Well as a few of you know I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon last year, read as much as I could absorbe about that social media, got a business + a personal account. After a year of using it, this is what i have found valuable about Twitter.
1. It's has replaced my newspaper completely. (Now I borrow my neighbors old papers to line the bottom of my Macaw parrot's cage) I learn news on Twitter a couple of days before I hear about it on tv. I notice now all the news reporters have jumped on board Twitter & I bet it's for the same reason I use. The only Twitter accounts I follow that don't follow me are news sources.
2. From the beginning my focus has been relationship building, not broadcast promotion. That's what works for me to sustain long term steady real estate business. My friends and associates become my clients or refer clients to me they know. Warm market is what works best for me. I even cultivate internet and other cold leads into "friends". Often I stay in touch with people for months or years before they do business with me or refer someone to me. I use Twitter the same way. Now my challenge as I have grown to following more than 400 people, that I nee some tool to manage that stream of tweets. I'm considering adding Tweetdeck or some other software. Any suggestions from those of you more experednced? I have a PC and Blackberry, not Mac and iPhone.
3. Relationships do turn into real estate business. Not right away, but eventually. I never get upset when someone chooses another Realtor. I know I'm not going to be picked by everyone I meet. Besides I couldn't possible serve every person in Baton Rouge. This week I had my first Twitter friendship posibly turn into a real estate transaction. That's a year after I started. Now I have followed this person, replied to tweets with @ statements, met at the first ever Baton Rouge Tweetup. In other words I cultivated this friendship with no push on my part to sell anything. This is a person I would not have met in any other place I go.
4. It's valuable to integrate your Social Media into your business plan. Initially in my learning stage I spent several hours a day connected to Twitter. In the beginning I tweeted several times a day; but have cut back to once or twice a day avaerage. I schedule a time for it just like phone messages, emails, etc. I use my blackberry and check tweets while I'm waiting in lines, etc. I try to balance social media with warm market prospecting and servicing present contracts and clients. I try to include interesting information in my Tweet stream with a variety of humor, real estate knowledge, my Active Rain blog posts, local area inoformation, etc. I try to get to know my followers. I don't necessarily post just for them but I do try to understand the kinds of information they like to read. I use Tweets and FaceBook as tools for those who want to know me better to learn a little more about me. Now I use links on my webpage to both my company Twitter account where I extract just the real estate information that others might find valuable plus a link to my personal account under "Meet Our Team". It's one more way to build a presence.
5. I build my follow base using tools like Nearbytweets.com and try to follow back all the geographically local people as well as international people sharing a common interest with me. I follow people, not business broadcasts, to learn from them. I am fascinated when someone creatively reaches out with this media; one such person I've encountered recently is Glen Arcaro in Califormia. His initial DM requesting a follow said "Unlike a lot of people on Twitter, I REALLY am here to meet people and get to know them better". Being the scientifically trained skeptic that I am, I thought it was a ploy. But I have gotten to know that he meant that and it is an effective group building attitude. I interact with my group's tweets.
6. Now that google is picking up tweets, the future of this media may be even more promising, like our Active Rain blogs for internet presence.