Giving cool real estate products, tools and news a Big Encore

Last week we compared the strengths of Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages; this week, it’s time to compare LinkedIn and Facebook Fan Pages in the Social Media Showdown:

 

 

 

 

Facebook

Facebook is huge. There are millions of users of all ages, so setting up a fan page opens your business up to thousands of networking possibilities and new clients. The only downfall is that it’s easy for your real estate business or mortgage brokerage to get lost in the crowd.

Strengths:

The fan page itself. There are a lot of ways to customize a Facebook fan page. You can add your company logo and identifying information (address, phone number, email address) and that’s just the beginning. You can also add links to your other social media sites and cross-link posts to your blogs, plus upload entire albums of pictures.

Easy follower interaction. Once one your followers click on the “like” button or comments on one of your posts, it gets added to their personal news feed. Their friends on the site see the update, easily quadrupling your audience.

Follow and interact with other businesses. Facebook makes it easy to interact with other business directly online. Your fan page can follow other businesses, so you can keep in direct contact with your competition.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great at attracting people who’ll post their resumes, but it’s under-utilized as a social media networking spot. In order to take advantage of its many options, you first have to build up a profile full of keywords that search engines will zero in on. You also need to make sure that your profile is completely updated, and join and participate in various industry-related groups to get the most out of it.

Strengths:

Simple profile set up. The main portion of your business profile consists of your logo, basic information and a list of your employees, if any. You can also add a sales page and cross-link to your Twitter feed and blog. It’s fairly simple to set up a business page, and there really isn’t any way to set it up wrong, as long as you include every detail possible.

Have people recommend you. You can have your clients recommend you on LinkedIn. Their comments are added to your profile page for the world to see, giving you and your company professional clout. This is something that many other social media sites don’t offer, so make sure to take advantage of it.

Show off your authority. Make sure that your profile (and that of your employees) is kept up-to-date. Add links to what you’ve accomplished, especially awards. This shows that your company knows what it is doing and is a leader in your industry. The more information that you can include, the better you will look.

Although the best thing that you can possibly do is join the largest social media sites and use each aspect of them as best you can, sometimes it’s impossible to do everything. If you had to choose between using Twitter or Facebook to promote your real estate business or mortgage  brokerage, which would you go with? Here a few strengths of each to help you decide:

 

 

 

Twitter Strengths

How Quickly Things Go Viral

A tweet sent at noon can end up on the evening news that same day. That’s how quickly things go viral on Twitter. If you want a lot of exposure in a hurry, Twitter is the way to go.  Because of this, you also have to watch what you Tweet. A mean-spirited comment may get you a lot of attention, but it could very well end up being the wrong kind of attention. You don’t want to lose clients because of something that you wrote.

Ease of Set Up

Because of the simplicity of a Twitter profile, you can be up and running within around twenty minutes, possibly sooner. In order to set up a good Facebook Fan Page, you’ll need to spend several  hours that could be put to better use.

Search Functions

You can easily search Twitter for information. There are many options available: from location-based Tweets to hashtags used by your fellow Twitter members. If something is happening in a certain place in the world that could affect your business and you want details, Twitter will have information faster than most news channels and websites.

 

Facebook Strengths

Facebook Advertising Network

On Facebook you can purchase ads that target an extremely specific audience. This is possible thanks to the statistics that users enter into their profiles.  Once you purchase an ad on Facebook, you can designate your audience: age group, male or female and location are only some of the settings that you can choose from. This allows your ad to reach exactly who you want it to.

Profile Options

You can set up a business profile, a personal one, and a Facebook Fan Page, and then have them all link together, or you can keep them all separate. Facebook allows you to make that choice, which is what makes this social media option so useful. Your personal opinions can be expressed to your friends and family, while your business stays out of it, preventing potential public relations nightmares. On the other hand, if you want your business “fans” to see what you do outside of work, you can allow them to.

Express Your Personality

Facebook is more personal than Twitter. Both allow you to post pictures and updates, but that’s where the similarities end. Twitter only allows you short description of yourself or your business that goes under your profile photo or logo, and a link to your company website. With Facebook, your profile is more detailed and you can customize certain options. This allows you to show more personality, which can be vital when your clients are comparing you to a competitor.

 

 

 

Online videos are the key to adding on your customer base and watching your number of sales (or loans) go up. People want to know everything about a house before they set foot in it for the very first time, and they also want to know more about you before making that first phone call. While you can place videos on your website and your YouTube account, as well as cross-link them amongst all of your other social media accounts, there is another platform available that many people have not heard of — WellcomeMat.

 

 

WellcomeMat specializes in real estate videos, and having an account allows you to not only upload videos, but also place them on your website and social media accounts. It can also connect you with professional videographers in your area, just in case you feel like your video-making skills aren’t good enough, or if you simply don’t have the time to film every house that you have for sale yourself.

