Category Archives: Twitter

How to Market Yourself Using Twitter

Need help getting started with Twitter?  Watch this presentation for ideas on how you can begin to use Twitter for marketing.

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13 Etiquette Rules for Scheduling a Post

It’s easy to schedule social media posts so that they appear automatically when you’re busy or traveling.  WordPress lets you schedule posts to appear in the future, Twitter lets you automate direct messages, and applications like Sendible and Ping.fm let you pre-post to just about any social media site you belong to.

But just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The ability to automate your posts can be a huge convenience for busy professionals, but used in the wrong way, it can be a nuisance, an insult to friends and followers, or even unethical.

If you plan to schedule your posts, keep these considerations in mind:

  1. Don’t send an automated Direct Message to everyone who follows you on Twitter, especially one that says something like “check out my website” or “buy my product.”  It’s inauthentic and many people on Twitter hate those automatic DMs.
  2. Don’t autopost every Twitter message to Facebook or LinkedInTwitter followers expect frequent posts all day long, but constant posting can be annoying on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  3. Honor the application.  If you must post to several sites at once, make sure your post is relevant.  A message that’s perfectly OK on Facebook, for example, may be highly inappropriate on Linkedin.   Likewise, lengthy blog posts sent to Twitter are silly.
  4. Don’t repeat the same Twitter message over and over again.  It turns you into a pest.  Repeating Twitter messages to impact the workday in other time zones is OK, but limit your repeats to 3 or 4 spaced 8-10 hours apart.
  5. Don’t schedule automatic posts so that they come one after another.  Instead, space them throughout the day.
  6. Never use automatic posting to fake, deceive, or pretend you’re something or somewhere that you’re not.
  7. Beware of autoposting schemes that will use your account to spam friends and followers.
  8. Avoid autoposting schemes that scrape or steal content from other people and post it as yours.  If an autoposting service is offering some spectacular result that seems too good to be true—it’s probably not true.
  9. Don’t use autoposting exclusively.  Use it from time to time when your schedule keeps you from posting when you want to, but be sure to also post live so you can interact with others.
  10. Don’t autofollow everyone on Twitter who follows you.  Instead, interact in a personal way with as many new followers as you can.  Remember, its called social networking for a reason.
  11. Don’t just set it and forget it.  Monitor your autoposts to be sure they’re presenting you in the way you intended.
  12. By default, autoposting is about me (what I’m reading, what I’ve written, what I’m doing), but social networking should really be about others.  This is one more reason to limit your autoposting and to interact live.
  13. It’s OK to use automatic birthday reminders, but be caring and real enough to send a live birthday message to friends instead of one you schedule in advance.

What else should be included?

The Zen of Twitter Success

Twitter offers an amazing potential to grow your sphere of influence and to engage friends and former clients.  But success on Twitter requires us to do things that are counterintuitive.

Whenever we get involved in anything new, we naturally tend to look for what’s in it for us and how we can benefit personally.  But to be successful on Twitter, you must turn that kind of thinking around.

Here are four “upside down” ways to think about how to use Twitter to grow your business:

  1. Give to GetTwitter works best if you give things away.  The most successful people on Twitter share ideas and information all the time.  People will follow you if they think you have something to offer, so use Twitter to pass along news or tips your followers can use.
  2. Give Credit to Other People. Don’t tweet about yourself. If you really want to get people noticing you, use Twitter to call attention to others.  Respond to other people’s tweets.  Retweet valuable information that someone else has already tweeted and, of course, give them the credit.  Send out tweets that highlight and link to other people’s blog posts.  Use #FollowFriday to herald the work of others.
  3. Pay Attention to Others.  Spend time focusing on your followers—especially those you don’t know.  For example, select one of your followers each day to spotlight.  Visit that person’s website or blog.  Pay attention for the entire day to their Twitter stream.  Write or tweet about something that person is doing.
  4. Cherish Low Numbers. Many people on Twitter are on a mission to get lots of followers.  But having a small number of dedicated followers can be an advantage.  As Caron-Jane Lyon writes in her blog, when she had only 90-something followers, she was able to interact on a more personal level with each of them.  Having a small group allowed her to build alliances and personal friendships with them, something that’s tough to do when your Twitter numbers are large.

How Agents Are Finding People to Follow on Twitter

Find people to follow using City Tweets

Find people to follow using City Tweets

Twitter baffles many people because they don’t understand how to use it.  If you just log on and start watching the tweets put out by random people, it’ll seem like so much useless—well—twittering.

Twitter enthusiasts know, however, that Twitter can be a great source of useful news and information, if you’re following the right people.   Here are some suggestions of whom to follow and how to find them.

