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  • Technology

    Top 4 social media sites that property professionals should invest time in for ROI

    Thanks to Daniel Booth for inspiring this post with his

    Property Tribes is costing me a fortune

    In property investment, we "invest" money and time to achieve a commercial ROI (return on investment).

    When investing time on the social web, it makes sense that, if you have limited amounts of time, you should invest what time you do have, wisely, to achieve a maximum return on that time invested.

    So what might a return on social media look like? There are many returns, not just commercial:

    i. Build a google "footprint" to allow relevant people to find you, rather than you finding them.

    This is vital to understand for anyone with a product or service to sell. Google favours "organic" content very highly and getting this right can reduce your SEO spend, save time, and shorten the sales cycle.

    Remember that everything you post on the web remains in perpetuity, allowing you to benefit from increasing returns, rather than decreasing returns.

    ii. Build a personal brand

    This allows people to get to know you through your content and learn to trust you. Where there is trust, business is more likely to happen. It also allows people to do due diligence on you, and you should make that as easy as possible in my opinion. This aspect is especially important for people looking to JV in property.

    A personal brand also future-proofs YOU as no one can ever take it away from you, and it is yours to leverage for life, whatever curve balls life throws at you!

    iii. Build a network

    Nick and I started Property Tribes 4 years ago for this reason, and to provide a space for other people to build their networks.

    Why?

    Because we recognised that "none of us is as smart as all of us". ~ Kevin Kelly.

    Also, we believe that a network can provide the answer to any problems you may have.

    Need to JV? The answer is in your network.

    Need some input to solve a problem? The answer is in your network.

    Need finance? The answer is in your network.

    In May 2010, I posted "Tomorrow you will need your Property Tribes friends".

    Here is a short excerpt:

    Even if the financial world collapsed around our ears and all economic activity ceased, you'd still have your friends, colleagues and contacts. And in times of crisis, friends rally together. There is no such thing as the "Dunkirk Spirit"; instead human beings naturally want to help each other when times are tough. It's all about the survival of the species and it is a basic human instinct.

    However, it's not going to be that bad. It will be tough in the coming few years, that's true. But if you have friends; if you have trusted contacts; if you have people who like you, then you will survive thanks to their support.The people who will find it toughest in the coming few years - as the words "cuts", "difficulties" and "mess" ring in their ears - will be the ones who have shunned networking, social networks and cultivating friendships within their business circles.

    The people who want to remain "business-like", who are rather aloof and distant, will be the ones hardest hit in the next few years, simply because their behaviour patterns do not generate the level of support they will need.Those who have used Ecademy wisely will be amongst those who find it easiest to get through the coming years, simply because their levels of support will be higher.When Ecademy began, there was no sign of impending economic woes.

    But the coming "cuts", "difficulties" and "mess" we now have to face could well prove that it's never what you know that matters - it's who you know.

    _____________________________________________

    So building a network is vital to future-proof yourself and your property business.

    Choose networks of people who share your values and ethos.

    Build a personal brand by adding value to the social web, supporting others and sharing information that you feel may be of value to others.

    Become known, liked, and trusted for who you are.

    If you do that, business, ideas, money, and opportunities will start flowing towards you and people that you need will find you, rather than you finding them.

    iv. Makes it easy for people to find you and connect with you and allows you to demonstrate your desire to be transparent.

    The web rewards transparency and sacks those who try to conceal. Welcome people into your world, invite them to connect and explore synergies.

    I don't even offer holiday lets marketing as a service, but I am regularly contacted by people who want me to offer consultancy on this topic, thanks to reading my social web contributions on this subject! Bearing in mind that holiday lets are one of my passions and I love writing about them, being paid to share my passion without even advertising or marketing really is the icing on the cake.

    However, if you make it hard to people to find you and connect with you, then there is less chance of business developing.

    v. Learning and personal development

    Using social media is a highly efficient way to learn and grow as an individual and business person.

    It can help you work smarter, avoid pitfalls, leverage other people's knowledge and experience, find an answer quickly, understand developing trends, and therefore make wise choices which will turbo-charge your success.

    So, for those with limited time, here are the top 4 sites I believe you should invest time in for maximum traction:

    1. Your personal blog

    This is the "backbone" of your presence on the web. It allows you to build your organic google footprint and demonstrate your domain expertise. All your efforts should drive traffic to you blog. And your website, if you have one, should also link to your blog (and vice versa).

    Remember that the most up to date information is always the most relevant to the community.

    Understanding that means that you will appreciate the benefits of up-dating your blog regularly. People are hungry for fresh content in this information age. Blog regularly, and you will "train" the google spiders to search your blog more frequently, and thereby improve your google ranking and "find-ability".

    While your website is your shop window, your blog is your board room.

    2. YouTube

    YouTube is the second largest search engine to google and it's vital to have a presence there and link from YouTube to your blog/website.

    Watching videos on mobiles is a massive trend, so produce videos that demonstrate your domain expertise.

    Embed the video on your blog though ... don't send them to YouTube to watch it ... you want people on YOUR site(s)!

