Windows Phone Left Me Underexposed

Thanks to Microsoft, I recently had a chance to test out a Windows Phone (Samsung Focus) for about a month… and the timing couldn’t have been better since it arrived on the day I returned from a vacation to Paris where my iPhone 4s was stolen.

The Sumsung Focus with Windows Mobile is a tight phone and 4 years ago when I was still using a BlackBerry, this would have been one hell of a great upgrade.

The interface was easy to figure out and I really like how the interface emphasized the people who were important to me.  Most of the apps worked well enough and I was pleasantly surprised how many of my favorite iphone apps were represented in their windows app store (evernote, yammer, foursquare, etc.).

However, even with Microsoft paying all the bills, after a month of using the Windows Phone, I couldn’t continue without the 4s any more. Yesterday, I broke down and bought a new iPhone 4s.

Interestingly, the thing I missed the most about the 4s was the camera… and all the photography apps that make an iPhone so slick.

Despite the fact that my mother is a brilliant photographer, not much of that brilliance has ever rubbed off on me.  And yet with a iPhone 4s, I started to feel like I could take some great shots. Going back to the Windows Phone where the camera was (only) decent, and the good photography apps were almost non-existant (no instagram, snapseed, diptic, photoshop express) was just too hard.

Whereas I probably took over 2000 photos in the month before my iphone was stolen, I think I took about 35 photos with the Windows Phone.  The quality wasn’t there… and while I know that wasn’t all Microsoft’s fault (it was Samsung’s hardware afterall), it was part of the overall smart phone experience that made the windows phone unworkable for me.

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Curious aside.  

What’s the proper etiquette for dealing with a phone that was given to me for free that I’m no longer going to use.   Do I send it back?  Is it okay to sell it?  Is it okay to give it away?   The phone works great (as a phone) including minutes/apps paid for by Microsoft, but it came with no instructions, so not sure how long it will last that way.

What does it mean to be influential online?

No doubt I’ve got all kinds of theories on how to measure online influence, and even went so far as to outline them a bit in this comment, but for now, I just thought I’d just share my excitement that Sarah Needleman of the Wall Street Journal wrote a great article about one of the theories I’ve been working on with the D&B Credibility team and the resulting list of the most influential twitter people in the small business community.
(and if you’re interested in lots of details from an earlier iteration of this concept, check out this post: 50 Most Influential Real Estate People on Twitter)

Update:
Just noticed the WSJ published an interview that the journalist, Sarah Needleman, did for the show “Digits” about the list:

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Smart Phone

Just walked out of the first Fusion event put on by the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate crew… So much fun!

I had a great time on stage yesterday with Jeff Turner, Gahlord Dewald and Wendy Forsythe talking internet marketing, building online influence, tracking and measuring results and the real value of conversations.

Also got a chance to hear some very inspiring speakers… I had never heard Tom Ferry speak, so that was a real treat… And the final keynote speaker, Keith Ferrazzi, gave an incredible talk on steps to improving business relationships.   (Did I mentioned I also got to hang with so many cool people like Andy Kaufman and Herman of Hermanity! AND that my grandma came out to watch one of my presentations! Again, so much fun!)

My involvement was to give two presentations.  The first on Building Online Influence and the second on 10 Things You didn’t Know You Could do with Your Smartphone.  Both were a lot of fun to give and since I promised the audience I’d share linkes to each of the apps I mentioned in the latter presentation, I thought I’d share them in this post. Enjoy!

Evernote
1. Take voice notes while driving
2. Scan text out of photos
3. Find your parked car

Beluga
4. Use group chat to keep up with your team

CardMunch
5. Accurately scan business cards

Amazon Price Check
6. Comparison shop

Starbucks
7. Pay for coffee

Square
8. Get paid for coffee

BoxCar
9. Get push notification for important emails

MadMimi
10. Build your email list

And I’m always looking to deliver super-informative (and fun!) internet marketing presentations, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you hear of an interesting opportunity!

[updated] NAR Presentations on WordPress and Social Media Optimization

*** UPDATED ***

Even better than the slideshare presentations, NAR just published the video recording of my Getting Started with WordPress presentation. If you’re interested in learning about why and how to get involved in using WordPress for your business website, I did my best to explain here:

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It’s been a busy few weeks since returning from New Orleans and I’m just now getting around to posting my presentations on Slideshare.

