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Real estate agents often ask me for those helpful hints that they can use to amp up their social media marketing efforts. Many times we feel like our Facebook posts, Tweets, and Linkedin updates are falling on blind eyes, and we get frustrated because we are not seeing the instant results. The next thought that comes to our minds is to just quit focusing time and effort on marketing in these avenues. But truth be told, that is the worst thing we can do. We have to be ever vigilant in our social media marketing efforts, so to help boost your spirit here are a few social media marketing tips to use.

1. Go where your customers are – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times (Man, I heard that a million times growing up), you have to market yourself where your target market is. Having 10 social media profiles is fine and dandy, but if you are only devoting one half the efforts to those platforms then you need to cut back to the 3 or 5 or 1 where your target market is. Devote all of your time and energy to only those platforms. Tip within a tip – delete the other profiles. It is better to not be on them at all if you will not be actively updating them.
2. Don’t bore me with real estate – Wow, as a lover of real estate and business, that HURT! It hurt me to type it, and it likely hurt you to read it. The general public could care less about real estate unless they are in the market to buy or sell right now. Don’t be about real estate all the time. Mix up your posts. Tell a humorous story about something that your child said or something that happened at the grocery store. Post a few home improvement tips, gardening tips, etc. Mix it up, and be yourself.
3. Be yourself – Perhaps the most overlooked social media tip EVER! We are always modeling our efforts after some social media “guru” or expert. It is ok to model your efforts after theirs, but don’t try to BE them. Just let the real you come out in your posts and updates so that your fans will know you are a real person. These are social networks, so be your social self.
4. Don’t miss the Facebook train – Chances are your target market is on Facebook, so use Facebook to create a mailing list. Use iFrames to create a “like/reveal” page. After your fans “like” your page use a lead capture form to get email addresses to use for marketing purposes. Don’t abuse your list, but a monthly or biweekly newsletter is plenty to keep you on your client’s minds. Need help with iFrames, just ask me.

Try these 4 tips in your social media marketing campaign to boost your feedback, enjoyment, and profit from social media. Speaking of feedback… if you have an awesome tip that you would like to share with everyone, PLEASE (yes, that was a slight beg on my part) do so below. I’d love to know what is working for you! AND, don’t forget to leave a link to your website for some added SEO juice.

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So, I know you've read about Google+ Pages already because I wrote about the feature on my blog a few weeks ago, and you always read my blog posts, don't you?  Well, I also know that you went right to Google+ and created your business page because you are an implementer, aren't you?

Ok, so now that you've got your Google+ Page created, you need followers.  Here are 7 ways to get new followers for your new business page on Google+.

1. Stuff Your Page with Content – Think about your reaction when you excitedly arrive at the grand opening of a Whole Foods in your area, and the shelves are bare when you rush into the store.  Having a Google+ business page with no content is basically the same thing, so you need to load your page with content and posts.

2. Promote Your Page on Other Platforms – What better way is there to beef up your followers than to steal them from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts.  They know you already.  They like you already.  And they will follow you on Google+ if you tell them you are there.

3. Install Direct Connect Code on Your Website – Direct Connect allows businesses to become eligible for various search capabilities, including the ability to have a Google+ post shown in organic search results.

4. Add the Google+ Button to Your Website – Installing these buttons to your website will help convert website visitors into Google+ followers.

5. Share Your Content – Pay attention to the types of content that your followers are responding to and add more of that content via blog posts, links to your webinars, etc.

6. Post Photos – Photos of your smiling buyers or sellers, photos of your newest listing, etc are very powerful ways to share with your followers.  Photos obviously appeal to the senses.  Get your followers attracted to your page, and they'll keep coming back for more.

7. Hangout for a While – Use Google+ Hangouts to live chat with up to 10 followers.  Why not offer an online home buyer seminar or home seller forum where you present info and also host a Q&A session afterwards?

Use some of these tactics to grow your loyal following on Google+ and watch your search engine visibility grow along with it. 

