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Twitter for Real Estate Agents – What is it, why should I use it, and how do I start?

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For this video teaching you about Twitter, I’ll practice by keeping this blurb short, under 140 characters. Watch Bob Watson and learn!

Transcript
Hi, this is Bob Watson, with Top Broker Network Consulting. We consult with small businesses, brokerages, and real estate agents on how to use social media and social business in your business today.

A lot of people think that social media is a game, or it’s something that is wasting a lot of time. Well, social media is a way to integrate your contacts into your business life. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about Twitter. Twitter is a micro-blog. A lot of you are probably using your phone right now to text. Well, imagine Twitter as a texting tool to the world. On Twitter, you’re allowed to text out 140 characters. You can text out a lot of different things, some of the things are what you’re doing right now, you can share a link or a blog post, or you can actually, for the real estate business, you can share a link to a new property that is on the market. Or imagine this, doing an open house and driving traffic to that open house by sending out a tweet with the information about the open house.

So, think of Twitter as a communication tool that is online, which reaches a broader audience than your texting on your phone. On the texting on the phone, you’re going to be delivering texts to your friends and your contact database. Twitter allows you to expand that on a huge basis. You’re going to go to millions and millions of people.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what you do to set yourself up for Twitter. You go to twitter.com, www.twitter.com. You’ll be asked to put in your email and your full name, and then it will take you to the setup page. We’re going to go to the setup page now.

The first most important thing that you want to do is put a photograph of yourself, which is current and is the same photograph that you use on your website, your business card, and your other social media sites. So you’ll want to use the same photograph to help branding.

After you put in your name that you use in your business, you’ll want to go to the Location area. This is very specific. So what you’re going to want to do is put in your specific location. A lot of people put in “the world” or “the United States” and this is specific for your location because when people search for a real estate agent in Irvine, California, for example, you’re going to want to show up as one of those real estate agents in Irvine, California. So, first tip is to put in your specific location, city and state.
If you like, you can put in “Orange County, California” if you’re in California, or put in the county that you live in, but put in what people are going to search for.

There’s another space for your website. If you have a website, and you should have a website because that’s the hub of your business system on social media, you’ll want to put your website in here. That will show up on your profile, so people can link quickly from your Twitter profile directly to your website.

There’s an area on Twitter for the setup where you have 160 characters to put in your bio or your profile. You’ll want to take a lot of thought into putting your profile together on Twitter, because all of these words that you put into Twitter’s profile section are keywords that are searchable. So, put in simple words that people will be able to search for you as a real estate professional.

The last and most important thing is to identify your Twitter “handle.” Your Twitter handle is the name that goes after the @ symbol when you’re sending a tweet. Now, BobWatson is not available on Twitter, there’s three other Bob Watsons that I know of that are on Twitter, and Robert Watsons, so I use TopBrokerOC, because I was the manager of the #1 office for the #1 company in Orange County, and that name has branded me on Twitter and across social channels. What you’ll want to do, if it’s possible, is use the name that you use in the real estate business as your Twitter handle. Know that you can only have 15 characters. So, I could have done BobWatson123, or TheBobWatson, or Bob_Watson with an underscore, but I preferred to have a branded name. So if you could use your own name, if it’s within 15 characters, definitely use your own name as your Twitter handle. That way you’ll be branding yourself, and then the profile keywords will pull you into those searches along with the profile keywords.

Most of you will be using twitter.com to access Twitter and send tweets from either your phone or your computer, but there are some other options for you. You can use a company called TweetDeck.com, or HootSuite.com in order to manage all of your social profiles and send things across your social profiles at the same time.

But let’s start with Twitter.com. On Twitter.com, you’re able to send tweets, and shorten links. Now let me talk about what you’re going to be sending. You’re going to be sending 140 character tweets out to the people that are following you. When you send out a tweet, it’ll be a conversation, it’ll be just like a text, but you can attach a web address to that to drive people to that web address. And this is how you start building influence, not only on social media, but also influence for your website, because you’re driving traffic from Twitter to your website.

