I started out with the wrong strategy
When I first started using Twitter I searched for and followed real estate agents all over the country. Most of the list of people I followed were real estate professionals. A very common thing to do and also the total WRONG strategy!
Understand, many of these people have turned into real friends of mine and I wouldn’t un-follow them (well not MOST of them), but as a business strategy it had a HUGE hole in it.
I can’t sell real estate agents a house. Well, I could, but that seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it?
I caught my mistake pretty early on and realized that who I needed to find and connect with were people in my area who might want to buy or sell real estate and would be impressed by a tech savvy real estate agent using emerging social media.
How to find the people I needed to connect with
So now that I knew WHO I was looking for, I needed to figure out HOW to find them. There are several tools out there for searching Twitter, including Twitter’s homepage itself, but for me I have had the best success with four simple tools:
1- Twitter Local: this Adobe Air application runs tweets in real time based on the criteria you supply. I follow area codes and when someone new shows up in the stream I follow them and say hello. AG writer Lani Rosales wrote about several tools for finding locals on Twitter.
2- Local hashtag: in my area we all use the hashtag #westernma. I am sure that your area has at least one hashtag in population, but if it doesn’t then be a self starter and get one going! Follow everyone who tweets with that hashtag.
3- Tweetdeck search: A Twitter application is essential to your sanity if you are going to follow more than 100 people (which you should). There are many out there, but I am a Tweetdeck fan. AG writer Ginger Wilcox wrote a post about Tweetdeck and why she likes it, too. The ability to have columns open for specific search terms, like your town name, is revolutionary to your Twitter experience.
4- Twitter Lists: now I was a bit unsure about lists on Twitter’s home page when they first came out and to be totally honest I still haven’t made any lists. I do, however, follow several other people’s lists. Other people in my area have taken it upon themselves to create lists populated with local businesses and people. I follow these lists and add them as columns in Tweetdeck. I just adore it when I can reap the rewards of someone else’s work!
Following locals, now what?
Ok, so now you are following all these new people in your local area…that is great, but what is next? Well, you will hear this all over the place, but next is ENGAGEMENT.
Engagement is NOT stuffing the fact that you are a real estate agent down each person’s throat and it is NOT send an auto DM (or any DM for that matter) to people that you haven’t even said hello to.
Engagement IS sending them a tweet to say, “Hi, I started following you today and notice we live in the same town” or something equally friendly.
Talk as yourself, not as a real estate agent at least 80% of the time. Be yourself and use your real voice. The 20% of time spent on business tweets should be doled out carefully.
Most importantly, try to take Twitter Face to Face. I wrote about this in the new book “Age of Conversation 3″ and in my section of the book I give the following advice:
“It is important to remember that clients and customers are screening you and to keep that front of mind when you are posting on twitter (or anywhere else for that matter). Everyone has a different idea of what their social media “voice” should be. For me, I try to be consistent in my personality online and offline. I love it when I meet people face to face and they tell me that they feel like they already know me from our twitter conversations.”
There are a lot of ways to meet your local twitter friends (tweeps) face to face. I will discuss those ideas in later posts.
This is like getting back to Networking 101 folks and it works. I have closed three sales this year based strictly on taking Twitter face to face. Good luck and happy tweeting!
CC Licensed image courtesy of jez via Flickr.com.