Nicole Nicolay is co-founder of marketing company Effektive Solutions and MyTechOpinion, a real estate tech blog. She serves as content and media editor of Effektive Solutions products.

Nicolay, along with her husband, Reggie Nicolay, will speak during a blogging workshop at the Real Estate Connect conference, which runs from Aug. 5-7, 2009, in San Francisco.

She responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:

What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2009?

Well, I don’t see the vast majority of homeowners transacting this year. Fewer than 2 percent of consumers will be making a move in 2009, according to industry data. So that means that now more than ever, agents need to communicate more effectively to maintain the relationships they have with their clients. Luckily, social media marketing strategies offer real estate professionals an easy and affordable way to connect with their network.

What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?

Identify your expertise, carve out your niche and craft your marketing plan accordingly. For example, one real estate agent in Danville, Calif., has turned her attention toward providing her expertise to independent women homeowners. In fact, she’s created an online network to bring together experts in women homeownership issues and consumers with questions based on location.

I’m not suggesting you go out and create an online network overnight, but you can easily connect with locals in your area based on your expertise or topic via Facebook, Twitter, ActiveRain and other existing social media tools.

What sparked the idea to start your blog?

Actually, it was my husband Reggie who first decided to start the MyTechOpinion blog. He gently nudged me in that direction by complimenting my writing skills. That’s all it took! Well, that and the fact that both of us found ourselves trying to answer a myriad of technical real estate questions that came up in our daily work life.

The blog was the perfect way to share our opinions and expertise with our networks. MyTechOpinion is not only a resource but a classroom for us. Yes, we blog about innovative products and services for your real estate business. But we are also busy trying out these new tools and testing features on our blog.

It’s a passion really, and although we don’t much make money directly from our blog the indirect payoff has been priceless!

What’s been your biggest challenge in maintaining your blog?

Consistency and planning are biggies when maintaining a blog. Sometimes life just gets in the way of sitting down to blog. As important as content are the features and community that must be kept up to date. And with a tech blog, "up to date" isn’t always enough. So, we are always looking for new authentic ways to engage and "wow" our readers. …CONTINUED

Can you share any future plans, goals?

We have been focusing a great deal on testing out the best ways to offer live-stream user-generated Web content. By aggregating the related articles and information we find across the Web, it helps us to further establish MyTechOpinion as a comprehensive technology resource for the real estate industry.

So far, we have created a custom live-stream for each blog author (Reggie, Chad A. Johnson and me) and have also integrated all three of our streams into one mega-"techstream."

Video is another area we intend to make more consistent on the blog. We’re launching a new video section that will include all the videos we make for fun (i.e. birthday dance-grams) as well as for educational purposes.

What lesson did you learn in the last year?

I learned that creating compelling video requires a balance of creativity and technical know-how. I know, duh?! But until you dive in and try cameras on for size, fiddle with sharing video in different ways and tracking your results, you really have no idea what type of commitment you’re making to this creative process.

The upside: When done correctly, video can make one heck of an impact in your network. And it’s fun!

What would your second career choice be and why?

A dancing talk show host! Because I love to dance and love to get "social" and engage with people! Everyone has a story and I love hearing them! Dancin’ in Ellen DeGeneres’ shoes for a day would pretty much ROCK! And I’d get a kick out of teaching her how to Twitter as well as she dances!

What do you most enjoy about working in the real estate industry?

The real estate industry attracts all types, and as we all know there’s an agent for everyone! I enjoy learning how different agents operate their business — from marketing strategies to office politics. It’s all interesting to me.

In addition, attending industry events provides a concentrated atmosphere to meet, Tweet, mingle, learn, and debate with new friends, favorite colleagues and real estate rock stars!

Hear Nicole Nicolay speak during a session titled, "Closing Business in 140 Characters: How the Pros are Using Twitter to Farm the Real-Time Web," during a blogging workshop at the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which runs from Aug. 5-7.


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