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I get a lot of questions from agents about Twitter.  A couple things I have noticed... I don't know of any REALTORS(R) who are getting much business using twitter, but its overall popularity has exploded.  Even as recently as 3 months ago I would have said twitter is good for building business to business relationships (IE connecting with other real estate pros and building referral networks) but likely not terribly effective in your client communication.  Studies are showing that more and more people are joining twitter, even those who aren't using it for their own profession.  I still think facebook is a far better client communication tool (for reasons I'll get in to another day) but I've been proven wrong before.  One thing is certain in tech as far as where it is going... nothing is certain

So given that I am not what I would call a heavy twitter user, I asked around and was shown the following article.  Great insights, have a read.  If you have questions on twitter, feel free to ask myself or our very own Rob Sutherland @Remax_Rob - he has a great network going on twitter and I don't think it is an overstatement to say he is a "power user"

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Angie Perez is a Weichert Realtors Sales Associate.  You can follow her here: @NJRealtor1

By Audeliz Angie Perez of ForSalebyAngiePerez.com

In September of 2008, I got an email from a local marketing guru about Twitter and how the guru refused to use Twitter as a marketing tool. I had never heard of Twitter at that point. I was not even using social media or social networking sites to build up my Internet presence let alone my real estate credibility. I had a LinkedIn account and Facebook profile, but I was relatively a “no show” on the latter sites until that email.

From that unsuspecting email, I created my Twitter handle: NJrealtor1. I had absolutely no idea what would come from my use of Twitter, but I figured that one message with 140 characters, 3 times a day about things that I was doing in my business was an easy task to handle. Micro blogging seemed simple enough to do from the web or from my cell phone; it is not time consuming and it costs nothing except your desire to answer: What are you doing right now in 140 characters or less.

So, here I am, almost 696 tweets later, I find myself with over 400 followers, which in the Twitterverse, is a relatively low number, yet find that I am absolutely satisfied with my tweet leads. Yes, I have leads from Twitter and that’s the beauty of Twitter. People who follow you are generally interested in what you do, what you tweet about and as you reply (@username) or Direct Message (DM) each other, you can start to build a relationship with your followers or even the people you choose to follow. (Yes, it is true that people who follow you may also want to sell you something and fortunately, you have the option to block people who are only interested in pitching you, but more about that later).

The following are my Top 10 Tips for Practical Uses of Twitter for Real Estate Agents. These Twitter Tips have earned me clients and I have had some success worth blogging about, but please note that what works for me, may not work for you. It works for me because I am committed to tweeting. I also like sharing.

Without further ado, here are your top ten Twitter tips.

  1. Create an account with a Twitter username that has something to do with real estate. I created two Twitter accounts under different names: One was under my full name:  Angie_Perez and another NJrealtor1. I find that since I have the word realtor in my twitter name, I get more followers related to my industry based on my NJrealtor1name despite the fact that I tweet about real estate topics from both accounts. With a handle like NJrealtor1, you automatically know what to expect from my tweets without having to read my bio. I believe this is the reason people choose to follow me under this username more so than under my full name.
  2. Once you have your Twitter account, set up favorable settings. From the web, click on settings in the upper right hand corner after you create your account.
  • Add a Photo. Realtors like you and I are notorious for being a little vain in that we brand ourselves with our face, our name and our company logo. On Twitterverse, your photo or icon is important for quick recognition from your eventual followers. Keep your image consistent and do not change or update it.
  • Notices. You have three options to choose from. Do you want to receive notifications from Twitter that you have a new follower, a new DM or an email newsletter that you receive with the inside scoop. I find that an email that I have a new follower can be an interruption to my day. I would rather know when someone sends me a direct message only.  (You can only receive DMs from people you follow back).  As a result, I have my settings to send DMs, in one email as I receive them.
  • Set Your Location To Your Market Area. You have 30 characters for your location.
  • Do not select protect my tweets. You want people to follow you and sometimes when your tweets are made public on the Twitter public timeline, you might pick up a new follower or two.
  • Your Bio is 160 characters: I have “Saving the Economy One House Sale at a Time.” This is a good place to display your elevator pitch or to highlight your interests along with how you want people to relate to you.
  • Add your homepage or blog url so that you can redirect people to your website.
  • You can add a Twitter Widget to your blog or website for additional exposure.
  • Find people in your sphere of influence that are tweeting. You can look for people on your AOL, Yahoo or Gmail network. Once you search for them, click on follow and as a courtesy, you can expect for them to follow you back.
  • Background Use freetwitterdesigner.com to customize a background for easy recognition. If I were you, I would start tweeting first and when you are comfortable with Twitter, use freetwitterdesigner.com to differentiate yourself. Or try twitbacks.com, which will allow you to display links to your website and web addy to your other business networking or social networking profiles.

3. Start Tweeting About:

  • Open house dates, times and location. Include Broker’s Open, then provide updates about what’s happening at the open house or Broker’s Open.
  • Success stories of what is sold in your area by you, for how much and how long did it take.
  • Provide market updates or news, including a link to where you found information that could be helpful to your followers.
  • Add your blog titles and web address or urls for people to read and comment on.
  • Ask questions and answer questions.
  • Tell about your new listings or the type of house your new buyers are looking for.
  • Tweet about the places you like in the neighborhood or upcoming events.People looking to move want to know what is there to do in town.
  • Retweet content or other people’s useful information to show you are reading and truly following other people.
  • Talk to your followers. Use @yourfriends name and DMs when appropriate. @yourfriendsname is visible to everyone, especially if your tweets are public. DMs are visible only to the person you are directing your message to.
  • Share your experiences about your products or services that you have used or intend to you.
  • Ask for and give referrals.

