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Which is the most useful tool, on social media, to engage your audience and create offline conversations?

I asked this question on LinkedInScott Schang‘s answer rang my bell the loudest:

Social Media has introduced me to other professionals that has resulted in business relationships indirectly. Although I have completed transactions as the result of blog responses, that is not the norm.

I would say that I use Social Media primarily as an idea factory to stimulate my marketing juices and utilize technology and 2.0 tools for business promotion and sales tools.

I consistently utilize online webinars, youtube videos and constant contact which creates a perpetual cycle of automated action items that convert contact into clients.

My product is really education and expertise. Through my internet “presence” I am perceived (rightfully so I would hope) as an expert in my field. I think there’s also a familiarity you develop by being so easily accessible on SM sites.

I have also met many professionals like yourself that have helped me to grow and become more innovative and creative through these on-line relationships.

I have built working referral relationships with many other professionals and I believe that my social media reputation helps to facilitate these relationships.

Bloodhound Unchained in Phoenix last year was really the launching point for my confidence to take more chances with my commitment to social media and I realized that I was far from alone in my search for enlightenment.

Rhonda Porter impressed me with her proactive use of Twitter to “build” a community:

I would have to say Twitter. I have “on-the-fence” clients that follow me for rate quotes and eventually convert. Facebook is a close second as I’m reuniting w/old friends from school and their friends and so on…

Linda Davis and Teresa Boardman impressed me the most from the REALTORs because I discounted the use of of Flickr.  I already noted their comments here.  Here are their Flickr accounts:

Linda Davis on Flickr

Teresa Boardman on Flickr

Linda Davis and Kristal Kraft will be teaching at Unchained this April.  As an added bonus, here’s Kristal Kraft’s Flickr PhotoStream.  All of these ladies get a lot of comments on their pictures; I think that’s a bitchin’ way to connect with people.

Danilo Bogdanovic always blows me away with his comprehension of how to effectively use social media.  I have no idea of how effective it is for him but I suspect it’s working well because he truly understands the concept of a social media “strategy”:

Depends on what I’m trying to accomplish. Each platform caters to a different audience and carries a different tone.

Twitter reaches out to everybody because I have my Twitter feed showing on my Facebook profile, FriendFeed, real estate blogs, etc. Twitter has created the most conversation overall especially with RE industry professionals. If I have a question about something, I simply tweet it and I get the question answered online or I receive an email or phone call shortly thereafter from someone who can and wants to help. And I do the same for others. Nevertheless, Twitter has not led directly to clients and real estate sales.

Facebook has created offline conversations with friends, industry professionals and past clients who are now Facebook friends. It has not directly led to sales because I don’t really become “friends” with people who I don’t already know. If they already know me, they know I’m a Realtor and it won’t be just because of Facebook that they want to work with me.

My local real estate blogs are my bread and butter. They have directly and indirectly brought potential clients and actual sales/deals. Most people just follow my blog and don’t comment, but when the time is right, they email or call me to chat about their real estate needs and whether we want to work together.

Though my blogs are the back-bone to online conversations that lead offline conversation with clients, I have to give credit to Twitter and Facebook for helping. I cross-promote all of the social media/social networking sites across all platforms and it helps paint a better and more rounded picture of who I am “on and off the clock” to those who only know me online.

Social media is not just one thing…it’s a combination of them all, but you have to point them all back to what brings you business in the end. For me, that’s my real estate blog. For others, it could be something totally different.

There were 23 answers to the question.  Log in to Linked in and read them all.

Related posts:
  • Pictures Still Sell
  • Search Engine Marketing is about Conversations – my (errr…) Manifesto
  • Writing an office policy manual for Real Estate 2.0

  • 9 comments

    9 Comments so far

    1. J Boyer Morristown NJ December 27th, 2008 10:32 pm

      boy, there are just so may social media options out there. I also have found that the blogs have been what has brought people in the most though.

    2. Missy Caulk December 28th, 2008 8:48 am

      Linda and Kristal speaking great job!

