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22 Reasons to Use Twitter for Business and Pleasure

Last week I was invited to take part in a top secret Twitter Mission. I received a request from JulieTweets to arrive at a red door in San Francisco by 12:30 sharp! Thanks to GPS (asking the parking attendant) I found it promptly! Anyway, once I arrived I was greeted by one cool cat and 3 hot babes with cupcakes. I was in for sure now! The hot babes (savvy production crew) proceeded to set me up for video interview. Come to find out, I wasn’t the only top secret twit invited to the red door.? JulieTweets informed me that Twitter is compiling video interviews of all sorts of Twits to use in an upcoming marketing campaign. I quickly let her know that I’d be fine sharing the spotlight (not really) if she hooked me up with a Twitter shirt. Gosh, imagine what I’d do for a pair of jeans!

So for those of you that are not familiar with Twitter (come out from under your rock), it’s a cross between blogging and instant messaging. Also referred to as micro-blogging. Each tweet or post must be 140 characters or less. You can add more value to each tweet by including links to helpful blogs and Websites, your wacky pictures and videos, etc.? And each tweet is centered around answering the question, “What are you doing?”

To be honest, I poo pooed Twitter for some time. I just didn’t need (or want) another social networking tool to contend with. I can admit when I’m wrong. In fact, because Twitter updates in real time I’m able to reach an on audience on the spot.? Besides being just fun…Twitter is a valuable safety tool as well. If you haven’t heard about the student who Twittered his way out of an Egyptian jail, read this. You may not be visiting any foreign countries in the near future, but you can use Twitter at home to let loved ones know where you are and if any unfavorable persons are bothering you. (EX: Unfamiliar meeting locations, Open Houses, etc.)

Here are 22 reasons [Read more…]

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Does Your Real Estate Blog Need a Side of Widget?

Are you looking for a value add for your real estate blog or Website? Many widgets promise the world (MORE READERS), but sadly many fall short of maximizing their intended goal. When it comes to adding valuable content and tools to your blog, try a widget that compliments your niche. Just don’t try them all.

Many agents rightly focus on a niche or specific target market when it comes to blogging. So, why not add a widget that provides local content, events, and even property listings. Hyperlocal aside, even adding a news widget with a larger content scope (say, nationwide) adds value to readers who check both local and national market info.

When thinking about adding a widget to your blog, you may want to ask yourself:? (1) Does this widget provide helpful information? and (2) Does this widget foster interaction and build your network?

Some options for you:

Property Search
Give consumers a home search tool they will come back for [Read more…]

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Focus Your Social Media Marketing

Ever find yourself in Facebook’s spine and wonder how the last 3 hours flew by and all you have to show for it are a couple of pokes and Funwall messages? It’s happened once or twice to me. Real estate professionals have a complex task when it comes to staying focused in the distracting world of social media. First and foremost, understand why you are there and develop a personalized strategy.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is taking off as a standard soft sell approach to Internet Marketing. That doesn’t mean that some marketers don’t take advantage of networks and become annoying spammers. It’s the best social media marketing gurus that can effectively target, communicate, and appeal to a desired audience.

Social Media Marketing takes place at all your favorite social networking sites:? Facebook, ActiveRain, RealTown, LinkedIn, MyBlogLog, Flickr, Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter, YouTube, etc. ?These social media sites usually incorporate some form or mashup of [Read more…]

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Trulia First to Go Google Street View

trulia-street-view.jpgNot since the acquisition of Rudy Bachraty, has the Trulia team unleashed such “coolness” in the real estate community!? As of today, Trulia is the first national real estate search Website to incorporate Google’s Street View technology.?

