Archive for July, 2008

Six Ways to Integrate Your Schedule with Google Calendar

July 31, 2008

View the PowerPoint Version Created on Google Docs

http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=ddtd5whr_37q5krkxhk

Their are six ways for real estate instructors to use Google Calendar to share their schedule with meeting planners, organizations and bureaus without having to pick up the phone. It is absolutely FREE and takes little time to implement.

  1. Advertise class schedule online. Whether you are hosting a webinar, delivering live classes, or host asynchronous distance education post your course schedule online so that the world can see when the next big event will be. Each date on the calendar represents your activity, date, location and description of the event taking place. There is built in feature using Google Maps that will pinpoint the destination and give directions from anywhere.
  2. Update automatically. Once you create an event then you can decide whether to post it to the entire world. Once posted the event then is launched into many different vehicles for consumers to view, share, and participate. This will change the event on your website, blog, send out an email to all attendees and send you an email or text message as a reminder.
  3. Invite others to attend. If you have created a group of contacts or just want some others to attend you can send them an email with everything they need to know. This email will include an attachment that when opened can be saved into your Microsoft Outlook. This will save the attendees time retyping and eliminates errors in retyping or copying and pasting. If any event details change then you can send out an email to all the attendees instantly. More time saved on your part and for students.
  4. RSS syndication feed. Allow people to subscribe to receiving your events using RSS. Each calendar when published, promotes a RSS feed. Create a FREE account at http://www.FeedBurner.com and produce, promote, and publicize your Calendar RSS feed there. Promote this feed on your blog, website, email marketing and online social networking events. Visitors can now see where you are, where you’ve been, and where you are going on a regular basis.
  5. Publish to website. Each Google Calendar can be embedded into any website that allows you to add HTML source code. Find the source code and paste it into the page where you want the calendar to appear. Once a change is made for the event, description, or details, the calendar is immediately changed. If you do not have a website or cannot embed the calendar in your website then Google Calendar will create a web page solely for the calendar.  Just link this web page from your main website or blog to save you more time and money.
  6. Mobile reminders. You can receive reminders on your cell phone whenever your assistant or event planner makes a change by text messaging or email if you have a PDA mobile phone.  This will save you time on the fly when things change last minute.  Reminders can be set for invitations, cancellations, changes, and those that accept.

Criteria for Selecting Which Online Network to Use

July 30, 2008

Since there are several online social networks to choose from it is important to select the one based on the following:

Demographic profile. Each online social networking has its own demographic of users that range from a variety of ages.  We will see though that as time passes the median will increase since more people will have created a profile and become accustomed to the network.  Here is a blog post that had some good info. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/01/09/social-network-stats-facebook-myspace-reunion-jan-2008/

RSS feeds. RSS or Really simple syndication allows you to relay information from one site to another without having to post to individual sites.  Online software such as www.Feedburner.com will help you create an account to set up multiple feeds.  Set up a different feed for your blog posts, other blogs, podcast, and Google calendar items.

Widgets. A widget is an application or software that can be use in one or many other applications, websites, blogs and online communication.  Examples of widgets are:

1.      Allowing the world to communicate by instant messaging from the real estate professional’s website.

2.      Display mortgage interest rates that change by the minute without having to update.

3.      Show new blog posts on your website without changing the website regularly.

Maximum administrative control. There are going to be some content displayed on your social network that you want all of your friends to see, a select few to preview, or the entire world to research your profile.  Online social networking allows the participants to collaborate, share, analyze, and add value by posting news, events, or just by saying hello.  Identify which online social networks allow for controlling how members can add, change, or view information.

Which Online Communities to Participate and Share

July 29, 2008

There is no cost to set up a profile in any of the online social communities below.  Each one is different based on the participating demographic and may have advantages over another.  Please choose one, two, three or all of them.

LinkedIn. The professional networking community that allows you connect with members, affiliates, and vendors.  Visit www.LinkedIn.com and create an account with a username and password.  Quickly enter resume and business information from template outline.  If using Microsoft Outlook, download the add-on which will send invitations to everyone in your database to join your network.  LinkedIn is considered the online community for corporate business interaction.

