Chad Hallberg mentions 2 things he likes…

Chad Hallberg mentions 2 things he likes about Google Buzz… I only like one thing so far and it’s related to one of his points. I REALLY like that I’m now following a bunch more folks in Google Reader. I’m finding a constant stream of great posts that I never would have uncovered. I’m sure someone also tweeted many of these posts, but with all the noise on Twitter, I’m finding the “people you follow” to be the best way to find interesting and eclectic posts from around the web.

Are your Facebook friends hiding from you?

Turns out the latest update to the Facebook news feeds sets a bunch of feeds that you may want to follow to “hidden” so that they don’t show up in your main feed. This includes both “friends” and “public profiles”, so it’s probably worth checking to see if you have some things hidden that I did not mean to!

How to check?

This is not self-evident, at least it wasn’t for me. The trick is that you first have to hide a news item, and then Facebook will (briefly) give you a link to edit your hidden items (i.e. “show hidden friends”):
hidden-menu

This will open up a menu similar to this one where you can unhide (or “add to newsfeed”):

pages-newsfeed

Personally, I was not only surprised at the number of “pages” or public profiles that were hidden, but also at just how many people were hidden in my menu. I think the old messaging of “show fewer updates” turned into “hidden” in the new layout.

And if you’re looking for more background on Facebook, maybe you should ask yourself, Why bother with Facebook Pages?

facebook marketing

4 Levels of Social Media Connections

dale-chumbleyI was chatting with Dale Chumbley about Facebook Pages and how we’re both using them to reach out to our respective communities when he touched on an interesting topic… He said about 1/3 of the folks who became “fans” of his page were not his “friends” yet on Facebook.

I’ve had a few conversations on this topic lately and I’ve boiled down the different types of social media relationships into the four most common types and given a bit of an explanation about the implicate meanings behind each type:

1) No connection. This one seems to be obvious… but there could be a number of reasons you don’t connect with folks. Most of the time it’s because you simply don’t know them, but maybe it’s because you don’t like them, don’t think they’ll add value to your network or, even worse, view them as spam.

2) Follow. This is the Twitter model and the connection is probably one of the “weakest” ones out there.   You could have any number of reason to follow someone and it’s completely one-way.  There’s no reason to expect that just because you follow someone that they’re going to follow you back, be interested in you, or even take time to learn anything about you.

3) Fan. This is the model used by Facebook Pages.   While functionally it is identical to a “follow” connection (i.e. a one-way connection with no reverse interest implied whatsoever), there’s a value judgement implied when you become a fan of someone.  Whereas it often only takes one interesting tweet to get me to “follow” someone, it takes a bit more before I’ll become a “fan” of someone.

4) Friend. This is the model used by Facebook Profiles, Digg and many other social networking sites… and clearly implies (and most likely requires) a two-way relationship.  However, the term is so often abused (I’m just as guilty as anyone else of becoming “friends” with people I’ve never met and am likely never to meet) because I thought I might find some value to having them in my “network” in the long run.

Similar to Dale, a little over 1/3 (30 out of 85) of the people who have become “fans” of my Page are not “friends” with my personal Profile. This tells me that based on their actions, a fair number of folks feel more comfortable becoming “fans” than “friends” with someone they don’t know.

Almost all of these people are professionals I *would* have connected with on Facebook (via a “friendship”) in the past, but I’m so much happier to have them separated on my business page so I can begin to do a better job separating my work life from my personal life.

Also interesting is that from a marketing perspective these relationships imply different levels of business outreach. When someone becomes a “fan” of my business page that definitely implies an “opt in” to a certain level of marketing that is not necessarily part of being a “friend”… or even a “follower”.

If you’re ready to explore how different professionals are using Facebook Pages, start following (i.e. become a fan!) of these pages:

And while you’re exploring, you should probably also check out the page I created for my listing syndication tool.

The trouble with Marc’s approach to Twitter

Like many real estate professionals who are using the internet to market themselves, Marc seems to be overlooking the fact that the best clients come from your friends… your real friends.

Most agents know this implicitly, but don’t necessarily make the connection to how they need to operate online.

For example…

A good friend of mine, who conveniently happens to be a real estate agent, hates internet leads. Doesn’t want to deal with them.   For years (he actually attended one of my bloginars in July ’06) , I’ve been telling him about the importance of SEO, “owning” his own domain, link structure, quality content, relevant traffic, etc, and while he humors me (he’s become a good friend after all), his heart has never been in it.  As he likes to remind me, internet leads are crap and he just passes them off to others when he gets them anyway.

