I was excited to see that so many REALTOR® Associations are using Twitter that I created my own Real Estate Twitter List. Many real estate companies and REALTOR® Associations have created their profile because everyone says to but now aren’t sure what to do next. I have been using Twitter since 2007 but am always looking to improve the communication by learning from others and making mistakes along the way. The way I see it, the more mistakes the better because they allow you to learn. The important lesson is not to make the same one twice.
How can you tell if your REALTOR® Association is using Twitter effectively? I used the following criteria when I was making my list:
- How many followers do they have? In other words, how many people have chosen that REALTOR® Association as a credible source of delivering information using Twitter?
- How many friends do they have? In other words, how many people is the REALTOR® Association following?
- How frequently do they Tweet?
There is no rule that says you must have X followers, X friends, and X tweets, but it would be safe to assume that if the numbers are low or there is an unequal mix than there is always room for improvement.
I Stumbled Upon FlockChart, a great service that allows you to analyze Twitter activity from a Twitter List. Here I was able to see which REALTOR® Associations were really using Twitter and which were just beginning.
Please note: The REALTOR® Associations in the following screenshots were randomly selected by FlockChart and the tips made are not directed to any individual association.
So the question is how can we improve the number of friends, followers, and updates and NOT spend the entire day in front of the computer? Here is how Flockchart can be used to analyze what areas of Twitter accounts need the most work.
Get More Friends (Followers)
Follow your members. You want to follow your REALTOR® members on Twitter is because they are your customers. Companies and associations that follow their members can listen to what they are posting and the members can communicate privately with the association. How do you know if your members are on Twitter? To use services like Twellow (the Yellow Pages of Twitter) or to use the Twitter search engine to find individual members would be too time consuming and not very effective. Instead, export your member roster as a .CSV file (Comma Separated Value) which is a barebones version of an Excel spreadsheet. Eliminate all columns except for First Name, Last Name, and Email Address. Twitter currently only allows contact uploads from and AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail account. If you do not have your Agents uploaded into any of these services, I recommend creating a Gmail account. It will serve your association greatly in many aspects of social media and collabration. After creating the gmail account, import the .CSV file into your contacts. After this is complete Twitter can easily find the contacts and add those with Twitter accounts
Note: Twitter only allows 100 new people to be followed each day, so this might need to be done in segments. This is a measure that they take to combat spam.
After the import of .CSV contacts into Gmail you can then import the contacts into Twitter. Login to your Twitter account, choose Find People at the top of the screen, and enter the information so that Twitter can find the contacts.
I know some REALTOR® Associations have strict rules on uploading their membership database to a 3rd party website because of privacy concerns so please have that conversation with staff or leadership to determine the best solution. An alternative would be to encourage your members to follow your Association’s account, as it is easy to follow those that are already following you.
To get more members to follow your REALTOR® Association on Twitter you must use both traditional and non-traditional marketing methods. Here is a quick list:
- Follow your members. Most people that you follow will follow you back. Read the paragraph on Follow your members for a quick recap.
- Include a link on your email signature. Since your REALTOR® Association Twitter profile is assigned its own hyperlink (for example http://Twitter.com/MaineRealtors) be sure that every staff member has a link recommending members to follow the association. Also include the link on any email newsletter.
- Post Twitter link to dues reminder. Since every member must renew their dues for the 2010 year, include a hyperlink to the invoice, hyperlink on the email receipt, and on the web page where they must renew.
- Include the ‘Follow Us on Twitter!’ logo on every printed document. These could include REALTOR® Association letterhead, committee agendas, strategic action plans, and meeting minutes.
Sending out Tweets
The largest amount of start-up time with Twitter is setting up the account and starting to follow the members. The easy part of Twitter is actually posting relevant Tweets and responding to members. What types of Tweets could REALTOR® Associations post?
Just check the REALTOR® Association Twitter List I created, follow the list, and share it with others. You can see the list post real time below.
Check out my post on REALTOR® Association Twitter Time Management for more ideas on how to automate the process instead of having to update Twitter every other hour using RSS feeds and time release Tweets.
Can you promote your Twitter profile too much? I don’t think you can afford not to promote it. When you look at how much it cost for traditional forms of marketing, communication, and advertising Twitter is free except the staff time that it takes to share messages and follow up with members.
This is NOT something one person can do overnight by themselves. It takes time, practice, and patience but with a can-do attitude you will find Twitter will become second nature, just as email did long ago.
Get involved with your local or state association by joining a committee and make recommendations on what to post to the REALTOR® Association Twitter account. Set a schedule of what to post, how often to post, when they should go out.
Questions to ask yourself:
How is your REALTOR® Association using Twitter?
How can you make it better?
Please share a comment below that reflects your thoughts. It would help others to understand how REALTOR® Associations are implementing this social media tool.