I am always busy over the holidays, even when business is slow. There are social obligations and plenty of extra volunteer work. This year I am not in the holiday mood but I am working on it. I probably will not reach the "jolly" stage, but I know if I work at it I can manage the holiday party smile and handshake.
The day after Thanksgiving I struggled to write yet another blog post. After five years and almost 2,000 blog posts, it is sometimes hard to be motivated to write another. I sat in front of my blank computer screen and figured eventually something would come to me.
It was tempting to just take the day off. I kept thinking that I really need some more buyers and maybe I should just ask for some. Why not?
I know from experience that on that notorious post-Thanksgiving shopping day, Black Friday, if at all possible I need to write the words "black" and "Friday" — pretty much in that order — because if I do people will click on it.
That said, I am not a shopper and I rarely leave the house on Black Friday unless someone makes me.
The post I wrote was about how I don’t shop on Black Friday or leave the house, but that I was running a Black Friday special on every home on the market in the city and was ready to help buyers purchase any home for less than the asking price.
I promised my readers that if they wished to buy a home I would leave the house and drop what I was doing, which was nothing, and I would help them buy any home for less than the asking price and that they would not have to stand in line and would not miss out if they waited until after sunrise to start shopping.
I ended it by saying that I would be by the phone all day just in case anyone wanted to take me up on my offer.
That afternoon I was still sitting at my computer making progress on a project that wasn’t very interesting or fun and the phone rang. The caller said that he was impressed that I really was by the phone and that I answered it quickly.
He told me that he and his wife were looking for a home and for a Realtor and that he called because of the Black Friday blog post. His wife had been reading my blog for months but it was that post that caused them to take action that day and ask me to be their Realtor.
I ended up showing them houses the following Monday. They have not made an offer on a home yet but they will, and they are fun to work with. A couple of days later I got an e-mail from another buyer who mentioned the post, and we set up a meeting.
The experience has reminded me of some things that I sometimes forget about writing a blog and about using social media:
1. Short posts can be very effective. This isn’t high school. It isn’t about how many words, it is about how they are strung together.
2. Including current hot topics like "Black Friday" gets people’s attention.
3. Posts that are honest and from the heart are often more effective than those that come from the brain.
4. Humor works well and we should use it when appropriate, even on a business blog.
5. I am more likely to generate interest and business if I write a post or take some kind of action than if I do nothing or just stare at the computer screen.
6. It is alright to try something different and to experiment. Social media is not an exact science — it is more of an art.
7. Specific calls to action should be used in all forms of social media, including blog posts.
Asking for business and having a specific call to action is effective both on and off the Internet.
Sometimes, with social media we get all wrapped up in the media part and the being social part and forget that we need to ask for business. We forget that we need to let people know what they need to do if they want to work with us, and that we are available and welcome their calls.
Calls to action are not about interruption-based, in-your-face marketing, or about sending people unsolicited tweets offering to be someone’s Realtor for life. Social media is the wrong venue for that type of marketing, yet we have to let people know that we are open for business and ready to work with them and that we have something to offer.
We need to remind people that we are in business and always looking for more business and that we are approachable, easy to call — and that we want them to call and have something to offer them.