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There are a number of online tutorials and training sessions springing up that are designed to help people figure out how to use social media to their advantage and design marketing programs around things like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They can also show you how to turn a good video into a great one. However, is it necessary to take a course in social media marketing? It may not be. Here are some pros and cons, as well as a few questions to ask in order to determine whether or not a social media course would be a waste of your time.

 

Pros

You’ll learn a good deal about the various social media applications, including a few that you probably haven’t heard of.

The course will include ways to come up with an effective social media marketing plan.

There are many forms of online communication that must be learned, or else you could turn away new followers and fans.

In an instructor-led course, you can have your questions answered quickly and easily.

Cons

Any course will take up some of your precious time, even if it consists of only online videos.

An instructor-led course can be expensive.

The time and money that you put into the course may not be worth it if you don’t end up bringing in new clients and selling more properties.

Some of the things taught may be common sense.

 

Should you take a social media marketing course?

No, if:

If you already use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn successfully.

You already have a social media marketing plan in place.

You have hired someone to handle your social media.

 

 

Yes, if:

You have no idea where to begin when it comes to using social media.

You aren’t sure if using Twitter or Facebook will help your company or business.

You want to get rid of your social media person and do the work yourself in order to save money.

If keeping up with your social media accounts has left you completely overwhelmed, then it’s time to try a social media program/app that allows you to combine all of them into one simple to use platform. Although there are several programs that handle this, one of the most popular by far is HootSuite.

There are three different levels of HootSuite memberships, with the cheapest being free and the most expensive being the Enterprise level. In between the two is the $9.99 a month Pro level. The difference lies in the number of social media accounts that can be utilized and the amount of users and extras. A free level membership lets you link 5 social media accounts and 2 RSS feeds, while the next level up (Pro) gives you access for two users, unlimited social media accounts, an enhanced analytics report and several other goodies.

Some of the many social media accounts that can be linked together in HootSuite include the ever-popular Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress, although the entire list runs into the dozens. Even Instagram, YouTube, FourSquare, Tumblr and Constant Contacts can be added to your HootSuite dashboard.

On top of all of this, HootSuite has a number of cell phone apps that can be downloaded in order for you to share updates on the go. You can have HootSuite on your office and home computers, your cell phone, iPad and more. Here’s the full list:

 

HootSuite Web App
HootSuite iPhone
HootSuite iPad
HootSuite Android
HootSuite BlackBerry
HootSuite App Directory
HootSuite Archives
(Formerly TwapperKeeper)
HootBar
(Formerly TwitterBar)

 

When you combine all of these options with the extreme handiness of being able to update both your Facebook page and your Twitter account at the same time, how can you resist?

 

Klout is one of the hottest social media apps out there right now. But does it really matter if you’re only running a real estate business or mortgage brokerage? It’s one thing if you’re working for a P.R. company and trying to get press for your clients, but if your goal is running a successful real estate business, is your Klout score going to attract the right kind of clients? Or are they only interested in what you’re selling, not how much Klout you possess?

If you haven’t heard of Klout yet, here’s a quick run down: instead of the traditional social media habit of running independently and making you fill out a ton of information to get started, all that you have to do is allow Klout access to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media accounts. It then runs an algorithm and comes up with your Klout score. The score ranges from 0  to 100 and is based on your interactions with your Twitter followers and Facebook fans and friends. It also tells you what you’re influential in. People with a Klout score that’s above 50 get access to cool freebies and perks. These perks range from a free one-day rental of a luxury car to something as small as a $5 gift card to Starbucks. It all depends on how much Klout you have. But does that translate into the real world?

While people have been passed over for jobs due to a low Klout score, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your clients are going to check yours out before deciding to attend your open house or apply for a mortgage in your office. A high Klout score could be something to brag about that may attract clients (think of it as showing off your expertise, for example, “Look at my Klout score and my list of houses for sale, doesn’t that mean that I’m awesome at what I do?”) but other than that, your score is irrelevant.

On top of that, getting and holding a high Klout score is a lot of work. It takes a lot of Twitter interaction and Facebook posts in order to get that above-50 score, and in order to keep it that high, you’ll have to spend a good part of each day on your social media sites. That’s time that could be better spent meeting with clients and setting up open houses. Sure, the perks are great, but are they worth it? Not really.

1. SocialPilot

SocialPilot Free Social Media Training Videos

Social Pilot is a great free social media marketing tool. On Social Pilot you can watch free videos on the basics of what to do online to build your Social Media campaign. You can search videos by categories like “trust building” or search by platform like “Facebook”. If you are just learning how to use Social Media, or even are an expert in it, then SocialPilot is the place for you.

It’s free and it’s a great resource.

2. HootSuite

HootSuite

Do you use Twitter? If you answer yes, then make sure you sign up for HootSuite. HootSuite is free and is a great twitter management tool. You can track keywords and @mentions easily using HootSuite. We think HootSuite is the missing link to Twitter.

3. Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Google Alerts lets you monitor the web for interesting and useful information on the web. You can even monitor what people are saying about you. This is a great tool for keeping track of your what your community is saying online and your brand image.

4. WordPress / Blogger

Blogger

We know blogging is not a new idea, but we are constantly surprised by how many Realtors have not set up a blog. If you are serious about social media and you want to see result, setting up a blog is a great first step. Using either WordPress or Blogger is completely free and very easy to set up.

5. Google Links

Google Links

Google Links is one of the coolest tricks you can do on a Google search and it is very useful to Social Media. Using Google links you can search all the websites that are linking back to your website. If there are any links you can always thank the person who added the link or link back. It’s a great tool to see who is interested in what you are doing.

Type link:www.yourdomainname.com in the Google Search bar to see any results.