Who should real estate agents follow on Twitter?

May 14, 2010
898 Views

I started out with the wrong strategy

Twitter typographic wallpaper by jez 300x199 Who should real estate agents follow on Twitter?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:



Advertise at AG

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.

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.


  • http://www.wheretolive.com Ed Kohler

    Interesting post. I think a lot of different strategies can work. Local is a smart choice, but networking with people around the country can also be effective, since that’s a good way to earn referrals from agents sending people to your town.

    Following and being followed by members of your local media can also be effective since you may be in a position to earn more free press if you have something timely and interesting to say to reporters.

    • http://www.lesleylambert.com LesleyLambert

      Ed, my area isn’t a heavy referral area so I haven’t realized much business from other agents. I have, however made a ton of new friends & been blessed to have many of those new friends become clients!

  • http://atproperties.com/agents/TimMcDonald Tim McDonald

    Lesley,
    As I read this, I thought you were talking about my experience as I began on Twitter! Couldn’t agree more with your suggestions. I would however add that being a self starter (especially in areas that may not have huge Twitter use) by creating hashtags is a way to make yourself stand out. I’m very interested to hear about the F2F methods, as I’m sure I can contribute quite a bit there. Again, be a self starter is a huge advantage!
    Ed,
    The media contacts are indeed a great resource, not only to follow and be followed, but to interact with in person.
    I have had a few recommendations from out of state REALTORS for referrals, but never a deal or even contact from the prospect. That being said, I am very glad to have established relationships with so many others from across the country that I’ve learned from (and still do).

  • http://thewestchesterview.com Ruthmarie Hicks

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have way too many real estate agents from other parts of the country on Twitter and on Facebook. It makes it harder to follow and keep up with a more local crowd. Time to rethink what I am actually doing.

    • http://www.lesleylambert.com LesleyLambert

      Ruthmarie,

      If you use Tweetdeck you can put the local people into a group that you follow more closely than other tweets….I highly recommend this strategy as it is impossible to follow every thing that every person has to tweet!

  • http://flatfeerealty.com Fred Romano

    Twitter seems like a total loser for RE. Personally I use it to follow my favorite clebs, musicians, and web designers. I can hardly image any seller or buyer hooking up with an agent on it… Now Facebook is a whole other beast, and IMO seems more viable.

    • http://www.lesleylambert.com LesleyLambert

      I have made some of my best local friendships and business connections on Twitter. Won’t work for everyone, especially if you don’t want it to work, but it will work for those willing to invest some F2F time to follow up on the “virtual” friendships. Give it a try, won’t cost you a thing! :-)

  • http://www.joelane.com/ Joe

    “I can’t sell real estate agents a house. Well, I could, but that seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it?”

    I have made a lot of marketing mistakes, but fortunately I realized developing relationships with other real estate agents, while fun, does not put food on the table. I see this quite a bit on ActiveRain. Too many folks are climbing all over each other to get the other real estate agent’s attention, when it’s the Mom & Dad in your own neighborhood that needs your attention.

    With Twitter and Facebook we keep things fun and community focused. We rarely discuss real estate. Folks respect us for that.

    • http://www.lesleylambert.com LesleyLambert

      I very early on realized that with AR. I stopped writing agent to agent blog posts there and gave up concern of points and started directing my focus to the consumers.

  • http://unhub.com/susieblackmon Susie Blackmon

    Great Twitter info Ms. Lesley. Twitter is absolutely my ‘drug’ of choice. Learn more on Twitter than most other sites combined. I use Facebook because I have to, but most of my FB posts come directly from Twitter. My Active Rain posts (which have been scarce lately) are directed to Localism.

  • http://agentgenius.com Benn Rosales

    We’ve seen this movie before ala Google, and micro versus macro still wins the race.

  • Pingback: REtechToday - The best in real estate tech for May 17, 2010 — REtechSource

  • http://akknowsrealestate.com AK Stout

    Another great Twitter application that I love to use to find local people to interact with on Twitter is twellow.com/twellowhood/. It is also a good idea to interact with/get on the radar of corporations who may end up having to relocate their employees to your area.

  • http://www.swanepoel.com Stefan Swanepoel

    Leslie
    Great post. Last year in responding to a similar question at a talk I gave I quickly created a list of 200 interesting and influential real estate people to follow on Twitter. The lists are posted here http://tweepml.org/Most-Influential-People-Online-in-Real-Estate/ & http://tweepml.org/100-Part-2-Interesting-Influential-People-in-Real-Estate-on-Twitter/

    • http://www.lesleylambert.com LesleyLambert

      Thank you Stefan….both for putting me on the list and for sharing it here!

  • Pingback: Step it up by taking Twitter face to face

  • Pingback: Obeo Inc.

  • Pingback: Jason Hillard

  • Pingback: Sandeep

  • Pingback: Social media for real estate: the secret sauce

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: Twitter For Realtors: Who To Follow And How « The Ibis Network

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: May ‘10: Best Search/Marketing Posts « {zb}Interactive's Lead Feed

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: Twitter 101: finding & following people you already know

  • http://www.rerockstar.com Matt Stigliano

    Lesley – I’ve missed a lot at AgentGenius recently and happened across this post. This morning I watched the video about people doing it “right” in using social media in conjunction with business that you were in – read this post…it’s pretty easy to see the connection.

    Lani and I were talking about this one day and I did exactly the same thing, I had a list of Realtors® a mile long and not much else. It helped me immensely, as a was a new agent, and I had an amazing list of people to learn from and get to know, but in the end, it wasn’t going to put food on my table. There came a point where I started focusing on the people around me and I saw almost immediate results. I’ve become a local source as well as gained an amazing source (well several) for local news, insight, and opinion (including the local news who I can always turn to when I need more info about a developing story – such as the “slope failiure” that occurred at a local Centex community – which garnered me a lot of attention for my blog).

    I have a lot of room for improvement still and am going to take some steps in that direction this month by meeting some of them face to face for the first time – I can’t wait.

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: RickBonetti

  • Pingback: Twitter: The Next Networking Frontier | ePoweredAgents

  • Pingback: AgentGenius

  • Pingback: Dal Sohal

  • Pingback: Kiri Speirs

  • Pingback: Trent Colyer

  • http://www.jacquiecliff.com/ Jacquie Cliff

    Thanks for the sources of more people to follow. I am in the Seattle area, and working on following more people, but have hit the wall on finding them. Looking for lists is a great idea, thanks!

  • Pingback: Barbara Eden

  • http://www.calgaryrealestate.pro/ Calgary Real Estate

    Definitely an informative article for the new ones to have suggestions from many specialists before opting for investments in real estate!!!
    Thanks Lesley!!

    calgaryrealestate.pro

  • http://vancouverrealestatelink.ca Agent Home Listings

    I’m still not all that excited about Twitter, but I’ll tell you it makes a big difference to my clients. They love that I have a presence on there.

  • http://allcalgaryrealestate.ca/ Condo Properties For Sale

    Not convinced Twitter is all that beneficial, Facebook seems to work a lot better for my business. But maybe that’s because I spend more time on it? It probably all comes down to what you spend your time on.