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My First 24 Hours on Twitter for Real Estate

5 minute read

Armed with the Twitter for Real Estate Twits ebook from the last article I posted I decided to jump into Twitter and give it a whirl. Take it for a testdrive so to speak. 

The first 24 hours has been very enlightening and one thing has become crystal clear. Twitter is fantastic! It is such a simple concept that when done right is so powerful and for our industry it can work amazingly. After the testdrive I decided to take one two home  🙂

When done right?? and can work??

What do I mean by that…??    Using it for the real estate industry still takes work and to leverage it best you need to have great content to post. It is not some magic technology pill you swallow once and you get stacks of traffic for ever more. If you do nothing, thats exactly what you will get.

Some great content could include blog posts if you run a blog, interesting and unusual property for sale (but dont go overboard or it will backfire), special and unusual sales, witty jokes, market commentary, funny signs and anecdotes. If you don’t have a blog you post to then it certainly wont stop you but you will have to find other content to share.

Like most things, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  Ideally many of your Twitter posts will connect through to a link on your website or blog or some other resource driving traffic and enquiries to your business.

This is the process I undertook to get up and operating with Twitter. It may not be the best way, but it was my way.

  • I Read the Twitter for Real Estate Twits ebook fully to understand the concepts of how it all works.
  • I selected a photo to upload and then signed up to Twitter at www.twitter.com  with the name @glenn_batten and uploaded the photo.
  • I signed up for a URL shortening service at bit.ly Twitter posts can only be 140 characters long and web url’s are quite long so you use these services to get a shorter url that points to your longer url. This leaves more room for your comment.
  • I post on two blogs, here and our agency’s blog. Peter uses his own version of WordPress which means he is able to install whatever plugins he wants and since he has already added Twitter integration so it should be just a matter of adding my own twitter name in the right box. I have yet to try it so I hope it will work and this post will be the first test!
  • Our agency blog runs on the free hosted version of WordPress at wordpress.com so the plugins are limited so I had to look at a different solution. All blogs have an RSS feed so I signed up for Twitterfeed which will monitor your rss feed and will broadcast any posts you find on your twitter account. It even uses your bit.ly account to automatically shorten and embed the url to your blog post. This automatically posted the last blog article I wrote to my twitter account. within a few hours that one post had generated 6 more visitors, all from Twitter.
  • Whilst you can use Twitters website to monitor your Twitter there are programs that do a much better job. To monitor Twitter I first chose PeopleBrowsr but did not like it. Far too complicated and not quite polished enough. Twitter actually tells you what everyone posts with and I noticed Tweetdeck was very popular so I downloaded that and it’s great.
  • I chose not to go crazy and follow everybody I came across, a tactic it seems a few people follow. I was more selective in who followed and started following real estate people and sites I knew and that were on Twitter including @peter_ricci, @ozspecialagent (Robert Simeon), @GregVincent, @BusinessTwo, @realestate_au, @homehound and @ZooProperty.
  • I added @nik_nik who wrote the ebook and @jburslem who runs the Future of Real Estate Marketing  blog
  • I then searched for other members in the First National network that I knew that were on Twitter and added a couple.
  • I updated my Google Profile (If you dont have one, get one!), Facebook page and profile on this blog to add my Twitter address.
  • I then setup an account with Twilert which monitors Twitter for anybody mentioning specific keywords you choose. I am monitoring anybody posting on our business name, url, primary core trading suburbs, our competitors and First National.
  • I then created a seperate Twitter account for Nerang First National at @nerangfirstnat.  I have chosen to keep our agency and customer specific stuff through that account and my own personal posts, personal connections and general industry related stuff through my own account.  Similarly a principal might create an account for their work but a salesperson might want their own twitter account to communicate with their followers. 

And there you have it. I still have a few things I want to do and setup but by the end of the first 24 hours on Twitter I was following 16 people and had 13 following me and our agency blog generated more than a dozen new visits just from Twitter. People had picked up on our articles and had forwarded them out to their followers. I certainly could have done more by just following everyone but I would rather be following a quality list of friends, associates and people and businesses I want to hear from. 

What will the next week, month and year bring?  Who knows, but the future is bright so give Twitter a go and see if it will work for you. I dont know enough about the service just yet to say the programs I selected were the best of breed but they are functional and work well.

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15 Comments

  • Brett Clements
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm 0Likes

    We’re six weeks out from integrating this into our new online app for Propvid Queensland, which will also see us deliver full HD, with interactive comments. Just waiting for Apple to introduce Flash for the iphone to zip it altogether. That won’t happen in 3.0 though. But we keep wishin’.

