Mathias Bergendahl's Marketing Blog


How to Avoid Mixing Business and Pleasure on Facebook
September 23, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics, Social Media Marketing

Each time I add a blog post I typically add it to a discussion group at the NAR and FAR groups at LinkedIn in hopes they’ll be of value to the many Realtors® and industry professionals across our state and the nation who belong to those groups.

A response to a recent article I shared through LinkedIn prompted today’s blog post:

Too late I recognized that my Facebook account, which I began for personal use, has become a wild mix of personal and business contacts, which it never was intended to be. Even after creating groups and setting different access privileges, I am rather unhappy with the resulting unruliness. Would you advise using a separate account for business on Facebook? And, how on earth am I going to move my existing business contacts over there? I suppose dumping them after a polite request or two will not really endear me to them?

The question is actually asked quite often in the classes I teach. Just as for the individual who posed the question, many of our members started with only one Facebook profile, and now find themselves with a combination of personal and business connections.

I faced a similar dilemma earlier this year when many of my business contacts invited me to become their Facebook friend. At that time I only had a personal profile where I connected with friends around the world. Rather than upset someone for not accepting their friend request, I set up a separate business profile using my email address at work.

Such a separation makes sense as the information you want to share with your business contacts should be different from those you have with your closest friends. Imagine being at a party at a friend’s house on a Saturday night and all you hear discussed around the table is business. Most would tune out, right? While you may share family pictures with your friends through your personal Facebook account, you should focus on posting information related to the needs of a real estate client at your business-oriented profile.

There are a few options available. You can use a fan page rather than profile for your business connections. Alternatively, you can mix audiences but hide the content by other than business contacts in order to keep the information focused on real estate. In my opinion, though, the safest and smartest solution to make sure you don’t mix the two groups at all is to keep two separate profiles. That way you make sure not to confuse either of your audiences, nor bore them with information they really aren’t looking for. The way you set up different accounts is simply by using two different email addresses.

Now to the issue of adding a business profile, and asking current contacts to move to another profile:

In order to not inconvenience your business contacts, consider keeping your existing profile as the one you’ll use for business relationships. Remove any previous posts that may have been of a more personal nature and links of the same kind. Next, add helpful information and links to resources suitable for that particular audience.

Your true friends will likely be more accepting to your switch so simply un-friend those you feel don’t fit the profile of a business contact and invite them to become your friends from your new personal profile.

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Social Media Marketing Program – October 2009
September 21, 2009, 3:00 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics, Social Media Marketing

Getting Started with Social Media Marketing
Has anyone told you recently that in order to build your business you should open a FaceBook account and start blogging? Unsure how it may benefit your business? Don’t know where to start? This class will give a basic outline of social media marketing and walk you through the steps to get started.
October 8, 2009 from 10 a.m. until Noon.

Featuring a Step-by-Step “How To” Clinic for Facebook

My First Blog 101
Having a blog gives you an excellent tool to build an online presence and communicate with your sphere of influence. Knowing how to build a blog can be a bit intimidating, though. This interactive program will walk you through step by step until you’ve built your own blog. Must have access to email.
October 14, 2009 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Integrated Social Media Marketing Strategies
You may have FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, but are you using these social media platforms effectively? This class will outline how you can take a strategic approach to build your business by integrating online social media marketing activities. Prerequisite: Getting Started with Social Media Marketing.
October 22, 2009 from 10 a.m. until Noon.

Featuring a Step-by-Step “How To” Clinic for Integrating Social Media Platforms

My First Blog 102
Following My First Blog 101, where you learned how to create a new blog, this class will show you how to customize your blog, including how to change your blog title, change the language of your blog, add polls and additional features, and view visitor statistics. You will also find out how to add blog posts, upload and link to videos, photos, and sound files. Class is followed by a clinic (see below). Must have access to email. Prerequisite: My First Blog 101.
October 28, 2009 from 10 a.m. until Noon.

Membership Benefit – No Extra Charge

Please visit the PRO Calendar at www.TampaBayRealtor.com to register.

