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There is buzz about “marketing automation”.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad.  automating social media marketing, if done right, is great.  If done poorly, it can take a toll on your brand.

On the plus side, getting the message out on a regular basis and measuring the impact in a consistent and repeatable manner, and then tuning the message, is a GREAT way to build a brand.

But, the dark side is that automated marketing, without monitoring and measuring, too easily becomes noise.  And because there is so much noise, it gets tuned out, and your brand gets turned off.

Real estate agents are some of the best… and worst.  I see agents posting up everything, everywhere, all of the time.  I see others, filtering their message based on the audience…

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For all of the marketing I see aimed AT real estate professionals, I’m amazed to see how little we (individually) actually spend ON supporting those vendors making their livings from us.

Of course, there is the fact that nationally there are millions of real estate agents, and even in a market like Atlanta (where I am), there are tens of thousands of licensed agents.  With those kinds of numbers, it doesn’t take much from each to support a vendor…

The other thing that I see is that successful agents spend a LOT more on technology and marketing that agents that aren’t successful.  The question is, though, did the spending or the success come first.

Regardless, it is VERY important to know what tools are being leveraged by those that are more successful in our business.  Whether we need to emulate them or see more efficient ways to do business, we need the baseline understanding of what is driving their success.

Keep in mind that this data is coming from ActiveRain.com… which wants you to be a member there.  And it is also coming from some of their sponsors… and they want you to join them as well.  Also, I AM an Active Rain Ambassador and have been a member since 2007.   While I am not being compensated for this post in any way (unless you join through my link below… then I’ll get points which won’t buy me a darn thing…) I do feel it is a worthwhile community and that it fosters increased professionalism in the real estate industry.

Data provided by ActiveRain.com. Join 220,000+ Real Estate Agents on the world’s largest Real Estate Social Network. To read more about the things that differentiate real estate agents that are thriving from those that aren’t, click here.

 

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No, this isn’t an apology post about a missed blog deadline.  Rather, this is a post about what happens when you miss a self-imposed deadline on your blog posting calendar.

Nothing…

Unless you are Seth Godin or Chris Brogan, there is a good chance that the only person that will notice is looking at you in the mirror every morning.  That isn’t to say that your posts aren’t being read, but the value isn’t in being posted on time, it is in being posted.  Please note… missing a deadline is no big deal.  Not posting at all is a problem.  Not posting regularly is also a problem.

Just about every “how-to” post on blogging says that you need to post up at least once a week or your readers will get bored.  And I think that is very reasonable… and a minimum.  I think that posting at least once or twice a week should be an attainable goal.

When I first started blogging, I was so wound up about posting every day that I would go back and post for any days I missed.  But there were two things that I noticed…

  • When I tried to cram in posts to meet an artificial deadline, the quality of the posts suffered.
  • I stressed myself WAY out.
  • Nobody noticed that I was posting up every day… or that I had missed days.

One day it hit me.  Chill out.  And I did it across all of my blogs.  I backed off on the schedule and instituted a calendar to try to be better about being regular.

But on the not to do list is write apology posts when you miss a posting deadline (or even a bunch of them).  Just post up good content and move on.  The apology doesn’t help move your blog forward… and your readers don’t want to spend their time reading it.

 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll see if we can come up with ways to make keeping up with those post deadlines easier to meet.

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I enjoy blogging.  But there are a lot of folks that would rather have their teeth pulled than sit down and write 300 words on a regular basis.  And there are a few reasons that keep coming up.  How many of them have YOU said?

  • I just don’t want to…
English: Screenshot of the blogging system Wor...
English: Screenshot of the blogging system WordPress using the theme “Twenty Ten”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To get past this one, we have to ask WHY don’t you want to… those are the real reasons. “I just don’t want to” is an excuse, not a reason.  Of course, we’re all big kids and so we don’t HAVE to if we don’t want to.

