You know how a couple of tablespoons of spoiled milk can turn your whole fridge into a sour cavern? Well, the same thing can happen with your social media plan. If you don’t stay up to date, one annoying practice can undermine all the other good stuff you’re doing.
The problem is knowing what’s spoiled and what isn’t. Now, it’s not every day that social media “gurus” are willing to admit they were wrong. That’s why I was pretty quick to download David Spark’s free new book, Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend (February 2014: Spark Media Solutions).
One of the first items to catch my attention was how right up front, before you even get into the good stuff, Spark sets out to help you avoid the all-too-common speed-reading phenomenon:
“Don’t just skim the section headlines and fool yourself and others into believing you read this e-book,” Spark demands. He jokes about adding in “facial recognition and eye-tracking technology” to make sure readers obey. Now, there are some books I read and others I skim. When an author asks me to take the time to read all 55 pages of a short book, I am generally willing to comply. After reading through it, I was actively working on this review when I got an e-mail from the author.
“Thanks so much for downloading a copy of ‘Hazardous to Your Social Media Health.’ Did you get a chance to read it two times? Just once? OK, that’s cool,” Spark wrote. “Do you agree with the ‘how not to do’ tips? Disagree? Thought I left something out? Am I brilliant? Am I full of it? A little of both?”
At this point, I looked over my shoulder to make sure Spark wasn’t watching me type my response. Continue reading »
OK, I’m going to be honest: I don’t read Huffington Post. There. I said it. It just felt like, because this blog is about what we’re reading, if would be weird if I didn’t say that. Anyway, I have my reasons, and let’s say most of them come from an aversion to the overuse of ALL CAPS and multiple exclamation marks.
Phew. That said, I truly enjoyed hearing HuffPo Chair/President/Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington speak at Inman Real Estate Connect this month. She talked about the topics she’ll address in her next book, which is broadly about unplugging from a constantly-on life.
As I’m reflecting back on what I heard in New York that day, I’m also reading through a sliver of the hundreds of 30 Under 30 applications we received for the 2014 competition. This year we asked applicants about their business challenges, and so many responded that time management and work-life balance have been real struggles. So now seems like a perfect time to share Huffington’s excellent observations and tips with you.
Now that the market is red-hot in many areas across the country, agents are still trying to do it all like they did when things were slow. Huffington’s message to real estate pros was this: It’s a different market, and we need to adjust.
“We have all focused so much on surviving,” Huffington said. “Its really exciting to be alive today.”
So, what’s changed? First, we all need to stop talking about sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. Huffington told an anecdote about meeting an unnamed gentleman for dinner who boasted of only getting four hours of sleep. She thought to herself that, if he had bothered to get five, the dinner conversation would have been a lot more interesting. Similarly, instead of praising the guy in our office who never takes lunch, she said, we need to start re-framing.
“Ultimately, we all need to redefine success,” she said. “You should be really worried [about those people] because they can’t be possibly making good judgements… Leadership is about seeing the icebergs before they hit the Titanic, and you’re not going to be able to see the icebergs if you’re sleep deprived.” Continue reading »
I was reading The Art of Social Selling: Finding and Engaging Customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Other Social Networks (Amacom, 2014) by Shannon Belew last week and I was struck by a familiar feeling. It wasn’t déjà vu exactly, but something similar. I realized that a lot of authors who are trying to tell us how to use social media in the business world are saying the same thing in different ways.
Let’s take one small portion of this big book of social networking advice for example. One of my favorite elements of Belew’s book is the list of ten “most important rules for online social interactions.” She writes that she came up with the list after talking to a large number of social media experts. So it totally makes sense that her list would remind me of all the other social media experts and new marketing gurus that we’ve been talking to and reading up on here at the Book Scan. Since you can’t get Belew’s book until Jan. 9, 2014, I decided to link two of the most universal rules in her excellent list with some older Book Scan reviews and interviews, to tide you over until the new year. After all, three experts are better than one, right?
Rule #1: Be Genuine
Belew: “When jumping into social media conversations, people sometimes forgo their otherwise good judgement and decide that this is the time they are going to try their hand at being a stand up comedian or political pundit. But let’s be clear: Your social networking persona should be an extension of your actual personality.”
Author Jennifer Allan: “Be yourself and trust your gut and your intuition. Create a real estate career around who you are as opposed to what someone else tells you who you need to be.” Continue reading »
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 »