Why Realtors Need a Facebook Business Page

With 500 million users and growing, Facebook is the place to be these days. The potential reach is amazing, and not tapping into it would be a mistake. It’s true for any business, and it’s true for real estate agents as well – if your target market uses a social media tool, you should be using it too.

You may be thinking, well, this might be true, but I already am on Facebook! I have a profile page and I use it daily. Why do I need to create a business page too?

The main issue with using your personal profile page on Facebook for business is that it’s simply not very professional to do so. Most profiles on Facebook are highly personal, and include personal photos, random updates, fun games and all kinds of material that is great, but is not appropriate for a business account.

Do your client and prospects really need to see those photos of you hiking with your kids, or read your personal rants and updates? Do you want them to get notified whenever you play Mafia Wars?

It’s not that a Facebook business page should be dry and boring. On the contrary, it’s good to add the occasional personal update to make it more personable. But a Facebook business page should be much “cleaner” than a Facebook profile, and should have a greater focus on the topic of real estate. After all, that’s what your clients are interested in.

While having an additional presence on Facebook may seem like a lot of work, keep in mind that regularly updating your Facebook business page can be almost fully automated by having a real estate site that includes built-in social media tools. You should still issue the occasional personal update, but the vast majority if the work can happen automatically, saving you time and money.

Single Property Website

QR Codes for Real Estate Pros

A QR code is a barcode that can be read by a user’s smartphone and used to take them to a landing page on a website that’s optimized for viewing on a mobile device. For real estate, QR Codes are an easy way for consumers to access a property web page from their mobile phone, and for companies to direct consumers to a specific landing page — optimized for mobile viewing.

QR Codes for Real Estate – How’ their being used:

1. Agents are adding QR codes to their print media. This enables homebuyers who pick a flyer to quickly get to a website filled with rich information and color photos of the house. The idea is that instead of typing a long web address into their phone, the prospect can quickly and easily get to the same place and get all the information they need. QR codes beautifully connect offline with online, making the most of what modern technology has to offer, and – most importantly – engaging leads.

2. A really cool thing to do is to add a QR code to your lawn signs. Typically, the prospect sees the home and the sign, and while they’re still there, they can quickly access the property site, chock full of information about the house, including a link to the agent’s email. It’s a great way to capture a lead that otherwise might have just moved on and forgotten about the house.

With more and more people using smartphones, real estate professionals simply cannot ignore the huge potential that the mobile Internet, and the various tools it offers – such as QR codes – has for capturing and engaging leads, and turning them into clients.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Listings

Drive Traffic to your Listings

In two words: use technology!

While flyers are still an integral part of running a real estate business and promoting new listings, and lawn signs are also a great way to let local prospects know a home is available, technology can help drive more traffic to your listings and allow you to reach an audience that is far bigger than the audience you could reach using traditional marketing methods.

Here are a few ways you can take advantage of modern tools to blast your listings in ways that were not available to agents just a few short years ago:

Promote them on your agent website

An agent website is your digital business card. But it is so much more than that. It can be so rich in content, in articles, blog posts, photos and testimonials, that it beautifully demonstrates your knowledge, your expertise, and the value you will bring to clients. Use software such as Real Estate Sites to make building the site a snap and to include important features and tools to make it search engine friendly and to highlight and publicize each new listing.

Create Single Property Sites

A single property site is usually the first Google result that someone will get when they search for a listing’s address on the Web. It’s one of the best, fastest, most cost-effective ways to drive more traffic to a single listing.

Get Social

Social media allows you to reach out to prospects in real time, telling them about an exciting new listing and encouraging the to share it with their friends. Social media is inherently viral – postings of interest are reposted, shared and re-tweeted and so are exposed to a large audience.

Get Visual

Creating a video for each of your listings maximizes the “fun” and “cool” aspect of modern technology. Post the video on your site or on your blog, share the link in social media, and people will love watching the videos – and sharing them with their friends.

Get Mobile

Make the most of the mobile trend and drive more traffic to your listings. Make sure people can easily access your listings from their smartphones by including a QR code on your lawn signs and on your print media, and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Technology is giving you the tools to drive serious traffic to your listings. Are you making the most of it?

Our Top Picks for Mobile Apps in 2010

As more and more Internet users are accessing the Internet via mobile devices, a growing number of companies and sites are responding to the need of mobile users for a user-friendly Internet experience. Traditional sites have yet to offer a user-friendly experience to mobile users. In the meantime, mobile apps make mobile Internet access fast and easy. These are our top picks for mobile apps for 2010.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a mobile social network that allows users to share their location with friends by “checking in” on their mobile device when they go into a location such as a restaurant. Foursquare is also a game, enabling users to earn points and badges. Foursquare is fun for users, and good for businesses, many of whom adopt it as part of their customer loyalty program. Foursquare can be a great tool for real estate agents because of its location-based focus.

KWKLY

KWKLY provides homebuyers an easy way to get rich property information straight from the MLS to their web enabled mobile phone. Kwkly  connects agents with buyers, delivering buyers the property info along with participating agents’  contact info. It can be a great lead gen tool for agents.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a Twitter app that enables users to access and use Twitter from their mobile devices. It’s ideal for agents, becuase agents are always on the go and need to be able to access Twitter from a mobile device. TweetDeck also has a Facebook integration that enables users to access and use Facebook from their mobile phone.

Zillow

Zillow is one of the largest real estate websites in the US. It offers users free real estate information.  Agents have many ways to promote their business on this site, including adding their listings, advertising, and being active and helpful on the Zillow community. Responding to the mobile revolution, Zillow offers free mobile apps to its users, enabling them to access real estate information from their mobile devices.

Yelp

Yelp is an online community that enables users to rate local businesses, including real estate agents. Every business owner can set up a free Yelp account to post offers, photos and to message their customers. Agents can also advertise on Yelp. Yelp has responded to the mobile revolution by creating mobile sites and apps for mobile Web users, including http://m.yelp.com for cell phones, Yelp for iPhone, Yelp for BlackBerry, Yelp for Palm Pre, and Yelp for Android.

Don’t be Lazy with Your Passwords!

On Sunday, December 12 2010, 1.3 million Gawker media accounts were hacked. Some of the information – emails and passwords – was released on the Internet.

Gawker has asked all its users to change their passwords. While this is certainly an inconvenience, the issue is far more serious for anyone who’s been lazy with their passwords.

Let’s face it – modern life demands that we use countless passwords. Our bank, online grocery shopping, social media sites, email, and many other sites are asking that we create an account and register with them prior to using their services. For many of these sites, it’s a great way to develop a huge email list for marketing purposes. Some demand that we register to avoid spam.

For us, as users, it means that the temptation to use a single user name and password across all accounts is huge. But as convenient as this might be, the recent Gawker Media fiasco demonstrates just how risky it can be. If you use the same user name/password combination across all your accounts, a hacker who hacks into one account gains access to all of them.

So what should you do? You can use password management software. If you prefer to manage your passwords by yourself, ideally you should have a separate password for each account. Keep those passwords written somewhere, but not stored on your computer.

If this is too much if a hassle, at the very least, you should create a separate password for each financial account. Never use the same password that you use on low-security social media sites, for example, for online banking. And if you have more than one online banking account, it’s best to use a different password for each of those accounts.

As for the passwords, do yourself a favor and – unless the account is of no importance to you – avoid the most common passwords that people tend to use– these include “123456,” “password,” “letmein” and more. The best passwords have at least 12 characters, are random (not a real word), and include a combination of lower and higher case letters and of special characters.

Password management is a big headache, but it’s part of modern life. Don’t be lazy with your passwords! The risk is simply too high.