If you have a killer tactic to add to my list, please do so below.  I know I can always use more fresh new ideas as well, so your input is appreciated.  Oh yeah, since you are here, click here to become a follower of Stratus' company page on Google+.

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So, yesterday I shared with you my little marketing secret. My gem that works every time I use it. My ace in the hole, so to speak… Storytelling! One of the storytelling strategies I shared with you was to tell a “Story of Success.” I told you that I would share with you my Story of Success today, so here it is.
Last month I received a phone call from an agent in Birmingham, AL by the name of Vinnie Alonzo. I’d met Vinnie several times before but never personally shared with him what I do to help Realtors grow their business. Well, Vinnie called me after he attended a class I taught about how Local Search can boost an agent’s business, and he told me that he had a problem that he was sure I could help him with. I liked his confidence in me, but I wanted to know his problem before I committed to helping him. Vinnie’s problem was that he couldn’t find himself. No, no, not exactly that way. He couldn’t find himself on Google when he would search anything other than his name. He told me that he would like my help with SEO. Vinnie is a very driven and competitive agent, like many are, and he was NOT happy with the fact that 3 or 4 agents in his office were on page 1 of Google when he was nowhere to be found. He asked if I would help him get to page 1 of Google because he gets it. He understands that an individual agent must be easily “found” everywhere, including having a strong presence on the web as part of his marketing in today’s real estate market.
Well, since I’m never afraid of a challenge, I scheduled an appointment with Vinnie without asking many questions. At our first meeting we discussed and worked on his keywords and his on-page SEO. I gave him homework to SEO the rest of his website and make it more SEO friendly by adding more of his keyword “Birmingham Homes.” Between our first and second meetings I went to Google and indexed Vinnie’s website.
At our second meeting, Vinnie and I discussed blogging and how blogging regularly can help to add more keywords to his site, as well as add more fresh content. His homework assignment was to write one blog that contained his keyword, Birmingham Homes, and post that blog to his site. He also was to re-write that blog post 2 more times using a different title and writing each post marginally different than he did the last. It was then that I almost lost Vinnie. Although he thought I was torturing him for the sake of torturing him, Vinnie trusted me because he saw the results of my work in the Local Search class I taught. Vinnie had never written a blog before, even though he knew he needed to be writing frequently. I showed Vinnie a blog post that I had written about how/where to come up with topics for real estate blogs, and I left for my office.
Well, even though I thought I may have lost Vinnie during our second meeting, I was pleasantly greeted with an email from him when I arrived at my office. You guessed it! It was his very first blog post – Do Birmingham Homes Sell During The Holiday Season?. Not only was this Vinnie’s first blog post, but it is a darn good one. It is very conversational and informative and his keywords are in it. I quickly proofed it (because it is who I am – I can’t help it!), and replied to his email that he had done a marvelous job. I received his other 2 blogs over the next 2 mornings, and we were ready for our third meeting.
At meeting #3, we discussed how Vinnie was going to use social bookmarks to drive more traffic to his first blog post and use the other 2 blog posts for article submissions. Vinnie was still excited and optimistic that we he could do this; however, he wasn’t seeing any results as Google still had not indexed his site. Despite the lack of immediate visible results Vinnie was still eager to tackle his week 3 homework assignment… backlinking.
Sometime between week 3 and week 4 meetings, I received a phone call from Vinnie. As soon as I heard his voice on the other line I knew he was excited about something. “We are on Page 8, my friend!” Finally!!! Big G had finally indexed his site, and Vinnie’s hard work was starting to payoff. He was seeing results, and there was no stopping him now.
When I arrived at his office for our week 4 meeting, Vinnie still had a huge smile on his face, and he was chomping at the bit for more instruction. We discussed how one of his blog posts needed to be rewritten because the article site rejected it, and we discussed how to properly backlink and why backlinks are important. I gave Vinnie his homework, about 150 backlink sources, stressed to him that he needs to be careful that his backlinks are not spammy, and I left him and his assistant, Cindy, to let them get to work.
A day or two after our week 4 meeting I received another excited phone call from Vinnie. “We are on page 4 now! We are moving on up!” I have to admit that I thought Vinnie, in all of his excitement, was going to break into the theme of the TV show The Jeffersons, but sadly he didn’t.
At our week 5 meeting, Vinnie and I discussed the power of the press release. I left him with his homework assignment again, and the next day I received the first “special report” that is the subject of his press release. Vinnie is currently making modifications to his second special report, per my request (I know… I already admitted I have a problem!), and I have a feeling that I’ll have his revised second report and report #3 today.
Well, Vinnie’s website is currently on page 3 of Google for his target keyword. Google still has not found most of the backlinks that Vinnie has posted, and he has yet to send the press releases out to the world (wide web). So I have no doubt that Vinnie will see his website rank on page 1 (most likely spot 1) of Google once it catches up to the work he has been doing over the past 5 weeks. So, you may ask, “How is this a ‘Story of Success’ when Vinnie’s site hasn’t gotten to page 1, spot 1 yet?” Well, today the success here is that Vinnie is extremely pleased with the results he’s gotten so far. He said that he is happy to see that he is at least showing up now when he is searched. Once the dust settles, and he finds himself on page 1, spot 1. The Story of Success won’t be that he’s on page 1, spot 1; but the Story of Success will be that he did it himself.

