Realtor Online Strategy

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					Nina Sazer Realtor: Online Strategy
Prepared by Iavor Ivanov on Sunday, November 28th, 2010
(To be re-crafted for a group of agents)




Background

Nina, thank you very much for the opportunity to present to you ideas on how social media
and online outreach can benefit your Real Estate business.

A successful Real Estate business is built on networking and referrals generated by the
strength and appeal of the personality of an agent. You can be an outstanding and most
knowledgeable professional, but that alone doesn’t guarantee success. Rather, it comes down
to how many people are aware of you and how many people like you enough to promote you
to others. It’s worth noting that people don’t necessarily need to have experienced you as an
agent to make a decision to refer you to someone else in the right situation. They will take
that step if they simply feel good about you.

By leveraging social and online strategies, you can create a following of people with top
of mind awareness of you, who also view you favorably because of your social content and
storylines. When you cast a broad personality net online, you get to go beyond the contacts
you have in the offline world -- you can begin effectively building relationships with existing
and potential clients. Buying or selling a home happens only rarely in a person’s life, but
the kind of relationship that would make you the agent of their choice can take months or
years to develop. By leveraging your online presence, you can work toward that ultimate goal
with many more individuals than what you would be able to do if you had to develop those
relationships strictly in the offline world.

Concurrent with building an online following, you have an opportunity to strengthen the
favorability of your professional/personal brand, so people who may not even know you would
feel confident about you and about recommending you. You can accomplish this by carefully
crafting your online messaging, which would be rooted in elevating your positive traits as a
person and as an agent. Additionally, the type of content you create for your business will
determine who follows you and what kinds of referrals you will receive as a result of your
efforts. We can work to position you as broadly-appealing, with an emphasis on targeting
higher end clients. Your successful positioning will depend on your overall editorial voice,
which must be handled with great discipline.

Finally, this effort does not need to be arduous or time-consuming. You already do 80% of the
work that it would take to power your online presence -- that’s the content creation part. I
can help you with the remaining 20% of implementation and actual online publishing.

Objectives

   ●   Build relationships with existing and future clients through the use of online social
       tools.
   ●   Increase credibility and grow a following by consistently building out your social media
       storylines and content.
   ●   Create an editorial and social voice that appeals to high end home buyers by
       authentically and deliberately crafting your online image.



Approach

As I mentioned above, engaging online audiences and creating a following that will build
awareness and credibility doesn’t have to take over your professional life -- you can’t afford
that. The most time-consuming part about online marketing is the content creation. As
an agent, you already generate a large amount of content and it’s simply a question of
leveraging that properly, so it reaches the broadest possible audience. What social media
enables you to do -- enables anyone who can create content to do -- is broadcast it in a
nearly “reality TV” fashion to people who are interested, either in the content or in you
personally, but most often in a combination of the two. To give you a sense for why content
is so important: of all Internet users only less than 1% are content creators -- the other more
than 99% are content consumers, so there’s great demand for anyone who’s willing to publish.
This is not done for the sole purpose of displaying your professional life to the world, but for
the purposes of building awareness of your personal/business brand with people who would
ultimately become clients, or refer you to potential clients.

In the same time, the execution of an online strategy has to remain effortless. Through a
series of linkages, we can create an online presence that you, with my assistance at first,
should be able to manage simply from your phone or/and your laptop, taking no more than 15
minutes for the daily maintenance, and a couple of hours every month dedicated to crafting
larger content pieces.

We will start small, executing on a basic Twitter strategy that will easily update your entire
presence and begin to build interest. In the first several weeks, we will take the time to
organize and link your multimedia properly -- photos on Flickr, videos on Vimeo, a Posterous
page that will aggregate everything you do online. Next, we will explore how we can leverage
video to not only promote the various real estate properties you’re managing, but to help
extend your online storylines. You are better at talking and we can put the full power of your
personality to work online through short, easy to create videos.

Once we have worked out the mechanics of your total presence and managing it has become
part of your usual routine, we will focus on promoting you online through reaching out to your
existing following and clients, by doing professional outreach and placing you on relevant
sites and blogs, and by implementing a cross promotional strategy with fellow agents.

       Important for outreach: if you don’t already do so, you must begin immediately to
       collect the email addresses of contacts and clients. Email is still one of the best
       options you have to promote your work and to make sure that people remain aware of
       you. To borrow a phrase, a bird in hand is worth many in the bush. Having someone’s
       email address means that you can reach directly in their inbox.

