By Nobu Hata
I was just getting used to the concept of sharing my Facebook status with folks other than my family and friends when Twitter came along a couple years back.
Then came 2009; the year of the citizen journalist; the year near-instantaneous sharing of events, pictures, and Web-links with your friends/family/clients/anyone in general became the new norm. It was the year Twitter went from being a “thing” to a verb, akin to Facebooking and Googling. It was the year Twitter broke into mainstream use, and it’s not looking back.
On deck for 2010? With the recent proclamation of Foursquare.com as the “Next Big Thing,” the broadening use of social media outlets as an initial consumer search tool, the recent additions of Twitter “tweets” and Facebook “status updates” in Google/Bing search returns and the expectation of the new-consumers’ need for immediate communiques, it’s clear: the time is now for the use of real-time, hyper-localized use of social media as a business tool.
Essentially, what you did/saw/read today isn’t as relevant anymore as what you ARE and WILL BE doing/seeing/perusing right now, and it’s that concept that will rule in 2010. Foursquare (for example) linked to Twitter and Facebook helps you share just that. So, how else will we need to address this new mind-set shift?
Empower yourself. Get to know how the newbies Foursquare and Gowalla — upstarts that are driving this new real-time/hyper localized mentality — work. Learn how they integrate with your Twitter and Facebook profiles on both your laptop and mobile phone, it’s literally as simple as starting an account. It’s the power of these updates that will rule this new social media landscape.
Real-time relevant content. Content is still king, and relevancy of that content goes hand in hand with it. Become the “Mayor,” a la Foursquare, of your open house and link it to Facebook status updates. Rave about a new listing you previewed on Twitter and Gowalla and link it to your Facebook Fan Page. Become a neighborhood specialist by touting the newest restaurant or shop by “checking in” and giving a shoutout while there — better yet, partner with that business and raise the presence of both yours and theirs online. Add a Twitter feed (perhaps one comprised strictly of new listings once active, complete with hashtags?) to your website and link it all together for SEO happiness. The development of these tools opens a world of opportunity to reach our to friends, fans, and peers in real-time.
Don’t panic. Many of the SM rules still apply: know your audience/demographic, determine the all-important type of message and frequency of broadcasting that will apply to them, then follow through. Treat it like an old-fashioned marketing campaign — seriously! — and don’t over-complicate it.
Be mindful of the noise you’re making. Unless your friends, fans, clients, and prospects like hearing about your real estate biz 24/7, (chances are, they won’t) don’t over-do it. While, there’s no better CRM tool than social-media, listening, interacting, and watching for behavior change is going to be the best way to use these tools. If not, we better start watching for the “Death Knell of SM as a Business Tool” as the next big thing in 2011.
Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis, and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros. Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.