    3. Todd December 28th, 2008 9:20 am

      If we are going to be really strict about it, and take your question in the most literal sense…

      “Conversion” of the on-line to off-line is reliant on your ability to react very quickly to inquiries, direct or indirect. That assumes you have a commend of listening tools like Twitter and a proper device to make the conversion, cause a conversation.

      Twitter listening tools for the iPhone and the G1 are readily available, but the problem is no make effective use of the phones address book. While I hope to have this fixed soon, in the mean time it’s a manual process – something I am confident Mr. Brady and all Bloodhound people can handle.

      Scenario

      You have your iPhone’s Twitter app set to monitor any utterance of your name and a few choice keywords ( “Brian Brady”, “@yourtwitterscreenname, “mortgage rate”, etc. ). When the notice arrives, you should be one touch from initiating a voice call to whomever IF they are in your phone’s address book. Otherwise a polite response using a Twitter Direct Message that includes your phone number is a “conversion”?

      It’s important to note that the G1 keeps your phone’s call history synchronized with your Gmail contact list, which is superior functionality to the iPhone.

      Anyway, if you have any input on how this work flow should go, how your phone’s Facebook and Twitter apps should integrate with your address book, speak up.

    4. Rhonda Porter December 28th, 2008 10:22 am

      I forgot about Flickr! I’ve been uploading photos to a huge local neighborhood blog…it’s a great sticky way to be social. I love taking photos…so I enjoy this tool. I didn’t really understand Flickr until I attended Teresa Boardman’s class this summer in San Francisco at RE Connect. (pinch me).

      I look at all this social media stuff as “fishing”…these sites are just various fishing holes and some work for us better than others…sometimes it’s the lure that attracts the consumer…sometimes we’re just plain lucky to be where all the fish are at and to get actual bites instead of nibbles.

      Because of Twitter and Flicker (and our great local neighborhood blogs like http://www.westseattleblog.com and http://www.citizenrain.com (RE section)…I’ve been fortunate to have my tweets and photos re-broadcasted to my local community.

      Facebook, I’ve recently become drawn back into–mainly because of old friends finding me and then recommending me to other friends I once knew. Not too shabby!

      My blog still reigns king for me. I receive several emails a day beginning with “I’ve been reading your blog for months…now I need a mortgage”.

    5. Doug Devitre December 28th, 2008 1:46 pm

      I really have enjoyed LinkedIn. I have made several contacts and done business by making suggestions and recommendations using the group discussions.

      Each of the profiles link back to the blog but LinkedIn at least for me have been the best.

    6. Thomas Johnson December 28th, 2008 5:37 pm

      Nice cross media platform linkage, Brian!

      All this SMM requires a huge habit change to maximize the results. If you Flik you have to have your camera with you. If you Youtube, better have your flip charged and ready. If you are a twit, keep those thumbs moving! As a blogger, you better pull in to your wifi hotspot and tickle the QWERTY. Don’t forget to take a listing or sell a house when your can fit it in, which in Texas, still requires a pen with ink in it. Oh my, what’s a dinosaur to do?

    7. Todd December 29th, 2008 7:02 am

      @Thomas Johnson

      All modern smart phones have the means to take pictures, video and a QWERTY keyboard, eliminating the need to carry all those devices.

      Also, a contract of sale in pdf form with any of the digital signature services ( DocuSign, EchoSign, etc. ) is completely legal in Texas – no paper and pen required.

      “…What’s a dinosaur to do?”

      Evolve.

    8. Kevin Schmidtchen December 30th, 2008 12:47 pm

      I agree that the backbone is your blog and the tools and info that you provide to clients. This shows your expertise and what you (your product) can offer potential clients. Flickr, Facebook etc are just other avenues that compliment the real backbone…your offering…be it a blog or something similar

    9. Susan January 24th, 2009 5:25 pm

      So many social media sites, I believe it can be overwhelming. It would be difficult to utilize them all unless you had a team of people doing it for you, and some do! In my opinion a blog is very important and from there just see what works best for you. I keep meaning to check out Flickr, but never seem to get there.