Where else can you get a great conversation around RE BarCamps and Cougars???

Thanks again to all the people who joined us on today’s radio show.

Lani gave a great overview of this week in real estate and then we quickly dived into a conversation about the status and future of RE BarCamps with people such as Stacey Harman, Matt Fagioli and Todd Carpenter.

Of course, we followed it up with an equally entertaining conversation about cougars. Diane Guercio was instrumental in defining some cougar related items…

Want to be informed about our radio show? Become a fan of our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter for regular updates on upcoming shows!

Why bother with Facebook Pages?

Call me crazy (you won’t be the first), but I think Facebook nailed it with their updated news feeds and new functionality of their Facebook Pages. But before I can explain why, I need to give some background on the difference between a Facebook Page (also called a Public Profile) and the standard Facebook Profile.

A Facebook Page is geared toward giving businesses, brands, public figures, etc. a way to engage an audience on Facebook. With a Standard Facebook Profile, you make “friends” and engage with people on a very one-to-one level. With a Facebook Page, people become “fans” of your page, which doesn’t require you to connect with them at all… In many ways, it becomes a “broadcast” tool similar to twitter, but like twitter, you’ll need to engage with others, be interesting, etc. in order to get any real value out of the tool…

And here’s where it gets interesting…

Like a Standard Profile, Facebook Pages allow you to give status updates, share links, create videos, host discussion boards, and generally interact with other people (your “fans” in this case) in much the same way you might interact with them if you were friends. To get an idea of how you might use features like this, check out my Facebook Page:

fb-pageIf you check out my “wall”, you should notice that since I created the page a few days ago, I’ve left status updates, recorded videos, shared links and generally interacted with people in much the same way I might interact with people using my “personal” profile… (note: you’ll need to be logged into Facebook to see all of the updates)

However, this begs an obvious question… if these Facebook Pages are just like your personal profiles, why bother?

I can think of three reasons:

  • Unlike a standard profile, Facebook Pages are public and get indexed by the search engines
  • With a Page, you *can* send updates to an unlimited number of fans, whereas (I’m pretty sure) Facebook limits you to sending messages to 20 friends at a time
  • Because people become “fans” of a page, you won’t need to follow them back in order to have them follow you

This last point is extremely important to me because as I hit up near 1000 friends, my news feed is getting pretty polluted with updates from people I have no connection to other than we both travel in online real estate circles.

Interestingly, I reached the point on Twitter where there was too much noise a few months ago when I was following around 1000 people. At that point, I would see so many automated tweets (i.e. “just posted on ActiveRain…”, “view my latest blog post at …” and “view my latest listing at…”) that reading my twitter feed felt like a chore.

At one point, I unfollowed a ton of people (over 700), and now that I much more cautious about how I follow, my twitter experience has improved 10-fold as it’s now much easier for me to follow and engage in interesting and (sometimes) meaningful conversations…

Returning to Facebook

Going forward, I’m going to be using my Facebook Page to give online marketing and online real estate tips, links, videos, etc, and my Personal Facebook Profile to connect with family and close friends. While it might seem a bit mean, over the next few weeks, I’m going to “unfriend” a bunch of folks (probably hundreds) whom I simply do not have a personal connection to…

Obviously, I highly encourage anyone reading this post (that means YOU!) to become a fan of my page… and order to give you some encouragement, I can tell you that my plan is to keep the page interesting and worthy of your attention by posting a steady stream of social media links, commentary and videos in a similar (but cleaner!) way that that I was using the 4realz Hotlist.

In the big picture, I’m going to continue to reserve 4realz.net for my “big” ideas, and share my little insights over on my FB Page.

One more thing…

If you made it this far on this long post, I figure you must be a glutton for punishment, so I thought I’d indulge you with a video I posted yesterday on my Facebook page. This video highlights 6 ways Facebook Pages excite me in a similar way that business blogging did nearly 4 years ago when I started Rain City Guide:

n20186119572_5897jpgP.S. Did I mention that Scotty Brown and I both published our pages around the same time (over a cup of coffee the other day)? He thinks that just because he’s a Reality TV star he’s gonna end up with more fans than me. We can’t let that happen, can we? Go become a fan!

P.P.S. I also want to thank some of the folks who first signed up to be my “fans” like Alex Scoble, Scotty Brown, Cecilia Camps, Bob Maiocco, Susie Blackmon, Ines Hegedus-Garcia and Victor Lund. Each and every one of you rock! 😉

Move Brings in a New CEO

From the press release: Move Names Steve Berkowitz as Chief Executive Officer:

Move “today announced that Steven H. Berkowitz, a 25-year veteran of the media content, advertising and Internet industries, has been named as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Berkowitz has served on Move’s Board of Directors since June 2008. He succeeds W. Michael Long, who is retiring from the Company and the Board.”

That’s really interesting on a number of levels, not the least of which is that Lorna Borenstein, the current President, did not get the job of CEO.

Impact of Social Media in the Luxury Market

Earlier today I got my hands on a survey that the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) did of their members around how they are using social networks.

institute of luxury home marketing logoOne of the reasons I really like this survey is that the number of emails and calls I get from luxury agents and brokerages has ramped up lately, and yet, I haven’t had a great source of data to at least anchor the conversation in terms of social media presence within the luxury market.  This survey will definitely help me jump-start many of those conversations.

ILHM asked their members questions like:

  • Which social networking websites do you use?
  • If you had to choose just one social networking site for the member networking group, which would it be?
  • Have you ever given or received a referral, or generated business via a social network?