The next logical step will be to work on positioning you as thought leader in your field.
We will develop your more editorial content, which is what will resonate better with the
sophisticated, higher end clients. We can test the waters initially and see if this strategy
would be a good fit for you. It’s a good approach, but it is more important to remain
authentic and create content that rings true for you.

After we have built you up online, we will leverage the power of your following for the
purposes of social activism. We will identify one or more social causes that you can be a
champion for (or that you are already a champion for) and we will begin to include specific
posts dedicated to advancing your cause. This has to come from who you are authentically:
it can be anything from gay issues, to supporting youth health and fitness, to improving low
income neighborhoods, to advocating or fundraising for young artists. Beyond the fact that
it is important to give back to your community, being socially minded and using your online
presence to support that will position you very favorably with your potential clients -- again,
something that will appeal to higher end prospects, who would appreciate the generosity of
the person they choose to give their business to.



Editorial Voice

These are basic guidelines for what you should communicate online through every one of
your posts, tweets, videos or emails. We can fine-tune and adjust this, but it’s important to
remain consistent once we’ve agreed on the right formula.


Informative           Build in helpful information about the real estate market in the DC
                      Metro area, yet always continue to put things in national context.

Approachable          Ask questions of your following, encourage them and interact with
                      them. Be friendly, inviting, and use smiley faces wisely.

Authentic             Periodically include personal info and photos, continue to
                      communicate that you’re a human being others can relate to.

Irreverent            Occasionally include a zinger, or even a stronger personal opinion on
                      issues you care about.
Fun                       Sound like you’re having fun! Make/include jokes. People should look
                          forward to your posts, not dread them.

Dedicated                 Make sure that being hardworking always comes through. People need
                          to know that they can count on you before they have met you.



Types of content

Twitter                     Short soundbites submitted from you phone 1-5 times a day,
                            reacting to events from the day that can be used as the building
                            blocks of your online presence. Refer to “Editorial Voice” for
                            character of the voice and ideas for the content.

TwitPic/Flickr              As an agent, you happen upon interesting sights -- houses, rooms,
                            bathrooms, kitchens, signs, people, etc -- that you can take quick
                            photos of with your phone and “TwitPic” up, making those a
                            part of your content stream. Uploading pictures through twitter
                            is one of the most popular ways for distributing content. Those
                            quick updates tend to get the highest number of hits by online
                            audiences.

Photos                      Excellent photos of listed properties organized in online photo
                            galleries are not only attractive to prospective clients, but also
                            go a long way toward building out your online credibility and
                            presence.

Videos                      You are the first one to say that you’re much better at talking.
                            We should take advantage of this and make a good use of your
                            pleasant appearance. A video tour (short, 1 minute or less) of a
                            property with you as the guide, is not only going to get a lot of
                            attention and buzz, but will help build your online following and
                            content.

Facebook Updates            Both to your personal and professional pages: once a week, take
                            the time to update info on various open houses and new listings.

Editorials and Articles     It will be extremely helpful to create a couple of pieces every
                            month that showcase you not simply as someone who is able
                            to regurgitate information, but as someone who can be an
                            independent and helpful thought leader in your field. While those
                            will not be the most popular content pieces you can create, they
                            will connect with audiences in the more sophisticated segments
                            of the population and can ultimately earn you higher price point
                            business. (Re-posting other people’s articles would be a possible
                            alternative)
Email Outreach           Assuming that you’re collecting email addresses of existing and
                         potential clients, you should be reaching out to them over email
                         once a month or so, just so you can keep yourself top of mind for
                         them and so you can cross-promote you other online efforts.




Metrics

Online Metrics
   ●    Twitter following
   ●    Image / Video views
   ●    Web numbers
   ●    Buzz metrics

Offline Metrics
   ●    Referrals from online activity. (Likely unreasonable to expect any in the first several
        months, but the goals should be to have at least 2-5 per year generated/propelled by
        your online activity.



Resources

Facebook.com -- personal and professional profile
Flickr.com ($25.00/year)
Vimeo.com ($60.00/year)
Posterous.com
Twitter.com
iPhone Applications (~$10.00)
A digital photo/video camera

Immediate Next Steps

   1.   Acquire media assets -- logos, brand identity, existing content, etc.
   2.   Set up accounts and create proper linkages.
   3.   Test the system.
   4.   Create a month-long content calendar/outline.
   5.   Rock & Roll.

Long-term view

   1. Begin online and on-the-ground integration of marketing efforts.
  2. Begin online/offline social integration.


Content Calendar for Months 1-6

TBD

				
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