I was pleasantly surprised at the interest in my talk on social media optimization…  It was one of my simpler presentations as I focused on only two concepts:

  1. How you can get more value out of Facebook once you understand Networking Engine Optimization (NEO) and
  2. How you can get value out of tools like Gist by focusing on building and enhancing the relationships that are most important to your business.

Here’s the presentation in full:

The second presentation was the opening session for the Real Estate WordPress Camp that I helped organize with NAR… and what a great event that turned out to be.   Some great speakers and I heard nothing but great feedback from the audience.   My presentation for this event was really just meant to describe how professionals can use WordPress as their online marketing hub… and in particular how it can fit into the various elements of an agent’s business cycle.  Here it is:

Interestingly, in the last few days, I’ve started to nail down more than a few speaking engagements for this upcoming spring. I’m always interested in educating professionals on how to get the most value out of their online marketing, so if you know of someone looking for a speaker, don’t hesitate to reach out!

[by the way, the header image is from Reggie and NikNik’s great presentation during Real Estate WordCamp on Leveraging WordPress Plugins and Themes]

Getting more value out of your LinkedIn connections…

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how to get more value out of LinkedIn, but I really haven’t given enough love to the site since them…  And I have an idea for how to change that.  Starting this week, I’m going to start writing one recommendation each week.

I’m starting this “recommendation” project with Kris Berg because she’s one of my favorite people in the world of real estate…  (Plus she doesn’t have many recommendations on LinkedIn which is a true shame!   If you know and like her, you should stop reading this post and head over to her profile and write a recommendation for her as well!)

Why commit to writing a weekly recommendations?

I have two purposes:

  1. It’s fun.  I really do enjoy the process of complementing folks who I’ve enjoyed working with and wish I did more of it.
  2. I want to play more with LinkedIn as a sphere building tool, but don’t want to dedicate a ton of time to the project.  I’m guessing I can knock out a solid recommendation in less than 20 minutes a week.

With that said, there’s so much more to LinkedIn these days with groups, Q&A, job opportunities, etc. that I’m sure there’s much more I *could* be doing.     If you have a more effective way to use LinkedIn, please share!  😉

Real Estate WordCamp is Coming to NARdiGras!

I’ve been working with the NAR team to put together a WordPress event at NARdiGras, and couldn’t be more excited that we’re ready to start announcing details!

In a nutshell, we’ve broken the half-day event into two tracks — one for beginners and one for more advanced WordPress users — and the folks we’ve agreed to present are some of the most knowledgeable WordPress people in real estate.  All the sessions will be be on the morning of Monday, November 8th.

Below is a summery of the schedule, although this page on the NARdiGras site will quickly become the definitive source of all session information soon!

Track 1: An Introduction to WordPress

Track 2: Maximizing WordPress

The idea is that if you’re relatively new to WordPress (and even if you don’t have a wordpress site yet!), you should be able to leave the first track with enough knowledge to feel comfortable setting up a site and have an idea for what a successful website marketing strategy would look like.

For those who are comfortable blogging, Todd Carpenter is going to be hosting the Maximizing WordPress track. With Kelley, Steve and Gahlord as presenters, you’re sure to get tons of tools and strategies to take your online marketing to the next level.

I couldn’t be more excited to be heading to New Orleans again and look forward to seeing you there!

BuzzRE OC Wrap-up!

The BuzzRE  OC event was so awesome…   I met so many great people and the speakers came through with awesome presentations. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to join us!

Some of the highlights were:

  • Jon Lansner: Compared to any time in recent memore, there’s actually some good news to talk about in the real estate market
  • Stacey Harmon: Understanding which social networks to focus on based on your business practice
  • Dale Chumbley: Ways to bridge your real-life community activity with your Facebook community
  • Robert Luna: Importance of focusing on your home search consumers
  • Gahlord Dewald:  Always be testing!
  • Loren Nason: Get on dropbox.  It’s time!
  • Garron Selliken: from @YvonneArnoldCRS:   “@garrons “what is the moment that u set new appt?” Then look at it backwards, how did u get there. Work 2 get in position more often #BuzzRE

And it all couldn’t have happened without Linsey Planeta putting a ridiculous amount of time and passion into the day.  She rocks!

