Green Industry Articles

Social Media Crash Course

Run, don't walk, and listen to the August 2011 GRC Webinar, "How to Effectively Maximize Social Media!"

It's an absolute must-hear for anyone dabbling in social media for the first time, or for experienced social media mavens looking to strengthen their online presence.

Amy Chorew, the Social Media Marketing Institute's director of training and education, offered up an hour free of geek-speak on the 'how-tos' and 'whys' of social media. Chorew was instrumental in developing NAR's e-PRO® Certification curriculum. She teaches both GRI classes and real estate continuing education classes and makes clear how to leverage social media to capture today's buyers and sellers.

Whether you participate in social media or not, your reputation is being shaped online, she pointed out.

For one, consumers are heading to real estate and rating sites, such as Yelp and Zillow, and are weighing in on the experiences they've had with you. It's just one reason why it's important to babysit your online reputation.

Chorew offered up some tremendous takeaways. Here are five key highlights of the Webinar:

1. Pre-screening you: People want to find out about you even before they meet you or have a conversation. Google yourself (type your name into the Google search engine) to see what they're finding.

At the very least, include a robust profile about yourself and your business at sites where people are finding you. That way prospects get a snapshot of who you are and what you do. Chorew offered detailed explanations about writing long and short bios and what to include.

Tip: Think about your profile from a consumer's perspective. Give your bio to people from three different age groups and ask for constructive criticism. Tweak your material so you're certain that your information resonates with prospects.

2. Photos: Choose photos carefully and be sure they reflect who you are and that they make a good first impression.

Tip: People frequently include pets, company signs, or slogans in their online photos. Others feature photos that are too revealing. They're all no-nos, according to Chorew. "I friend people, not signs," she commented.

3. Build your online home: Be certain you have a site where prospective clients can find out about you and connect with you. That means including links and contact information on the sites where people typically find you. Think of those sites, such as REALTOR.com, Zillow, Yelp, and Facebook, as spokes. "You need to have a breadcrumb trail back to your hub--a good website--the center of your marketing," Chorew explained. "Without a hub, your spokes are out there doing nothing."

4. Be authentic or die: Be the same person online and offline. That means if you're a free-spirited, casual person, don't write formal,  pretentious posts and have a stuffy photo of yourself. "If you're not consistent with who you are, people will know it," noted Chorew.

5. Find friends: Your connections on social media sites don't have to be only your best friends. Acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues, and people with shared interests could be terrific advocates for your business.

Tip: Join online groups, participate in discussions, and become fans of businesses on Facebook that are in line with your interests. Those could be local green groups and community garden groups, animal causes, and art and music groups. Chorew tells the story of one real estate practitioner who participated in the Facebook business page of a choir she'd been singing with for 15 years. Even though her online presence wasn't huge, she landed three transactions from her involvement with the choir's page.

Building a powerful presence

Chorew also weighed in on choosing powerful usernames, incorporating Twitter into your social media strategy, and developing Facebook business pages that deliver relevant content.

In addition, she discussed how to leverage RSS feeds, and outlined several sites and services that can help you strengthen your online presence, while reducing the time you spend curating your content.

If this and other social media and online marketing information interests you, consider seeking out NAR's e-PRO® Certification courses in your area for a full overview of the latest technologies.

Find the Webinar recording online in the Members' Section.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, August 2011