CRE Radio Event: Social Media Best Practices for CRE Professionals

This Friday at 3pm EST/Noon PST, I have the privilege of being one of a few featured guests on the National CRE Radio Show – Commercial Real Estate Radio with Howard Kline.  We are going to be talking Social Media Best Practices for CRE Professionals.  I have been connected with Howard Kline for a couple years via Twitter.  His radio shows are packed full of great content for CRE professionals.

courtesy of iStockPhoto

courtesy of iStockPhoto

I am also excited to be on this panel because it includes some of my favorite people in CRE:  Barbi Reuter, Michael Lagazo, and Sarah Malcolm.

Barbi (www.twitter.com/barbireuter) is the CRE Marketing & Operations Executive for PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services in Tucson, Arizona.  She is a social media all-star and one of the true pioneers of social media use in CRE.  She is also one of my favorite people.

Michael (www.twitter.com/michael_mba) is the guy who I watched to learn how to use Twitter.  He is a CRE all-star in San Diego and has forgotten more about retail than I will ever know.  He also may be the nicest guy on Twitter and will send you coffee.  What could be better??

Michael and Barbi are both founding members of the #crejavaclub on Twitter.  If you love CRE and a hot cup of joe, look us up!

Sarah Malcolm (www.twitter.com/icsc) is the Director of New Media for the International Council of Shopping Centers.  She is a social media power house.  Reading her bio on LinkedIn will force you to be out of breath.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about social media best practices.

I hope that you can join us on Friday as Howard normally takes questions.  You can call in with yours at (619) 393-6492.

The show description is below.  This is your opportunity to submit your social media questions ahead of time that Howard may cover.  Use the comments section below!

Show Description

Social media, social media, social media.  You hear it everywhere you go and everyone is telling you that you have to do it. Everyone else is telling you how to do it, but is anyone getting through? Is there any value to it and how much time do you have to spend on it to be of any value to you?

What about sales?  Really, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about, selling and making money?  What good does it do you if you spend 2 hours a day schmoozing online and haven’t picked up a client in 3 months?  Are there any shortcuts and gimmicks that you can rely upon to make it worth your time?

Isn’t social media all about advertising?  How many eyeballs see your name is all that counts, right?  What about relationships and trust, nice words to include in your repertoire, but do those words put food on your table or pay your mortgage?  And let’s not forget the two most chic words of 2013, “engagement” and “collaboration”. Oh, how the experts like to throw those words in your face, if for no other reason then to show you how much more they know than you.

But enough of my ranting, listen in as I discuss these issues and words and the meaning of life, (in social media), with, Barbi Reuter, Sarah Malcom, Bo Barron, Michael Legazzo and I, some of the most well know and most influential commercial real estate professionals utilizing social media to bring in the money.  We are not the social media experts.  We are the pilgrims, the veterans, the ones with the scars with stories of the things we didn’t understand, we don’t understand and what we are figuring out as we go along. We are you after you start “getting it.” We are students of social media and cre, learning as we go along, trying to figure it out and willing to share our experiences with you so that you do not have to get the same scars as us.

During the show, we will also discuss why you should be interested in social media for your business and what services, (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest, among others), you should use and for what purposes.  Property manager, logistics expert, investor, property manager; this is not a one size fits all lecture.  We will help you figure this out for your purposes.

Social Media For Brokers Webinar: Twitter

Please join Angela Brown and me for a free webinar sponsored by CoStar!

Social Media for Commercial Real Estate Brokers Webinar:  Twitter

Thu, Nov 29, 2012
3:00 PM ET (12:00 PM PT)

Click here to register!

During this live presentation with social CRE experts, you will learn best practices for elevating and managing your social media presence on Twitter. This program will go beyond the basics, leaving participants with actionable information that they can use right away.

Our topics include:

What you can do with Twitter – You’ve heard all the fuss but what is it good for?

Nailing the profile – A look at profile best practices and recent changes to its appearance

Connect with clients and prospects using
“The Rule of Thirds”

Presenters:

-Angela Brown, Communications Manager, CoStar Group

-Bo Barron, CCIM, Managing Director, Sperry Van Ness/The Barron Group

Click here to register!

*Do you communicate on a social media channel?  If so, spread the word!  Tell those that may benefit from this webinar to join us.

