By Stefanie Hahn
I’ve been teaching quite a few Twitter classes lately. I’m not sure if it is because I continue to push Twitter as a social-media-piece-of-cake or if agents are just starting to come around to micro-blogging and the benefits it can bring to their business. I imagine it has more to do with the fact that they are seeing, “follow me on Twitter” everywhere under the sun…and that’s okay, too.
I understand that Twitter is not for everyone – quite frankly, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole thing as well. I have come to realize, however, that Twitter has helped me professionally. How? I am now connected with real estate and social media trainers from all over the country – all of whom I can reach out to over the medium. I have met and befriended agents from all over the U.S. and abroad from whom I have learned more than I ever imagined. As a bonus, I have made new friends locally – something I wasn’t exactly expecting, and my mother is so happy she can now follow me and know what I am doing between those overdue phone calls. Finally, (since it is the metric agents always measure) I have even received a few referrals as a result of my work with Twitter.
If you are thinking about jumping into the deep end of the Twitter pool, listen first. Go to twitter.com and lurk there a bit. Try out the search box – type in “real estate,” your local market area, or anything else you are interested in reading about on Twitter and just follow along.
You don’t have to have a twitter account to see an unprotected twitter feed. Go ahead, lurk … http://twitter.com/ypn you can read all of the posts by the poster (in this case YPN) without ever logging into Twitter.
Finally, learn – even if you’re just going to lurk, you need to know some of the lingo. Here are a few key phrases:
Tweet – A tweet is your 140 character update/broadcast/response. Your tweet can be anything … a broadcast, a response to another tweeter, a photo or a video. I know the New York Times says it’s a no-no, but I’m still calling it a tweet and you should too.
Retweet – Anytime a tweet is resent (similar to an e-mail forward) this is known as a retweet. You can retweet a brilliant quote from your favorite author, the call for help from a friend in need, or as part of a conversation (as needed to make your reply make sense). Just look for the “RT” in the text.
@Reply – You can address another tweeter by @replying to their username. For example, “Hey @sahahn your Listen, Lurk, Learn post on the YPN Lounge blog was boss!” Use the @reply to converse with others on Twitter.
Direct Message or DM – Unless you protect your tweets at sign-up (meaning you must approve everyone that wishes to follow your tweets), most of twitter is public knowledge. There are of course, times when you might need to correspond with a Twitter friend out of the Twitter stream… this is where a DM or direct message is perfect. A DM is a private 140 message between you and a Twitter friend. Important note: Before you can send a DM you must be have a follower/following relationship.
Hashtag – Hashtags and tags are not unique to Twitter. We tag our blog posts, our Delicious bookmarks, and our Facebook photos. Hashtags on Twitter work in the same way – tying related things together.
Once you have listened, lurked and learned the lingo on Twitter, start contributing and conversing with others. Find and follow your locals – see what they are up to and take an interest. Be real. If you are not into what they are tweeting, don’t force it because, “Stef told me that I need to interact …” Offer your assistance, but don’t oversell. If someone tweets a real estate question that you feel comfortable tackling, offer your expertise and guidance. It is okay to broadcast that new listing, but please don’t tweet it over and over again. Tweet about real estate, but also be social, personable and helpful.
Realize that Twitter is just another way to network. If you are comfortable in the Twitterverse and you learn to network in this medium, you can build a powerful network both personally and professionally.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.