FaceBook.  Add a little more flavor to your communication and networking a twist of personality with a hint of social media at www.Facebook.com.  Create a robust profile that dictates both the personal and professional side to your business to all ages using widgets, video, and communication from your mobile telephone.  Facebook allows real estate professionals to create applications for its members to freely express themselves according to their personal and business interests.  For example, add a podcast, blog, pictures of past events, and videos from past experiences.  These messages will go directly to a cell phone if the recipient has enabled the mobile feature.  Facebook appeals to but not limited to the Gen X/Gen Y demographic

MySpace. The 100% customizable community that allows for extreme interaction and collaboration.  Authors, musicians, and event planners are wildly succeeding  by adopting innovative marketing strategies to connect with these consumers.  Create your profile using www.PimpYourProfile.com to choose your own designer template.  Find friends, blog about your business , or add widgets from other online platforms.  MySpace caters to those who want to express themselves freely without rules or hassle from tight supervision.  Creating a group on MySpace If MySpace were a country then it would be the 8th largest in the world

YouTube. Share videos with the world.  Create your own television channel for FREE with a username, password, and email address.  Add video tours of neighborhoods, listings, and attractions.  Produce videos that generate interest that members will want to subscribe to on a regular basis.  These may include live conferences, testimonials from members, or classroom instruction.

Why REALTOR Associations Should Network Online

July 28, 2008

REALTOR Associations have a great deal of tasks to accomplish.  The thought of adding one more responsibility to the mix would cause more stress.  Anytime you add something new you must take something out.  This is no different that  buying clothes and donating/pitching the old ones.  Here are just a few reasons why it may help save time and money.

Free exposure. The costs of stamps, paperwork, and ink are going up.  Marketing yourself online is free once you have the internet connection.  The only cost is time.  Dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to add friends, send them messages, ask for testimonials, update your profile or add videos.

Online presence. The cost of not being visible is greater than the time of creating a profile and group.  Each online community will ask to create a username and password to view your profile and participate in sharing.  Select the same username across multiple communities or one that matches your website name. Each profile will give you a unique website to link from your website, link from your blog, and add to email marketing.  The username will appear in the URL of the profile and if consistent will enhance search engine optimization with your main real estate website.

Find lost contacts. If you have past clients, lost classmates, or friends you have had but lost their contact information then you can always try searching online for them.  Each online communities have a combination of searches to find people by graduating high school, college, employer, or interest.

Target newer members. Young real estate leaders are eager to participate in what happens to their local real estate association but may not know to get involved.  Instead of attending meetings they are ready to share online.  Online communities allow for collaboration of new ideas and concepts faster than meetings that require face to face contac.

Seven Ways to Supercharge Your Online Social Networking

July 27, 2008

Creating a profile is easy.  Making the online profile make sense is another. There are some shortcuts in online social networking that help save time and brand yourself online.  Here are seven ways to help you accomplish this task.

Take advantage of some

1.      Create Template Outline. Create one outline in Microsoft Word that includes your professional resume and personal interests.  Once the outline has been created then visit each online community and create a profile.  Each will ask for a username (your full name) and a password to get started.  Then other questions, fill in the blanks, and options will allow you to finish your profile.  Then start copying and pasting the content from the following categories:

a)      Name, business name, position, description of job, location

b)      Company contact information including multiple websites, email, and instant messaging number

c)      Work experience listed in reverse chronological order

d)      Hobbies, activities, interests, relationships, etc.

e)      Picture of self, team, or company logo

2.      Go mobile. Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube allow you to actively share messages, add friends, and communicate away from the computer.  Set up the mobile profile feature for each community and save time replying to messages from peers from your cell phone that uses text messaging.  Before enabling this feature make your phone plan includes unlimited text messages otherwise the bill can get nasty.

3.      Hire an assistant. Adding photos, events, movies and sharing of information is a form of marketing and should be the responsibility of an assistant.  If you do not have someone to help you then participation in communities will take more time thus keep you away from showing property and writing contracts.

4.      Add pictures. Buyers want to see pictures of properties, neighborhood restaurants, shopping, or anything else that matches the lifestyle of the community.  Take pictures of the area that you represent and add them to a virtual slideshow for free at www.Slide.com.

5.      Add events. If you are hosting an open house add the date, time, location, extra pictures, and video copy them to a new event using Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

6.      Find friends. Anyone you who have a positive relationship include family, friends, vendors, affiliates, past clients, and referral agents in other cities.  Search for these individuals in each community and add them as a friend or to your network.

7.      Ask for recommendations. If you have given good service or exceeded expectations people will be willing to say good things about you online.  It is much easier to make a recommendation online than write a letter on company stationery.

