Have you seen this consumer advertising piece from the National Association of REALTORS®? I think it’s really smart, and not just because I’m a sucker for cute kids who enjoy reading books.
Here’s the truth, though: The Field Guide to the Benefits of Home Ownership is not exactly a book. It’s really a PDF with cute binding images at the beginning and end, made to look like a book. It’s also not really a story; it’s more of a collection of study findings about the positive impact home ownership can have on communities.
But that makes it a very useful tool for residential real estate professionals. Whether you’re looking to post an inspiring stat on your Facebook page tomorrow morning, or if you need an uplifting topic for your next blog entry, here are some of my favorite factoids from the Field Guide to the Benefits of Home Ownership:
- Home owners are 28 percent more likely to repair or improve their residence than renters
- Each home purchase generates as much as $60,000 of economic activity in the local and surrounding area
- Children of home owners are 20 percent less likely to become teenage mothers
- Home owners are 28 percent more likely to vote
- The college graduation rate for children of home owners is 116 percent higher
I’ve been working on my review of Jay Baer’s Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype (Portfolio/Penguin, 2013) for several weeks. It’s not that it’s overly long or difficult; really, my problem has been the opposite. It’s so packed with great anecdotes and insights that I’ve been slow to pick out just what I want to say about it.
Enter Chris Nichols. Literally. Nichols walked into our offices last week as the guest editor for the September/October issue of REALTOR® Magazine, and he came in to share some thoughts about the upcoming publication and the real estate industry in general. And he turned out to be just the kick in the pants I needed to write up my thoughts on Baer’s book.
In addition to being active in real estate, Nichols is also running for mayor of Orem, Utah. As a result, he had some interesting thoughts on using social media to achieve marketing goals both from a political and business perspective. So it’s no wonder that when Jay Baer spoke at a real estate conference Nichols attended this year, he was pretty pumped about the author’s message.
See, Baer’s whole theory on social media marketing is that people are not going to listen to your messages unless they are useful to them personally. He suggests that companies package information in a way that consumers appreciate:
“What if you decided to inform, rather than promote?” Baer asks in his introduction. “If you sell something, you make a customer for today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.” Continue reading »
This week, I read through a cool little e-pamphlet called The New Age of Real Estate Communication: A Real Estate Professional’s Guide to Communicating with Social Media. Written by Lindsay Listanski, manager of social media for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, the piece is actually categorized as a “white paper.” I personally found it to be far too engaging for that yawn-inducing word, but no matter. This compendium is fun to read and full of interesting facts and helpful hints to incorporate in your online media strategy. Best of all: It’s free! Download it or read it online here.
Listanski does a great job busting some common social media misconceptions. I picked out my favorites from her piece to share here, so that you can use her advice to turn an online networking wrong into a right.
People don’t want to talk business in the social media environment.
Wrong! Listanski cites a recent study that found “80 percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook” (emphasis mine).
You need as many friends and followers as possible.
Similar to advice that we’ve given over at the magazine: “Remember, quality over quantity. People often have the misconception they need 1,000 friends or their efforts are wasted. The key is ensuring that your audience, regardless of the number, is highly engaged.”
Social media is just for young people.
Surprisingly enough, Listanski notes it’s almost the opposite. “Although it is natural for younger digital natives to embrace social media, they are not really the group that needs it because they are connected at all times. It is for people who have been out of college for years, who are working and do not have time to connect all day in person or on the phone who can receive the biggest benefit social media offers.” Continue reading »
There’s a lot of information packed into the REALTORS® Conference & Expo preview in the September/October issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The whole issue is organized around education, and while most real estate professionals can’t help but learn something new every day, that daily learning experience pushes into high gear at NAR’s annual conference.
But, since the latest issue isn’t in your hands yet, I thought I might share a special sneak preview from one of the featured conference presenters. Mark Leader is a contributing author for the new book Concrete Jungle: Survival Secrets for the Real World, and will be explaining the creation and maintenance of social capital in Orlando this November. The entirety of chapter four of the book is an interview with Leader titled, “Social Capital: How to Build and Maintain Professional Relationships.”
