Blog by Ken Morris

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Social Media & Real Estate

Presentation on Social Media given to Royal LePage Foothills Realtors by Rob Reynar on Feb 8 2010. Earl Grey Golf Course in Calgary Alberta Canada.

Social Media and Real Estate Blog Transcription

Okay, I think today I'm not going to focus so much on the individual platforms of social media. We're not gonna talk in depth about Twitter, we're not gonna talk in depth about blogging and Linkedin and all the social media sites. I think today the goal is really to give you a reason to explore this for your business. I think the goal today is to talk about the shift that is taking place with consumers and why it's relevant to business in general but not just business in general, I think this is the perfect storm for real estate because we are in the information business as you know and we're in the service business and as Ted will talk about later. The latest volley by the Competition Bureau is a great example of that. It's trending on Twitter today, the globe is talking about it, CREA is putting it out there, REM's putting it out there. It's reaching the Realtor and members of the public and it's happening at a rate that is astounding because yesterday that story did not have an update today already by ten o'clock it's all over the media and social media. So information is king and how we deliver information to the public I think is a big, a big thing going forward. So, Yes or No, is going viral a good thing today? Now it's not 1977, you're not in high school anymore. Is going viral a good thing? Yeah, going viral is the key because that means that not just a few people are looking at it but potentially millions of people are looking at it. So a quick anecdote, does anyone know what this is? If you still use this as part of your daily activity to look for information you're gonna have the toughest time with what's happening right now. About, while this was in the spring, car pulls up, a couple of kids get out they drop four of these on my front step. So I open up the door, I take a picture of it, I send a message on twitter and I say do people actually use these anymore? Question mark, very sarcastically, not a minute later do I get a message from yellow pages with a link to get off the list so that they don't bring me these anymore and then another minute I get a link to say, remember don't forget to get your iPhone app cause all of this is there and so yellow pages gets it. I mean this is, I mean this is, this is so old technology I mean this has been around for years. This is all we had but they get it. They get that they have to change or they're gonna lose their market and so now you can get this, you can get dictionaries, thesaurus, everything you want right on your phone and these are the type of companies that understand what's happening in social media and information and where it's going. So that, just a little anecdote there. Okay, social media, we've all heard about it, it is a means of communication, it's the way we communicate now with millions of people. The types of social media that I think are relevant to us as Realtors, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, MySpace which is kind of well it's very 2007 but it still exists, Facebook is big and blogging and I think that's probably the most powerful tool for Realtors, is blogging because it is a true exchange of information, it's an exchange of your thoughts directly to the reading consumer. So why do we need to care? I think that's a big question. Why do Realtors need to care? and I just want to, I wanna show you a video. It's as usual here the video and the audio is not terrific, I will post this on my site and I'll get Terry to send a link to everybody. So that you can go in tomorrow and have a look at this in detail but let's watch this video and then we'll talk about wine. Before we watch the video I should tell you who it is. This is, does anyone know who this guys is right off the top just by looking at him? Does anyone know who Gary Vaynerchuk is? Raise your hand if you know who Gary Vaynerchuk is so I know how man people. So in this room, there are two people. Well, you're gonna learn a lot about this guy now and you and many others are gonna either hate it or love him but that's his thing. Gary Vaynerchuck was working in his parents' liquor store in New Jersey and he, as a kid read lots of periodicals about wine because it was there and he learned about wine. He was selling wine to people twice his age when he was seventeen-eighteen years old and one day he decided to turn on his video camera and blog everyday about wine. He calls it Wine Library and that simple task took about a hundred and fifty episodes before he got noticed and he got noticed big. His videos, his appearances now are basically global and he went viral, there's no question. Wine Library is now the name of his parents' store and they do fifty million dollars a year in sales both at the berks and motors store and online. So that's the power of a simple blog. All he did is turn the camera on everyday and talk about something that he was passionate about and that he likes to do and he found out that millions of other people are passionate about it and like to do it as well and so he now sort of offers his Wine Library blogs but he also talks about business in general because it's a great lesson in business. So lets hear what he has to say about the consumer.

Gary Vaynerchuck's Video: traditional marketing and branding and if you don't live in this new world right this second, not "it's coming" or "will adjust when it matters". Right this second! You're gonna be looking for another job real quick.