If you or anyone you know can benefit from being found on the first page of Google and you would like me to help with that process, then please don’t hesitate to call me at 205-202-1723 or email me at andy{at}stratussocialmedia.com. I’m always happy to help.

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Ok, well, it is not really a secret, but it is EXTREMELY powerful.  It is not 100% my idea.  It is a marketing tip I stole/borrowed/took/hijacked/learned from others who are smarter than I am.  I then morphed it into my own version of their idea and morphed my version of it into my marketing plan.  This next statement is kind of sad, but it still not widely used by many sales people in today's world.  It is the one thing I can do to get my telephone to ring EVERY time I implement this little marketing gem.  It is what I like to call my "Story of Success".  So, what exactly is it, you ask?

Well, "it" is the lost art of storytelling in business.  "WHOA!  WHOA!  WHOA!" you say.  "The lost art of storytelling?"

Yep, the truly lost art of storytelling.  We (you and me) get so wrapped up in the rapidity of today's society that we often don't pay any attention to what it is that our clients want and need.  We've got to have everything at the speed of light or we move on to some other place, store, or website where we can get what we need as quickly as we want it.  We think that because WE want that information or product right now that everyone else does as well, including our clients.  Well, there is truth to that.  We do live in a world of instant gratification (I like to call it the www.itsallaboutme.com world).  Our clients live in that world too, but in order to truly do our job and serve our clients well we must take them out of that world as frequently as we can. 

We can take our clients out of that world by practicing and mastering the art of storytelling again.  Storytelling has become a lost art in our world of 140 characters and text messages.  Here is an example of how you can bring storytelling back into your marketing plan and watch your sales rise in the process…

John and Mary called me last week because they need to sell their house, and they asked for my assistance.  You see, John and Mary have an issue.  Their issue is that they are expecting again.  Well, that's more of a blessing than an issue.  But, #4 is on the way, and John and Mary's beautiful 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom full brick starter home that they purchased 2 months after they got married will soon be busting at the seams.  Because both John and Mary's families live out of town, they often have family staying with them to visit for holidays and birthdays.  John and Mary just don't have enough room to accommodate their growing family AND their family visitors.  So, John and Mary's issue is that they've got to sell this beautiful home that they have loved and cared for all of these years and buy a larger home. 

