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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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Check it out.  They haven’t set it up to be embeddable, so I just have to link to it.  But it is worth hopping over there to take a look at it.  They grabbed a bunch of the Social Media sites that pop straight into your mind… like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest… and compared them in users, revenue and employees with some that you may NOT have thought of… like Club Penguin and Tagged.

 

Image representing Club Penguin as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase

The results might surprise you.  It might not alter your social media strategy (you do have a strategy, right?), but might give you some food for thought.

 

Social Media Ranking on Mashable.

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Remember when FaceBook changed the format for personal profiles a few months ago?  A lot of people grumbled, and FaceBook did it anyway.  They gave us all plenty of warning, but a lot of us waited until the last minute…

They are at it again… and have been for a few weeks.  I’ve been ignoring it on my pages.  But the deadline is today (March 30th)… beginning on Saturday (March 31st) the pages are changing over to a similar Timeline to that of the profiles.

Luckily, all-around Good Guy, Hockey Fan and Biker, Mike Mueller put out a post just yesterday talking about the changes and how to get everything done on your FaceBook Page.  Go check it out.

For the record, I changed over my pages yesterday.  It also made me decide that they need more work…

 

facebook engancha
Image via Wikipedia

My pal Mike Mueller is a FaceBook Whiz.  He has been all over the new Timeline feature from FaceBook… even though most people don’t even have a clue what it is yet.

 

Whether you are a fan of it or not, the new Timeline is coming.  You might as well get used to it and use it to its best advantage.  Mike has a few tips on his blog, AreWeConnected.com, and I’m sure there will be more coming in the future as he delves deeper into its capabilities.

Mike has a lot of other great takes on the Social Media sphere… as well as a great portfolio of FaceBook Pages he has designed for clients.  He’s also a huge hockey fan and a great guy.

One of the things I whole-heartedly agree with agree with Mike about is the use (on non-use) of FaceBook Profiles as a sales tool.  FaceBook’s Terms of Service specifically address using profiles as a marketing tool.  In a word, don’t.  That is the reason that they offer FREE FaceBook Pages for businesses.  In surfing around through a few profiles, it didn’t take long for me to run across a few that were basically real estate agent billboards.

So, check out Mike’s post… check out the new Timeline Profile feature and dive into the future.

 

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Just about all Internet marketers (that would be anyone that markets on the internet, not just internet based companies) want to create a “Viral Ad Campaign.”  The dream is that for almost no money, they will create an ad or campaign that everyone just HAS to share with all of their friends.  It will end up getting more views that a Super Bowl ad, and more click-throughs than tabloid pics of Brittany Spears with a shaved head.

Humor, shock and amazement are the ingredients… but the exact recipe is pretty tough to figure out.

Click the pic to go to Voltier Digital's post on Going Viral.

I don’t have a relationship with Voltier Digital… I just saw the graphic and thought it would be a cool share.

 

Blogging Heroes
Image via Wikipedia

Real Estate Professionals are becoming more and more convinced that blogging is a necessary marketing tactic.  So, the question is steadily shifting from “Should I be blogging?” to “Where should I be blogging?

 

For Real Estate Professionals, there are a variety of choices, ranging from real estate specific blogging channels to general blogging channels to self-hosted options.  And each of them has advantages and disadvantages.  Of course, for those that aren’t blogging, the first hurdle is to get started… and the actual location, while important, isn’t as important enough to stop the progress while working out the location…

 

Real Estate Specific Channels – Utilizing a network that is tweaked towards real estate blogging has some GREAT advantages for the new blogger.  From a technical standpoint, there is built in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) with the platform since there are multitudes of bloggers writing about real estate.  Search Engines see the content and make it a trusted source more quickly.  Also, some of the networks have great user communities, leading to opportunities to learn more about blogging and technology, as well as build referral relationships.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

On the flip side, you don’t control the platform.  Management might be GREAT at the moment, but what it the platform is purchased by a company with poor practices, or worse… by a competing real estate empire? What if they introduce advertising on the blogs, and your competitors can by ad space on YOUR content?  The bottom line is that you don’t have control over what goes out to the consumer.  You only control your content.

 

But, on the balance, this might be a great place to start, discover your voice and stretch your blogging legs.  You might find yourself outgrowing it, though.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

General Blogging Channels – These carry most of the pitfalls and none of the benefits of Real Estate Specific Channels.  You still don’t have control of what may be presented to the consumer alongside your content.  Of course, it is much less likely that a real estate company will buy the platform, but not a lot less likely that a competitor could buy an ad or end up with a link on YOUR blog, without your permission.  And since the content is general, the SEO benefits are gone, as well.

But, in the case of WordPress.com, you will have the opportunity to learn the WP-Admin console.  And you actually can start writing.  You also might have al ittle more control over the theme (design) of your blogs graphic presentation.

 

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

Blogging on a general site is probably the weakest option, in my opinion.  It has all of the weaknesses of blogging on a platform owned by someone else, but few of the advantages of being on a site tuned for real estate blogging.

 

Self-Hosted Options – For the long term, this should be where it’s at, in my opinion.  You control almost everything about the platform and the content.  There are no worries about who may be advertising on your blog, nor about who might have their hand in the background.  You get the final say.

However, you also get to control things like SEO… and if you create regular and compelling content, you will be noticed by the search engines.  If you guest post on well known blogs, you will get important links back to your blog, and bring up your blogs SEO.

 

Screenshot of the blogging system WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

The bottom line here is that YOU are in control…  For some, that is great.  For others, it is terrifying.  It might mean that your blog languishes with a lack of attention, or it might mean that you have to hire someone to make it rock.  Or, it might mean that you have a platform that is unique and compelling and that costs VERY little money and pulls in a tremendous number of leads.

 

 

In each case, there are exceptions.  And there are sites that don’t really seem to fit in their mold.  Posterous, YouTube and FaceBook Pages are all examples of sites that can be useful tools, regardless of where your other efforts are focused.  Using them as part of a network of your own can build your blog into something greater.

Here is a (non-real estate) network I am building…

CoolCaroftheDay.com (self-hosted WordPress site)

CCotD on YouTube (YouTube Channel)

CCotD on FaceBook (FaceBook Page)

CCotD Quick Hits (Posterous Blog, primarily populated via web links)

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