(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1.)
Need help building your online business? Check out what real estate’s leading women had to share at the recent AFIRE (Awesome Females in Real Estate) conference in Savannah, Ga.
1. Distribution trumps destination
Jennifer Anderson of Point2Agent explained how "distribution trumps destination." In other words, it is more important to have your listings appear on multiple sites rather than two or three sites with high traffic. Since consumers search on multiple Web portals, it’s imperative that your listings appear in as many places as possible. Point2’s syndication service reaches 40 different major real estate portals and more than 200,000 agents in 100-plus countries.
Janet Case of Proxio.com explained how her company helps agents reach clients all over the world. Her service allows agents to have their listings posted in multiple languages in multiple countries. The Proxio platform can also be used in other countries where they lack a multiple listing service. For example, the Philippines just adopted the Proxio platform to run their first-ever Multiple Listing Service.
Anne St. Dennis from the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards and the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board Service shared how her boards are meeting the challenge of serving both French- and English-speaking clientele. Dennis explained how they set up their own television station and produce their own videos to reach both the public and their members with important information. For example, they interviewed Bob Hale, CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors and Inman Innovator of the Year for 2008. They tried using subtitles but found that did not appeal to their client base. Consequently, they now dub all of their video so people can listen in their native language rather than reading subtitles.
2. Have a plan and be patient
One of the questions posed to Joeann Fossland of Advantage Solutions and to technology speaker and trainer Amy Chorew, was "What kinds of behaviors work well on social media sites and what doesn’t work?" Both agreed that you needed a plan for social networking and that it will probably take 12 to 18 months before it yields results. Since many social networking solutions require your time to succeed, Chorew proposed that Realtors need to address both ROI (return on investment) and ROT (return on time).
Both Chorew and Fossland also emphasized how important it is to track your results. Without tracking, you will never know what works and what doesn’t work. For example, Fossland shared a story about the winner of the Inman/Active Rain blogging competition in 2007, Mary Pope-Handy. When Pope-Handy first started blogging, she was frustrated by the lack of results. Due to personal issues, Pope-Handy had to recently cut how much she was blogging. Surprisingly, her leads continued to flow due to the posts she did during 2007 and 2008. The point is to stick with whatever you’re doing long enough for it to yield results.
3. What to avoid online
Keynote speaker Marilyn Naylor called the negative energy that many people encounter online "splinter energy." Responding to those who are highly negative will result only in escalating the situation. You won’t be able to change the other party. Unfortunately, when you grab a stick with splinters you’re the one who gets stuck.
While it’s common for people to engage in online sniping, the best approach is to avoid online battles and confrontations. It’s also smart to avoid flaming your boss, your clients or your company. …CONTINUED
For example, one new hire at a major technology company complained about the choice between the fat paycheck vs. the long drive and the stupid work. It took only a few minutes for the message to reach the top levels of his company. Needless to say, he was fired.
Another common mistake is to use social media to "pitch, pitch, pitch." Last century’s marketing messages are no longer effective in today’s social networking environment. Instead, people expect you to engage in the online conversation as a person, not as a real estate agent trying to drum up business.
4. How to handle negative posts
One of the challenges that almost everyone faces is what to do when someone posts something negative about you. Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group and Darity Wesley of PrivacyGurus.com recommended using Google Alerts to monitor what is being posted about you or your company online.
When someone does a negative post, not engaging may be the best policy. To lessen the impact of that post, be aggressive about getting testimonials from past clients. Wilson suggested going through the Quality Service Certification as a means to control your online reputation.
There is also a new program from MyFrontSteps.com that can assist you in pushing negative comments to the back pages of a Google or Yahoo search. Wilson suggested that agents and brokers sign up for the "Step Rep" program, which allows you to monitor, manage and build your online reputation through social networking. Step Rep tracks posts on all major social networks, along with video content and photo tags. Step Rep allows you to categorize what you want posted and what you want to bury. They also provide a widget that lets you publish positive information across the Web with a single click.
When it comes to implementing new technology, take it one step at a time. The key is to discover what you will do on a regular basis. Even more importantly, be yourself, contribute to the conversation, and remember what your mother used to say, "If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything."
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com.
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