Technology and App Review: IFTTT

Do you remember when you were a kid?  That feeling you got when you walked into the candy store?  Or the toy store?

I remember when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  I owned a 1994 Honda Accord.  It was a great car.  I knew it would be a couple of years before I would see it again so I sold it.  I also sold my Takamine (it’s an acoustic guitar).  It was beautiful.  When I arrived at the language school in Monterey, CA, I had no car and no guitar.  I did have a wad of cash, though.

My entire life I’d wanted a Taylor guitar (I have a 1959 Gibson J45 with a J200 neck now – awesome!).  Like it was yesterday, I remember what it felt like to walk in that music store on Alvarado St. knowing that I was leaving with a Taylor.

I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but I am just about that excited with my new discovery.  Let me introduce you to IFTTT!

IFTTT:  If This Then That

The idea of this website is to allow users to create if-then automated tasks between multiple social media platforms.  If This happens Then That happens.  Got it?  Let me give you a popular example:

  • If Facebook profile picture changes, then update Twitter profile picture.
  • If you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, then it will be sent to Dropbox

Can you see the possibilities?  The Grovo Blog calls it “programming for dummies.”

Vocabulary

  • Channels – channels are the building blocks of IFTTT and are the social media platforms themselves – like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Evernote, Dropbox, etc.  They currently support 53 “channels.”
  • Triggers – triggers are the ‘This’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula.  It is what must happen first.
  • Action – action is the ‘That’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula.  It is the effect in the cause and effect relationship.
  • Recipe – the recipe is the connection that is made when you put the above together.  Here is a screenshot from the IFTTT website.

How to Get Started

The user experience of IFTTT can’t be much better.  It is clean and simple – super easy.  Follow the steps below to get started.  Then get to simplifying your lives!

  1. Create an account – Create a username, enter your email, then your password twice.  About as easy as it gets.
  2. Link Your Channels – Frankly, I was really surprised at how easy this was.  I use 22 of the 53 channels, and I had them all linked in under 5 minutes.  The only one I had problems with was WordPress.  You must enter your URL without “http://” or “www.”  So for me, it was just “bobarron.com.”
  3. Create Recipes Use Other People’s Recipes – OK – you can create your own, but why bother?  According to IFTTT’s blog, over 1,000,000 recipes have been created as of April 30, 2012.  There’s no telling how many there are now.
  4. Search for Your Favorite ‘Channels’ – Since IFTTT is a social site, you can see other people’s recipes.  That is great, but with over a million, a search function is crucial.  The search auto-populates and is super fast – like a Google search.  As I love Evernote, I did a quick search to find that there are 3,999 recipes.  Kid in a candy store!

A Few Notes

I want to highlight a couple other points.  At the end of Sept ’12, Twitter shut down IFTTT’s ability to use Twitter as a trigger. Again, a trigger is the ‘if then’ part of the formula.  Twitter can still be the ‘then that’ part.  Essentially, you can not use IFTTT to auto-respond for you every time someone follows you or retweets you.  As I don’t particularly like the canned thank you ‘DM’ (direct message), not a biggie for me.

Google+ is not a channel.  I’m not sure why that is, but there are workarounds using other channels like Hootsuite.

Verdict

I’m excited.  I think there are some great efficiencies to be had here – especially with Evernote and Dropbox.  I plan on exploring more of this in the coming weeks.  I also think that as IFTTT gains a broader base of users, the recipes will expand as well.  I easily see many posts in the future along the lines of “Best 10 IFTTT recipes for Evernote.”

I’d like to hear from you!  Had you heard of IFTTT before?  If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?

The Day I Followed and Disagreed with Brian Tracy

About a year ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the national Sperry Van Ness convention in San Diego.  I’d never been to San Diego – that town rocks!  I was to speak on how to use LinkedIn to connect with prospects and aid in prospecting.  I have spoken at the Sperry Van Ness convention a couple of times before – always on some aspect of Social Media.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was to speak after lunch.  Right before lunch, the best-selling author and prolific speaker Brian Tracy spoke.  He gave a fantastic keynote on goals.  It was the best I’d ever heard on that subject.  However, at some point in his speech, he basically said that social media had no place in sales.  You might get known, but you’d be known and broke.  I felt 200 pairs of eyes turn and look at me – at least it felt that way.