  • Glen Barnes
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm 0Likes

    I would recommend against auto-tweeting your blog posts as they come across as impersonal. You should hand craft the links to your blog posts with text that will draw readers to the blog post. The end result is a far nicer experience for the user.

  • scott
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm 0Likes

    It is great that you have had the forethought to separate your accounts into personal and business.

    The big fail for Realestate agents trying out twitter, or any other social media streams, will be when they set up just one account and just post info about listings, price reductions, open homes, etc.

    Having a personal account will allow you to attract others if you remember to keep the posts “social”. (it is social media after all).
    Don’t just post about listings and realestate facts, etc.
    Add some personality to it – general things you are doing, your view of topical events, photos of your holiday, etc.
    Build the relationship as if you are talking to friends.

    The Business account can then be more realestate & listing focus. Followers will come to this if they choose to, for listing info. You will also see them leave when the exit the buying cycle.
    Hopefully though, they will still follow your personal account, which will maintain the relationship.

    A few points to keep note of as well:

    – Add original content whenever you can.
    Don’t just post links to interesting articles or retweet other’s posts.

    – @replies will only be seen by the person you respond to. IF the response is worthy of public viewing, add something before the “@” symbol. (eg: “-@username’)

    – DO NOT make all your @replies public. If your followers want to see all the replies you do, they will already have their settings changed to do this. Don’t force unwanted content onto your other followers.

    – DO NOT use autofollower programs, or anything that sends auto responses to new followers.
    They sound like a good idea, but you will end up attracting spammers and annoying the people you actually want.

    – DO NOT join any programs promising to attract “thousands of followers” for you.
    Why? See the reason above.

    – Remember that Twitter is NOT A COMPETITION. read:

    Your follower number only matters to you and is NOT a reflection if the quality of interaction you can enjoy.

    – It is highly probable that at some point you will get negative feedback in the future regarding your services, via twitter or other social media streams. Be prepared for this and deal with it sensibly.

    Overall, don’t try too hard to “get Twitter” or any other social media.
    It is just marketing, but it is called SOCIAL media for a reason. Be Social.
    Users have the choice to unfollow, or block you, and they will if you annoy them.

    Just have fun with it and learn as you go.

    Social media is not a magic bullet or the be-all-and-end-all for your business.
    It is just another way to connect with potential clients.

  • scott
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 1:45 pm 0Likes

    Sorry about the formatting of my post above going weird.
    I must have a tag added incorrectly somewhere, but cannot edit it to fix it up.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn, Firstly, thanks for the follow. It’s great to see you on Twitter.

    There are lots of URL shortening sites like http://budurl.com, http://tinyurl.com, http://bit.ly (as you mentioned).

    One of the better URL shortening sites I’ve found is http://tr.im because the statistical info is really simple to read as it is displayed in tabular graphs & pie charts. (It even shows you where the traffic is coming from & how many of them are humans & bots, etc)

    I now use tr.im & bit.ly rather than tinyurl.com because the reporting is better on these 2 sites.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 10:36 am 0Likes

    Thanks Greg..

    It has been an interesting couple of days.

    What has impressed me with twitter is it’s sheer ability to make a difference so quickly. Blogs and Facebook work, but they work more slowly, or at least slower than Twitter which is so instant. Most of the people in the industry are like junkies.. we want the instant hit on everything we do, advertising, emarketing etc etc. They place an ad in on Saturday and they want the phone ringing on Saturday 7am. If calls stop on Monday we don’t even notice because we are on to the next ad.

    The concept of investing for the future is foreign to most real estate agents because we want results now. We believe we are all outstanding salespeople so all we need is to speak with the prospect and we can get the business. We think very little of building relationships. Slowly but slowly that attitude is changing.

    Twitter on the other hand works in well with the instant hit thinking. Sure you have to build your followers which takes time.. but when you send out a Tweet the results can happen in seconds if not minutes. As a marketing tool that is incredible.

    The problem I see for Twitter is exactly what agents should be wary of and thats spam. Do a search on the network for anything people are trying to make money on and the results can be useless because of all the spam. Debt, Travel and those sort of topics.. but also spam is now going after trending topics. Anything that gathers enough eyes is being spammed.

    Funnily enough real estate is not heavily spammed at the moment by agents or internet marketers. Thats not to say that there are not agents spewing out posts on every single listing they get.. but there is not enough of them to make it count. I believe if agents choose to directly promote listings on Twitter they should be very selective in how they post Tweets on their listings and choose special or unusual properties. Followers may not take to kindly to it I would think.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, the real time nature of Twitter is so powerful & it’s perfect for agents wanting to see immediate results.

    Twitter is permission marketing & basically when someone follows you on Twitter they’ve basically subscribed to the RSS feed of your Tweets & they choose to recieve that feed or not by either continuing to follow you or un-folow you.