One of the things I most enjoyed about helping to organize BuzzRE was organizing the presentations…  I had every speaker email me their presentation in advance so I could fit them into one solid presentation that didn’t feel like it was jumping around too much.   I’m pretty darn proud of the final product and super-happy to share it with you via slideshare.

What a great day!  It really is awesome to see so many folks get excited about implementing advanced strategies and websites.   If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this page of advanced real estate websites.

And after such an awesome event, it’s now time to turn to organizing another awesome BuzzRE in Portland in early June. Want to get involved? Let us know!

If you have feedback about yesterday’s event, I know all of us would sure would love to hear it!

REALTORS: You can use promoted posts to showcase your listings!

But don’t!

Greg Vincent asked the seemingly obvious questions as to whether agents should use Facebook Ads to send consumers to their post about a listing or a page on their website featuring the listing.

The answer is neither.

I’ve been buying Facebook Ads on-and-off for quite a while and have seen no evidence to suggest buying ads on Facebook makes any sense at all. Facebook is super-quick to take down non-performing ads (i.e. ads that people aren’t clicking on), and I just can’t image that the typical listing has any lasting value for consumers. If, and only if, Facebook someday figures out who is likely to move to a geographic area AND lets you target those people, I might change my mind.

Looking from a larger perspective, at just about every presentation I’ve been giving over the past few months, I’ve been harping about how Facebook makes so much more sense as a sphere building tool than as a tool to reach your next client.

If you’re curious why I make the distinction between reaching consumers directly and building your sphere, check out the Agent Business Cycle diagram. Based on countless interviews with agents (as well as my own surveys), I feel comfortable saying that the majority of agent business is generated from sphere building activities (whether they be reaching into an agent’s community or connecting with past clients)… and Facebook is the ultimate sphere building tool.

Used “right,” there has never been a social network that will help you to reach new and relevant people (i.e. friends of friends/fans/followers) so easily, but when used “wrong,” Facebook will quickly take just about all your influence within your network.

So what do “right” interactions look like on Facebook? If you’re brand new to the idea, I recommend checking out Networking Engine Optimization, but in summary, you want to be creating content (and promoting content) that will get people to interact with your business page. More than any other factor, it seems pretty clear that Facebook determines the relevance of something by looking at the interactions of their friends (whether it be comments, likes, new fans, wall posts, etc.).

Create a page with no interactions and expect to have a relative “black hole” in Facebook in the same way that a website without any inbound links is essentially a black hole to Google.

With Promoted Posts, Facebook is Targeting Google’s Adwords

After writing my last post on why I think the ability to promote posts on Facebook is going to be huge, I realized I didn’t capture the “why” very well…  We already know that Facebook recently passed google.com in terms of raw traffic, and yet the industry around turning that traffic into real business is still in the infant stages…   So, here’s my attempt to summarize where things currently stand between Facebook and Google:

Here’s how to think about this table:

  • Google is best used to target search traffic, while Facebook is best used to target friends of existing fans.
  • Google’s algorithms are optimized to figure out what you’re going to like (or click on) based on what other web searches are clicking on… and the industry around that is called SEO. Facebook’s algorithms are optimized to figure out what you’re going to like (or click on) based on what your friends are click on (I’m calling this NEO).
  • You can use Google’s Adwords to buy targeted search traffic, which is relevant because you can surmise someone’s interest (or intent) based on the keywords they entered into Google’s search box.   You can use Facebook’s Ads to buy targeted traffic, which you can make relevant by buying terms that are related to your business page.
  • With Google, the most effective strategy for increasing the relevance of your website is to generate backlinks from other relevant and quality sites. With Facebook, the most effective strategy for increasing the relevance of your business page is to generate quality engagement from your existing fan base
  • With Google, you can increase your relevance by sending paid traffic to more relevant pages on your site (i.e. not your homepage) that are likely to convert at higher rates.  With Facebook, you can now send relevant people (i.e. friends of fans) to posts that are likely to convert at higher rates and having higher levels of engagement.

In web traffic, it’s all about relevance and Promoted Posts are Facebook’s way of letting your pay to improve the relevance of any given status update by sending more (and hopefully relevant) traffic to the update!