Unless you have not watched television or been on the Internet in the past 12 months, then you most likely know, or have at least heard of, Twitter. Whether you have embraced Twitter just recently, have been using it for months now or are yet to “tweet”, this post is dedicated to explaining the value of Twitter as it pertains to your real estate business.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows people to “tweet” back and forth, similar to instant messaging or text messaging, but allows the public to view each message depending on who is paying attention to you (also known as “following” you).
Each “tweet” is limited to 140 characters so that the Twitter stream does not get congested with long diatribes or spammy messages. This forces each message to be short, sweet and easy to digest.
Twitter currently has about 15-20 million users and is continuing to grow rapidly each month. Starting as a simple messaging vehicle Twitter has now become one of the more common forms of communication for B2B, B2C and C2C.
Real Estate Marketing with Twitter
Whether you think you need to be on Twitter or not, you cannot argue with the fact that millions of people actively use Twitter as a regular form of communication or medium for news, information and entertainment. In addition to the widespread usage of Twitter, the platform acts as a fantastic way for businesses to directly communicate with their prospects and clients, and vice versa. Once an attentive audience is developed Twitter becomes a low cost marketing tool for communicating business related information to attain new clients and generate more revenue. We’re going to tell you how to build your own audience so you can start marketing your real estate business effectively with Twitter.
How to Setup a Twitter Account
Here is a list of some things you MUST do with Twitter to start establishing your voice and capturing your audience. If you already have a Twitter account setup, then feel free to skip to our section on How to Use Twitter for Real Estate Marketing below or go through the steps below in case you missed something on your current account.
STEP 1: Select a Relevant Username
To setup your Twitter account you will need to select a username. This will be your Twitter calling card moving forward so give this one some thought before you just choose anything.
Tips for Selecting a Username:
- Keep it clear and simple. This is not a license plate
- Keep it consistent with your other social media accounts. For example, if your Facebook account is /joerealtor then make your Twitter username the same thing. If it’s not available then try to get something close.
- If you are representing a company / brokerage then try to use your company / brokerage name (i.e. /ExitRealtor)
- If your name, company name or other related names are taken, then try to make your username a relevant key phrase (i.e. /AnytownREAgent)
STEP 2: Find People to Follow
One of the most important things you will need to do on Twitter, especially during your first few months of using it, will be to follow and listen to people who have been using it for some time and/or have established some type of authority for what they are representing. For example, a good person to follow right off the bat for real estate professionals might be someone like Tom Ferry (@CoachTomFerry) or us of course (@REMarketingTips) <– shameless plug
Tips for Following People:
- Follow people that genuinely interest you. If you follow someone just because they are popular, then you may find your Twitter stream inundated with posts that do not keep your attention or help you learn anything
- Be selective about who you follow. Don’t start following everybody and anybody as you will find that your Twitter stream will get very noisy and overwhelming.
- Use tools like Google Search, TweetTop and Listorious to find see recommendations from other users of who to follow based on what topics or type of people you are interested in.
- Find your friends and colleagues on Twitter and make sure to follow them to build a referral network. If they aren’t interesting or relevant, then you can always unfollow them later.
BONUS: Here is a list of some of the top real estate related Twitter users to follow.
STEP 3: Adjust the Your Settings
Twitter does a great job of keeping things very simple for its users, but there are a few things that are not activated by default that we recommend you spend some time on. None of these settings will make or break your Twitter account or its success, but we have found them to be helpful for us in building a strong following.
- Under “Settings”, make sure to check the “Add a location to your tweets” box. This will allow people to see where your tweets are coming from and thus makes your posts more hyper-local.
- Make sure to uncheck the “Protect my tweets” box. This is only useful if you do NOT want anyone to see your Twitter updates. We don’t recommend keeping your Twitter posts private as it defeats the purpose of being on Twitter in the first place (in our opinion).
STEP 4: Optimize Your Profile
One of the most overlooked features of Twitter is the ability to actually do a little bit of optimization to help your profile and tweets get indexed in the search engines. This is especially important as the search engines continue to push forward with real-time search results and social search results.
Tips for Optimizing Your Profile:
- Upload a picture of yourself (a crop of your face works best). This will show up when people follow you and it makes your feed much more personal. People are more inclined to follow someone they can put a face to as opposed to just some robot that automatically regurgitates content
- Use your real name. This will help people find and recognize you.
- Enter your current location.
- Use the “Web” field to enter the url of your main website or blog. This is a great way to get some traffic back to it with little to no work.
- Write a concise, relevant and unique bio. Try to work in at least one main key phrase if possible. For example, if you are a Los Angeles Realtor then try to get that in your bio.
STEP 5: Give Your Twitter Account Some Personality
The finishing touches to a great Twitter account are to customize the design of your Twitter page. Now, although most people use Twitter clients these days as opposed to going to Twitter.com, it is still beneficial to keep your branding consistent to maintain brand equity and awareness throughout all of your web properties.