Rob: Okay, that's a pretty blunt message but can anyone disagree with that message? In what we've seen in the last even in the last calendar year, I find it hard to disagree with the message that Gary sends out there. So what does that mean for Realtors? What does that mean for us in the business that we're in? Well, our consumer I don't feel is any different than the consumers of a lot of other products. If you'r e on Twitter for instance, when the G, the Toyota meltdown happened a couple of weeks ago that was trending huge, people were going to Twitter to find out the latest on Toyota. If you'd spend some time on the Twitter search you realize that real Estate is as popular in the online world as it is in our day to day lives. If you're in a restaurant you hear the conversation everyone is talking about Real Estate and how it matters to them. So the consumer has a thirst for that information and they're going to find it in the ways that are easiest for them and I think what Gary is saying there is that for us as business people, you have to know your consumer but you cant guess. You have to know what the consumer is thinking and I think that's where social media takes us. The web has changed, it's changed for Real Estate and it's changed fast and I think the message again is, "don't wait, get on it right now". So, that has to include Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, the consumer wants to know us and I think that's the beauty of all this. They can know us before they do business with us, that's a very unique position to be in, especially as a sales person. The sales cycle as you know can be long, especially in real estate but if the consumer knows us or feel that they know us before they engage us to do business, then have we not shortened our sale cycle as Real Estate agents? That is the power of say, a blog whether it's a written blog or a video blog, you're providing information and you're not asking for the sale, you're just asking for them to get to know you and I think that just shortens that sales cycle. So, where do we go from here? blogging is powerful and I wanna talk a little bit about blog, is it something I do? and I wanna talk about Twitter because really to me that's just a micro blog. Twitter if you're not familiar, is a platform where you can disperse information in 140 character messages, you can link to websites and anything else you wanna link to and it's a community of followers and it's a community of information exchange and so like I said I'm not gonna get into the details of each individual of social media. Those are individual classes I feel but I think you have to get into the mindset that you have to start investigating these tools for your business. You have to "give to receive" and I think that's the number one tip for Social Media. You have to put it out there and not expect it back right away. If you think of the internet as a giant cocktail party, we've all been to those parties where there's somebody in sales and you're afraid to go to the cheese tray because he's still standing there and he's still hard selling and he's still giving you his business card after knowing you for fifteen seconds and asking you if there's any possible way you could refer anybody to me, I'd sure appreciate it even though you have no idea who this person is. That is the online world, you have to give and give and give and give before you can receive and as sales people and as people who have unique knowledge of their markets and the real estate world I think that again is a perfect storm for us. We have so much to offer that we have to start doing it, before the consumer trusts that they're gonna use us. The best line that I read recently and it's ah, it really really hits home. You have to "stop looking for referrals with social media and you have to learn to be referable" and I think that to me is the essence of social media for Realtors. The second part of it is you have to "be yourself". There's no such thing in the online world as the "work you" and the "non-work you", Facebook is a great example of that. I don't feel there's a point of having two profiles on Facebook, one for Realtor A and one for human being A. They have to be married together, if you are not hanging so drunk at a hot tub party in August, that's still work you, there's no separating those anymore. So you have to be willing to accept that you are who you are and you're gonna find consumers who wanna do business with you because they like you and I think that's another key point of social media. You have to be you and attract the business that you will. So if you have never done this before, my tip would be to start with a bite size piece. You can't implement every facet of social media in your business next week and make it go. I think you need to start in the process of investigation, what platform is gonna work for me? If I'm already on Facebook, how can I engage people on Facebook with that share of information so that they know what I do but it's that online sort of soft sell. If you wanna start blogging, how do you go about doing that? WordPress is probably the most popular site. Some sites like mine have blogs sort of right in the back end of the of the website but WordPress is very popular, it takes two minutes to set up and you can be instantly sharing information in a blog. So I'd say start with a bite size goal and work from there. You have to do what you feel comfortable with. If you feel uncomfortable standing in front of a group of people looking into a camera and talking about what you know, then maybe video isn't for you but you have to try, try it and see if you like it, if you like it run with it. Consistency is another key in social media to me, you can't just open a Twitter account, send a message once every three weeks that you're on a Monday meeting and don't follow anybody that's not engaging in social media. You have to be willing to make that part of your daily business plan and I think that's where a lot of Realtors get hang up. We're all busy, we're very busy doing what we do, this is literally a 24/7 business in some cases. So you have to design your business to fit social media into it. If it's an hour a day, if it's ten minutes a day, if it's an hour a week. Decide what works best for you and your business and then get into it. The other point I think is really important, is commenting in social media. You have to engage in the conversation, you can't just take information, take information. You have to get out there and put your thoughts out to the world, let them be known. Allow people to comment on your post, one of the biggest mistakes I think people make is not allowing commenting on their blogs. I see this a lot, they're afraid that someone might say something bad about them or their blog but to me that's the start of something great because we all know that as Realtors twenty five percent of people don't like us the minute they see us. So, we might as well figure out who those people are and not have to do business with them, right? So if we put it out there and we get those negative nellies, we can always take the high road and I think probably get more followers and more advocates because of that. So the more you put it out there, the more people might not like it but we know there's probably a great amount of people who will like it and who will start to follow you. Any questions?

Q & A: Why Should We Care? You'd be amazed, well you know, why do people wanna watch people lose weight on TV? Why do people, Why do people want to watch someone paint a room on TV or learn how to put, you know decorate? or Why do people, why do people care about Gary's wine blog so much? People want to engage with other people it's really humanity at its base level. If you tell people that you're a real person, "you know what? I got a flat tire on my way to my open house yesterday". People say, "wow that sucks, that happened to me last week while I was driving my kid to school and got a flat tire." If you become a real person to those people that we're trying to o business with, you don't just create a client for one deal, you create an advocate for you and for your business. Social Media is about becoming real it's not becoming a Realtor but it's a perosn that they didn't know who just happens to sell houses and offer Real Estate Advice. So I think that's why we should care, we should care because it brings us and makes us more human.

Q & A: When Will I Find Time? Actually, I've never seen any Realtors blogging in their underwear, don't, don't be offended if I steal that one. That's a good one, no, I don't think you, I don't think we want to spend a lot of time on this in the big picture but I think once you get into it, you realize you don't have to. It becomes part of your daily routine, you know. We know how long it takes us to get up and shower and have breakfast, brush your teeth, get dressed and get out of the door. It just becomes part of that daily routine, it becomes part of what we do as Realtors. There was a day when we didn't have to worry about websites. We didn't have to spend time loading our listings on to a website or finding a that get it for us. So now we have to take that next step, well have to find some time to communicate with people in a different way and so my goal is to do five blogs a week, Do I always get there? No. I try to do eight to ten Twitter posts a day, Do I get there? No but if you build some consistency in your business you're gonna be doing it more often than not. So yeah, I don't want you to spend eight hours a day, we gotta get there and sell houses. We're not professional bloggers or twitterers. We gotta sell houses but I think you have to build it in to be part of our regular business plan.

This is a transcription of the latest Video Blog from . If for any reason there is a discrepancy between this text and the Video Blog, the Blog is deemed accurate.

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