    Keep your videos short and sharp - bite size chunks work best on the web. Create videos less than 5 minutes to ensure people click on them to watch them.

    3. Twitter

    I am a massive fan of twitter. I call it my "serendipity generator"! I can always find exactly what I need or who I need on twitter. It makes me more efficient, it allows me to build relationships, it exposes me to new people and trending topics, it allows me to demonstrate my property knowledge, and most importantly, it is a fantastic aggregator.

    A small effort is amplified through networks.

    For example, if you have 100 followers, but I re-tweet your tweet, I have just spread your message to my 9,500 followers! Imagine how far your message would travel if lots of people RT'd your material. The numbers are quite staggering. A tweet on twitter can travel around the world in a matter of minutes. Faster than traditional media can react to news!

    Find my 20 minute maximum traction twitter regime here to improve your ROI on twitter.

    4. Shared interest sites and communities

    This is where property forums come in. They allow you to connect and share with like-minded people who are likely to be interested in what you do. They allow you to learn and grow, avoid pitfalls, and become more efficient and successful at what you do by leveraging the "hive mind".

    Like twitter, forums cover both social media (the sharing of information for the co-creation of value) and social networking (collecting and sharing people).

    Busy forums are very sticky on google and will mean that your content gets more exposure and builds your google footprint.

    This is why its important to fill in your profile on Property Tribes and other sites, as it will get google hits for people searching for your name. Smile

    The top three property forums are Property Tribes, Property 118, and Landlord Zone in terms of google sticky-ness.

    You notice that I didn't mention FaceBook. The reason for this is that - and a lot of people do not seem aware of this - FaceBook is a "walled garden" i.e. not searchable by google. Therefore, anything you post there, will not build your google footprint in terms of being able to demonstrate your property knowledge. This means that people searching through google (not within FB) will not be exposed to your efforts.

    Also, if you are looking to connect with landlords, FB is an unlikely place as many landlords are very private about their property activities and do not want to expose them to family and friends, not to mention tenants (who are very likely to use Facebook).

    FaceBook is a very busy place of course, and there may be reasons to use it, but, if you have limited time to invest in social web optimisation, FB would not be in my top 4.

    Bonus:

    Create a profile on LinkedIn as this is popular with google too and is a good place to build a network of industry contacts.

    If this has inspired you to invest more in social media, than read my post

    How to become "sticky" on the web

    Why not put your own name into google and see what comes up?

    What is your take on return on investment from social media?

    Which sites have you found to be the best for what you wish to achieve?
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    I agree with all the above if it is a defined strategy and can be well managed BUT imo a great deal of thought must go into whether an individual wishes to make their lives so public working, private or both!

    It is remarkable what insight one can gain into an individual who posts prolifically on social media and I dont think it is possible to be anything other than who you actually are which can a be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are like as a person or how you run your business or life!

    On that basis, whatever is written must make positive reading for the people that matter and that has to include everyone from HMRC to mortgage lenders, insurance companies, prospective employers, clients, personal aquaintances etc, in fact anyone who is looking for a reason to deal with you or not.

    I find the whole thing pretty scary to be honest and time and again read stuff written by people out in the public arena that makes me shudder.

    I dont think actually the average person realises how far what they write on the internet goes and I think forums that are spidered should have guidance to this effect.....
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    That is a very valid point Matthew. Thank you for raising it and I do understand your concerns - they are very common.

    HMRC and lenders do trawl social media sites (during out tax audit HMRC presented a printed copy of something Nick had posted on FaceBook!) but my personal feeling is that, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

    I do try and keep my personal and business profiles separate. Most business people don't want to hear me going on about cats and motorhoming. However, its wrong to assume that someone who is also interested in cats and motorhoming is not also interested in property.

    The old way was closed. selective, and controlling.

    The new way is open, random, and supportive.

    I personally just embrace the open-ness and randomness of the web as I find it ignites serendipity and things happen as a result.

    I think the main thing is to leave your ego behind when you are posting. I am currently witnessing the most astonishing display of arrogance on another property group that makes the person posting look like a complete and utter numpty and a laughing stock but he's such a legend in his own lunch box that he doesn't realise it.

    There is no "me" in social MEdia. If you make it about delivering value to others, be authentic, consistent, and supportive, I don't think there is too much to worry about.

    The other thing to consider is that your "google footprint" created by you gives you some chance to give a real flavour of you as an individual (or your business).

    I heard a story a couple of years ago about some business partners who fell out. One of them went on the social web and slagged off the other one. The one being slated had no social media profile at all and therefore had no web assets to offer an alternative view of the lies being told.

    My belief is that people make up their own minds, based on their own journey around the web - a bit like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. I recommend providing them with content to help them make up their mind. People may well talk about someone or their business on the web, so its healthier to be part of those conversations than not have a voice or a presence imho.
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    Vanessa, I do think that there are several here that make a damn good job in embracing social media and you appear to have it off to a fine art.