However, on a recent conversation, we were talking about where he’s getting his business and he mentioned Facebook (he’s very active on Facebook and MySpace having uploaded thousands of photos and shared countless stories).  Says his friends on Facebook have been treating him well lately sending him great clients and he’d love to get more.  But he doesn’t consider those “internet” leads since the clients typically come to him on a recommendation from a friend.

I think it’s worth reiterating.  People who find him on the internet aren’t worth his time. People who get recommended to him from his Facebook friends help pay his bills.

So, now to bring this back to Marc’s post on twitter…  Marc says:

“You can either post gibberish or you can choose instead to post content about what’s happening in your marketplace right now that does or could have consequences for your reader.”

I can guarantee that if my friend had spent the past two years limiting his online participation to writing content that had consequences for his marketplace, he’d not only have a small fraction of friends on the site, but Facebook would not be providing him any meaningful business.  Worse, his most common “friend” would probably be other real estate professionals who accept this boring banter on social networks.

With that said, I’m a HUGE fan of agents creating a place where they can share their knowledge and expertise by creating content that has consequences for their marketplace… And my other website, Rain City Guide, does a great job generating business by creating this type of content (and I’d argue generates more business for our agents, mortgage brokers, title reps, lawyers, etc. than any other real estate blog).

But to compare the value of Twitter banter (or banter on Facebook or any other “social” network) to the content created on a site like Rain City Guide is to completely confuse the value of unknown internet clients with clients recommended to you by your friends.

If you don’t mind dealing with internet leads, then by all means focus on building out a website like Rain City Guide that will drive relevant traffic.

However, if you want your real friends to start sending you clients, then you better start interacting with them in a “real” way.  Maybe that means throwing ridiculously cool parties, joining the local PTA, coaching a little league team, or sharing inside jokes and other gibberish on Twitter.  Either way, your real friends expect you to be a real person.

REBlogWorld Presentation: With a Little Help from my Friends

I spent the better part of today completing the first draft of my presentation for next week’s REBlogWorld in Las Vegas!  (If you haven’t registered yet, it’s getting late, but there is still time to sign up: afflilate link.)

For my presentation I wanted to create something a bit more advanced than I usual cover,  so I decided to focus on the lessons I’ve learned from running Rain City Guide over the past three and a half years, as well as give tips to real estate professionals on how they can run their own group sites.   Truth is, I’ve seen so many people try to intimate Rain City Guide over the years, but almost all of them have failed to catch fire…  and rarely am I surprised since so few people do it right.

I’m calling the presentation “With a Little Help from my Friends” for reasons that will be obvious to most and especially those that attend.

And now I want your help.  I’ve been talking about the Rain City Guide for so long that I feel like I must be missing some obvious stuff and would love your feedback.  

Profile on BlogWorld Wiki
Profile on BlogWorld Wiki

Are there any questions you have about how Rain City Guide works?   Are there any group blog topics or etiquette that you’d like to see me cover? And, obviously, if you ask a great question, I’ll make sure to answer it in the comments so you can benefit even if you don’t make it out to Vegas.  🙂

Bonus head’s up to other speakers: The BlogWorld folks put up a wiki page for each speaker that seems to be ranking pretty well on many of your names.   I’d highly recommend taking a few minutes to complete your page.  Here’s mine, Dustin Luther at Blogworld, as an example.

LinkedIn, because…

…my facebook addiction runs pretty deep (thanks mostly to so many of my family members joining up) and while I could easily set up another site similar to 4realz, I wouldn’t (easily) give up the freedom of having a personal blog. On LinkedIn the community is pretty weakly connected and really only good for finding another job.

(in response to this question from Todd, more responses under the interview category)

Anyone else convinced that no one really…

Anyone else convinced that no one really knows what a social networking site is?

New Lease on Life for Friendster?

Among social-networking sites, Hitwise said, MySpace accounted for 80 percent of all visits, well ahead of second-place Facebook, at 7.6 percent.
YouTube overtakes MySpace:

The video sharing site has taken a 3.9% share of global internet visits a day compared with 3.35% for MySpace, according to internet analysis company Alexa.

I definitely think of YouTube as a social networking site.