The answers to these questions and more from the 473 members who responded can be found within their survey results document (PDF), but I’m gonna summarize what I think are some of the more interesting findings:

  • LinkedIn (30%) and Facebook (28%) about equally dominate the mind-share of luxury agents
  • Over 80% of the agents said they were using social networks
  • When asked where ILHM should have a member group, people were equally divided between LinkedIn and Facebook
  • 20% of respondents said they had generated business out of social networks
  • Non-real estate social networks like Twitter and MySpace didn’t register much interest, while ActiveRain was the only real estate specific site mentioned that had any real traction
  • The social networks offered by Zillow and Trulia didn’t even hit the radar on the survey.  I’m not sure if this is because agents think of Trulia and Zillow as search sites and the idea of Trulia Voices or Zillow Advice being social networks didn’t occur to them or because the agents surveyed simply aren’t using these services.

I’m a bit surprised to see Facebook register just as high as LinkedIn only because LinkedIn seems like such a natural fit for luxury agents, but with so much buzz around Facebook in the press lately, in retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve been telling agents for a long time now that they should be using LinkedIn to market themselves (that article is over 2 years old already)… and that advice rings even more true in the luxury market where it seems like agents are often extremely concerned with their image.  Especially if you have years of experience, then you really have to try to look bad on LinkedIn.

And, by the way, if you’re looking for one more person to connect with on LinkedIn (or better yet recommend!), I’m always looking to connect up with interesting real estate people!

Update: I hadn’t noticed before posting, but John C’s comment prompted me to check out ILHM’s blog: Luxury Insight, where I see that they also posted information on the survey.

Another Rock’n Inman Conference

As always, the Real Estate Connect Event put on by Inman this year rocked!  The information, the people, the food, the fun…  it’s just way too much fun (honestly too much!).  And I know I’m a bit biased, but I hang with a really great group of people, even if you’all do stay out a bit too late.

125x125_nyc_09Combine a great New York City trip with being able to team up with Jay Thompson for a session on blogging and you know I’m going to have fun.

Follow that up with a great opportunity to moderate a discussion on the future of mobile technology in real estate with Brad Blumbert of SmarterAgent, Mark Ford of Qwasi, Dawn Doherty of StreetEasy and Jamie Glenn of Trulia and I was feeling pretty darn good!   But then give me the opportunity to moderate another panel on web analytics with Gahlord Dewald of Union Street Media, Marty Frame of CyberHomes, Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria and Anita Gandi of Hitwise and I was in online real estate geek heaven!

I learned a ton from so many folks at Inman this year, so thanks again to everyone who connected up over the past few days!

Sadly, I’m going to be missing out on the last day of the event (thanks to the fact that I doubled up my NYC time with a client meeting on Friday), but I did that very reluctantly as I cherish every minute I get to soak up from the great folks in online real estate!

Can’t wait to see you’all in San Francisco!

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.

NAR is upon us once again!

As I write this on a Wednesday night, I can’t help think what a long week it’s been!   And yet, the week (and the fun) is just beginning.

Tomorrow morning I leave for NAR…. and it’s not until I hit Orlando that things really heat up.

First major stop:

Friday @ 12:30 I’m moderating a panel featuring  Teresa Boardman, Jim Duncan, Ines Hegedus-Garcia, Ginger Wilcox titled Driving REAL business with blogs.

I’m really excited about this panel! There’s a great group of people assembled with very different styles of blogging and I’m really looking forward to peppering them with questions.  The one warning I’ve given to the panelists is that I expect this to be an extremely fast moving panel and I’ve prepared a ton of questions that will let us get through a ton of information out of this crew!   I’ve prepared the panelists that we’re going to move fast and I expect to get through a lot   If you’re going to NAR, this is one of two can’t miss events!  😉

By the way, you might remember way, way back in the beginning of February when I first reached out via twitter to start assembling the panel.   It may be almost a year later, but that only makes it all the better to watch this panel come so close to fruition!

2nd Major Stop:

Sunday @ 11am, I’ve teamed up with Jeff Turner and Rudy Bachraty, to put together an “event” on Using Social Media to Engage Clients.

I don’t want to set expectation too high, but this is not going to be just another presentation…   This is going to be an event. We’re going to have a lot of fun and have plans to involve people from all over the country!

By the way, this presentation started with a simple blog post from CRT that I picked up and was so lucky to have Jeff and Rudy join me in taking on this adventure.  This presentation is going to be fun!

There’s more!

Jeff has tons of details on connecting with others within the social media space @ NAR.  Here’s some highlights:

Some great posts about NAR events:

And on the off chance you want to meet up with me in orlando, the best way to reach out is to connect with me on twitter!   Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

If I were NAR’s Social Media Manager, I’d…

… listen to the needs of NAR executives and execute on their ideas.

It’s pretty clear from the job description, that that’s all they are looking for.  Anything more sounds fun, but probably isn’t realistic for NAR at the moment… and there’s nothing wrong with this.  It sounds like Hilary is swamped with work, so the right person could make a difference.

Most importantly, Rob is right that title’s matter, especially at an organization like NAR… and a “manager” position is meant to implement a strategy, not develop one.

I had a manager who worked for me at Move with a similar title and if I thought it would help, I’d happily recommend Todd for this position.  However, if I was in Todd’s shoes, I’d only give it passing interest until they added some real decision making authority and bumped up the title considerably.

Blogworld, emails, hotlist and more…

I’ve been enjoying the ease of posting over on the 4realz Hotlist, so if things have been light here, it’s only because it’s so fast and fun over there.  Definitely check it out and consider signing up to write your own microposts.

Also, the first day of BlogWorld (the REBlogWorld portion) has been a blast  (Jeff has a great writeup on my presentation) and a bunch of others blasted the twitter world with updates and photos.

And finally, I sent out another weekly email this morning.  Of course, the bulk of this week’s links and stories were from the credit crunch (ouch).    If you want to get an update that summarizes the most interesting happenings around the online real estate space from the past week, it’s as easy as signing up!