Tips for Designing Your Twitter Page:
- Do not use one of Twitter’s provided themes. They are used a thousand times over by other users and provide no branding benefit to you.
- Spend a few dollars to have a social media designer professionally put together a custom Twitter background that matches the branding of your website and / or blog. (A couple great companies for this are Themeleon and TweetPages)
- Make sure to match up your design colors (click on CHANGE DESIGN COLORS next to CHANGE BACKGROUND IMAGE) to match the fonts and outlines of your page to the design provided by whomever you use.
How to Use Twitter for Real Estate Marketing
We have provided you with step by step instructions to get your Twitter account up and running. Now, we are going to tell you how to actually market your real estate business on Twitter to meet the following goals:
- Establish authority as a reputable resource for your local area
- Build your referral network
- Generate more leads
- Communicate with existing clients and leverage them for marketing
- Acquire more clients. Sell more homes.
RECOMMENDATION: Get a Twitter application for your mobile phone and your computer. We suggest anyone of the following applications: HootSuite, Tweetie, TweetDeck, Seesmic. These applications will make tweeting much more convenient and easier to pick up as a part of your everyday routine.
TIP 1: Listen
If you want to learn how to effectively market yourself on Twitter, then spend some time listening to active users. By “listen” we mean observe, research and understand what effective users do to gain followers and strike up viral conversations. As mentioned above, here is a good list of sites to help you find active, authoritative Twitter users to listen to:
TIP 2: Update
One of the most important things you need to do with Twitter is to keep it updated. This does not mean that you have to tweet every time you take a bite of your lunch. All this means is that you need to consistently post relevant, useful and timely messages to your Twitter account. Even if your updates come once a week, if they are extremely valuable, funny, resourceful or unique then they will be much more effective then someone who just tweets every 5 minutes about irrelevant things. To get you going, here are some things to possibly tweet about:
- Newly acquired listings
- Recently sold listings
- Property price changes
- Community / neighborhood news where most of your listings are (especially if a new store or amenity becomes available)
- Tips on best neighborhoods to live in
- Tips on best schools in the area
- Links to property virtual tours, images or listing pages on your website
TIP 3: Promote
At this point you should start seeing some people follow you and you should be getting a good stream of quality updates from people you’re following. The next crucial step is to promote your Twitter presence properly. Just as you need to market your website, you must also do so for your Twitter account. Fortunately Twitter, and many other companies, make it very easy for you to do so. Here are some ways to get people to acknowledge your Twitter presence:
- Add Twitter widgets to your website(s) and blog(s)
- Use your @_________ Twitter username in all of your correspondence, especially your email signature
- Get Twitter users, especially those with lots of followers, to retweet some of your best Twitter updates
- Buy sponsored tweets through services like TweetUp, SponsoredTweets and BeTweeted
BONUS: Check out our post on Link Building with Twitter to get some additional advice on how to best promote yourself and your Twitter account
TIP 4: Engage
Twitter, and all other social networks, are not meant to be a one way conversation. To realize the potential of a strong Twitter marketing campaign you MUST create conversations with other people using these networks. If you’re just constantly talking AT people and not WITH them, then your Twitter efforts are most likely to go unnoticed. Here are some tips to help you create results producing conversations:
- Ask questions to spark conversations (more times than not, controversial questions tend to rouse people the quickest and get them talking)
- Include hash tags (i.e. #realestate) in your tweets so people can easily find and following trending topics
- Include links in the majority of your tweets. There is nothing worse than when someone recommends a site, but doesn’t provide a link to it
- Answer questions that other people are asking. Use Twitter Search to find a topic people are talking about and answer some questions
- Follow people who compliment your expertise and strike up conversations with them
- Retweet interesting / useful posts from other users
Successful Twitter Marketing Campaigns Start Here
We have found that the people who are not on Twitter or who have had no success with the Twitter account are also the ones that have not fully embraced its potential. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t think Twitter is for every single person. Some people are just not cut out to tweet. There is nothing wrong with this, but we highly recommend that you have someone manage your presence for you on Twitter if you fall into this category because it is another, free lead generation and traffic source for your real estate business.
Hopefully all of the tips above will get you going and help you to realize the potential that Twitter Real Estate Marketing can hold for you. Maintaining a successful Twitter campaign is really not difficult. If nothing else, just follow these 5 simple tips and we’re confident that you will do great:
- Be creative
- Be unique
- Be authentic
- Be relevant
- Be interesting
Follow these and you will be well on your way to developing another solid lead generation source for your business. We’re even willing to bet that you become pretty addicted to Twitter, which will help you utilize other networks for real estate marketing like Facebook. If you’re already on that path then check out our post on Facebook Real Estate Marketing as well.
As always, if you have any questions, contributions or would like to pick our brains a little more then please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.