Twitter is a fact of life in today’s information-driven society. It’s where your clients, particularly your potential future clients, are. It’s where your successful rivals are. And it’s where you should be.
In this video, we return to social media expert Bob Watson for a guide through the twists and turns of Twitter. He talks about what you definitely should be Tweeting about, why it is ok to talk about where you’re going for dinner, and what topics are probably best to avoid. And if you want to practice, drop us a “hi” over at @Benutech, we’d love to hear from you!
Let’s take a moment and talk a little bit about tweets. Tweets are 140 character messages that you’re sending out worldwide, to your audience that you’ve created. So let’s go back and really analyze what a tweet is.
When you send out 140 characters, that would be a pretty long text message, wouldn’t it. Well, this gives you the ability to send out your message in 140 characters to your followers, your friends, and people that might not know who you are yet but are searching for a topic that you are talking about.
So let me give you an example. I went to an event last night, and I tweeted out that I was at Il Fornaio restaurant at a CCIM event. That CCIM event is the commercial training for real estate. As soon as I sent that tweet out with the hashtag #ccim, I got a tweet back from somebody that I know in the real estate business, the commercial real estate business, who said “if two people are there,” and he mentioned their names, “please say hi to them.” Now, I don’t know this person’s phone, so I couldn’t have texted him and specifically told him that I was at this event. But he was following my stream on Twitter and saw that I was at this event, and reacted to that with a return tweet to me saying to say hello to two of his friends.
So, a tweet is nothing but a message that’s longer than a text, and you’re not just sending it out to your friends on your phone contact list, you’re sending it out to the world, anybody who might be searching for the topic that you’re tweeting about, or anybody that’s following you.
One great way to use Twitter is using it as a content curation tool, or a search tool. We’ve talked about www.twitter.com where you set up your profile and you can actually watch the twitter stream of all the people that you’re following. Let’s talk now about www.search.twitter.com When you go to search.twitter.com, you can search for pretty much anything that you’re looking for. So, I live in Orange County, California. If I wanted to, I could go to search.twitter.com, put in, say, “Newport Beach” or “Newport Beach Real Estate” and I would get all of the tweets showing up that that mention Newport Beach and real estate. So why would I want to do this? Number one, I’d like to find out who my competitors are on Twitter that are using Twitter in the real estate business. I might find consumers that are looking for homes in Newport Beach, or real estate in Newport Beach. And I’ll find out about events that are going on in Newport Beach. Now why would I want to know what events are going on in Newport Beach? Because I have a website, and I write a blog, and I’d like to know what events are going on so I can use it as a curation tool to find events without having to search on Google by myself, I can just go to Twitter and find out all the events that are going on in the local area.
So you can use Twitter as a content curation tool and a search tool to find out what’s going in your local market.
When I coach on social media, I tell people that there are three things that you don’t want to talk about on social media. First thing is politics. Second thing, religion. And the third thing, unfortunately, is sex. Those three topics are things that I stay away from on social media. They’re things that are somewhat personal, to a person’s opinions and we’re in the sales business. And although we want to work with people that we know, like, and trust, tweeting sex, politics, and religion is not necessarily something that’s going to enhance your image on social media. And normally if you were at a party and you were talking to somebody, the topics of sex, politics, and religion probably wouldn’t come up until you got to know them a little bit better. So when you’re working on social media, when you’re on Twitter, when you’re on Facebook, and you’re just meeting people, I would suggest staying away from those three topics.
The other things you don’t want to put on Twitter, especially, are, you don’t want to swear, and you don’t want to put up any links to pictures that you might not want your grandmother to see. So just be wary not to put anything up there that you probably wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.
Let’s talk a little bit about what you can put on Twitter to enhance your visibility out in the community. Twitter’s nothing but a conversation. And when you’re in a conversation, what do you talk about? Do you talk about what you ate this morning, or do you talk about what you’ve accomplished over the last couple of weeks? Or what you’re going to be doing? So just think of Twitter as a way to converse with the people that are following you.
Let me give you an example. I get up in the morning, I look at my Twitter stream, I see where people are, what people are doing, and what their plans are for today. You can get a lot of that information from Twitter. And if I see somebody’s going to be in my city during the day, I might give them a reply to their tweet and say “Hey, I’m going to be at Starbucks at around 11 o’clock, do you want to meet up for coffee?” So it’s having that conversation when it might not exist otherwise, if you weren’t on Twitter.
There’s a couple of other things that you want to think about. You want to think about what have you done for one of your clients that might be a great thing to put out there to the public to show that you are working and to show that you are a successful real estate professional. For example, we just had a closing today for a house in Huntington Beach. I congratulated one of our agents on Twitter and put a link to our website with that property on it so people could see what was just closed in Huntington Beach. It was congratulatory to our agent, and it gave her some visibility out there, and it also gave our company some visibility that we just closed another transaction. So think about the things that you’re doing on a daily basis, where you’re going, and mention those on Twitter. So people that are following you can get to know you.
Let’s say you’re going to go to an event like Cirque du Soleil. You might want to tweet out that “I’m going to Cirque du Soleil in Los Angeles on the 18th in December, is anyone interested in driving up with me?” So you’re putting out there a conversation piece that people might engage with. So let’s just say that somebody is going up to Cirque du Soleil on the 18th and says “hey, Bob, I’d like to drive up with you, do you want to carpool?” Those are the types of things that are engaging and start the conversation rolling for you.
One of the great things about Twitter is reminding people that are following you on Twitter that you are in the real estate business. How many times has a client called you up or a past client called you up and didn’t list their home with you, and they’re just telling you that they just sold their home? That’s happened to every real estate professional at least once in their career if they’ve been in business for a while. The client got a postcard in the mail from somebody, and for some reason forgot to give you a call and listed their home with somebody else. So if your clients are on Twitter and they’re following you and you’re continuously sending out information about the market, about what you’re doing, about your lifestyle, about restaurants that you’re visiting, and by the way, I’m looking forward to working with all of my past clients on their next real estate transaction… That’s a reminder for your clients and everybody else that you are in the real estate business. Because, as real estate professionals, we only sell one house, the same house, every 4-7 years. So what happens to that client followup? Twitter’s a great way to follow up with your clients, especially when they see that you’re active in the real estate business. There’re very few real estate professionals in the business that are full-time right now. I would say maybe 15% of the real estate agents out there are really working full-time. The rest of them might be part-time. Don’t be caught up as a part-time agent. Twitter is a great way, social media’s a great way to make sure that people that know, like, and trust you know that you’re still in the business and you’re still looking for business from them.
I hope you’ve learned something today, and, remember, this is all about having a plan and executing on that plan. So take what you’ve learned today, go on to Twitter, and execute on that plan. Set up your profile, look for some people to follow, and start following them. Curate some information, and use that in your business today.
Thanks very much. I look forward to seeing you again in our next installment.