    The spamming part comes into it when someone just keeps on promoting their own product all the time.

    Real estate agents may find it a little hard to comprehend why an agent would want to waste their time posting a tweet on Twitter about anything other than something that would send people back to their website or to one of their own listings.

    The main reason why you don’t tweet your listings all the time is because you will quickly bore your audience & lose your followers.

    Twitter is a micro-blogging tool & if you think of your tweeting like this blog, if Peter kept talking about his web design or Glenn kept posting about the listings from his Nerang office, they would quickly lose their readership.

    Post a few tweets about interesting real estate articles, blog posts, etc on sites based on either the real estate market or local news & information within your service area & then you’ll find that people will follow you because you are helping to share helpful news & information about your local area & real estate trends.

    Think of it like you’re at a party. Do people ask you “How’s the market?” or do they ask you if you could tell them about all the listings you’ve currently got on the market?

    Tweet about what’s happening in the market. That’s what they want to hear about.

    Also, tweeting an inspirational quote from time to time doesn’t hurt either. But once again don’t make it too repetitive. And then from time to time you can tell people about your listings or what’s going on in the office.

    If you beat your own drum too much & use the typical interruption marketing that most agents tend to use offline & bring the same approach onto sites like Twitter, Facebook,etc you’ll find that this practice is frowned upon within the social networks & it can take a while to repair your online reputation.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm 0Likes

    So, if I read this correctly, this is about enhancing an agency brand towards gaining listings – as I still can’t see how it assists in gaining buyers. (?)
    (Enjoying the conversation as I attempt to learn more)
    Rgds,
    Sal 🙂

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm 0Likes

    Sal, here’s a couple of things about online marketing & how Twitter can help.

    1. Building Trust
    Buyers distrust agents. It’s their first instinct. Because they have that initial distrust of agents they are extremely critical of anything that could be misleading in your ads & they will get more frustrated about an agent not emailing them back or calling them back than they would within other industries, eg. waiting in a doctors waiting room or poor restaurant service, etc.

    We are living in a want it now society & most people expect that the agent should be able to respond at their beck & call at any time. And, this happens whether they be a seller, buyer, landlord or tenant.

    Rather than just using REA & Domain, etc to generate buyer leads, you can actually use the conversation style internet that things like Twitter, Facebook, blogs. etc provide & you can leverage these tools to build relationships & break down the distrusting barriers.

    For instance, every day agents are speaking with or meeting up with buyers & are building trust with those people one on one. They spend a lot of time answering buyers questions about certain things that are happening in the market or local bus routes, services, etc. Which is all very important for building trust one-on-one, but why not leverage these answers & provide them in a blog post or a YouTube video, etc so you can re-purpose the content and use it over & over again.

    Because Twitter is only 140 characters & has such a huge audience now, it makes it so much easier to get your message out there.

    2.Leverage
    Twitter not only allows you to generate a lot more visitors across to this content very quickly & on an ongoing basis. But, people will even retweet (RT) your information across to their followers if they find it interesting enough.

    To give you an idea Sal, I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I automatically send out a Direct Message to thank my Twitter followers & within it I include a link to a Youtube video that I did. It’s a simple video about setting your computer passwords as your goals (it’s a strategy I use that helps me a get ongoing reminders of my goals each day. It’s a simple concept that works really well).

    But the best part is that I’ve done the video once & it’s been viewed over 400 times as of now & I get thank you messages from Twitter followers each day about it. ( I’d had very few people see the video before I’d put it on my Twitter DM message ).

    Most of these people I’ve never met & yet they’ve now met me via a 3 – 4 minute video and hopefully they will want to learn more from me.

    So now that one video message that only took me a few minutes to do helps me to start building trust online with my twitter followers & it will keep doing it automatically for years & years to come.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm 0Likes

    Thanx for your time Greg.
    From the sounds of then, as far as real estate agency goes, Twitter is something to add to the PR bag of tricks along the lines of MySpace and Facebook which is a long way behind successful direct marketing techniques. e.g. Capturing and managing qualified buyers (and sellers) from listings in a variety of media including (importantly) your own website!
    (So far to date, Twitter sounds a bit like blurry marketing noise to me as distinct from the sweet song of measurable success)

    Rgds,
    Sal

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm 0Likes

    Ok.. I want to hear everyones opinions and hopefully their reasons…

    Quantity versus Quality.

    I have been hit with a lot of what I consider irrelevant followers. People that are internet marketers, affiliate marketers and just general spammers. To date I have been deleting them as fast as they follow.

    My reasons is I want to have quality followers. Now somepeople recommend this but others say get as many followers as you can.

