What are the best times for real estate agents to share on social media?

Need a quick cheat sheet that shows when you should be sharing your new listings and other content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest?  We have you covered!

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Are you failing to promote your social media accounts effectively?

facebooklikedislikeI was talking with a real estate agent the few days ago, helping her plan her social media strategy.  She had set up a page on Facebook for her business and set up a Twitter account as well.  While she wasn’t super active – posting maybe once or twice per month – she was making an attempt to market off the huge networking opportunities on social media.  But she was discouraged about why she wasn’t getting more likes, followers and engagement on both Twitter and Facebook.  The main reason?  While she had created the accounts (which to her credit is more than many real estate agents do), she did absolutely nothing to promote either of them, and this is a huge mistake many social media novices make.

In order to get followers, likes and conversation on either Twitter or Facebook, you need to ensure you are promoting your social media accounts so people can find them.  The vast majority of your potential clients aren’t going to hunt down your Twitter account, but if they see a link to your account, chances are they might click it and then follow you.

So what are things you can do in order to promote your social media accounts so people realize you have them?

Email signatures
This is one of the most cost effective ways to repeatedly get your social media accounts before your clients.  At the end of your regular email signature, add “Follow me on Twitter at @yourhandle” and “Like us on Facebook!”.  And be sure that signature is linked to both of those accounts – you want people to just click and end up on your Twitter account.  If you make them type in www.twitter.com/yourhandle, chances are good they won’t bother.  Always remember the KISS method.

Website links
Make sure you add your relevant social media links to your website.  Facebook and Twitter are the most common, but also add your YouTube account and Pinterest account if you are utilizing them as part of your social media marketing campaign too.  If you have a webmaster who makes your changes for you, send him or her the links to your social media accounts so he can add them along with the appropriate company logos – this is one of the more common website additions so it should be quick and easy to add to your website.

Print ads
Especially if you are taking out a larger sized ad, it is easy to add “Follow me on Twitter at @yourhandle” and “Like us on Facebook!” on those print advertisements.  Or if space is limited, choose one or the other.  And if you do happen to have a large advertisement coming out, don’t forget to make sure you update your Twitter status or share something on Facebook.  You don’t want people to see you have a Twitter account, only to discover you haven’t engaged on it for the past six months.

Don’t be dormant
While on Pinterest it isn’t as obvious if you haven’t shared anything in the past six months, on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is quite noticeable.  People also forget that posting on those accounts is also promoting those accounts.  Anytime a client shares something you posted on Facebook, it has the added bonus that all that client’s friends and family see not only the share, but also that it originated with you, and those people are not only reminded of your name, company and what you do for a living, they might also re-share it to all of their friends too, extending your reach on Facebook even more, and potentially getting not only brand awareness for yourself with a potential new circle of people, but also the possibility that some of them will “Like” your Facebook page as well.

While it would be amazing to just be able to create our social media accounts and then ignore them, while the magical powers of social media do the rest, in order to make social media work, you do need to put some effort into promoting it.

Note: We offer social media audits and strategy blueprints for realtors looking to extend their social media marketing for networking and selling.  Please contact us for more information.

Why you should avoid URL shorteners

urlshortenersmall2Using short URLs can seem like a quick and easy way to send someone to a page on a website that has a superlong URL. It has gained lots of popularity over the last couple of years, but there has started to be a backlash from that users when they see those short URLs.

Why is this? Will you can blame the spammers for that.  People don’t trust short URLs anymore because they can’t see the destination page though be landing on. You might be sending them to realsimple.com or marthastewartliving.com but you could just as easily be sending them to spamcity.com because they just don’t know.

People do like using short URLs because they can track how many people are clicking on it, but a lot of people are finding that they can actually get more clicks and engagement when using the true URL.

It’s not such a big problem on Facebook because when you share a page on Facebook it does show the destination URL and there’s no real point to using a short URL instead. But on Twitter, when you only have 140 characters, it’s more common to see people using the short URLs there. The good news is that Twitter can automatically shorten links for you, using their t.co link shortening service, and when it the tweet is viewed individually, it will show the full URL and the snippet from the page it is linking to.

