By Stefanie Hahn
What was hot online in 2009?
1. Google LOVES Facebook Fan Pages. Have you set one up for your real estate business? You should – trust me on this… no one wants to see your business on your personal Facebook page. Setting up a Fan Page is a fast and fun way to share your business information, listings, real estate news, blog posts, photos and more with people who want to see what you’re up to in the real estate world. Set up your page, start posting and begin gathering fans. You should post your listings, real estate news and information from reputable sources, interesting and informative blog posts – yours or someone else’s – local blogs would be best, and post photos and videos of your listings and the areas you work in everyday. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages and click on +Create Page to get started. You can build your page out before activating it for the Facebook universe. And this is so great – Facebook gives you some basic stats on your “fans” – click on the “Ads & Pages” icon on the lower left (next to Facebook Applications) when you are logged in to see your fan page statistics.
2. Are you taking video? Why not?!! YouTube was the second largest search engine this year. The second!!! You NEED to be shooting video right now. Good thing for you it’s so easy to do these days! Hopefully you put a Flip Video camera on your holiday wish list… the Flip cams are super easy to use and come with software that makes editing and posting online easy peasy. Also important… invest in a tripod. Please don’t make us queasy as we try to watch your listing video. In this case, practice really does make perfect. You can even practice at you own house. Play around until you feel comfortable, turn all of the lights on, speak loudly and clearly and move slower than you think you should. Shooting your video in segments is always a good idea – you can stitch the segments together while editing. Once you feel good about it, sign up for a free YouTube account and create your own channel!
3. Twitter exploded in 2009. Are you tweeting your listings and more? Twitter is a necessary evil. You should be on Twitter and tweeting three to four times a day about your business. Tweet your listings, links to all things real estate, what you are up too… Follow local people – many of the people you follow will follow you back if you seem interesting enough. Twitter can grow your online network insanely fast. Begin networking with locals that follow you on Twitter, consider attending local Tweetups in your area and take the online conversation offline at an alarming pace.
4. Are you blogging…or at the very least reading and commenting on blogs? You need fresh content to get to the top of the Google heap. But unless you are (a) a good writer and (b) naturally inclined to write (meaning you like to write) – you won’t enjoy blogging and your blog will suffer. Blogging is a commitment, much like joining a gym. You have to blog regularly (4 times a week is suggested) to really have an impact. On top of that, no one will read it until you really get going – and that can take quite a while. My suggestion? Read, read, read. There are loads of fantastic blogs out there if you know where to find them. Use a service like www.regator.com or www.alltop.com to start finding blogs you enjoy and find useful. Use the keyword searches to find all sorts of great blogs and save your searches so you can always find the most recent content. Commenting on blogs – which by the way is just like creating fresh content that Google loves – is a great way to get your name out there. Make sure your comments are thoughtful and add something to the post. Please don’t comment just to see your name on the comment trail.
5. Have you set up free accounts on Trulia and Zillow? Are you claiming your listings and answering consumer questions? Trulia and Zillow are posting Realtor.com-like site stats these days – which means you need to be there. Both sites will allow you to create a free account. Both have a question and answer section where consumers can answer questions and YOU can be that helpful and informative expert on the other end. Almost everyone already syndicates their feeds to these sites (there was some recent controversy about this but Zillow has indicated it is still accepting feeds for free), so setting up the free account will give you a little more info, allow you to upload your photo and provide you with additional street cred.
There are only a few days left…but I beg you not to leave 2009 behind without ticking these items off your to-do List! 2010 is only going to bring the real estate business more fun and exciting tools. Some of them are coming to the surface already. Please don’t be left in the dust of 2009.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.