Google’s Street View mapping is a phenomenal tool for real estate agents.? With it, agents and consumers can view a property up close at street view level, walk or drive past the property and surrounding neighborhood, and even check out the yard and other attributes of the lot. For those agents specializing in relocation, this is obviously a powerful resource for learning about a new area.? Rudy, Trulia’s Social Media Guru, adds, “Besides zooming in on the minute details of the exterior of the house, now you can actually take a peek at [Read more…]

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Viral Tools to Boost Your Real Estate Blog?s Readership

Over the past few years we have all witnessed the explosive growth of social networking. One could argue this growth has been achieved with viral marketing tools. Think about it every time we sign up for a new network or add a new application we are given the option to spread the message (or application) to our network. By having the option to easily broadcast a message to your database, without having to retype your contacts email address, you are more likely to spread their word?right? Would that type of viral element work on your real estate website or blog?

Introducing Octazen Solutions a contacts importer and address grabber for PHP, .Net, Java, and Ruby. Octazen has built in support for all the major Webmail systems (Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, & AOL) also including Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, and Mozilla. For their complete list of supported services, click here to review. Are you wondering if your server is compatible with the address book importer? Try this PHP test script? Try the contact importer demo.

Perhaps rather than importing contacts from an address book, you?d like to spread your message through a social network. With Octazen?s Invite Sender Script, your visitors can message their friend list in Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, Facebook, Orkut, Xing, BlackPlanet and Bebo. Your visitors with enter their login information and the Invite Sender script will compile a list of contacts to invite. Once the message is sent it will arrive as a social network email. Try the Social Network Friends finder

These scripts could be placed before the download of an eBook or other value added item. It would allow those interested parties to also help spread the word with other that share similar interest?easy!

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New Recent Reader Widget from MyBlogLog

You may have noticed our new ?Recent Reader? widget from MyBlogLog. If not, take a look. The design has been updated and now you can access additional information about your readers. When scrolling over a reader avatar a flyout box will appear with reader details. You can then find out more about your visitor by easily clicking through to their MyBlogLog profile and community pages. The new widget is also infused with a quick link for adding visitors to your contacts. In addition, MyBlogLog readers can simply add themselves to the site?s community by selecting the ?add? button at the bottom of the widget.Currently, MyBlogLog offers a choice of seven colors and 2 layouts for your widget. You will need to adjust the flyout box based on your blog layout. There are a couple of known glitches:

  1. Iframe Blocks Flyouts: If you’re displaying the widget code in an iframe, set your flyouts value “none”.
  2. Mac Firefox – Flyouts vs Flash: This is a Firefox bug w/ CSS transparency and absolute positioning.

MyBlogLog has plans for those of us who prefer optimum customization and promises we?ll be able to upload our own skins very soon. Also, stay tuned for major changes on your MyBLogLog profile. In the coming weeks, your profile will be getting a facelift and new integrated features?.taking your profile from static to dynamic!

Getting Started: To update your ?Recent Reader?widget, go to your MyBlogLog community page and click on the ?widgets? link under your community description.

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Real Estate Marketing Strategies for 2008

Joel Burslem handed me a Flip camera and press pass at the Inman Real Estate Connect New York. And, I?m pretty honored that he thought I?d bring him back something worthy of Inman TV. Good thing I kept it clean. Those blogger parties can get pretty wild!

Actually, my goal was to uncover real obstacles facing agents in this market and the strategies being used to get a leg up! A special thanks to Dan Green, Brian Wilson, Sara Bonert, Diane Cohn, Jay Thompson, Christian Sterner and Reggie. They not only provided me with great real estate insight and perspective, but also professional wisdom from the heart! Thanks for sharing your expert knowledge and for getting ?deep inside real estate? with me!

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Tune in next time, as I sit down and get ?deep inside real estate? with Max the HomeGain Monkey for an in-depth interview on boosting buyer traffic to your Website.

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Sidebar "Bling" Cross Promotes Your Online Presence

These days real estate professionals are members of social sites, online communities, blogs and more. So how do we deliver a consistent brand and message over so many tools? Also how to we channel interested parties to our other communities? One way is to use a similar sidebar for each application.