I disagree with Brian Tracy, but he is also exactly right.  I’ve never made a sale directly from a tweet.  That may never happen.  You make a mistake when you make the means the end.  Social Media is a means to connect, build relationships, and add value.  Social Media is about connecting as humans – having an impact on someone.  Chris Brogan has a new book coming out called The Impact Equation that makes this point.

Over the past month, I’ve connected with @theBrokerList.  TheBrokerList.com is the idea of Linda Day Harrison, and is the first online CRE broker directory – very cool.  (Go ahead and stop reading this post and check it out.)  We actually spoke on the phone yesterday.  It turns out that she married into a family that is from where I went to college.  My mom is from her hometown, and I have a brother living there now.

I now like Linda on a personal level.  See how that works?  On a professional level, I am going to do some guest blogging on www.theBrokerList.com.  This helps her by bringing attention and fresh content to her site.  It helps me by giving me exposure to her viewers.  Now that I know her a bit and like her, I want to help her.

This is the power of connecting with a person versus generating retweets.  I tell stories in my blog posts because I want readers to connect with me on a personal level.  All of life is about relationships – relationships with your spouse, your family, your boss, your employees.  Business is about building relationships with prospects, earning the right to call them clients, serving them until you become a trusted advisor, and on….

Social Media is simply a new and trendy vehicle to accomplish the same end:  connecting with people.  I now find it ironic that I follow Brian Tracy (@briantracy) on Twitter.  He sells too much there – hehe.

How do you use Social Media to connect with people?  To build relationships?  To add value to people’s lives?  When do you make the means the end?  When was the last time you checked your Klout score?

My Tools to Manage Twitter in 15 Minutes a Day

One of the most frequent questions that I get as I speak to groups is how I manage twitter.  No one believes that it only takes 15 minutes or less a day.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let me clarify.  In one of my previous posts – The Rule of Thirds – I shared the 3 types of tweets that you should be using:  curating original or other great content, engaging with others, and getting a little personal.  The key to the first category of curating original or other great content is getting the tweets done and scheduled at one time.

So without further ado, here is my list of time-saving tools.

ChromeChrome is Google’s web browser.  It is fast and has a simplistic elegance.  I also want Google to like me.  My favorite thing about Chrome is that it has a ton of add-on apps.  Two of them I will describe below – huge time-savers.  I also use the Chrome App on my shiny new iPhone 5.  All my bookmarks transfer – it is beautiful.  If you haven’t tried Chrome – download it now.  It is free.

HootsuiteHootsuite is a fantastic social media manager.  There are a number of others like it – tweetdeck, seesmic (just acquired by Hootsuite), and some others.  It allows you to do a number of things.  First, it allows you to automatically organize all the tweets out there.  You should set up permanent searches for mentions of your handle (ex. @bobarronccim), your industry, your city, etc.  Here is a screenshot of mine.  Note:  there are other set searches spanning to the right.

Hootsuite also allows you to post to LinkedIn, Facebook, and can manage multiple accounts of each.  It also allows me to schedule tweets.  This is key.  After I finish writing a post, I can schedule when it will be tweeted in the future – and on LinkedIn and Facebook as well.  Huge time saver!

Hootlet – Hootlet is a wonderful thing.  Find the Tools menu in Hootsuite and drag and drop the hootlet icon into your browser menu bar.  It allows you to easily tweet from any webpage.  If I am on GlobeSt.com, and I want to tweet out a great article, all I have to do is click the hootlet.  It generates the title of the tweet and the link.  Genius!

Google Reader – This is where the real-time saving happens.  Instead of bookmarking the websites that you regularly go to find great content, use Google Reader.  All those websites then send their new content straight to you.  Using RSS (really simple syndication) from your favorite sites, the new content gets sent straight to you.  Go to Google Reader and sign up.  It is free!  Here is how it works:

BufferAppBuffer is my all-time favorite app.  It is essentially a queue that holds your tweets and releases them per a pre-set schedule.  This means that you can scan through Google Reader, pick out the 10 or so best articles, and simple click the buffer button.  It creates the content of the tweet just like the Hootlet, and puts it in the buffer queue.  This allows you to be tweeting all day long even though you simply spent 5-10 minutes filling the queue.  And it’s free!

Note that Buffer allows you to tweet it now or throw it in the queue.  So super easy!

