Archive for July, 2009

Real Estate and Social Media Marketing – Part II

Friday, July 31st, 2009

By Sharon Hill

What is the difference between networking and marketing? Same channels may be used for both such as Twitter, blogging, websites, Facebook and LinkedIn. The difference is in the interaction. Social networking was addressed in an earlier blog Real Estate and Social Networking – Part I

Social media marketing is using social networking outlets to communicate to people your experience, knowledge and success in your professional endeavors. Potential customers can see how many followers and connections you have. They can read real recommendations by real people. If I am a buyer and I use social networking as a way to find people/businesses, how do I find you? If I find you what is being said about you and who is saying it?

Marketing yourself and your business on a one-on-one and face-to-face basis is what you do. Adding the power and influence of social media marketing in a one-on-one and profile to profile basis is a way to increase your business.

What is the difference between social networking and social media marketing? See Real Estate and Social Networking Part I


Real Estate and Social Networking – Part I

Friday, July 31st, 2009

By Sharon Hill

If you are a realtor and have not yet embraced social networking what are you missing? I have an opportunity to interact with realtors on a fairly regular basis. So much of their business is through referrals or warm leads. That is social networking. “My realtor was just great, knew the area and made the process easy for a first time home buyer like me.” This written recommendation will be shared with others. “Word of Mouth” is becoming “Word of the Web”

So where do you start? There are no bad choices – just not great execution. Remember the old adage: write about what you know. What do you know? Our suggestion is to focus locally and become an expert.

One of the reasons I hired a particular realtor when selling my house was that she had built up list of people that were already in the market or soon to be in the market to buy a home. This was before the advent of social networking. Now that same realtor can increase the list of potential buyers through connecting, comments from blogs and tweeting to name a few.

I also have an opportunity to interact with buyers and sellers. The number one complaint is about a lack communication with their realtor. With social networking you can be proactive in your communications and keep your customers informed of your progress. You can invite your customers to go to see the status using a variety of choices.

Social networking to build a great network of people with like goals and interests around the subject of real estate.  How great is that?

What is the difference between social networking and social media marketing? See Real Estate and Social Media Marketing – Part II


Recruitment – Finding the Passive Candidate

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

By Karen Miller

How many recruiters spend countless hours trying to find that perfect passive candidate to fill their latest search? Executive search firms can pay tens of thousands of dollars every year to have access or post positions on job boards. How many of you get quality candidates when you post a position – do candidates really think they are qualified to be a photovoltaic engineer simply because they can spell it? After you sift through all of the resumes, what are you left with – maybe one or two that have potential. Don’t you think there has to be a better way to find that perfect passive candidate?

Using social media for your next search will increase your odds of finding that great candidate. And, most importantly, it doesn’t take much money or any at all! If your company has a presence on LinkedIn, it’s easy to add the position in the “what are you working on” section. And, of course, your LinkedIn network is a great source of leads. By using key words or competitive company names, you can find prospects or people who can lead you to prospects to fill your position.

Are you on Twitter? What kind of followers do you have? You can send out a tweet to all of your followers announcing the position and directing people to your website for job details. And when you are “re-tweeted” your message will be seen by even more people.

Just make sure your website, LinkedIn, Facebook sites are all up to date and have a consistent message. You are using all three to promote your “brand” and you want it to show off in its best light. When you are using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to look for prospects always direct them to your website where you can expand on all the positions your firm is working on.


Direct Response TV (DRTV) Interesting Times – Unique Opportunities in Social Media

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

By Jan Carroza

Marketing is going through interesting times all right. I think social media has turned it all upside down on its head. I also think that’s a good thing.

I hear a lot of talk in the industry about WHY to jump into social media. To me, as someone who has been measuring results from coupon codes in the ‘70s through DRTV (direct response television) on to Internet performance-based advertising, the reasons are clear. Once I heard that consumers were in social media talking about products and services, I was in. But the hit-my-palm-on-my forehead moment is the incredibly low cost – basically time! I’m dumbfounded that this point isn’t being screamed from the rafters.

