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Remember when consumers were told to "let your fingers do the walking" through the YellowPages to find local businesses? Those days have long since passed as local marketing trends have shifted to the internet. Unfortunately, many small businesses have not established a strong enough online presence to draw in new customers and build strong relationships with their current client base. If you have not yet taken advantages of the many local marketing opportunities that the internet affords you, it is time to reevaluate your strategy.
Here are four simple ways to boost the reaches of your local marketing by utilizing the internet.
1. Maintain a Professional Website
If your small business is not already represented by a website - start one. If your current website has been collecting cyber "dust" and has remained unchanged and unused for years - update it. Consumers are far more likely to give their business to a company that regularly updates a clean, concise, and professional looking webpage. Your page should be used to explain your services, introduce your customers to who you are and what you stand for, and provide links for current and potential clients to connect with you on other online mediums or to reach out to you for further information.
2. Manage a Blog
Blogs are best used for local marketing when they provide insightful, helpful information to consumers. In doing so, you are establishing a need - that is to say, your customers will be able to understand why they need you to provide them with services and helpful advice. This gives you credibility in your field, and enables you to build lasting relationships with your clients. By using keywords (generally these are words that you would expect consumers to type into a search engine to find companies like your own), you will become the top search result and draw in more new customers.
3. Be a Social Butterfly
In this world of computer technology and tech savvy, many realtors are using their connection to the internet to market their business. This is a great way for you to promote listings, open houses, price drops, and great deals online. With the economy the way that it currently is, you might be looking for a way to promote your business and market yourself to potential clients without spending too much. Social media marketing is genius because it’s free and millions of people use it on a regular basis. Here are the top five practices you should be doing on Facebook.
Use Social Media to Connect With Clients
Instead of handing out business cards and sending business emails, invite clients to “Like” your Facebook page or connect with you on LinkedIn. This allows them to see you in a professional light as well as keep them updated on your new listings, price drops, and open houses without having to flood their inboxes or voicemail with emails and voice messages. It’s also a softer way to connect with people, because it allows them to get to know you easily. Additionally, you can get to know your clients by checking out their pictures and likes; when they decide to buy a house you already have a pretty good idea of what they want and can present them with preliminary information almost as soon as they suggest working with you.
The second practice you should use is to maintain a constant flow of communication with your clients. Post about recent listings, updates to your business, and make sure to change your photos regularly. Get rid of photos of homes you’ve sold and replace them with new listings and great deals.
Integrate Facebook to Your Other Marketing Methods
You can use Facebook for more than just posting photos and updating people with your statuses. You can set up your business blog to automatically post links to your blog on your Facebook page so all your clients can have ready access to them. Additionally, you can send out a monthly newsletter on Facebook rather than through email. Many people have things like this sent to their spam box, which means they don’t see it. Putting it on Facebook means they are able to see it and are aware it is out there for them.
You're in real estate and you're ready to take on the internet, but how does Twitter figure into your marketing plan? Furthermore, should you integrate Twitter with your real estate blog? The good news is this: Your blog and Twitter can work together in a way that provides value to your readers!
Bringing A Smile To Their Faces
With just 140 characters, you might feel like you have to scramble to say something on Twitter that no other real estate agent, or person, has ever said, but that’s just not true. Your Twitter friends understand the limit of the social network. This actually works in your favor. You can back off trying to be the smartest or most original and simply post something whimsical or entertaining, at least some of the time. It takes the pressure off of you, and it may brighten another person’s day. It’s a win, win situation, really.
Beyond the whimsical, you should still post valuable content. Not everyone can make it big by posting LOLcats. Twitter gives you the opportunity to discuss industry news, link your new property listings, and ask buyers and sellers what they need from their real estate professionals. In this way, you provide even more value to consumers.
Twitter Visibility on Your Real Estate Blog
It might not be enough simply to join Twitter and post links to your blog update. You have to make your Twitter presence visible on your blog, too. What do we mean? Simply that you should at least link to your Twitter account on your blog to let your current visitors know you’ve entered the social domain. However, showing your recent tweets, which is possible with several Blogger widgets and WordPress plug-ins, gives you another way to increase visibility. Visitors who see your recent tweets will associate them with the person, or people, behind the blog. Sometimes, dissociation can occur when people see your tweets separately from your other online presences.
