it has really become another means for sharing content online. Where should I go to participate in video sharing? In August of 2008, comScore’s search engine rankings revealed a surprising twist: YouTube had become the world’s #2 search engine behind Google.21 YouTube isn’t even a search engine, so how could it be the #2 search engine in the world? ComScore tracked the amount of people searching on the popular video site and determined that it was second only to Google in the volume of searches. If that doesn’t prove that online video is here to stay, I don’t know if anything will. YouTube is clearly the dominant player in the video sharing arena. A January 2009 report states that 100.9 million viewers watched 6.3 billion videos on YouTube.com (62.6 videos per viewer) in the first month of 2009.22 In addition to YouTube, there are other video sharing sites trying to make their mark, like Revver, Metacafe & Dailymotion, but none of these are the scope and size of YouTube. With that knowledge in mind, we created the Coldwell Banker On Location™ channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/coldwellbanker) to give you an unique venue to showcase your listings and expertise. There are plenty of local real estate companies and local real estate agents that have their own YouTube channels, but no one displays listings and allows the consumer to interact with real estate videos like Coldwell Banker On Location™. Our site offers a map-based interface to let visitors search for you and your listings based on the location of their choice. It’s similar to how they interact on a traditional real estate site and is supported by national media to drive consumer eyeballs to your videos. Coldwell Banker Works gives the details about what the site has to offer as well as a custom upload tool to get your videos showcased on Coldwell Banker On Location™. 21 July 2008 Search Engine Ranking Report from comScore; http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2008/08/Top_50_US_Search_Engines 22 January 2009 data from the comScore Video Metrix; http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2009/3/YouTube_Surpasses_100_Million_US_Viewers 29
  30. 30. Why should I market my business with video? We all know that buyers are starting their search for a home online, even if they are just in the “dreaming” phase of the buying process. Consumers are accessing more video through more channels than ever before – and using it as a search tool. When it comes to videos to market your business, most real estate professionals are missing out on two key elements: 1. Compelling videos of homes for sale Anybody can create “video slideshows.” I’m sure you’ve all seen a video slideshow which is basically still photos with some pan and zoom movement set to music. My four year old can create those, and those types of videos are missing the key ingredient that sets you and your listings apart, personality. Videos can promote in ways the written word cannot. Your online property descriptions have to be short because no one is going to read ten pages. But a video can highlight details of a home, add background to certain features and showcase knowledge and expertise. Your videos can truly be a virtual open house. Let potential buyers discover your personality and style by putting yourself on camera. 2. Truly local real estate insights and perspectives The second area is something that can really distinguish you from the competition. Very few, if any, agents are providing truly local real estate insights through online video. The majority of real estate agent videos are infomercials or video resumes. One of the best things you can do to position yourself as a local real estate expert is to share the knowledge that only you have access to as a Coldwell Banker agent. Instead of using video to create a mini-commercial, use it to share what you’re seeing as far as local market conditions, recent home sales statistics and other trends affecting your market. This is why we created Coldwell Banker On Location™. It will further establish you as the community expert and source of local real estate information, differentiate you from your competition, allow you to be in front of the millions of YouTube visitors, can help you attract buyers and sellers, and give you another unmatched marketing platform for your listings. Who should participate in creating videos? Anyone can participate in creating videos to market themselves or their listings. However, some may find excuses not to. Let’s critique some of these arguments: It’s too expensive. No it’s not. Flip Cams are a compact, easy to use, digital video camera that you can buy for under $200, and they produce good quality videos for a reasonable price. I’m not a video producer. Your videos don’t have to be broadcast production quality. You’re creating short simple videos to either market a home or share information. Chances are you already have a video software package on your computer. For Windows users, Windows Movie 30