Strike While The Price Is Hot (read: low)
I think of myself as a fairly early adopter. I like to learn new things and there is clearly a ton of variety to put together great social media strategies. It’s fascinating to me: part publicity, part customer service, relationship and trust building to yield WARM leads so you never have to work another cold lead. How cool is that!

Let’s step back for a little media history lesson at the risk of dating myself to make my point. I remember when the earliest infomercials were doing a 15:1 (mid to late ‘80s). In infomercial-speak, that’s getting $15 in sales for spending $1 in advertising. Infomercials were new and the audience wasn’t skeptical – yet! So I could spend $1000 on a half-hour of programming and yield $15,000 in revenues for my client. And we knew by the next day and certainly within a few days. We were into measurement and immediacy with constant refinement against those first benchmarks. Now that was something to write home about. Especially when you see that today, a winning infomercial is one doing 2:1. Yup, $2 back for $1 spent on media. Media and other campaign costs, like telemarketing, multiplied. This evolution of deterioration in returns took several years. So we were able to enjoy the tremendous profits of the earliest days for awhile.

The early adopters to infomercials were entrepreneurs. People willing to dump the habit of paying traditional advertising dollars out with no idea of what sold their products and services. (Granted, I started out as one of those.) When we added telemarketing to media and we could measure sales from every TV airing and voila! We had accountability and beaucoup bucks. But I’ll come back to these folks…

I also remember the early days of Google Adwords before buying keywords like “mortgage” went over $10 a click and made it impossible to convert. A click doesn’t mean a sale. A click doesn’t even mean a lead. It didn’t take long for folks to figure out that they had to bite the bullet to stay in the game and forget looking at short-term conversions. The time from keywords costing pennies a click to dollars a click was more like months than the years it took with the infomercial industry experience. The gaps of greatest prosperity have been closing rapidly.

It was also a crazy time in ‘99 when each month we were looking at a flurry of new formats from email to banners and pop-ups to co-registration. Kind of like social media, Internet marketing had different creative formats and they weren’t all right for every client. In the days before the CAN SPAM law, we also didn’t have the overwhelmed inboxes like we do today. Click-thru rates were higher. With time, the costs went up and the returns have gone down.

The Big Difference
Looking around, the media cost of social media can be as little as the time and effort put forth to make contact with customers. That looks like a pretty great business investment to me. A real no-brainer.

So here we are – in the early days of social media. Where things are changing at the speed of light. There is a lot to learn and that will keep on being the case. And we will learn as we go. Stumbling in the dark.

In lean times, training budgets go by the wayside. But the great thing about marketing with social media is the professionals from freelance copywriters to IT staff and marketing professionals are using it to SHARE and teach each other in open, joyful, comradishness. “Hey, we’re all in this together.” And there is so much to learn with not only the speed, but also the VOLUME of jigsaw pieces to put together, not just to make the picture, but to do them in the right order from the get-go.

Get out there and learn – some webinars will take an hour to get just one good tip – and if you find some great how-tos, I hope you will share – whether it’s a book, URL, webinar or University.

My Prediction and Strong Recommendation
It surprised me greatly how slowly it was for many direct marketers to embrace the Internet. It seemed like such a natural. It seemed like it took forever for the big players and early adopters of DRTV to get websites up, let alone great landing pages that converted well. You’d think they would have jumped on it. Clicks were cheap in the early days. Cost per sale/lead advertising was more prevalent and better converting early on. Email open rates, click-thru rates and closes were easier and results more cost efficient. So I wondered if it was comfortable to stay with what they knew. Some said they were swamped with their current business and had no more bandwidth to learn and allocate the resources. I’d say that’s a very different story today. They’ve learned, embraced and apply measurement to their Internet strategy. Shrinking profits will do that. But I’d say many missed the early days with the best efficiencies by waiting. So where am I going with all this?
Mark my words, the cost to use social media will go up. Some services have started to monetize their services with ads and premium services. The squeeze has started. It will never be any cheaper to use social media to make your point, find new leads, and sell more products. This is the time to get the best return for your time and any costs. Make hay while the sun shines!