Get the Conversation Going
Not only do we recommend playing with a Twitter widget right on the front page of your real estate blog, but we recommend using it to actively engage your visitors. If they can reply to your tweets from the widget itself, they’re more likely to do so than if they have to navigate to Twitter, find the post and then reply. Plus, some widget tools let you display posts from multiple authors, which is handy if your entire real estate team is on Twitter. Finally, consider an option that lets your visitors see the entire conversation, including replies from other people. The back-and-forth might be just what your readers need to jump in on the conversation and let their own voices be heard.
Twitter also provides the opportunity to post links, images and infographics from your own blog, and when your social media friends click those links, they can leave comments on your blog. Twitter doesn’t have to replace your current commenting system, but you can think of it as a way to supplement those comments, especially if you know that particular users are likely to go off on a tangent.
It’s worth noting that you can allow your visitors to reply to comments with their Twitter account, which some social media users might prefer. You’ll have to swap your current commenting system to Disqus or LiveFyre to make the change, but both support signing in from Facebook, Twitter, Google and OpenID, among other account services.
Do you have any tips for Twitter and blog integration?
The many different things you have to keep in mind to continue marketing a successful website, or starting one up, can take a toll on your administrative efforts if you don’t take advantage of the wonders of specialization.
With that said, outsourcing your e-commerce product descriptions to companies that engage in that, solely, can be cost-effective, while still securing professional content. Here are 16 sites that are well-known for writing e-commerce product descriptions:
“Twitter Parties are great for company promotions and sales. Twitter Chats are great for branding and continued client engagement” -Deborah Anderson, SocialWebCafe.com.
Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties have their similarities. The most obvious being, uh, the fact that they use Twitter. There are also similarities such as:
- Use of a specific hashtag.
- Scheduled time to hook up.
- Chatting process via Twitter.
There are actually differences between Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties.
First, let's talk about Twitter Chats...
Twitters Chat for Branding
One of the clearest points to see in the value of Twitter Chats, is branding. With chats that use hashtags such as #myBlogGuest and #BlogEngage, what do you think of first? Yes, the hashtag is the domain and, as such, gets you thinking of the brand, or at the least, asking yourself, what is that brand?
As a continuation of that, beyond the textual hashtag, is the imagery. Wise Twitter Chat hosts and hostesses will use that imagery. For example, check out the image here, on this storify archive of a #b2ctweet. What do you see? The #b2ctweet logo, creating the imagery that will remind you of #b2ctweet and the B2CTweet.com when you see it.
That is branding, creating a connection between the chat and the brand and vice versa, and keeping the brand re-visiting your thoughts. Great way for a company to create reminders for the customers and future customers!
Twitter Chats for Engagement
Twitter Chats are an excellent way for your customers or readers to feel connected to the company/client. It is a way for you, as the client, the brand, to show your customers and audience how much you care for them and care for their needs. It is also an opportunity for those tweeps (Twitter people/participants) to share and feel that they may be heard (and should be heard!). You want your tweeps to feel like they can share their thoughts and have a voice. This is a part of relationship building and is very essential in your business strategy.
Twitter Chats for Feedback
Along the same lines as engagement, is the aspect of feedback. Even if you post something on your site and request feedback, that doesn't mean that you are going to get it. But, if it is a really bad idea and you happen to mention it in a Twitter Chat, chances are, your tweeps will already feel comfortable enough, because of the engagement and the relationships that you have built up, and that level of trust, that they will give you the feedback that you need to improve your web site, product, or service that you are offering. This feedback is priceless and could be the difference between making a lot of sales and bombing.
Twitter Chats for Repeat Business
Now, if we tie in the branding (remembering your company / your blog), and the engagement (building trust), and feedback (improving your products/services), we are headed toward repeat business. Think about it for a moment. If you offer product A and there is another company that also offers product A and your tweep is out of product A and needing to buy some more, who are they going to think of first? Are they going to remember the company that they bought from a year ago, or are they more likely to buy from you, as they just interacted with your brand favorably yesterday on the Twitter Chat.
Hey, cute packaging may be wonderful, but it is the engagement that is going to bring the customers back to you, not the pretty pink box with a bow on it.
Let's listen (read) as Gail Gardner, of Growmap.com talks about Twitter Parties.
So, there you have it, the difference between Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties. If you haven't already done so, visit Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties: Differences? What Do They Cost? What Are the Benefits? Who Does Them? to read about Twitter Parties.