  • I’m too busy…

How many of us can identify with that?  Sitting down to write a few hundred words after spending 10 hours with clients… while still looking forward to a few more hours of paperwork, and maybe even a little marketing so that the pipeline doesn’t dry up in two months… isn’t exactly appealing.  But at the same time, blogging IS marketing.  It’s also a great way to educate your clients, and catalog a resource of that education.

Besides, with video blogging or using links and curation of content, it can be done in minutes instead of hours each week.

  • I don’t know how…

This is one of the most common, and while blogging is not really that technically difficult, there is a technical component.  My favorite platform, WordPress (self-hosted), does require having a hosting account and getting under the hood, so to speak.  However, there are a lot of other ways to do it.  You could use Posterous, Tumblr, WordPress.com, Pinterest, YouTube or probably 50 other platforms.

  • I don’t have anything to write about…
Blogging Heroes
Blogging Heroes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously?  Any real estate agent that doesn’t get 30 questions a day that might be worthy of a blog post or 10 strange experiences a week, is not working hard enough.  Everything from “How’s the market” to “I wonder why all of the bedrooms have security cameras?” can be the basis of an interesting blog post.

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BCS Playoff Bracket
BCS Playoff Bracket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media Breakfast Atlanta is going to host a Blog Brawl this summer.  What?  You don’t know what a Blog Brawl is?  We can help you with that…

We will put together a bunch of blog battles.  There will be brackets like the NCAA Basketball Finals.  We’ll take 16 blogs and pair them up.  The blog that gets the most votes from each pair will advance to the next round… and it will happen again.  Only one blog will emerge victorious.

The brawl will be open to Atlanta area business blogs.  Starting date and details will be released in the next few weeks.  There will likely be some surprise twists and turns.

The goal will be to bring more attention to each of the bloggers participating in the brawl.

Next up, we will be looking for some groovy cool sponsors to put together a prize package for the winning blogs.  But every blog will be a winner… more exposure and new readers will be the prize.

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Here are two diametrically opposed viewpoints that need to be balanced.

Market or die!  If you don’t take the time to market now, you will have plenty of time later. 

and

DVRs were invented so that we could ignore marketers and commercials. 

Do It!

Mobile-phone-advertising
Mobile-phone-advertising (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sitting here watching a little TV and it seems that the networks use a lot of valuable advertising time… time that could generate revenue… to promote new shows.  Do the shows pay for the time?  No.  But, if the show is popular, there will be viewers.  If there are viewers, the networks get to sell the advertising time for more money.  So, the networks take some of their most valuable inventory and dedicate it to marketing themselves.

 

Many small business owners, and it seems ESPECIALLY those in the real estate sphere, relegate marketing and advertising to the back burner.  There isn’t time to market when there is actual “revenue generating business” to take care of.  But, after ignoring the marketing and advertising aspects of their business, they found that the “revenue generating business” had slacked off.

I used to work for a photographer that reserved some of his most valuable time to talk with potential new clients… even if it meant turning down existing work.  Of course, we maintained a pretty tough schedule when things got busy, but the marketing was constant.  Even when we were shooting 14 hours days, from before sunrise until after sunset, we would come back to the studio and prep mailings and package stock photos for agencies.

There were a few other photographers I worked for.  They were happy when they were busy, and marketing like mad when they weren’t.  Business was up and down…

But Be Cool About It…

Football is ok, but I can go an entire season without watching a single game… and I’m cool with that.  But I record the Super Bowl.  I don’t really watch the game.  I watch the commercials.  But the rest of the year, I avoid commercials like the plague.  I have an Ad-Blocker on my internet browser so that I don’t see a lot of ads as I surf.  For the TV that we watch in the household, most of it cycles through the DVR so that we can skip the commercials.  When I am watching my FaceBook stream, I tend to ignore the people that just post up self-promotion.

So, how can marketing and advertising be effective if we all just ignore it?  And should we really contribute more to the noise?

It is a tough question and a difficult balance to maintain.  We HAVE to market, but if we do it too much, it has the opposite effect, we get tuned out by the very people we are trying to reach.

Mean it when you market.

Don’t overdo it.

Make it cool.

Keep it relevant.

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