Are you generating results you want from your online marketing efforts? If not, this common agent mistake may be the culprit.

One of my biggest takeaways from Real Estate Connect in New York City came from a discussion with fellow Inman columnist Gahlord Dewald. After hearing Tom Ferry’s strong recommendation to use Posterous, I thought it would be smart to take a second look at this tool for agents.

Although I signed up for Posterous, I haven’t been using it. The Posterous site allows users to create a blog using just their e-mail. This seems like a smart choice for agents who don’t want to get caught up in using plug-ins and the other challenges associated with setting up a WordPress blog. Tom’s recommendation that you could "skin" your Posterous site so it looks like your Web site seemed like a great plus that made total sense.

Are you generating results you want from your online marketing efforts? If not, this common agent mistake may be the culprit.

One of my biggest takeaways from Real Estate Connect in New York City came from a discussion with fellow Inman columnist Gahlord Dewald. After hearing Tom Ferry’s strong recommendation to use Posterous, I thought it would be smart to take a second look at this tool for agents.

Although I signed up for Posterous, I haven’t been using it. The Posterous site allows users to create a blog using just their e-mail. This seems like a smart choice for agents who don’t want to get caught up in using plug-ins and the other challenges associated with setting up a WordPress blog. Tom’s recommendation that you could "skin" your Posterous site so it looks like your Web site seemed like a great plus that made total sense.

Gahlord is a tremendous resource on technology issues, so I asked him to help me to better understand how I would use Posterous if I were an agent. As we were talking about this, an extremely important question occurred to me: "When you use Posterous, does the Posterous site take people to my site or to a page on the Posterous site?" The answer is that it goes to the Posterous site unless you set up a separate URL within Posterous for your own Web site.

The Secret Problem

Agents are putting in tremendous amounts of time building their presence on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. They may also be using a blogging platform such as ActiveRain, Google’s Blogger or TypePad (the platform I use.) In addition, agents may have their "Web site" residing on their broker’s site without having their own private site. In each case, the agent’s efforts drive traffic to these other sites rather than to his or her own site.

In terms of social media sites, you are limited by their terms of use as to what you can post. For example, it violates the Facebook terms of use to post marketing materials to your profile page.

And the YouTube terms of use state the following: "You agree not to use the Web site, including the YouTube Embeddable Player, for any commercial use, without the prior written authorization of YouTube." Otherwise, YouTube has the right to remove your video(s).

This means that using these venues for marketing can be challenging at best. Furthermore, how many times have you seen a post on Facebook or Twitter that said, "Just posted on ActiveRain"? Wouldn’t it be better to say, "Just posted on ‘My Local Neighborhood Blog’ "? …CONTINUED

Whether it’s ActiveRain, Blogger or TypePad, unless you remember to include a link back to your own site, every time someone reads one of your blog posts, that person is opening up the post on another site other than your own. Your reader must take the extra step of "clicking through" to reach your site. Unless you have a compelling call to action in your blog post, there is little likelihood of that happening. In addition, sites such as Blogger and ActiveRain may post advertisements from your competitors. The net result is your hard work is contributing to someone else’s Web rankings rather than your own.

The same is also true if you have a Web page hosted on your broker’s Web site. To maximize your presence online, pack your Web page on your broker’s site with as much rich content as possible. Your broker’s role is to provide the marketing at a national, regional and city/town level.

In contrast, the agent’s role is to become the hyperlocal expert for a given niche. The secret is to make your Web site about a very narrow market segment such as first-time condo buyers or a specific subdivision. Your broker cannot provide this level of detail, but your Web site can. You do not need massive amounts of traffic to be successful — you need the right type of traffic from local buyers and sellers. This approach is also one of the best ways to build your search-engine ranking.

Curation

When it comes to social media, "curation" involves identifying the best content to share with our respective audiences. In the past, we relied on word-of-mouth strategies to discover new restaurants, find the perfect gift or share other meaningful information. Sharing great resources with our friends and followers is one of the key strategies for social media success.

In a keynote delivered several years ago at Real Estate Connect, Guy Kawasaki explained the most important criterion he has in gauging whether his venture capital company will invest in a new startup. The main criterion was "making meaning."

You’re putting in the time and effort it takes to make meaning for your clients. It could be in an e-mail, your Web site, blog or on the major social media sites. When you go to the trouble to post meaningful content for your friends and followers, shouldn’t the benefit go to you rather than to someone else?

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 and find her on Twitter: @bross.

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