  1. Family and Friends.  Their messages may or may not contain truly valuable information, but hey—it’s fun to keep up with your friends throughout the day.
  2. Your Clients.  Let Twitter review your e-mail contact list and identify which of your contacts has a Twitter account.  Follow current and former clients to get a feel for what they’re thinking about.  Monitor what your clients are saying about their homes, their communities, or the local real estate market.
  3. Your Co-Workers in the Office.   No need to wait for office sales meetings.  Get up-to-the-minute information on new listings and price reductions from the colleagues in your office who tweet.  Also, some office managers and brokers may be using Twitter as a quick way to broadcast office news.
  4. Your Colleagues at Nearby Brokerages.  Build relationships with other agents and stay on top of what they’re saying and doing.  Use it as a source for competitive intelligence.
  5. Movers and Shakers in Your Home Town.  Use sites like CityTweets to discover who’s on Twitter in your area.  Capture the pulse of your community by following people whose posts are thoughtful and interesting.
  6. Agents Who Use Social Media. Learn to use social media better by following agents in or outside of your market who use Twitter well.  Use sites like Just Tweet It to search for Twitter users by profession.
  7. Lenders.  Check with lenders you use to find out if they’re on Twitter.   Lenders often post information about mortgage rates and new loan programs.  They may also offer links to articles that can help you stay current on the mortgage industry.
  8. Attorneys.  Yes, some attorneys even post to Twitter with information that can help you help your clients.
  9. Contractors and Other Professionals. Find painters, movers, home inspectors, staging professionals and others who post to Twitter.  Check their websites for links to their Twitter profiles.
  10. Experts on Technology and Social Media.  Keep abreast of new technology and new ways to use social media by following industry experts.  In November 2008, Darren Rowse identified Ten People All Twitter Beginners Should Follow.  The list is still relevant today.  Follow their Twitter feeds or read their blogs to quickly learn how to master social media.

Is it Possible to Twitter Too Much?

Color Email PileIs it possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to social networking?  I think the answer is yes.

Case in point:  the twitterer who sends out too many tweets.  I’ll call him @twitterguy.

I found @twitterguy’s blog only a coupe of days ago and I loved his perspective.  He was positive and motivational, and he was writing wonderful articles on how to market yourself and build your business using social networking tools.  He was exactly the kind of person I wanted to contact online, so I looked him up on Twitter and started following him.

As it turns out, @twitterguy’s as prolific as he is motivational, sometimes sending out seven or eight tweets an hour.  (It’s really him, too, not some bot putting out messages on his behalf.)  It wasn’t long before there was no one in my Twitter timeline but him.

I could skip some of his messages and I could use tools like Tweetdeck to isolate him a little bit.  But after only a day or two I was overwhelmed so I unfollowed him.

The moral to the story is this: social networking is about balance.  You must give and receive.  You should share—but don’t share too much.  If you’re building your brand or promoting your business, be consistent and dependable, but don’t be a pest. When you get invited in, don’t overstay your welcome.

5 Rules for Success on Twitter

Twitter bird yelling

OK, so you’re on Twitter.  Now what?

Twitter is mysterious and funny, quirky and habit-forming.  But you’ve only got 3 people following you!

You need a strategy for making sense of it and for learning how to make it work for you.  Here are some basic rules to get you started.

Rule #1:  Be smart. Even though you’ve only got a handful of followers, anyone might see your tweets.  So, don’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t want a friend, an enemy, a client, your manager, your mother or anybody else to see.

Rule #2:  Decide who you want to be. Tony Hsieh, CEO of online retailer Zappos, once asked the question what would you do and who would you be if you were always on camera?  What kind of person would you want to become if you knew there would be a permanent, written record of everything you ever said?  It’s kind of humbling to think about, but that’s what Twitter does.

Rule #3.  Remember that it’s not all about you. Twitter asks its users what they’re doing.  Ignore that.  Ask yourself instead what your readers are doing and what they might like  know about. They have to get some value out of your messages, or they’ll lose interest and stop following you.  Conversely, tweet about things of interest—topics people may be searching—and your list of followers will grow.

Rule #4.  Get retweeted. Include links to articles you’ve read, YouTube videos you’ve seen, or even your own blog posts.  If people like what you’ve shared, they’ll pass it on and that will grow your following as well.

Rule #5.  Be funny and have fun. In this respect, Twitter is like life in general:  you won’t get very far if you take yourself too seriously.

What Agents Can Learn from Twitter Success

Place SettingThe Boston Globe reports about a Cambridge, Massachusetts restauranteur whose wife posted to Twitter in December about the planned opening of her husband’s restaurant.  Jen Deaderick’s December 2nd post merely said: “Tupelo01239 is preparing.”  There were subsequent tweets about planning the menu, finalizing the decor, and putting other finishing touches in place, so that by the time Tupelo opened in April, a buzz had been created.  The place was packed on opening night and easily half of the people who showed up were there because they had heard about the restaurant on Twitter.

I recently blogged about the fact that Twitter is not as dumb as it seems.  As the Boston Globe article points out, Twitter is fast, effective and free; anyone can use it.  So here’s my question:  Is it possible for a creative real estate agent to generate the same kind of excitement about a listing as this chef and his wife did about their restaurant?