My dear tech savvy agents, you may lambaste me for this but ask yourself where are your clients, customers, prospects? Unfortunately, as much as you may enjoy the techy avenues they are not on those sites. In fact, most of them aren’t even on Twitter.
Now am I saying don’t use the fancy new toys? No, have fun, learn them and be prepared for the “next big thing”. But take a breath and don’t forget about what is right in front of you. As much as I am an advocate, trainer and make my living off of social media it is not your silver bullet. In fact, it will never replace a face to face, good old-fashioned conversation. So, be where your audience is and use social media to actually get in front of people. That is the point right?
Most of the social media universe (almost 700 million) are still on Facebook and it is my prediction that it will take a LONG time for them to switch. In fact, it took long enough for my mom to get on Facebook and guess what I don’t think she will ever switch, she loves Facebook. It’s easy, intuitive and she already knows it. So if you want to communicate with other agents or tech geeks like myself find me on Google+ but when I want to communicate to the masses you will find me on Facebook and even LinkedIn.
Ps. Since you are reading this you found my blog too
For those of you who have yet to make the switch, take a breath it is ok. All this “you have to get on this and that” is getting exhausting. Take your time, work your business and sell some real estate. Google+ will still be there when you are ready.
I love free! I love fun! I love cool tech tools too. So tech tools that are fun, free and help real estate professionals be more efficient is the best of both worlds. Here are some of my top picks.
Google Voice is a one stop shopping for all your phone needs. Google Voice lets you have one phone number where you can forward your calls to multiple phones or choose certain phones. You can even designate what phone the call comes to based on who is calling you. Voicemails can be viewed in text form either on your phone or your computer and you can reposnd in text too. So stop handing out your cell phone number and get a Google Voice account.
Google’s Chrome browser is a faster, smaller program. The searches are a much simpler and best of all it doesn’t crash. The Chrome Web store is full of free time-saving gadgets and Chrome browser extensions.
Pixlr allows you to edit photos right in your browser. It is available on Google Chrome and Firefox. Pixlr is comparable to the to pricey Photoshop and can even be used to create graphics. You may also want to try Pixler Express for quick edits and Pixlr Grabber for editing screen shots.
Google Calendar allows you to manage your life from anywhere. You can even sync it with your Outlook. I use Google Calendar on my iPad and iPhone and sync it to Outlook. Now Microsoft and Apple are getting along in my world anyway. If you use Gmail than Google Calendar lets you add events from an email, and display upcoming events and appointments next to your email. You can even set up custom reminder systems for text messages, email and pop ups.
Mailchimp is a direct email marketing campaign that helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, and track your results with Google Analytics integration for instant ROI results.
Eyejot sends video emails to your clients or SOI. All you need is a webcam. There is no software to download or install. Just login to your account, record and hit send. It is easy for the recipient to open the message too. They can watch it with a single click.
Animoto turns still pictures into fast-moving videos set to music. Think modern-day virtual tour. Animoto syncs with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and SmugMug to get your images in a snap. Add text and emphasize specific images with the touch of a button.
Instapaper lets you easily save articles on the internet. I am always finding articles that I just don’t have time to read now but want to read later. Instapaper lets you organize the articles into folders. The “read later” bookmark can be installed into any browser you can even use it on iPad’s Safari browser. There is an iPad/iPhone app that stores articles so they can be read later, even without Internet access.
Mighty Meeting stores presentations or documents in the cloud and allows you share them on any device. I use this to create a presentation in Powerpoint and share it as a slide show on my iPad. It is too difficult to create presentations on Keynote from my iPad and since I operate on a PC this gives me great flexibility.
Evernote lets you update and manage your documents from anywhere and from any device including an iPad/iPhone with the app. Evernote also helps in searching for information. It can search within PDF files and also uses OCR to search text in the messages. Use Evernote to snap a photo of a business card with your phone, and have an easy way to store and access contacts.
What are some if your favorite free tools?
So many times agents ask, “What shoud I blog about?” You already know what to blog about. The information is so close to you and ingrained in your head its hard for you to see it. Think of all the knowledge that you have gained as a real estate professional.
Before you begin, you may want to think about who your readers are and what they want to know. Ask yourself what kinds of questions people ask you and answer them in blog posts. You may also want to reshare relevant information provided by your real estate boards or even respected sources.
Here are several ideas depending on your goals.
Blog Posts to Attract New Buyers
You will want to think about what a Buyer needs to know and what is important to know about your marketplace. Think of the things Buyers search for online and then you will have a good idea how to capture them.
-Sex offender information
-Information about local sports
-Steps in buying a home
-Tips on choosing a home
-Lead paint laws
-Why have a home inspection
Blog Posts to Attract Sellers
Take all the pieces of your listing presentation and break them into blog posts. Think of the ways you already prospect for sellers and turn them into blog posts.
-Tips on selling
-Why list with you
-Help for FSBOs
-Help for expired listings
-What to expect
-The sales process
Blog Posts to Be the Expert
You are the expert. You are a professional. Whenever you run into someone they always ask, “How’s the market?’. People want to know. Don’t give broad market stats, drill down the stats in your MLS and find different pieces of information that affect the people in your specific marketplace, even think niche market here.
-Hyper local statistics (think neighborhood, condo development)
Blog Posts to Maintain Your Current Sphere of Influence
This is where you want to be the community expert. What is it that people in your community want to know. How can you show the your are on top of the pulse of the community?
-Things to do
-Great places to walk
-School bus schedule
-Kids sports sign ups
-Recreation depot classes
-Local business news
-Offer some of your own personal advice, stories, or musings
Remember, blogging doesn’t have to be hard. You are already an expert at what you do. You have the knowledge. Blogging is just a way to share it with others.