Just the Beginning
So I hope you’ll follow us as we feel our way through the social networks. I’m sure we will see you there. I’ll include tips that worked for us and lessons learned along the way. You’ll hear some other voices here with viewpoints from technology, customer service but all with a common sense of getting results at the end of the day.


Advertiser/Customer Malaise

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

By Jan Carroza

It’s a common occurrence visualized in an apt dating scene, a Customer breaks up with an Advertiser because they are not relating or having a dialogue. Get out of your monologue as an Advertiser. Use social networking to continue the conversation and ENGAGE your customer to improve and maintain that relationship.

Consumer: “’s not exactly a dialogue….You say you love me but you aren’t behaving like you love me…You aren’t even listening are you?”


View The Break Up –


Getting Started: Planning Your Social Media Strategy

Monday, July 27th, 2009

By Jan Carroza

Think about this process as developing your own Social Sphere of Influence. Take the aerial view of your business today and where you want it to go in the near future and in the long-term. What are your goals?

Not all elements may be appropriate for your business and you need not tackle every facet all at once. Even pros like Mari Smith, a renowned maven in Facebook, suggest that embracing manageable efforts in sequence might be best for many of us. Dani Babb on Fox Business suggested just getting started and that you may make mistakes along the way.

The idea is to do some planning. You may want to outsource your online business management at the beginning when the setup is more labor intensive and while you learn. Gradually you can take it over as you are able to accommodate the requirements of time and resources in your organization. Or you may decide to continue with outside guidance as the Social Sphere expands.  For example, I heard that Comcast has doubled their social media staff from about 7 to 14-15 in the last year. Prepare for success.

Speaking of success, you might like to know about some real results before we get started.  “The world’s most valuable brands. Who’s most engaged?,”  a study prepared by Wetpaint and Altimeter, demonstrated that revenues increased by 18% by using social media (

So let’s get started. Make a list of what you want and need your Social Sphere of Influence to do for you. What does that list look like?

Consumer connection  – Is that:

  • Retention
  • Finding new consumers
  • Education
  • Building relationships
  • Getting feedback from consumers
  • Increasing sales

Other Initiatives

  • Finding, talking to investors
  • Introducing new products, new services

What else do you need to do?

Some of the forms beyond your website that you can put in your Social Sphere might include:

  • Blogs
  • White papers, articles, newsletters
  • Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and an ever-growing list of large and niche networks

Each choice offers different opportunities. Each offers the possibilities to have different as well as several voices. Formats can be intriguing. Twitter’s short format can be challenging. Each has its own place and may or may not fit with your plan. Any and all can be viral. So a good consumer experience has an excellent chance of being shared.

Take blogs, for instance. Blogs can look like a website with the look and feel, navigation and sections for Services, About, Contact et al. The difference should be the immediacy of news that’s regularly updated from once a month to once a week. This is the Podium point-of-view. Your voice.  Representing your company’s voice.

But the blog can be opened up to receive comments from readers, consumers, and the entire Spheriverse. Now it becomes a two-way superhighway of discussion, feedback and response to that feedback. An ongoing conversation. This has the power to be exponentially expansive and rewarding – for both your business and your consumer.

Articles, white papers, press releases, and newsletters are also a way to put out your voice, your opinions, and your announcements. But your website and all the parts of your Social Sphere will bring conversation back to you. It’s your job to plan the management of receiving and responding to those messages.

The social media each have their own channel of audience to offer. LinkedIn has professionals and folks looking to hire and be hired. There are groups to join to begin conversations. You can seek out and make important connections with people looking for answers.