Of course, there are a lot of people talking about relationship building in one’s neighborhood, both on the block and online. What Leader adds to the conversation is explaining how it works and why:
It’s as if you walked into a room where everyone was shallow and self-serving, rather than trying to fit in, you could be the one person everyone remembers as genuine and comfortable to be around.
The best thing about the interview setting of this chapter is that it gives an idea of how Leader embodies the advice he’s giving. Sure, it’s easy to say that the hard sell doesn’t work in social media, but what are the concrete steps a salesperson can follow to truly build social capital? Leader offers these ten principles:
- Put relationships ahead of financial gain
- Have a burning desire to be of service
- Accept no favors from anyone without providing favors in return
- Pick your battles: Never enter into disagreements with clients about trivial matters
- Never flatter a customer for the purpose of gaining something
- Never compliment friends and associates unless it’s genuine
- Never give it away for free
- Live out your social ideals every day
- Constantly focus on speaking optimism and joy…
- …and your enthusiasm will become contagious.
Why should you consider checking him out at the conference? Well, in this chapter, Leader offers this pretty compelling “guarantee” to readers:
You can send me into any marketplace in California, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, or you could send me into Southfield, Michigan, and I guarantee you I will have the salespeople do more business than the average REALTOR® would do during the best of times.
But for myself, and perhaps my fellow book scanners, Leader’s concentration on lifelong learning might be the best indication of what may just end up being an unmissable conference moment:
I try to read a new book on a regular basis and I pay attention to what others who have been down this road before me have to say.
This confirms my long-held suspicion that leaders read. So, follow Mark Leader’s lead and start loading your Kindle and picking up good reads for the road. The REALTORS® Conference & Expo will be here before you know it.
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Make a New Year’s resolution to focus on social media platforms that work for you and your business. When I say work, I mean platforms that you’re comfortable using, enjoy updating, and that help you make authentic and meaningful connections with your sphere.
For author and communications coach Carmine Gallo, that platform would be foursquare.
Gallo became a believer when he was introduced to the app by his publisher about two years ago. Gallo has an insatiable interest in all things that improve communication. He’s also the author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.
Gallo started using the foursquare while on a business trip in New York after a presentation in Hoboken, N.J. He was searching for a place to have dinner, so he opened foursquare to see if it could help. Just around the corner was a restaurant called the Energy Kitchen offering free coffee. “Foursquare opens up a whole new world for you because businesses are using this mobile medium to attract you with incentives,” he said. “I walked into Energy Kitchen — had never been there before, never heard of it before — and it was just fabulous!”
After traveling home to California, Gallo ended up calling the marketing director of Energy Kitchen to pick her brain, and it became the first interview for his book, The Power of foursquare: 7 Innovative Ways to Get Your Customers to Check In Wherever They Are, which was released in November.
When planning for the year ahead, Gallo says think mobile. Foursquare is a good place to start — especially if many of your clients are using foursquare, too.
Gallo chatted with the Weekly Book Scan to provide a window into his foursquare evangelism. Here’s what he had to say:
Can you explain how foursquare works? Continue reading »
By Shane Michael Singh, Editorial Intern, REALTOR® Magazine
If you’re abiding by the new rules of Facebook, Twitter, and social media networking, you may have a few more “friends” and followers than you do in real life—and that’s exactly the problem, says author Tommy Spaulding in his book, It’s Not Just Who You Know (Broadway Books, 2010; $23 hardcover). Spaulding advocates a move from the personal gains of networking to the interpersonal rewards of net-giving, or building relationships that help others, and not just yourself. Calling them “Fifth Floor relationships,” Spaulding writes that deeper connections between individuals and coworkers can build better organizations and businesses.” You never know when the next relationship will be the most important of your life,” writes Spaulding, who uses personal anecdotes throughout the book, such as how a bartender at a small restaurant led to his winning a scholarship. Here’s a peek at some of the points Spaulding emphasizes to move from networking to net-giving.