    Greg, I noticed that you have your fair share of these Internet Marketers… I am not begrudging them a living, I just don’t want them as followers.. As far as I can see I have nothing to gain from them other than occassional ReTweet some of them might do.

    Do you leave them because you see a benefit from having them there or you just could not be bothered filtering them out? It takes time checking them all out and deleting them and keeping on top of them is a chore.

    Has anybody heard of some sort of spam or black list that exists to get rid of these guys automatically??

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, I see it like being in a big bus on a busy freeway. You’ll have people on the bus that you can talk to & the rest are following you in their own vehicle. They are either following you, heading in the same direction or they are going the other way. All of them in their own vehicles, chatting to each other.

    Suddenly, one person in one of the cars following me will see a short message that I hold up in the back window & they may decide to point it out to their friends (ReTweet).

    On the other hand, if the message is no good they will simply ignore it and wait for the next message. Or if the message is something that they don’t like they will decide to change lanes & stop following me.

    By using Tweet Deck you’ll find that managing it all is really easy, because it’s like closing the windows on the bus. It filters out all the noise outside the bus.

    Also Glenn, I follow internet marketers & they follow me because I’m an internet marketer as well as a Real Estate Coach.

    You’ll find that there will be lots of other people following me too & I just simply filter out the noise through Tweet Deck.

    But I’ll never know if someone reading my tweets may be interested in real estate or maybe they have a friend who is & they forward my message onto a friend as a recommendation.

    Actually, on Facebook I’m getting people who know real estate agents sending me friend recommendations to add on my Facebook & my Twitter followers are growing & growing each day.

    Whilst I don’t know these people personally, I can slowly build trust online & they will either use my services or recommend me to their friends. Isn’t that what agents would want too – personal referrals.

    The best thing that can happen to your message on Twitter is to have it retweeted to help to increase your audience & help to build your credibility online.

    Whilst the conversion rate won’t be very high from Twitter, I think of it like what happens with a typical email marketing campaign.

    On an email marketing campaign, a good click through rate is about 20%. So if an agent has a monthly newsletter that goes out to their database, realistically only 1/5th of their database will read their message.

    Which means that if you send out newsletters monthly & only had unique readers from your database reading the monthly newsletters (which doesn’t happen) then it would take 5 months to get your whole database to read one of your newsletters.

    The beauty of having a lot of followers on Twitter means that you can tweet a few times a day & so long as your message is interesting then people will be pleased that the have followed you & they will look forward to your next Tweet.

    For instance Glenn, here’s the stats so far from the Tweet I sent about your post on this blog about the ugly side of Twitter http://screencast.com/t/UtwSpJL3FqM.

    When posting this comment there had been 118 visits ( 97 Humans & 21 Bots) sent across to your post.

    PS. Glenn, let me know if you’d like me to tweet it again. lol 🙂

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm 0Likes

    Greg,

    Thanks for that.. just what I was after..

    I find that many of the affiliate marketing people only follow you because they want you to follow them. A one way street so to speak.

    In the end I really don’t want to follow the internet affiliate marketers but the other day I did not get around to deleting a few of them from following me and found that after a couple of days they had deleted themselves.

    I assume that they are using tweetlater or some other automation service to unfollow anybody that does not follow them. So I think I will trial not deleting them and see how that works… and when I don’t follow them back many of them will unfollow anyway. Anybody that remains can just get some real estate related news 🙂

    Your visitor stats on your article were interesting. I use the bit.ly service and total visitors to them were 137 of which 25 were from my post the rest were from people who used twitterfeed (see below). I thought 25 from my followers at the time which only numbered high 30’s at that time was really good. I guess thats because I manually kept the quality of the list to the real estate industry pretty high.

    Searching Twitter (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=ugly+side+of+twitter) I found out that..

    * at least 5 of your followers Retweeted the article

    * at least 5 other people people independently track this blog with twitterfeed and broadcasted on twitter the articles posted on here. These 5 represented the other 112 clicks.

    * 2 other people read the article on the web and tweeted it and one person retweeted that. They used tinyurl so we dont know how many people clicked on that tweet and read the article.

    There are quite a few URL shortening services but bit.ly, Tr.im and Tinyurl are the most popular and B2 WordPress uses Cl.igs. Without access to the Tinurl and Cl.igs stats I cant be accurate but it would be easily conceivable that across all of Twitter that over 400 people viewed that article.. Probably more. Ya gotta be happy with that Peter!!

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm 0Likes

    Pleased to help Glenn.

    BTW If possible, I’d be really interested to see how many visits Peter got from his shar.es links to that page.

  • Fanny
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:03 am 0Likes

    Yo, that’s what’s up thrutuflly.

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