Yesterday was the start of something very special. If you’re into social media and you didn’t hear about the first ever Virtual Real Estate BarCamp you must be living under a rock. For those of you that don’t know what a BarCamp is, allow me to explain.
BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences (or unconferences) – open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants.
To be honest, I’ve never been to a BarCamp, so this virtual event was my first. The event carried on throughout the entire day with 27 Social Media experts who specialize in Real Estate. At any given time there were three speakers in three rooms covering three different topics related to social media and real estate. Some of the more popular sessions included You Tube, Blogging, and SEO. All classes were conducted through webinar using the Go To Meeting platform. That means all this education was delivered straight to you no matter where you were. Over 1,500 real estate professionals participated from all across the nation.
OK, enough about how the BarCamp was put together. If you weren’t able to make it I want to share some of the highlights from the sessions I attended.
You Tube for REALTORs
The first session I attended was You Tube for REALTORs. This session was led by You Tube pro Doug Devitre. It turns out that You Tube is the second most searched engine on the entire web, second only to Google itself. Video has become quite easy to produce while remaining relatively inexpensive. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, video is definitely the way to go. Another advantage to using You Tube is the fact that it’s a great way to increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) New videos are ranked high on Google when people search for your keywords.
Top tips for Free Advertising Online
This session was led by my friend Suzanne Roy. Suzanne is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in helping REALTORs. Some of the tips she shared included using Postlets and Craigslist. The best thing that I got from her presentation was the idea of having a call to action in your online advertising.
I’m a big proponent of using calls to action in ALL your marketing. What’s the point to marketing if there’s no clear direction of what to do next.
Converting Social Media into more Real Estate closings
This session was led by Ross Hair, the bald guy from South Africa. Basically he believes that social media is nothing more than a place to build an audience so you can broadcast to them. Anyone who’s been following me for a while knows this is opposite of what I believe.
Even though I don’t agree with Ross’ philosophy, there was definitely some merit in his system. He uses social media to build lists, then he works to narrow down the people that could be clients and takes the relationship offline. One of the most common mistakes I see REALTORs make with their online marketing is NOT taking the relationship offline. If you’ve gone to the trouble to get a lead online, why wouldn’t you find a reason to pick up the phone and give them a call?
My favorite quote from Ross was, “It’s easy to make friends using social media, but it’s hard to sell houses.”
Mike Mueller presented Linked In. Mike took us on a tour of the Linked In platform showing us how to complete our profile. Surprisingly most REALTORs actually join Linked In and never complete their profile. If your profile is incomplete, you should log in and finish it right after you finish reading this post.
This platform is more of a professional network and online resume. If you’re looking for fun and games then Linked In is not for you.
Using Posterous for you Real Estate Business
My favorite session of the day was Bobby Caroll, who took us on a tour of Posterous.com. Posterous is a live sharing platform that you can use to share photos, videos, and almost anything else. I’ve been thinking about using it and Bobby’s presentation really piqued my interest. The content is indexed by Google (which helps with SEO) and is really easy to upload. Not only that, but Posterous can also update your other social networks.
Since I haven’t explored this platform yet I can’t write too much about it, but I can assure you that I will be testing and writing more about it in the future.
The Virtual Real Estate BarCamp Review
After spending nearly four hours glued to my computer learning new and different ideas on how to use social media in my real estate business I have to say the BarCamp was phenomenal. There were so many different ideas flying around that it was hard to keep up.
If you’ve never been to a Real Estate BarCamp I highly recommend attending one, you can thank me later.