Take Your Web Content from Good to Great
What’s the difference between a great Web site and an average one? 1,000 visitors a month. You need to create unique, valuable content that clients can’t live without. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
Does your Web site look like a business card blown up to the size of a monitor? Do you believe Kindles and iPads can never replace real books? Is texting turning our kids into antisocial monsters? Stop reading Clifford Stoll and pay attention.
Curb appeal is good. Solid construction is better.
You might have 600 friends on Facebook and follow @aplusk's every move on Twitter, but if all I ever receive from you are notifications of your latest listing or what you ate or thought about eating for breakfast, I will block you like Dwight Howard.
Start with the idea. Then, learn the technology. Before you post anything, ask yourself: What, if anything, does this add to the conversation? Avoid being trite, boring or profane.
You don’t have to DIY when you know whom to call for help.
Here are three ways to generate content for your followers:
1. Block out time each week to create and maintain a folder of favorite quotes, links and thoughts.
2. Scan Web sites and blogs that inspire you. Don’t just link to an interesting article; that’s lazy. Add your perspective. Here are four to get you started:
3. NAR has articles, research and free access to real estate publications. Share your insider knowledge, and you’ll be an expert.
Put yourself in your followers’ shoes. What do they need to know? What do they want to know? Why should they care about this information?
Instead of mailing useless recipe cards to your sphere of influence every month, get online for an hour a day and truly interact with your followers. It makes ecological sense, too. I hate to tell you this, but they are throwing your cards, magnets and calendars away. You have to do something daily – even if it’s just posting a favorite quote or retweeting a great tip.
Get to know the neighborhood.
Start with your Web site. It should be basic, load quickly and be legible on a mobile phone. You need a blog that contains valuable, contemporary content, a brief contact form, links to important information and a way for your visitors to engage with you and each other (a forum or comment system).
Buy your domain name – literally. You might change companies, but not your name. Once you’ve bought BobbiDooley.com, use Bobbi@BobbiDooley.com as your new main e-mail address. Claim your blog at Technorati to get in their directory and ranking system.
Decide what you want to gain from each visitor to your site, then think of an incentive to get them to take the appropriate action. Want to increase your e-mail database? Ask everyone to sign up for your free newsletter. Want more listing appointments? Offer a free home valuation.
Your next stop should be Facebook, where 103 million Americans (and almost 300 million international visitors) share occasionally interesting and often mundane pieces of their lives. Facebook users are younger than Women’s Council members, but the 7 million Facebook users in 2009, aged 35-54, have grown to 30 million in 2010. Users over 55 years old grew from just 23,000 to more than 1 million. Once you are on Facebook:
- Set up both a personal page and a company page. Obviously, link to the latter from your Web site.
- Feed your blog to your Facebook company page.
- Invite your friends to become fans.
Can you be brief? Twitter forces you to get to the point in 140 characters. Google makes your tweets searchable. The Library of Congress will soon archive them, so you’d better be entertaining and/or informative if you want your tweets to stand out among the 50 million sent daily. Once you are familiar with Twitter, follow these basic guidelines:
- Use your real name or an easily recognizable variation on it.
- Leave room for others to retweet your best stuff.
- Follow people who interest you and people who might be interested in you.
- Aim for 500 followers. That’ll create a collaborative, contributive community.
LinkedIn frees you from ever having to sit through another industry meet-and-greet. It’s strictly business-to-business networking, and the average user is 44. It’s an easy-to-use platform that requires minimal technical skills. Give and receive referrals, join groups and connect within your sphere of influence. Once you’re there:
- Set up your profile with a photo and resume.
- Link your blog and Twitter feed to your profile.
- Invite people to connect with you.
- Ask at least five people to write a recommendation for you.
Set up accounts on Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Reddit. These sites let you post links, vote for or against submitted stories and link and comment on other members’ links and stories. If you have 360° home tours and similar videos, post them on YouTube. For your accounts:
- Use the same name (ideally, your real name) for every account.
- Make a meaningful contribution to one site a week.
- Be concise, polite and grammatically correct.
You can have it in any color you want, as long as it’s black.
In the 1970s, every fast food hamburger consisted of a tiny beef patty, a squirt each of mustard and ketchup, two pickle slices and a sprinkling of chopped onions on a bun. Then Burger King came around and offered customization, which became the industry standard.
Around the same time, you’d get exactly one chance to watch a TV show. If you missed it, maybe you could catch a rerun three months later. I don’t need to tell you that’s no longer the case.
The point is that every post should contain different content. Your blog needs in-depth information, posts that form a series and articles rich with links.
Make friends on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon. Share your personality, enthusiasm, passion and knowledge. Be authentic when you interact. Yes, it’s that easy.
Use LinkedIn to cultivate your referral network. Take the business cards you collect at your next Women’s Council event and invite each person who gave you one to connect with you on LinkedIn. Follow this advice and you’ll have a robust online presence, make new friends and even have some fun.
Betty Kincaid is among the most accomplished women in American real estate. In 2005, she served as national president of Women’s Council of REALTORS® and remains active in her state and local chapters. In 2007, Betty helped found the University of Nevada–Las Vegas Center for Entrepreneurship. Her latest projects are showing prospective independent businesspeople how to create business plans and financial statements, as well as teaching them the keys to financial independence and responsibility. Betty’s first book, Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, is scheduled for publication in May.
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