While she was sitting on the sofa in the living room looking out of the windows to the backyard, Mary almost came to tears when she started talking about bringing Elizabeth (their first child) in the front door from the hospital and how Elizabeth has enjoyed playing in their huge backyard.  Elizabeth has also grown to love gardening and spends a great deal of time with Mary in the yard making sure the beautiful azaleas that line the back of the fenced in yard are full of blooms in the spring time.  You see, Mary has not just grown a garden full of beautiful flowers and trees at this home, she has grown…

Storytelling in real estate can be a beautiful thing.  Our industry lends itself to storytelling.  All buyers and sellers have one!  So, instead of giving me just the facts or features of the new listing that you have, why don't you tell me the story of the house and the owners in your newsletter?  While you are telling me the story of the house and the owners, you are also mixing the features of the house into the story, as well.  You've given me so much more than, "I just listed a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath in XYZ neighborhood.  Let me know if any of your friends or family are interested in seeing it."  You've tied me emotionally to the house and the owners. 

Try this tactic also.  Present your prospects with a "Story of Success." Tell them the story of "Steve" the extremely busy young professional whom you helped negotiate the deal of a lifetime on his first home purchase (the story of Steve's success).  Tell them how you had 5 of the PERFECT homes picked out for Steve to view the morning before he left for a 1 month business trip to China, tell them how Steve fell in love with the modern downtown loft with no yard and little to no upkeep, give them all of the details of the tough negotiation process while Steve was 1/2 way around the world, how you kept the deal together after the home inspection through your persuasive suggestion that the seller provide Steve a home warranty for the first year, tell them how Steve's family loves you and invited you to Steve's welcome home/house warming party they threw for Steve at his new loft when he got back from China.

The benefits of getting your buyer and seller prospects emotionally committed are many:

Fewer Lowball Offers on Your Listings – After reading John and Mary's story above, the human side of me is much less likely to offer John and Mary 50% of the asking price of their house because I now "know" John and Mary.  I now know that they have loved, cared for, and started their beautiful family in that house, and it is just not in my nature to offer them less than something reasonable on the house.  I am not going to insult my new friends John and Mary now!

No More Lost Listings – Present the owner's of the home you have a listing appointment with tomorrow their story as part of your listing presentation.  If you can spark emotion in those potential clients with THEIR story, then you will get the listing.  100% GUARANTEED!  I don't care if you tell them they need to list the house 10% below market.  You will get that listing!

Your Prospects Become Those Stories -  Any prospect, buyer or seller, who reads a story that they relate to emotionally will put themselves in the leading role of that story.  If they are not in the position to be the lead character of your story themselves, they start to look for others in their lives who are (friends, family, coworkers, church friends, etc).  Today, I could have told a story about a Realtor who over the past 4 years has struggled tremendously to make ends meet during these tough times.  How she had to take her children out of the private school they have been in for the past 6 years and put them in public schools.  How she had to sell much of her jewelry and sentimental possessions to make the mortgage payment during the winter of 2010/2011, and then how she used storytelling techniques in her marketing plan a few months ago and is now the #3 producing agent in her office.  If I had done that, and you could relate to her story, it then becomes your story.  You would become the lead character in that story, and my story would be on your mind for the rest of the day, week, month, and/or year.  No, I'm not claiming to be all that and a bag of chips too.  It is not me.  It is the power of storytelling!

Clients for Life and More Referrals – Emotionally touching your clients with a story will get you clients for life.  A buyer you helped will remember how powerful your sales (storytelling) technique is; and, when that buyer is ready to sell, you will list that home.  Sellers will remember how your telling of their story helped sell their house quicker and for more money, and they will list with you again.  You will earn your buyers and sellers referral business, and you will dominate your market.  That means, you win!

I could have written today's post with one sentence.  That sentence is "If you touch prospects, seller, and buyers emotionally with their own story or any story they can relate to, you win!"  But had I done that my point would have been lost.  Perhaps I'll turn that sentence into my Tweet for today, and wait on my phone to ring…

I hope my very wordy "get to the point" blog post about storytelling really hit home with you, so that you can see the importance of this ultra powerful lost art.  Hopefully, you will now agree with me that you should implement this powerful tool into your marketing plan.  I'm really excited about reminding you of the power of storytelling today.  Please come back to my blog tomorrow, and I will I tell you MY "Story of Success."

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