According to www.Compete.com, Twitter ranks as the 3rd most trafficked social networking site in the United States right behind MySpace (#2), and Facebook (#1). Twitter receives 54 million unique visitors per month and is expected to grow as many consumers turn to this social networking find out what is happening now between friends, co-workers, and clients.
Watch this funny video on using Twitter
A Twitter profile is a website and the fate of this marketing, communication, and advertising vehicle depends on frequency, accuracy, and timeliness of the interaction between publisher and reader.
There are several reasons why real estate professionals should use Twitter but instead of focusing on reasons let talk implementation:
Enhanced customer service. Start following your followers and engage in @Replies and Direct messages (private) to answer questions quickly. Download a program called http://www.tweetdeck.com/ to your computer to organize, sort, and follow up with comments, questions, or feedback from your clients or prospects. If someone asks for feedback on a showing then you can reply quickly to their Tweet by text message from your mobile phone.
Share articles. If you read online articles or produce your own from your blog and think your Twitter followers will benefit then it is perfectly okay to share them. Constant self promotion does not work with online social networking however if you can share your blog posts in a way that will benefit your readers then you will build trust and repeat visitors. It is also perfectly to “ReTweet”, which means to share the same tweet another has posted but give them full credit. For example if Bob posted an article http://budurl.com/gtarsocialmedia and you like the article you could Tweet “RT (Retweet) @Bob http://budurl.com/gtarsocialmedia great article from Bob on Social media.
Share new ideas. Changes in mortgage interest rates, tax laws, state regulations, and municipal codes allow for creative professionals to help their clients immediately. For example, when the 8,000 first-time home buyer Federal tax credit was passed initially, agents shared this news on Twitter and helped other buyers secure financing they might not otherwise qualify. Post links to the articles about these ideas from other sources. See #4.
Share important links. Links include websites, blog posts, pictures, videos, and status updates. Since Twitter only allows for 140 characters or less it may be difficult to type all you want to say in the small window. Services like www.TinyURL.com, http://www.adjix.com, and many others by copying and pasting long URLs into the window and it will produce a shortened URL to paste into Twitter. Also try http://ping.fm to shorten links and update all of your social media profiles at once including Twitter.
Share photos. Photos of new listings, neighborhood photos and company events can be shared immediately with the world using www.TwitPic.com. Each picture creates its own URL and links directly to the Twitter account.
Share videos. Record testimonials, live events, or construction in action using the Flip Video camera (highly recommended) and post them to http://beta.twiddeo.com. A service very similar to TwitPic but for videos only.
Incorporate email. Create your own Twitter email address that allows you to update your Twitter account by email at http://twittermail.com. Create the profile online and receive your own Twitter email address. Save yourself as a contact record in your database management like Microsoft Outlook and save the Twitter email address as #2 or #3. Twittermail also works with Twitpic by attaching photos to your email address.
Prospecting on Twitter. www.Twellow.com is the Yellow Pages of Twitter. Quickly type in the person’s name who you want to do business with and start following them. Since the only thing you can do is follow someone it may be necessary for you to send them a private email to follow you on Twitter and use a scripted message with a hyperlink to your profile.
Track Twitter Stats. http://twitter.grader.com will give you a score to see how well you are using Twitter compared to others in your community. http://twittercounter.com will inform other on your blog to follow you and notify them how many people are following you on Twitter. http://tweetstats.com is a great tool to see how often you are using the functionality of the system.
Damage control. Supervise your name and profile activity by incorporating http://tweetbeep.com/ which is very similar to Google Alerts. Anytime keywords appear in a Tweet, produce by one person, etc., you will receive a notification by email to let you know how you should respond. It is recommended to set up your personal name, company name, and the competition to see what they are doing.
What may seem like a lot of work may only take a few minutes a day. We take time to check our voicemail, email, and text messages but they do not consume the entire day unless we let it. Proper time management skills are necessary to focus on building relationships, finding new prospects, and serving existing clients.
Take the plunge and create your Twitter account today and start experimenting if you haven’t done so already. If you were just trying out email 20 years ago for the first time I feel your pain. Consumers soon will expect this as a level of service. Will you remain relevant in 2009?
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