  31. 31. Maker is standard on all Windows PCs. For Mac users, there’s iMovie. Both have simple tutorials to help guide you through the movie making process. I don’t have the time. You can literally create a video in five minutes. You just got out of a sales meeting where you reviewed some recent home sales data. Sit down in your office, point the camera at you, and start recording. Talk for sixty seconds about the data you’ve just reviewed. Save it, and post it to Coldwell Banker On Location™. Done. For video listings, more than five minutes of prep time may be necessary, but it isn’t an unreasonable amount of additional work. Since you’re already making multiple trips to the property for an open house or photo shoots, just bring along a video camera. Spend a few extra minutes shooting videos of the property. When or how often should I participate? There isn’t a specific time requirement for creating more video content. The important thing, like all of the other social media concepts we’ve covered, is to make it a part of regular business activities. When agents get a new listing, they peruse their checklist, make sure it’s listed on the website, make sure they have multiple photos of the property, schedule an open house, etc. “Creating a video” should be added to that checklist. How should my videos look? Is “good” a reasonable answer? Alright, more details would probably be helpful. Let’s discuss three basic components of video making and then we’ll cover some do’s and don’ts. Video quality: While the quality doesn’t need to be Emmy award winning it can’t look like it was shot by a four year old. Avoid using camera phones to take videos (unless you have the new iPhone 3GS). If you’re going to create videos to market properties, invest in a dedicated video camera and a tripod. A tripod will lessen the “earthquake” effect of shaky videos and produce more professional looking videos. Video length: End the video one second before it gets boring. This is the most important length guideline. The ideal range for a real estate video is 2-4 minutes. The uniqueness of your content will ultimately decide the length of the video. A show case video of a luxurious, multimillion dollar home may need more than 3 minutes. A two bedroom ranch showcase video probably needs only 90 seconds. Agent profile videos or market updates are safe in the 1-2 minute range. Don’t have enough time to cover everything? Split it and make 2 (or more) videos. Video style: Don’t let your video look exactly like the next guy’s. Be on camera. Let who you are as a person and an agent come through. Next, keep the video moving. Don’t stay on a single shot for thirty seconds, and as attractive as you are, don’t stand in front of the camera for four straight minutes. Keep things moving by cutting from one shot to another or adding in additional imagery. Use a mix of indoor and outdoor shots to create interest. Lastly, make it professional. If your video looks like the local car dealer’s 30 second ad on cable TV, it’s time to 31
  32. 32. create a new one. Your video is a reflection of your business, your local company and the Coldwell Banker brand. There are a number of videos and guides on coldwellbankerworks.com to help you get started, but these do’s and don’ts will also help you make the most of your online videos. Do’s Be informative and entertaining: This is a difficult combination, but those who can conquer this feat will have great success in video sharing. You don’t need to break out a slapstick comedy routine, but feel free to let your personality come through and to enjoy making these videos as well as educating or informing your audience. Create a good title, description, & tags: Your video’s title, description and tags help people searching on YouTube and search engines to find your videos and know what they’re about before actually playing them. For video listings, the title should be the address & city/state for the property. The description should be a sentence or two highlighting the property. The tags should include your name, city, state, “for sale,” and then any unique descriptor for the property (Ex: lakefront, ocean view, etc.). Good titles, descriptions and keywords will make your videos more accessible to search engines and make them easier to discover. Post your videos elsewhere: Don’t let your videos just sit on YouTube. You took the time to create this work of art, so share it. Post it to your profiles on other social media sites, send it to Twitter, use it for a blog post or even include a link to it in your monthly e-newsletter. Get creative and get the word out about your videos. Allow commenting and participate in the conversation: As your video is viewed by more and more people conversation will follow. Embrace it. If people pose questions, answer them. Acknowledge comments or criticisms. Remember that social media is all about participation. Don’ts Upload infomercials: Who likes to sit down on a Saturday morning and watch infomercials? Nobody likes to watch them online either. Inform without being an infomercial. Be afraid to experiment until you find a winning formula: The first video you create doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the second, third and fourth videos you create probably won’t be perfect either. You don’t have to post every video you make. Experiment with some different styles until you find one you like and that works for your business. Pull down comments on your videos: Unless there’s offensive content or spam, keep the comments posted. Once a person deletes comments, credibility is lost. Again, respond to critiques and learn from them. Make your video longer than it needs to be: Keep it concise and entertaining. Two to four minutes tops! Links Coldwell Banker On Location™ – www.youtube.com/coldwellbanker Coldwell Banker On Location™ Resources - http://cbworks.coldwellbanker.com/app/Content?action=viewContent&content=14509385 Video: How to Shoot a YouTube Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd1120KdBUc Video: How to Shoot a Video Listing - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGhA4Iwn1Hw 32