Still insistent that you need a URL shortener to track clicks?  Some companies are using their own personal URL shortener.  They register a very short version of the URL, and install one of the many scripts out there that will shorten links and provide stats for doing so. However, even this is become less popular in the last year or so because of the whole trust issue. If you are a large company, you can do it, but if you are a very small company that many people don’t know, it’s not as easy to earn that trust – or just the people you recognize that that shorten URL service actually belongs to you.

urlshortenerAnd if you still want to use a third-party URL shortener service, the two most popular shorteners are Google’s goo.gl service and bit.ly.  Both provide analytical data including how many people clicked the link you shared.  Do be aware that if the page is popular and has been shortened by others, it will show data for everyone who has shortened and shared, not just you.

So when in doubt, don’t shorten your links.  In the end, especially for sharing tidbits and tips, there is no real reason you need to track how many people are clicking, it is better to encourage the clicks and engagements through transparency of your links, especially for people that have been burned by clicking on a seemingly innocent shortened URL, and landing on a

Choosing your twitter handle for real estate agents

twitterYou would be surprised at the number of real estate agents to choose their twitter handle poorly. You need to remember that when people see your Twitter name, they will associate that name with you. While I haven’t seen any real estate agents with a twitter name that really belongs in a frat house, I’ve definitely seen some that are a bit questionable.

If you have not registered a twitter handle yet, here is some thoughts and ideas on the types of names you should choose.

If you are fortunate enough to have an unusual combination for your first and last name, this should likely be her first choice of twitter handle, or at the very least you want to save it for future use.

Avoid numbers
If your first name last name combination is available, really resist the temptation to just stick a 1 on the end of it, as twitter will often suggest. When it comes to marketing, depending on the font used, that one can look like an L and lead your potential followers astray.  The same goes for the number 0 and the letter O.  You want it to be as easy as possible for someone to type it into Twitter and find you, you don’t want to lose them because they have to play the “what letter or number is this?” game.

Consider location name
If you can’t get your name, you can be a bit creative but remember that the purpose is real estate. Maybe you can grab @cityrealestate or @townrealestate or @airportcoderealestate.

Skip the real estate company tie-ins
The last thing you want to do is build your brand on Twitter that is very closely tied to the specific real estate company you work for, by having it anywhere in the twitter handle. You may think you’ll always work for Coldwell Banker or RE/MAX or whichever company currently work for, but you never know when you might end up jumping ship, and that @RemaxLinda username will definitely be a hindrance. Not only will you have to rename your Twitter account, but you will have to rebuild that brand again, and some of your followers might not immediately recognize that @RmaxLinda is now @LindaSmith and unfollow you.

Add realtor or realty to the end
You can always choose to go with @LindaSmithRealty or @LindaSmithRealtor if @LindaSmith is taken, to make it easy for people to remember and find.  Before you go the route of adding a word on the end, you want to make sure that the person who owns your name isn’t posting questionable content you don’t want to be associated with.  It is easy for someone to mean to type @LindaSmithRealty only to end up on @LindaSmith – when first impressions are everything, you want to make sure that the other person with your name can’t hurt your image by posting racist rantings or is a college aged girl posting about her bar hopping weekends.

Don’t pledge your allegiance
Just because you love dogs, or cats, or the San Francisco 49ers, that doesn’t mean that your potential clients will.  Not only that, you could confuse your potential real estate followers by thinking your tweets are only can it be about the 49ers or cats, when in reality you are posting a lot of helpful local real estate listings, tips and community events.

Do you already have a twitter handle and you’re concerned that it might be hindering you because of the name you chose? Our positive side, you can make a change and rename your Twitter account. But again because you want to build up the brand – and use it on written literature such as business cards, printed listings and advertising – think carefully before you make the change, and plan to make the change permanent. This is one area where being whimsical and changing your name every month will not pay off.

Never forget that what you’re twitter handle is represents you and your personal real estate agent brand. So think about the name carefully, but don’t delay too long in registering as there are thousands of new accounts created every single day.