So, if you only have 140 characters, and you’re introducing them to, say, an open house that you’re holding this weekend, what you’re going to want to do is have a link to your website where you have a listing for the house that you’re going to be holding open. And that link will be a lot of characters, and it’ll take up way too many characters for Twitter. So what you’ll want to do is you’ll want to put that link in, and shorten it, and on Twitter.com there is a little box where you can put the link in and click “shorten” and it will shorten it down to about a 7 character link. So when someone clicks on that, it will take them right to your website, that longer link from your website. Now that’s one way to drive traffic from Twitter to your website. When people go to your website, if you have it set so they register after they look at a couple of properties, now this is a great way to build your list. In real estate, small business, any type of sales business is all about building your list so you can market to those people until they do buy, and once they do buy from you, you put them on another list and follow up with them on an ongoing basis so you can continuously ask for referrals if you’ve done a great job. And since you’re watching these videos, I’m sure you’re one of those agents that’s going to do a really great job for your clients.

One of the great things about Twitter is being able to use what we call a “hashtag.” A hashtag looks like a # symbol. The great thing about a hashtag is that it is a search tool for you if you are looking for something interesting. It’s also a great way to follow a conversation on Twitter.

Let’s say you’re going to a conference like the Inman conference in New York coming up in January. They’ll use the hashtag #icny. So when I’m there, I follow that hashtag and in my Twitter stream, the one stream that I use for that one hashtag, I can see all of the tweets that are happening for that conference. It’s great, because there might be 10 or 15 sessions going on at a conference, and I’m only in one, but if I’m following the hashtag and people are in the other sessions tweeting about how great the other sessions might be, that will give me an opportunity to, number 1 favorite some of those tweets, and put those in my favorites to read later, or, get up and move to the other room where there might be a more interesting speaker speaking. So a hashtag is simply a search function for Twitter, and it’s a great way to put down some specific things that you’re interested in if you’re tweeting them out to get a broader audience for what you’re tweeting out. For example, if you’re a private pilot, and you want to meet other private pilots, you might want to put a hashtag in your next tweet about flying #privatepilot or #airplanes or #smallplanes, and see what happens. When people search for that hashtag #smallplanes or #privatepilot, all the people that are mentioning that or using that hashtag with #smallplanes or #privatepilot will show up in your Twitter stream. Then you can check out their profiles, and if they look interesting, if they look like somebody you might want to be in contact with, you can follow them on Twitter and listen to their tweets over the course of the next couple of weeks or months. Then you start building a relationship. I have relationships with people all over the world, some of them I’ve never met. From a real estate standpoint, there’s a woman from my area, Southern California, that lives in Tel Aviv, and she was at a conference that I was at in New York, it was the 140 conference, and they used the hashtag #140conf. So, I was following the hash tag and listening to the stream, and Shira Abel was her name, she was tweeting out some great tips on marketing, so I started following her, and ended up meeting her, not knowing that #1 she lived in Tel Aviv, and number 2, that she’s from Southern California. Well, that’s worked out to be a great relationship. I finally did meet her in person at the conference, I looked for her, and she has a property here in Southern California, and it might be a potential lead for me in the future, so now she and I are going to keep in touch. She actually direct messaged me on Twitter about 3 months ago and asked me if I could put together some analysis for her for investment properties in California. I said “of course, I’d be more than happy to put together those investment analysis” and I said “so, could you just give me a clue as to why you direct messaged me?” And she said, “you know, it was just the natural thing to do after we’ve had this relationship online.” So, it’s not going to give you what I call immediate business in the real estate business, but Twitter and social media will give you a basis for developing relationships online, and having conversations with people online, so they get to know, like, and trust you. Once they know, like, and trust you, they’re more apt to work with you on an ongoing basis.

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