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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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First, there is Jay…

Over on my CoolCaroftheDay.com blog, I recently wrote about a friend of mine that is an Ambassador of 4wheeling.  He actually has a name tag from the United Four Wheel Drive Association that gives him the title of Ambassador.  And he truly is an Ambassador for the sport, hobby and recreational opportunities it brings.  In Jay’s case, ice cream is the conduit.  He hands it out on the trail… and you’ll need to skill over to the second link above to read the story of the mountain bikers in Utah… ice cream in the desert heat.

DSCN3218
DSCN3218 (Photo credit: lane.bailey)

Jay is an avid 4wheeler and has been on trails all over the US in his yellow Land Rover Defender 90.  He has given countless hours to volunteering in multiple roles to further 4wheeling and demonstrate that there are responsible and respectful enthusiasts using public lands for motorized recreation.  He makes it personal… handing out ice cream and talking with people one-on-one.

… and then there is Dan.

My friend Dan Sullivan is also an Ambassador.  In his case, he is an Ambassador for the sport of Ice Hockey.  His conduit is a Hockey Camp called Come And Get It (CAGI).  He’s been doing the camp in the Atlanta area for 4 years.  In addition to teaching kids how to play better hockey, he also teaches leadership, perseverance, responsibility and respect.  I’ve written about him on LaneBailey.com.

The kids at camp love him.  And they respect him.  He works them hard, but at the same time he gives so much more than he takes.  He wants kids on the ice that want to play.  The ability to buy their way into camp is WAY less important than their desire to play.  In fact, their level of skill is also less important than their desire to play.  There are a lot of stories that demonstrate exactly who Dan is.  The first is the story of Razor.  You really should click the link and read about him.

So what about you?

Chances are, you ARE an Ambassador.  The question that remains is WHAT are you an Ambassador for?  Jay in an Ambassador for his hobby.  Dan is an Ambassador for his business and his sport (he is a full-time professional Coach now that he is retired as an active professional player).

Are you an Ambassador fro your business… your brand?

There are a lot of people in the social media realm that want others to be Evangelists for their brand.  But until you are a great Ambassador, you will have a hard time finding Evangelists.

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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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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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