Part of WellcomeMat functions like a social media account. You have an online profile to fill out, and can connect with other professionals. You will be given your own “channel” similar to YouTube, and will be assigned a point value, based on how many videos you have uploaded and the traffic coming in to them. WellcomeMat also submits your videos to search engines, and is compatible with all MLS requirements.

The only downfall to WellcomeMat is the price. A 30-day Pro Membership is free, but after that, there is a charge to use the service.

Starting a Facebook fan page for your real estate or mortgage broker business and linking to it from your website is the easy part. Keeping your fans happy is where it becomes tricky. There are ways to make your page (and business) popular without going overboard and spending 40 hours a week updating it. Here are five tips for running a successful fan page:

1) Add fresh content on a weekly basis. Ideally, you’ll want to update your Facebook fan page almost daily, but adding new items at least once a week will work. Make sure that any entries made to your company blog are cross-posted to the Facebook page and that any changes in content on the main website are pointed out in your Facebook update stream.

 

 

 

2) While you’re updating your content, check the business information that you have posted. Make sure that your links work properly and that your address and phone number are correct. Also, check everything for typos. Having a slew of misspelled words makes your business look sloppy.

 

 

 

3) Make some of the content unique. Although you will want most of the same information on your Facebook fan page, blog and website, adding a few different things will give your fans a reason to come back on a regular basis. Special items like behind-the-scenes photos, product previews and even contests for free merchandise can make being one of your Facebook fans worthwhile.

 

 

4) Respond to comments left on your page. Get used to interacting with your fans. Many internet businesses never have a chance to match their customers’ names with their faces. Now you do, so take advantage of it. The interaction doesn’t have to be overly detailed. If a customer or client gives you a compliment, thank them. If they have a complaint, do your best to resolve it out in the open.

 

 

 

5) Treat your Facebook fan page as if it were a public relations officer, only less formal. Don’t let your guard down or disparage similar companies on your page. Use it as a forum to release information about new products or re-releases of old ones. While a good P.R. rep will get your company featured in newspapers and magazines to bring in new customers, the ones on your fan page already are customers. They will buy what you’re selling, as long as they know about it first.

 

 

Running a successful Facebook fan page does require time and effort. Make sure that you set aside an hour a day or a few hours during the week to welcome new fans and answer any questions sent your way. You also need time to update your fan page content with new photos or information. A neglected fan page will reflect poorly on your business. After all, if you neglect one part of it, what else are you cutting corners on?

Real estate yard signs, fliers and open houses are some of the old fashioned real estate marketing tools that are still effective. After all, it’s hard to know which house is for sale if there isn’t a sign out front, and some business is still gained by people driving by. However, if you truly want to increase your sales and up your commissions, then you’ll have to not only have to embrace modern technology, but know how to use it to your advantage.

There are many technology-friendly tools that can be utilized in real estate marketing, but these five top the list:

1) Twitter – Set up a special Twitter account and use it to market your listings. When setting up the account, make sure to check the “Add a Location to my Tweets” box. This will help you find people in your area, and allow them to find you as well. Tweet information about properties that you’re selling, including pictures, prices, lot and building sizes and other pertinent details. If you’re planning an open house, Tweet about that as well. Soon, you’ll build up a sizeable base of Twitter followers – all of whom are potential clients.

 

2) QR codes & Text - There are downloadable QR code reader apps available for most smart phones. By placing a special QR code on every ad (yard signs, fliers, newspaper listings, etc) and using a service like StreetText, everyone who “clicks” on the code will be given information about the property that is far beyond what can be condensed into a simple advertisement. Texting works the same way, anyone can text for information using their phone. And the best part is they can do it from ANY phone. You can use these codes in your print advertising and outside your properties on the for sale sign.

 

3) Google Maps – The ingenious Google Maps system not only allows people to view the entire street that the property is located on, but it also shows several views of the property itself when you zoom all of the way into street view. If the property is located on a corner, you’ll be able to see several angles, including the front, at least one side, and the back, but if it’s nestled between other houses or buildings, only the front will be shown.  Nevertheless, between the “search nearby” and “get directions” options, Google Maps are something that it’s hard to do without.

 

4) Facebook – Creating a Facebook Fan Page for your business is a fairly simple process that can help your business grow exponentially. Because it can be linked to your personal Facebook page, you’ll have instant access to your network of friends, all of whom can become fans of your business as well. These fans will lead to others, and, well, the sky’s the limit! Cross linking to your Twitter profile and blog will also bring in outside fans (otherwise known as clients) and they’ll be able to write on your Fan Page if they have any questions or concerns. This is also a great way to spread the word about open houses.

 

5) A blog – Treat your blog like it’s an online office. Make sure that your email address, office address and phone numbers are clearly displayed on every page. Cross link your blog entries to your Twitter and Facebook pages, and provides links on each of those pages that lead back to your blog. While all of this may sound like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be. Many blog hosting sites, like WordPress, for example, allow you to automatically send a link to Twitter and Facebook upon clicking the “publish” button.

 

These five items are just the tip of the iceberg as far as real estate marketing technology is concerned and are a great place to begin.