    Like I said, I think it needs careful managing and alot of self control! With a few contributions here from certain individuals and elsewhere the saying digging ones own grave springs to mind but then I guess some people are beyond the point of caring which is understandable but it is a position you cannot retreat from as the damage is done...

    I do take your point about being able to counteract issues from within this media rather than not being able to because you are outside of it but there again if one treads carefully then negative press should not necessarily be a problem as it should not arise. That said, the more someone sticks their head above the paraphet, the more chance there is of being shot at! Of course if you say nothing of substance then the whole thing can become a bit meaningless and banal so a balance to be had I think.

    I do fully understand the value of SM though at this time, its not for me but I often reflect on what could be had from it... for me, not from a property point of view though...
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    Hi Matthew I couldn't agree more with your comments about certain people digging their own grave it astonishes me some of the things certain people put on here about breaking the law and how to go about it with a step by step guide. That sort of thing costs if you don't watch out!

    Vanessa I've never taken much notice of twitter, the name alone makes it sound a bit trivial and silly. Should I rethink that? Does it show up on google?
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    (06-01-2014 12:15 AM)ABP Wrote:  Vanessa I've never taken much notice of twitter, the name alone makes it sound a bit trivial and silly. Should I rethink that? Does it show up on google?

    I'd be interested in any insight on Twitter, goes completely over my head at moment, I've got a few hundred followers, but just seems to be constant SPAM. I wonder how I could use it to connect with business owners to sell my products /services.

    Tribes is different as I don't have anything Property related to sell and as I said on the other thread I just find talking with like minded people useful.

    I've never made a penny from social media, maybe I need to get with the times as a new years resolution and maybe Twitter is the way to do so.
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    Hi guys,

    Your comments about twitter are very common.

    For me, its one of the most powerful social media sites for the reasons I gave in my original post.

    It covers networking, distribution of content, learning (search on #property for loads of great inputs), and much more. Your profile on twitter will rank highly on google.

    There are a lot of people - and businesses - out there that have no clue how to get an ROI from twitter. That is why you see so much spam. Companies damage their brand because they just broadcast marketing messages. That will #fail on twitter.

    My maximum traction twitter regime gives you a good place to start.

    If anyone feels that I can assist them, I would be happy to offer an hour of twitter training, but I would have to make a charge for my time.
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    Might just take you up on a bit of paid tuition Vanessa, will revisit this in February once I've caught up with myself now back at work after Xmas break.
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    Thanks for this post Vanessa. It very much summarises a strategy, and has helped me focus on my own strategy for the next few months. Yet again I owe you a vote of thanks for that.

    The biggest issue I find is that of time - it is way too easy to get carried away, and with a bigger workload I've found it necessary to completely shut off social media for days at a time recently. Not the best strategy, I know, as keeping/managing one's contributions and profile are an essential part of marketing these days. This is my biggest challenge to resolve over the next few weeks.

    To those who have raised questions about Twitter. I started just by playing around with it about 3-4 years ago to see what all the fuss was about, and had no strategy for it whatsoever other than to make contacts and see what happened. These are a few of the direct and indirect results of regular tweeting:

    - found Vanessa (or Vanessa found me, can't remember!!), who invited me over to PT, where I made a whole load of new property contacts;

    - hooked up with fellow investor David Bartlett to work on Property Bookshop, we now regularly get books sent to us to review;

    - have become a regular member of the Your Property Network writing team;

    - entered into a lease option agreement with another investor;

    - created a significant following for a restaurant development/creation project that I was involved with a couple of years ago;

    - had some informal meet-ups with other property folks elsewhere after exchanges on Twitter.

    Needless to say, my Twitter strategy is a lot more focused these days (though there is still a lot of room to improve it!).
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    Jayne Owen @jayneowen

    Editor and Writer: Your Property Network magazine

    Investor: Mozaique Property, South & West Wales and South West England

    Occasional reviewer at The Property Bookshop (@Property_Books)


    Thanks for commenting Jayne and providing actual examples of an ROI from twitter.

    With regards to FaceBook, there is an interesting article here about why businesses are leaving it in droves.

    Basically, the writer says that, unless you pay for ads. and sponsored posts, the returns are pretty dismal.

    She also makes the comment .... It’s a very dangerous marketing tactic to put all your eggs in one basket, regardless of whether the results are good, particularly when we can’t control it. Facebook is constantly changing the rules, adding new features and much to our astonishment removing features that we have grown to love and rely upon.
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    I've done very little business-wise with Facebook, just a bit of experimentation and nothing on paid ads. It was an ok vehicle for promoting the restaurant business, and it seems to work for the therapy and beauty sector to a certain extent, though I'm not sure whether that's only for local business.

    I probably haven't done enough with it to have an educated view. I know Glen Ackroyd has started using Facebook ads recently - any idea how he's getting on with it?
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    Jayne Owen @jayneowen

    Editor and Writer: Your Property Network magazine

    Investor: Mozaique Property, South & West Wales and South West England

    Occasional reviewer at The Property Bookshop (@Property_Books)