Consumers are everywhere in all the social spaces. Your approach to each will probably be a little different with each one. Certainly the confinement and environment of the formats and technologies of each will impact the messages that you design.

As time goes on, no doubt the Spheriverse will continue to expand at a rapid pace of cyberspeed. Choices will increase. But the concept of the two-way dialogue remains constant. The challenge is in managing the communications most effectively. Enjoy and grow with the movement.


What Social Networking Isn’t

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

By Sharon Hill

So much is written about what social networking is that I would like to share what it isn’t.  It is not a slick brochure, a typical press release, a job posting board, a standard resume, a financial filing or any of the other numerous publications that are generally factual but cold.

There is a reason it is called social.  Friendly in nature, passing along of information and recommending people and businesses.  The message needs to easily understood and an easy read.  However, I am not advocating bad grammar or unprofessional layouts and designs. The content is the most important component.

One of the earliest promises of the internet was 2-way communication. That promise has been fulfilled.  Mass media outlets (radio, TV, magazines and newspaper) allowed minimum interaction constrained by time, space and decided upon interest to the rest of the masses. While some companies labor over new press releases, brochures, commercials and marketing/media materials, other companies have joined in the conversation in the time it has taken for you to read this blog.

With social networking anybody can jump into the conversation, have an opinion, raise awareness and pass the message along to others in real time and with virtually no restraints.

Social networking allows you an opportunity to communicate one-on-one.  While not face-to-face, pretty darn good and considerably more cost effective.

Obviously, this all depends on your type of business and industry and the company image you wish to convey to others.

What is you company communicating? What is being said about your company?


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

By Jan Carroza

I have to give David Meerman Scott (World Wide Rave and The New Rules of Marketing credit for this tip. Listening to Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy Using the New Rules of Marketing & PR, he was the first one I ever heard mention it. And I love this concept.

For everyone considering writing a blog or using social media in any way, CreativeCommons offers you a way to have a copyright on your material that allows others to virally share your work with others FOR REUSE as long as they give you ATTRIBUTION for it.

It’s easy and free. Go to and select a license, publish the appropriate logo (see below). This works for audio, video, image files as well as your website and blog. You can decide whether it can be changed along the way and whether use can be commercial or not.

Go forth with ccorgpng1 !

The Licenses



This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.

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Attribution Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
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Attribution No Derivatives

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
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Attribution Non-Commercial

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
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Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
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Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Ah, yes, so I am not remiss and let me give Attribution to


Dynamics of Social Networking

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Social – Meet and interact with others in a friendly way
Media – Shared Communications
Dynamics – Driving or energizing force involved in social change

By Sharon Hill

I am the volunteer webmaster for our neighborhood association of around 600 homes. I receive all kinds of suggestions about improving the website including some that involve social networking.

Neighborhood associations are very similar to social networking. You create a group of individuals with similar goals and interests who want to be kept up-to-date on relevant events. Mostly it is in a friendly way. We have a 4th of July parade, egg hunts, holiday tree lighting and other events that are face-to-face interactions.

We share communications in our neighborhood through our printed newsletter, printed directory, our website and email blasts. Neighbors can sign up for the email list. We also have neighborhood meetings at the local school and post signs in the neighborhood for upcoming events.

We have changed the dynamics in our neighborhood through volunteerism. Recently a Seniors Group has been formed to honor and assist seniors in our neighborhood. We have a Pet program to help in finding lost pets and in finding homes for pets. Teens can earn service hours and credits.

I can see the next steps will be Twitter and blogging. Twitter will be a great addition for short updates and reminders for our neighborhood regarding events, dues and the like.

Blogging will be more challenging. Not everything is suitable and not everyone is a good writer. We will have to watch for those who just want to rant in the neighborhood blog. It will also be a great way to involve more people in the neighborhood and give them a voice. I am looking forward to the challenge.