Paper.liPaper.li is a really cool app that aggregates the stories tweeted out by those your follow into an online newspaper.  Once a day, it sends a tweet for you and names some of the authors of those tweets.  They really appreciate “you” mentioning them, and Paper.li is completely automated.  And it’s free!

What do you use to increase your efficiency and save time?  What did I miss?  I can’t wait to learn something from your comments that will save me some more minutes!

The Rule of Thirds: How to Build Your Tribe and Engage On Twitter

One of the questions that I get asked over and over as I speak to audiences of Commercial Real Estate brokers is this:  how on earth do you use Twitter?

Here is some context.  The Commercial Real Estate Industry is notorious for being in the technological Stone Age.  I personally think this is for a couple of reasons.  First, the industry is dominated by really successful brokers that are my dad’s age.  These brokers are the ones asking me this question.  They became successful before the internet played a role in their business.  Why do they need it now?  I have a great answer for that…for another post.

Second, many of our clients are baby boomers who have been slow adopters of technologies as well.  Or at least slower than the Gen X, Y, and Millennial generations.

So for those in the industry just realizing the power of Twitter, here is how you build a following, engage, and benefit from the power of Twitter.

The Rule of Thirds

The basic premise of the Rule of Thirds is your tweets should fall fairly evenly into the following 3 categories:

First Third – Add Value By Tweeting Great Content.  You’ve heard over and over that ‘Content is King.’  This is true on Twitter as well.  People will follow you because you add value to their lives.  Think like a curator and a creator.  Example:  as most of my followers (currently 2,478) are in the CRE industry, I try to find great articles on Commercial Real Estate to tweet to my followers.  I also tweet out the content that I create myself.  Here is an example:

The 4 Blessings of a Down Market « theBarronBlog http://bo-b.co/QKfmV6 #cre

Notice the key parts of the tweet – the title of my blog post, the title of my blog, the link to the site, and then the hashtag identifying this is about CRE (or Commercial Real Estate).

Think add value to others!  And always include links.  Apps like Buffer and Hootsuite make this infinitely easy and efficient.  I will be reviewing both these apps in the coming weeks…so stay tuned!

Second Third – Engage.  Internet 1.0 was about static websites – think megaphone.  Internet 2.0 is all about engaging and sharing ideas – think telephone.  A third of your tweets should be connecting with others.  How?  Start with having manners.  Say ‘thank you’ when you get retweeted!  Comment on an article of value that was tweeted out.  Connect with people as if you are at a cocktail party.  I literally have real friends because I engaged on Twitter (@Michael_MBA, @BarbiReuter, @commsource, and many others).  This is the third where you will pick up loyal followers – where those connected with you will start retweeting you.

Third Third – Get Personal.  Be real.  Nobody wants to follow a robot.  You are a complete human.  Act like it.  Don’t just tweet out industry specific tweets all the time.  Allow people to know that you do other things.  I like to tweet out pics of me with my kids.  I want my followers to know that I’m a dad – and that I LOVE being a dad.  This engenders like-ability, and people help and do business with people they like.  Click here for an example.

A word of caution.  When using this Third, be smart.  Don’t tweet:  ’Going to Italy for 3 weeks.  Please rob my house.’  Use common sense.

So how do you connect?  What are some of the guidelines you use that I failed to mention?  Let’s connect on Twitter.  You can follow me by clicking the Twitter button at the top right.  I will follow those that leave their Twitter handle in the comments.  I’m looking forward to learning from you!

Twitter: The Commercial Real Estate Barometer

Those who have been in the commercial real estate industry for any amount of time know it lags the business cycle. Nobody gauges the economy by what commercial real estate is doing. Commercial real estate brokers, investors, and principals watch the economy, knowing that whatever happens there will be coming down the pike a year or two later for commercial real estate. It’s a frustrating way of life, but commercial real estate professionals have learned to deal with it.

Savvy commercial real estate investors always seek advice and counsel when it comes to making investment decisions. That said, all “experts” are not created equal – Those investors who have access to better, more timely information provided by more sophisticated advisors simply have an edge. So here are a few questions to ponder: How broad is your sphere of influence? Who are the “experts” you’re seeking advice from? What if I told you that you could have real-time, 24-7-365 access to the world’s best practitioners in every aspect of commercial real estate, and that this unfettered access was free – would you be interested?
Want to get a better idea of economic trends? How about