- Skip the weather and water cooler talk. An integral step in building deeper relationships is moving away from generic talking points and towards something more specific. Do your homework about those you’d like to know better; ask sincere questions and allot them genuine attention. Continue reading »
The following excerpt is from the book “Social Media 101 : Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online” (Wiley 2010) by Chris Brogan. The book gives insight on effective use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, and how to utilize them to grow your business.
Social Media Starter Moves for Real Estate
Disclaimer right up front: I’m not in the real estate biz, so I’ll write this from the perspective of what I’ve observed and what might be useful. Some real real estate pro can come and fix this on his or her own blog, and it’ll likely be better. Why would I ever let a simple thing like inexperience get in the way of sharing my opinion?
SHOW ME THE HOUSE The first and most obvious thing I think the real estate world can (and should) be doing is buying video cameras and shooting their own walk-throughs. You don’t have to be a pro. You do have to know how not to make something look horrible, but that comes with trial and error.
PICK UP A VIDEO CAMERA If you don’t yet own a video camera, here are a few thoughts: Most still cameras have a video feature, and that’s nearly good enough. The Flip camera is the easiest and often the least expensive video camera to use. Kodak’s new Zi8 (and related) models have more flexibility than the Flip, but are a bit more complicated as a trade-off. Continue reading »
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust” (Wiley, 2009) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Looking for insight on how to build a good online reputation through social networks that helps boost your brand? This book offers answers on how a business can gain positive influence (and profit) online.
How Humans Shape the Web
Although the general public’s level of mistrust is at an all-time high, there are individuals and companies who do successfully use the Internet to establish levels of trust in the communities where they operate. In the technology sector, a person such as Robert Scoble (circa Microsoft days) stands out as someone who, by the nature of how he communicated about his formerly faceless company, developed a strong level of trust among his online community. In the United Kingdom, JP Rangaswami is managing director of BT Design for BT Group. His blog, Confused of Calcutta, is often about cricket, music, food, and many things not related to a major telecommunications company; yet, because of his stories and conversational writing tone, we trust Rangaswami and have a positive opinion about BT.
Those who are most familiar with the digital space—we refer to them as ‘‘digital natives’’—have become accustomed to a new level of transparency. They operate under the assumption that everything they do will eventually be known online. Realizing they are unable to hide anything, they choose not to try. Instead, they leverage the way the Web connects us and ties our information together to help turn transparency into an asset for doing business. Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
- By next year, Generation Y will outnumber Baby Bombers. And 96 percent of Gen Y has joined a social network.
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and has 100 million videos.
- Approximately 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.
Erik Qualman uncovered these startling statistics and more, which he lays out in his new book Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business (Wiley, 2009). Social media has created a fundamental shift in how people communicate, Qualman says. One only needs to look as far as Qualman’s Socialnomics YouTube video that went viral just weeks after its release, topping out at nearly 1 million views. He believes that soon people will not have to search for news, products, and services — but rather news, products, and services will find them via social media. Thus, in order to be successful in business today and in the future, the social interaction with potential clients must be embraced.
What was your first social media experience and what were your thoughts at that time?
QUALMAN: I joined MySpace, like a lot of people, in 2005. An 18-year-old introduced it to me and it was like she was addicted to crack. She’d always have to check her MySpace to see if she had more friends or to see in anyone commented. It was obvious to me that it was something big, especially for someone to be so ingratiated with it. I hopped on and it made sense to me right away. It wasn’t a surprise once Facebook opened up their platform to go beyond just college students that Facebook became so popular. Then the world was turned on its head when they opened up their application program interface to allow anybody to write applications for Facebook. That decision was so far reaching that it actually caused Apple, which has typically been a very closed environment, to open up and allow others the ability to code applications for the iPhone. That was really the game changer. Continue reading »