Common Risks Using Online Social Networking for REALTOR Associations

July 26, 2008

This stuff is pretty cool right?  People can join your group, say whatever they want, whenever they want.  Ah, not so fast.  Young leaders that know how to create a group or page for your associaton have great ideas to share using web 2.0 but overlook some risks associated with online social networking.  Here are some ideas that I have generated based on several conversations I have had already with some Association Executives:

Fully exposed. REALTOR® Associations may or may not want their communication efforts plastered in as many places as possible.  The overlap of revealing personal information, tendencies, and social behavior may reveal unauthorized relationships with other groups or organizations.

Broker assumed liability. If the agent uploads content to the online community does the broker assume liability of the interpretation of the message?  Brokers are responsible for the actions of their agents but when, what, and how the message is interpreted may play a role in responsibility that is assumed.  Brokers should keep an eye on how their agents participate using their profile and in online networking with others.

Violation of Code of Ethics. When in doubt follow the golden rule.  Anyone has the ability to say whatever they want whenever they want. Risky situations caused by incorrect data, misleading postings, and REALTOR® attacks on other REALTORS® may be direct violations of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.  The community should be monitored by the professional standards committee or by association staff to see that fair participation has been mandated.

Violation of Fair Housing. The seven protected classes by Federal Fair Housing Laws must be considered when posting any information.  Although no real estate may be transacted within the online community, the participants must be careful to avoid using terms which may coincide with these rules.

Trademark and copyright. Free use of photos, links, excerpts and videos may run the risk of trademark and copyright law.  Members that upload violations may put the whole group at risk from these items.  Rules must dictate disclaimers or procedures for uploading photos or videos to the community.  Check to see if someone has created a group already.  Some organizations have quickly found their name and logo used without explicit written permission.

Please consult with your supervising broker, REALTOR® association, real estate commission, and attorney prior to engaging into any participating of online social media.  Licensing laws, disclosure of information, and advertising rules vary by state and should be closely examined.  Case law for real estate professional use of online social communities has not set any precedents at the moment but we may see some in the near future.  Take caution, have fun, and provide your clients with another reason for doing business with you.

Doug Live in Columbia, Missouri

July 25, 2008

to watch this video please turn up the sound

Thank you to Chris Lunn with Chapel Hill Mortgage for sponsoring my debut in Columbia, Missouri.  My program 6 Cost Effective Ways to Build Your Online Brand was a smashing hit.  We had someone in our class, Sean Moore say, “I set up a profile in LinkedIn and didn’t do any networking.  Someone found me and hired me to find him a 350k house and was referred 3 million in sales from him.”  The truth been told we explored other social online networking sites and tools that will save agents thousands of marketing dollars and make more money in less time.  I was asked to put some of the sites on my blog so here they are:

www.Jott.comwww.MyPodcast.comhttp://audacity.sourceforge.netwww.Flickr.comwww.WordPress.comwww.FlipVideo.comwww.Facebook.comwww.LinkedIn.comwww.GoogleGroups.comhttp://docs.google.com/www.YouTube.comhttp://del.ico.uswww.Plugoo.com

Spreading Ideas can be Easy

July 24, 2008

Things aren’t working the way they used to.  Things change.  The market changes.  Consumers change.  Look at all of the marketing messages that you are consistently bombarded with on a daily basis. How do you market your message, who do you market your message to, and what do market to your clients.

One of my favorite speakers, authors, and consultants, Seth Godin shares the challenges marketers face and some solutions to differentiate your product or service.

What is LinkedIn

July 23, 2008

Someone told me in my class last week that he created a profile in LinkedIn and inserted basic contact information.  This cost nothing.  Later he received an email and sold that person a $350,000 house.  That individual has since moved up to a 1.2 million dollar property and referred 3 million dollars worth of business.  Not bad for spending 1 hour creating a profile.

LinkedIn a fantastic way to make yourself visible on the web.  Watch this video and stay tuned for more information in future posts.

So You Think You Have Problems With Technology?

July 21, 2008

My computer won’t turn on, the screen isn’t lit, my computer froze, the program is not working, I can’t find that button, how do I do that?  All of these reasons can completely freeze us from moving forward.  The simplest problem monuments into dramatic problems.  Then what?

We must assume that we are going to make mistakes in using our computer, cell phone, faxes, email, video, or server.  If we don’t make mistakes then we should be worried.  As long as the lessons learned paramount steps in the right direction we will move faster, save money, and provide a higher level of service that our customers expect.

Make mistakes.  Make them often.  Just never make the same mistake twice.