Pokemon Go for Realtors: Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

Opportunities to grab attention can come from the strangest places. I have three kids, 16, 12 and 10, so when the Pokémon Go app went live, I knew within hours. No preteen boy (or teenage girl) could resist it, and mine certainly didn’t. They spent that first weekend wandering the neighborhood, glued to smart phones, chasing down Rattata and IMG_0764Pidgey, and asking to walk 5K so they could earn more Pokeballs. I knew this was big when my 10-year-old son begged me to take them to the mall — a place he loathed as much as math class.

So what does this have to do with real estate? Well, being the intrepid PR person that I am, I started thinking about how this could translate into an opportunity for Realtors. If a Charmander can appear on my bed and a Caterpie on my hearth, then they can appear in other homes… and during open houses.

Monday morning I got my PR team on it and they began looking for agents who were willing to incorporate the Pokémon Go rage into their open houses. Some were skeptical, or maybe they’d just been living in a hole and hadn’t heard about the game, but others saw the opportunity and jumped right in. Offices started posting pictures of Pokémon in front of their signs on Facebook, agents were Instagramming pictures of Pokémon at their listings, and our Baltimore Fells Point office invited people to “Pokestop on in.”13606850_1007922929327320_3748758208741885936_n

One of our top agents, who is extremely marketing savvy and a great guy, even got into it. Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker’s #1 agent in Florida, promoted a Pokémon-friendly open house and our PR team landed him on the front page of the Sarasota Herald Tribune (in addition to probably showing his two sons that he’s the coolest dad in history). To ensure the little monsters (Pokémon, not his kids) would be there, he dropped Pokémon lures at the house.

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Even ritzy Bird Key in Sarasota as Pokemon. Photo: Roger Pettingell

We weren’t the only ones who had the idea, and within hours, the news media started running the stories about how local businesses were having fun with the Pokémon Go craze, including Inman (subscription required), Candy’s Dirt and Curbed.

 

If you’re just now learning about Pokémon Go, here are some quick tips on how you can leverage the craze.

  1. Download the app on your smartphone and ask a kid or teenager (or just about anyone) to show you how it works.
  2. Visit your listings, look at your For Sale signs and well known places in your community to find Pokémon. Take pictures of where you’re seeing them, and post on social media.
  3. If you have a particularly family-friendly listing, look and see if it has any Pokémon. If it doesn’t, you can purchase a lure to attract some. Then promote a kid-friendly Pokémon open house (with your seller’s permission, of course).

Also, if you haven’t heard of the craze by now, then you seriously need to get out more. It’s been all over the news and social media, and you literally can’t go anywhere public without seeing people playing the game. You can easily spot them — smart phone up close, excited look on their face, swirling around in circles viewing the world through their camera. It’s actually pretty fun. Gotta catch ’em all!

Tips for finding the right audience on social media

Not all social media are equal — they’re actually very different, particularly in who you connect with and how. Because real estate agents don’t have time to build a presence on several social media platforms, it’s important to understand the differences so you can pick the ones that work best for you and what you want to accomplish. I’ll post more on the differences, but one of biggest things that makes each site unique is who you can connect with and how.

facebookUse Facebook to connect with people you know, whether you know them well, knew them several years ago or they’re acquaintances. Friends, family, neighbors, college buddies, friends from high school, clients, and real estate agents or employees at your brokerage are an obvious place to start — people you know, see regularly and already have a relationship. But you can also connect with acquaintances, such as agents, appraisers or mortgage brokers you’ve done business with, and people you’ve met at networking events. But it’s considered intrusive to send a friend request to someone you haven’t met, so it’s not recommended.

twitterTwitter is my favorite social media platform because it’s easy to connect with people you don’t know, but with whom you share a common interest. Follow the same people you would on Facebook who are on Twitter, and then expand your sphere by following people you may not know but would like to build a relationship with, like your local real estate reporter, business owners and even celebrities. I actually know a Florida Realtor who sold a property to Rosie O’Donnell for $5 million, and then turned around and sold that same property for Rosie two years later for $5.3 million, all because she connected with Rosie on Twitter!

pinterestOn Pinterest, it’s less about making connections and more about sharing pretty pictures. But it’s through your gorgeous property photos that you can connect with potential buyers. If you use the right search terms in your posts, such as dream home, family home or beach house, along with the location, you’ll start to attract followers who might be potential buyers. Just make sure every property photo is linked to that property on your website, so they can find it online if they’re interested.