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How to Capture the Attention of a Prospect: Build Consumer-Centric Greeting and Response Platforms

“What do you do?” The question I was asked during a recent east-bound flight across the Atlantic Ocean began a several-hour long conversation about the real estate industry.

Never slow to seize the opportunity to speak with consumers about real estate, and especially the importance of having a Realtor® assist with the process, I found myself listening to a Clearwater couple, soon-to-be empty-nesters, tell their tales of past home buying and selling experiences. Some were great, they shared. Others were, well, not very satisfactory. What’s even more interesting was that they currently are in the market for a condo. Asked whether they’d contacted a Realtor® yet, they responded that they wanted to start their search online on their own initially, but that they eventually would seek out someone to assist them.

During the course of our conversation, inspired by listening to how they’d prefer to go about finding a Realtor®, I came up with a response process by which Realtors® can capture the attention of prospective customers in a non-intrusive way. First impressions certainly do last, and here are two steps you can take to make them a positive one.

Step One: Make a Positive First Impression to Anonymous Visitors

With well over 80% of buyers starting their search for a home online, there’s a significant possibility that your website, blog, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile effectively becomes your virtual first handshake. In fact, if consumers find the information you’re providing on your blog helpful and informative, it’s likely that they’ll come back to read more, anonymously, without contacting you until they’re ready to do so.

So, what can you share in order to make a positive first impression that will bring visitors back? Consider creating a description of your process. From pricing, marketing, and market research to negotiation, provide a bit of insight as to how you typically go about assisting clients. Make sure you effectively describe your value proposition. Describe your service model, and how you assist your clients from start to close. Spend one day looking through the eyes of your customers, and define which messages you most likely would respond to if it were you looking to buy a home. Avoid the urge to sell, but rather focus on making all content focused on meeting the needs of consumers. Describe how you work with other professionals for the benefit of the consumer. Are you using a text message system integrated with your Realtor® signs as described in this recent blog post? Make sure to describe such innovative solutions as they definitely will make you stand out in your marketplace.

A key consideration when you develop your various online platforms is to decide the depth of the information and materials you’ll provide at each given step in the process. Those engaged in social networking expect to be given in-depth information upfront. Materials we previously guarded until we had a chance to sit down with a prospective client in person are now expected to be available online.

Here’s an example: Present tools you’ll make available to consumers you work with, but don’t give away the details just yet. Describe how you’ll provide a free account through which they’ll receive morning reports with a marketplace activity update (Listingbook) and share with readers how you initially set up an account for your customers through which they easily can bookmark properties they find online that you later can do the research on (Dwellicious).

By describing your services without the details you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll hear from those visiting your online platforms as they’ll ask for more information. Once you’ve captured their attention, and more importantly left them with a positive first impression, I’m certain you’ll hear from them – when they’re ready.

Step Two: Create a Powerful Response Platform for Consumer Requests

The first message you receive from a prospective client may be as brief as “I want to know more about this home,” arriving by email in response to a listing at Realtor.com or maybe through your website. How do you typically respond? By giving them a call? The couple I spoke with suggested that the response should be in the manner the initial contact was made; in this case an email would be more appropriate.

Consider this:

Create a landing page at your website or blog with the following features:

1. Post a brief video, or write an introduction if you’re not comfortable using video, thanking the visitor for their response and welcoming them to your webpage where you hope they’ll find out more about the property they’ve indicated interest in.

2. Provide a link to additional information about the property they’re inquiring about. Since most online listings only provide limited information, possibly just one image, additional information should include a link to a virtual tour, a link to a Google map to show the location of the home, additional photos, and any other information you’d like to share with the consumer.

3. Share a compelling message, in a video or written text, in which you briefly describe your process, focused on meeting the needs of those you serve. Discuss how you’re going to market their home. Describe the tools you make available to sellers and buyers.

The key message I took away from our conversation in the sky was that the couple looked for valuable information provided in a non-intrusive way. Before they’d be willing to meet with a Realtor, or even hear from someone over the phone, they would want to have a sense of what they can expect. Before making the first contact, they want to feel as if the Realtor® will be able to assist them and that they’ll receive the service level they expect. By building consumer-centric greeting and response platforms you’ll be prepared to assist those who like the couple I spoke with begin their search online.