In a world where bloggers report the news and politicians stand on YouTube soapboxes, new Internet tools are continuing to change the way America does business. To stay on top of both the profession and the Google listings, consider adopting an ongoing web strategy that incorporates daily updates and social media platforms.
“Smart marketers know that it’s no longer enough to talk about you (or your product), how fantastic your service is, throw a couple of testimonials on your site and call it a day,” explains MRIS Director of Marketing Marie Still. Here are some easy, inexpensive ways to entice an increasingly sophisticated web audience:
- Blog (the right way). Blogging remains one of the best ways to drive new web traffic, and blogs can help cement your reputation as an expert if you discuss real issues. “Don’t think of your blog as a sales tool,” cautions Still. Instead of posting new listings, blog about short sale trends, home staging or other items of interest to local clients.
- Be useful instead of cool. Interactive marketing is often laden with special effects, but these techniques should be only be used strategically to draw the viewer’s eye to something important, encourage a particular action, or create a resonant connection. Instead of gimmicks, focus on developing real, useful web content. Search engines will quickly identify you as a legitimate resource, and you’ll see your rankings improve.
- Repurpose data for multiple forums. Did your firm just issue a press release about a new team member? Share it on Twitter. Got a great insight on foreclosures in your market? Post it on your website, your blog, and your professional Facebook page, using the same keywords to attract the search-engine bots that comb the web for trending content.
- Get social. Social media is here to stay, and new tools and strategies can help you ensure that it serves as a profit center rather than a time waster. In a May 2011 REALTOR® Magazine interview, Tracy Schmidt of 435 Digital recommends starting with a personal LinkedIn profile and Facebook business page. Then you can build up to YouTube podcasts, Twitter conversations, and Facebook contests, using a tool like Hootsuite to manage multiple platforms. Remember that regularly updated, useful content is more important than crafting a single perfect post.
- Don’t game Google. Avoid cultural references, cutesy headers and tricks like invisible keywords. If you agree to play by Google’s rules (i.e., focus on providing clear, updated, worthwhile content), you can enjoy the benefits of tools like Google Analytics, Google Adwords and helpful SEO tips at Google Webmaster Central.
With all of their potential for convenience, connectivity and clarity, new Internet tools will continue to benefit real estate professionals who are vigilant about maintaining a web presence. So, fire up YouTube and indulge in some “market research!”