instagram-icon-circle-vector-logo3Instagram is also about pretty photos, but it’s very different from Pinterest. Instagram is used more to show off personal photos that you take, rather than photos you find online or from another source. Use the “Find Facebook Friends” and “Find Contacts” functions in your Instagram settings to connect with people you know. Then follow people you’d like to connect with. Most importantly, use lots of hashtags on Instagram in your posts to attract the people you want to follow you, like #SarasotaHomesforSale, #AtlantaProperties or #beachhomes.

youtubeYouTube, while technically a social media site, is viewed by most people as just a place to post videos and use the links in other social media. However, if you really love making videos, it presents a great opportunity to build your sphere and influence. Check out what Jessica Riffle Edwards has done on YouTube. With more than 400 videos, she has amassed a following of 3,800+ subscribers and has received almost 1.2 million views. If video is not your passion, then use YouTube as a place to post what videos you do make, and then share a link on your other social media and your website.

linkedinLinkedIn is all about business and is set up for you to connect with people you know or have done business with, like other agents, mortgage brokers and bankers, appraisers, plumbers, landscapers, Chamber of Commerce members, clients, etc. If you want to connect with someone you haven’t met, you can ask for one of your connections who knows that person to introduce you through LinkedIn. For example, if you want to connect with a city council member and one of your clients on LinkedIn knows her, you can ask your client to introduce you through LinkedIn.

googleplusIt doesn’t seem like Google+ ever really took off like Google had hoped, but it does enjoy a dedicated, if somewhat techy audience and you can use it to boost your website’s search engine optimization. You can connect with people much like you do through Facebook. The advantage of Google+ is you can arrange those connections into “circles” (friends, agents, family, etc.) and share posts that are only visible to a specific circle. So you can easily share vacation photos of the kids with your family, and keep more business-appropriate posts for your clients.

So pick the social media platform or platforms that work best for you, then start connecting!

3 Tips for Streamlining Your Social Media

Social media can be a bit daunting for the busy real estate professional who needs to be out selling homes and prospecting, not sitting inside working on the computer. Here are three easy tips that will help streamline your social media activities — especially for those who are relatively inexperienced in social media — so you can get the most out of this powerful tool without taking up too much time.

  1. There’s an App for That – Download apps for the social media platforms you use and make posting a part of your day, straight from your smart phone. Touring a new listing with a cool pool? Share a photo on Facebook. At a sporting event and your local team just won? Post it on Instagram. Quick, in-the-moment posts take just seconds from your smart phone or tablet, and show you are the local expert and actively working your business.
  2. Use Notifications – Responding quickly to comments that are posted on your page is vital for engaging in conversations and building relationships with prospects. Go into the Settings on your smartphone and enable the Notifications function on each of your social media apps, so you can instantly see any activity on your page. Then when you see someone post a question to your page or private message you, you can respond right away.
  3. Schedule Posts – Use a free tool like Hootsuite, which allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. You can schedule posts and share posts from other social media users, although make sure you are still making in-the-moment updates to supplement the more evergreen scheduled posts.

 

4 Tips for a Winning Social Media Profile

One of the most important pieces of the social media pie – and often one of the most overlooked – is having a complete, engaging and searchable profile. Here are four quick tips for creating a profile that will help you attract new followers and build your business.

  1. Call Me, Maybe… – You want prospects to be able to contact you easily, right? Don’t make a prospect have to look too hard for your contact information, or they may give up and go to your competitor. Instead, post full contact information in your profile so interested prospects can easily reach you by phone, email or your website.
  2. Searching for Mr./Ms. Right – When writing your profile, include key search terms that prospects might use to find an agent just like you. By using terms like “Miami luxury real estate,” “Baltimore real estate agent,” or “Atlanta homes” in your profile, you will come up in search results when prospects search using these terms. Also, what you name your profile photo is searchable, so calling your picture “Suzy Seller Realtor” will be better than “IMG_0554.”
  3. Say Cheese! – People want to interact with real people, not a logo, so show them your biggest smile in an updated photo. Avoid using props like sunglasses, pets or cell phones, which can look cheesy and distract from your professional appearance. Remember, saying cheese is good, being cheesy is not.
  4. Who Are You? – Fill out your profile completely to show prospects who you are and how you can help them. Facebook’s “About” and LinkedIn’s “Profile” pages allow you to fill in a number of fields – the more you have filled in, the easier you make it for friends and acquaintances to find you. Twitter and Pinterest “Profiles” both limit you to 160 characters and Instagram allows 150 characters, so choose your words wisely, use key search terms and don’t forget to include your website. YouTube’s “About” allows 1,000 characters: Click here for tips on how to create a winning profile.

Follow these easy tips and you’ll be on your way to attracting an audience.