4.  Add yourself to Wefollow.com, which is the official twitter directory for people.

5. Bookmark the following site associated with Twitter:

  • http://www.Bit.ly.com -If you are going to update your twitter page with multiple urls, you should use http://www.Bit.ly, which is a service that keeps track of how many people clicked on your URL. It’s free and easy to use.  This is an easy way for you to see who is interested in what you have to say, especially
  • http://www.Twellow.com –allows you to search for people to follow based on keywords or location.
  • http://search.twitter.com this is the best way to find what people are saying about a keyword or topic in real time. Popular keywords on twitter for real estate agents: Foreclosures, short sales, $8000 tax credit, New Listings, Just Sold, and Just Reduced.
  • http://www.twitpic.com Allows you to upload photos from your cell phone, a twiiter app like tweetdeck or from the web. This is a good place to showcase your inventory.
  • http://www.twitterforbusypeople.com If you follow multiple people, you can get on overview of all of the people you follow to see what was their latest tweet.
  • http://www.dynamictweets.com Allows you to schedule tweets. It’s an easy way for you to set it and forget it. I use it to set tweet my open house tweets to post to my twitter page at 8:00 a.m. on the Sunday of the OH.
  • Http://www.tweetlater.com more feature than dynamictweets and free, but could be overwhelming for a TNG (Twitter New Guy). Recommended for Tweeple who have been tweeting for 6 months or more.
  • http://www.tweetlister.com This is the first twitter listing service for real estate agents and FSBOs. It combines the functions of bit.ly, tweetlater, lead capture, twitpic and an searchable listing service all in one. This is by far the best tool specific to our (remember I am a Realtor) industry. But tweetlister has some limitations and drawbacks. Read the full review on Tweetlister within the NJRETODAY blog for a complete list of pros and cons of using tweetlister.

6. Be Personalable. Even though your Twitter account is business oriented, remember that people buy people before they buy products and services. You are human and you should share your success as much as your mishaps i.e. mix and match your tweets with things that you are doing with business updates.

7. It is ok to use shorthand. Twitter is about being short and sweet. Full sentences are not necessary and if needs B, Try 2 shorten ur tweets w/symbols & #s when U can. Click here for a list of common short hand or shortcuts on Twitter.

8. Ask for other contact information when you cannot communicate in 140 characters.When someone wants to know about a rental or what he or she should do to prepare oneself before they buy, ask for their email address so that you can respond or follow-up periodically.

9. If you are blogging and sharing specific, value added information, redirect people to a landing page that will collect contact information before you provide the information. We have all been on the receiving end of landing pages where you have to give your email and sometimes your phone number before you get access to information, but if you are going to share a foreclosure list and you paid for it, I would advise people that you ask for contact information at least so that you can follow-up with inquires. Click here for a video explaination of landing pages.

10. Tweet often and don’t spam. Unsolicited messages are frowned upon and you could get blocked from users who see you as a spammer. Your goal is to get direct messages from people who are interested in your inventory or services. It’s up to you to follow-up after contact has been made.  Remember, be genuine and share.

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I was reminded today of a great service I had heard of (but then it got lost in the mix as tech tools can).  I am very glad it came back up as I am going to start using it and suggest you look at it too.


Posterous.com offers a service that syndicates your social world.  Syndication is not new, many companies, including Canadian great Hootsuite will link twitter and facebook.  Posterous, however, takes this to the next level.  It syncs facebook, twitter, youtube, flikr, linkedin, reddit,digg, your blog and a bunch of other social spots.  Apparently you can even have your posterous page "skinned" to look just like your website to keep your bran consistent.  Please give me feedback on how this is working.

Facebook - Another reminder (both this and posterous were via RE/MAX University) today about a cool trick in facebook.  If you search for something in facebook like "moving to vancouver" "mortgage rates" "need a realtor" and you'll get a results page that is mostly people who have made fan pages about that topic.  However, if you look along the left side of the results page, you see a button that says "public posts"  -  That will give you the posts of anyone on facebook (yes anyone of its 750 million users) who used that word or term recently in a status update.  I'll shut up a second while you think about how great a tool this is.  

fillanypdf.com - We are a little spoiled with webforms in that we are used to being able to open up a contract and fill in data before printing and having clients sign.  The fact of the matter is that we sometimes deal with PDFs that are not from webforms and they can be a pain.  FillanyPDF allows you to make any PDF work and feel like a contract with editable fields.  Very handy.

Iphone and Ipad print screen.  This is not an app but a handy little feature.  looking to share something on your phone with someone?  If you press the top and front button at the same time, your ipad or iphone will snap a picture of what is on your screen and save it in your camera roll.  It is a handy way to share text conversations, maps, contacts, etc.

Walkscore - Walkscore is a website (there is also an app) that rates an address based on its walkability to amenities.  It is a very cool tool.  When you have clients who are concerned about such things, enter the address in and have a look at the "walk score" for the house or building.  

Holidays 2012-2014 - This app has a list of Holidays and what day they are on.  Is this something you could use when writing contracts?  

iLiving This $3 app isn't as good as it could be and will be followed by others I am sure.  However, if you want to be cutting edge it is worth a download.  With iLiving, you snap and picture of a room and then digitally furnish it to see what it would look like with the bed over there or TV on that wall.  RE/MAX has a much more full featured "designer" that is done on a floorplan, but it is only available on a PC (not a mobile device ... yet_ 

Remember to send your ideas to me for future tech tuesday emails.
 
Cory Raven
Managing Broker
RE/MAX Select Realty
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