Introducing the BLING Widget for Real Estate Agents

Since we have not seen the perfect sidebar bling application for you real estate agents, we developed one for you to use. You will notice inStep 7″ I instruct you to use the full path to the icons. This is so that you can use this code on real estate networks like Activerain, Facebook and more without making further changes.

Here is an example of the buttons I have created for your use.
(Buttons from left to right: LinkedIn, Facebook, RSS, Activerain, Zolve, MyBlogLog, Google MyMaps, Friendster, Trulia Voices, Zillow and RealTown Real Estate Network.)

DOWNLOAD ZIP FILE OF BUTTONS HERE.

IMPORTANT: If you are adding this to your blog, please make a backup of your template before beginning so you can easily restore things if you need too.

Step 1:
Create a new folder on the root directory of your website or blog and title it ?bling?

Step 2:
From the icons I?ve created, choose the specific icons you want to use on your sidebar widget and add them to your newly created folder titled ?bling?. (Note: Choose either the .jpg files or the .png files. PNG files have a transparent background.)

Step 3:
Start by opening notepad or your HTML editor. Now you will be adding the code from each step to the blank notepad document. Please add each snippet of code to notepad in the order below. If you are advanced, the complete code is avaliable here.

Step 4
Copy the code below. Now paste into the notepad document we opened in Step 3. The code we just copied is for the header of our widget. The widget title is”Find Me Online” If you would like to use a different headline, replace those words with your own. You can also update the header and border color by replacing the hexadecimal (6 Digit) color with one from this chart.

Step 5
Copy the text below. Now paste this code after the code above. We will be editing it as follows:

Replace [Insert URL of Personal Photo] with absolute/full URL to photo. (i.e. http://www.mytechopinion.com/images/reggie.jpg) (Tip: Ideal width is 75 pixels or less)
Replace [Insert Name] with your name
Replace [Insert Company Name] with your company or blog name
Replace [Insert Your Blog or Website URL Here] with your actual URL

Step 6
Copy the code below. This is the DIV for the buttons. Please paste to our open notepade file after the previous code.

Ok, now you will start to add the buttons for your widget. 4 buttons will fit on each row. If you are using more than 4 buttons, you can add another DIV by preforming Step 6 again. This will create a 2nd row of icons.

Step 7
Earlier you added the buttons for your widget into a newly created folder. Now find the corresponding code from the options below. Then add each desired to your notepad or open editor. Look for “<!–Insert Buttons to the left of this block–>” and paste the button(s) code before it.

LinkedIn
Replace [Insert LinkedIn URL] with the link to your LinkedIn Profile.

Facebook
Replace [Insert Facebook URL] with the link to your Facebook Profile. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

ActiveRain
Replace [Insert Activerain URL] with the link to your Activerain Profile or blog. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

RSS
Replace [Insert RSS URL] with the link to your RSS feed URL. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Zolve
Replace [Insert Zolve URL] with the link to your Zolve profile or blog. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

MyBlogLog
Replace [Insert ByBlogLog URL] with the link to your MyBlogLog Community. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Friendster
Replace [Insert Friendster URL] with the link to your Friendster URL. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

MyMaps
Replace [Insert MyMaps URL] with the link to your custom Google MyMaps page. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Trulia Voices
Replace [Insert Trulia Voices URL] with the link to your Trulia Voices profile. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Zillow
Replace [Insert Zillow Profile URL] with a link to your profile on Zillow. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

RealTown Real Estate Network
Replace [Insert RealTown Profile URL] with a link to your profile on RealTown Real Estate Network. Also replace [Full Path to Image] with your full URL to the image.

Complete! If you have followed each step closely, you should have the complete code now. Simply copy and paste the code we created into your sidebar (keep in mind the widget is 210 pixels wide) and you will now be cross promoting yourself online. Keep in mind the same exact code can be used on your Activerain sidebar, Facebook and more.
View my profile on Zolve Join my community on MyBlogLog Friend me on Friendster View my location info on MyMaps Grab my RSS Feed Read my blog on Activerain Friend me on Facebook Join me on LinkedIn