15 Dec What ARE the Benefits and Value of Twitter For Real Estate?
Every Tuesday, here at the American Trust Escrow blog, we post Technology Tips designed to help you, the REALTOR®, grow your business, keep up to date on the latest technologies, and move you forward into the new era of real estate.
Previously, I wrote a post called “An Explanation of This Twitter Thing for Realtors” which defined Twitter and explained what it is. This post is designed to express the value of Twitter, and explore some of the potential uses for Twitter for the real estate professional.
I’m often asked, why Twitter? What is the benefit? Furthermore, how is this relevant to the Realtor?
Let’s start with the benefits of Twitter that I see and experience:
- Twitter is real time. Twitter provides the opportunity for me to get an immediate pulse on news and events, often before the mainstream media can report on it. For example, last month, there was an earthquake in Southern California. The twitter conversation about the earthquake occurred within seconds of the earthquake. It took several minutes before it appeared on the internet, and about a ½ hour before I could find the news reporting on it.
- I learn from Twitter...a lot. People I choose to follow on Twitter often send out links to things that I’m interested in (blog posts, news stories, photos). When they send out a link, it is a basically a referral from them, and I’m often interested. It helps me to stay current and informed.
- Trend watching: By watching Twitter conversations, I stay current on the pulse of what is hot…current events, technology, public opinion, rates, weather, etc.
- Exposes me to a larger community: Realtors reach with traditional media is generally restricted by geographic distribution. Because anyone can follow you on Twitter (it doesn’t require mutual agreement to “connect” as Facebook does), who you connect with is not limited by geography.
- I keep up with a geographically diverse group of people, easily, and in real time.
- Twitter is easy to use and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. 140 characters (the maximum allowable length of a tweet) is a pretty low commitment. With the right technology, you can tweet from almost anywhere. Real estate is a business of hurry up and wait. If you have a client that is running late for a showing, why not send a tweet from your cell phone. It can be an efficient use of downtime.
- Twitter is fun. There are some funny things on Twitter. I’m constantly amused. It is a great way to be entertained and connect with others through humor.
- It’s a new communication channel I didn’t know I needed. I suggest that Twitter is akin to email in this regard. We were all living quite happily without email at one time. Clearly, email is now a mainstream communication channel. Twitter has the potential to be the same. As a note, I’ve also noticed that as my twitter usage goes up, my email usage has gone down (not a scientific study, but a personal observation).
So then, given these benefits, how can the Realtor can use Twitter? Here are 10 potential uses I see that, properly executed, could lead to expanded business for a Realtor.
- Network & Make New Friends: Use 3rd party sites and applications such as Twitter Search to find and watch for conversations related to things you are interested in. Add active users that are saying things that are interesting to you. Engage with them. A Twitter acquaintance can be developed into a long lasting friendship. And, in the immensely social business of real estate, where the adage “its all who you know” certainly holds true, we know that the more friends you have, the better.
- Read News: Keep up with the industry in real time. Follow industry news sources such as Inman News as well as lenders who tweet about mortgage rates. Learn about events industry events designed to teach you about social media and real estate like REBarCamp Orange County.
- Attend, or Organize, Face-to-Face Meetings (aka Tweetups): Use Twtvite to find or organize events with like minded individuals, or those who are interested in what you have to share (for example, you could host a first time homebuyers seminar and promote it via Twitter). Use Twitter as a catalyst to meet people in real life.
- Build Your Referral Network. One of the key benefits of twitter is the ease at which you can keep in touch with a geographical dispersed group of people. There are LOTS of Realtors from all over the United States and the world on Twitter. Connect and engage with them. Think about the possible referrals!
- Prospecting: I see Twitter as the new-media equivalent of cold calling. Because you don’t have to have mutual agreement to connect with people on Twitter, it is easy to make connections with complete strangers. Unlike Facebook, where interacting with people you don’t know can be perceived as creepy, Twitter is set up to engage with anyone. It is culturally acceptable. And, there ARE clients to be found on twitter. Take this example from Gary McNich, a Realtor in the Seattle, WA area:
- Follow Local Discussions: Use 3rd party sites like TwitterLocal to search out discussions about your area and watch those discussions. Gain a pulse on what the hot topics are in your area. Use this as an information source for blog posts or general conversations with clients.
- Get Feedback: Twitter is a great medium for asking a question, and getting answers. Want to know what people think about why buyers are sitting on the fence, or what they think of the new website you just put up for you listing? Maybe you want some feedback about a vendor you are considering hiring. Ask the twitter-sphere and you will get all kinds of answers.
- Direct Traffic to Your Blog or Website: A very powerful part of twitter is in the links that you can include in your tweets. When you send out a link, it is a referral to somewhere. And, if you have built a network of people on twitter who trust you, you have a great chance that your followers will view your link, which will effectively drive traffic to your website and/or your blog.
- Extend Your Personal Brand: Your profile page, and the content you tweet, says something about you. Twitter provides a great opportunity to extend the brand that you have built in off-line marketing materials onto the web and into a social network. If done properly, you will position yourself as a trusted advisor and have an easier time utilizing twitter to enhance your business opportunities.
- To Broadcast: This is my least favorite Twitter usage suggestion, but if done in moderation, after building a following that trusts you, Twitter can be a way to promote your services or your listings. However, WORD OF CAUTION, if not done properly, using Twitter as a strictly broadcast medium will be perceived as spam and you will not only lose followers, but damage your credibility and reputation in this social network. It is really about tone and frequency and this strategy is not the first you should embark upon when joining Twitter. I’ll discuss more about this in a future post.
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