  33. 33. Video: Movie Maker Video Editing Tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZXK68NS7gU Video: iMovie Editing Tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_sZ4AeT8a4 33
  34. 34. 8 Keys to Social Media We have covered a variety of social media genres and highlighted some details of participating within each segment, but there are some overarching principles that can help guide you regardless of which specific site you are engaged in. 34
  35. 35. 1. Experiment with Social Media There is not a precise formula for social media success. It takes some trial and error. However, experiment personally before professionally. Create a few profiles; test out a few sites, but not as a business profile. Once you’ve tested the waters and have found a comfortable lane to swim in, incorporate it into your business practices. 2. Have a Social Calendar Setting aside time to “socialize” online will go a long way in helping you make social media a regular part of your business. I like to take the first fifteen minutes of my work day to check on my social media profiles, comment on a few blogs or send out a few tweets. Find a time that works for you, but be consistent. 3. Listen First, Participate Second Don’t jump in with your guns blazing and start spouting off the cuff. Find where your audience is participating and identify the key influencers. Get an idea of what’s being said, how they are interacting and think about how you can join in the conversation. Read industry blogs or competitors’ blogs. Pay special attention to the comments being made. Are consumers reacting positively or negatively to what’s being posted? Find some tools that can help you monitor what is being said like Peoplebrowsr.com or SocialSeek by sensidea. 4. Be Honest Avoid constant self-promotion (people will ignore it). Avoid lying and posting false information (people won’t ignore it). Many people have watched some of their biggest mistakes become some of the most searched items on Google. Don’t claim that something is yours if it isn’t. Give credit where credit is due. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on, but don’t try to cover it up. Honesty is the only policy. 5. Sharing is Caring You need to share information to get value out of social media. Make your content, your videos, or whatever you post readily available for others to use. One of the greatest compliments in social media is to have another person take your content and share it with her own audience. Incorporate tools into your blog or website to encourage sharing like ShareThis, an RSS feed of your content, or an email a friend feature. 35
  36. 36. 6. Act like a Real Person Don’t shout. Don’t brag. Don’t think that your content is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Don’t communicate as if you’re someone else. Be yourself. Communicate as if you’re having a conversation with your audience. Be personable and you’ll give people someone they can relate to. 7. Don’t Be a Costanza George Costanza is always looking for a way to get out of doing work. He wants to be as lazy as possible while still holding a job. Don’t be a Costanza. Think like a contributor, not a marketer. Consider what is relevant to your community and what you can do to add to the conversation instead of pointing the conversation to yourself. You’ll quickly win friends by promoting and sharing other people’s content that you find of interest. Make sure your involvement in social media is adding to the greater conversation. It takes effort and time, but will eventually pay dividends. 8. You Will Be Criticized, So Prepare to Learn from It It’s guaranteed. At some point in time, you will be criticized in the public forum. It’s bound to happen, so prepare for it. Accept it, learn from it and move on. Don’t try to delete it or you’ll just make things worse. Listen to those who are your detractors. They may have a point, and if they do you can admit your shortcomings. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. It’s how you react to it that makes the real difference. And there you have it. The lessons of social media are very similar to what your parents told you on the first day of school: be yourself, make some friends and share. There’s much more to be learned from social media than can be covered in a white paper, but you now have some fundamental ideas to get involved. It takes 21 days to form a habit. In under a month, you can make social media a regular part of your business. See you online. 36
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  38. 38. About the Author David Marine. Husband. Father. Web Socializer. Mets Lifer. Techie. Gamer. Basketball Addict. TV Afficianado. Internet Browser. Amateur Golfer. Interactive Marketer. David Marine has been with the Coldwell Banker brand in the corporate marketing department since 2002 in a variety of roles, but each having a focus on technology and online media. David has been responsible for the brand’s social media strategy, launching the mobile platform and the creation of Coldwell Banker On Location™. David is also known for the inability to control the volume of his voice when he walks the hallways of the corporate office. david.marine@coldwellbanker.com facebook.com/coldwellbanker twitter.com/coldwellbnkr flickr.com/coldwellbnkr youtube.com/coldwellbanker friendfeed.com/coldwellbanker 38
  39. 39. 39 © 2009 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated.

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