Three Common Sense Steps To Reaching Your Audience and Building a Better Business Blog

Posted in Blogging, Blogs, Free Training, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by The Ibis Network

If you’ve ever scoured the Internet for tips on how to make your business blog more effective, you’re well aware that the available information can range from the contradictory to the incomprehensible. In the end, you’re only trying to reach the right audience for your services and have little need for number-one rankings on all the major search engines, especially if they’re only delivering empty clicks and hits from half way around the world.

Here are some simple steps toward more effective blogging …

Keep a Schedule: You can find so-called experts that will advise you to post, at least, five times a day . You can find others who will advise that you should post no more than once or twice a week. Both of them are right … and wrong. Only you can determine how much time to invest in your business blog. But don’t become discouraged if you can’t generate enough content to post every 20 minutes. If you keep a consistent schedule, readers will know when to expect updates. If you only post once a week, people reading your blog will learn to expect your weekly post and return to your blog accordingly. Sporadic posting, on the other hand, will leave even interested readers confused about how often to check your site.

Don’t Get Personal: There’s a difference between a personal blog and a business blog. If you’re sending your blog out to clients and referral partners, chances are they’re going to be more interested in relevant information about your business, industry, and region than they will be about your daughter’s birthday party. Keep focused on your audience and write posts that will be interesting, entertaining, and informative.

Make It Easy To Find: There are plenty of sites that will tell you about the importance of keywords, tags, and search engine optimization. And all of those things can be an effective way of getting your site noticed. But an even easier, and more targeted, way of attracting readers to your blog is telling people about it. Put links to your blog on your website and in your email signature. Put the address anywhere you’d put your website’s, including business cards and marketing materials. Syndicating your content through social media sites is another good way of spreading the word and luring readers.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Fact or Fiction: The Truth Behind Four Common Social-Media Myths

Posted in Active Rain, Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by The Ibis Network

There are always those that are slow to adopt new technologies. There were likely a stubborn few who insisted that the horse-and-carriage was, in fact, a much more effective means of transportation than the early automobile. Then there are those that fundamentally misunderstand the medium, like those that thought television would be a passing fad. In other words, innovation can lead to myths, mistakes, and misconceptions.

Below, we tackle some common social-media myths in an effort to better understand the benefits and best practices of any online effort.

It’s Not For Business: Social-media marketing is good for any business, despite those that say it only works for some. After all, in any business endeavor, getting word out about your services is the name of the game. Social media is yet another platform to do just that. Keeping in touch with clients, announcing new products or services, educating, communicating, and engaging your customer base are made easier with a smart strategy and some effort.

It’s For Kids: Last year, social networking was named the top emerging channel for lead generation. In addition to being an effective way of branding your business and syndicating your message, social media has been found to help build and maintain businesses by improving their relationships with their clients, customers, partners, and prospects.

It’s Automatic: For as many people that will tell you social media won’t work for your business, there are those that will tell you that it’s easy, automatic, and requires little more than setting up the pages and reaping the rewards. But having a successful networking strategy, whether online or off, means work. In order to build and keep traffic coming to your profiles and pages, you’ve got to maintain your presence and offer something of value. That means, responding to comments, offering interesting content, keeping your pages fresh, and, most of all, participating.

It’s About The Numbers: Having the most Facebook fans in your region certainly can give the impression of success. But having 20,000 fans outside of your target audience only means your business isn’t doing as well as your Facebook page. Don’t get discouraged. Having five fans that bring you consistent business is better than having a million that don’t.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Social Media: How To Find Friends, Fans, and Followers Online

Posted in Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by The Ibis Network

 

It’s been said that it not what you know, it’s who you know. And these days, who you know includes your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections.

So how do you meet more people online? Here are a few ideas to help you build a bigger online network of friends, followers, fans and connections …

Import Your Contacts: Increasingly, social-media sites offer their users the ability to import contacts from their other online profiles. In other words, if you’ve got 121 connections on LinkedIn but your tweets are going unnoticed, you can locate your LinkedIn contacts through Twitter’s “Who To Follow” function and boost the number of people reading your tweets in a few simple clicks. Or try this.

Promote Your Profiles: Make it easy for your contacts to find your online profiles. Most social-media sites offer badges and banners that can be added to your blog, website, and email signature. Adding a link to your profiles will provide potential clients and business partners an effortless way to find and follow you online.

Be Active: There’s a reason it’s called social media. The more you socialize and engage your network, the bigger your network will be. That means, posting regularly, offering interesting information, running contests and polls, and asking friends, family, and online fans to help you promote your pages. Keeping your profiles active and updated will keep your existing contacts coming back and lead to new connections you wouldn’t have otherwise made.

Offer Something Exclusive: Once you’ve successfully driven some traffic to your social network, you still have to convince that traffic to become a fan or follower. Deals, discounts, and freebies are a great way to build your fan base and your business.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

5 Essential iPhone, iPad, and Android Apps for Realtors

Posted in Facebook, Marketing, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by The Ibis Network

It used to be that telephones were just for making calls and only Bill Gates and NASA had computers. These days, however, technology has become increasingly affordable, mobile, and handheld. With smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android, and Apple’s iPad, it is easier than ever to access and transmit information from wherever you are.

With that in mind, here are 5 real-estate related apps to boost your mobility and your efficiency …

Realtor.com Real Estate Search: This iPhone app allows you to search homes for sale, open houses, and nearby rentals. It also allows you to save listings, add notes to them, and email them or share them with clients over your social network. It accesses more than four million listings, with multiple photos, property details and open house information. Best of all, it updates every 15 minutes.

Evernote: Also for the iPhone, this application creates notes, photos, and voice memos and makes them accessible from your phone, computer, and the Web.

Dictionary of Real-Estate Terms: This Android app is the most comprehensive of its kind and provides an easy-to-use reference guide you can suggest to your clients or use yourself.

Remember The Milk: Available for both iPhone and Android, the Remember the Milk app is just what it sounds like. Not only does it make organizing and managing tasks easy and quick, it also sends you reminders via email, text message, or instant messenger. Add things to your to-do list with their Quick Add function and use the map to plan out the best way to be everywhere at once.

Open Home Pro: This iPad app provides a high-tech way to collect email addresses, phone numbers, and info about visitors to your open house. It also automatically emails them a thank you and sends you their contact and other info.

More on iPhone, iPad, and Android apps here, here, here, here, and here.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

The Basics: 41 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Realtors And Mortgage Professionals

Posted in Active Rain, Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by The Ibis Network

An update of The Ibis Network’s previous list of social-media terms … New terms in bold.

The Internet is an incredible resource for real-estate and mortgage professionals but keeping up with an always-evolving online world can be a challenge. Sometimes the lingo alone can stand between successfully implementing a social-media strategy and being overwhelmed by widgets, avatars, and hashtags.

Active Rain – The largest social network for real-estate professionals. Launched in 2006, Active Rain has nearly 200,000 members.

Aggregator – A web-based tool or desktop application that collects syndicated content from across the Internet.

API (Application Programming Interface) – A computer system or application that allows programs and websites to communicate and exchange data.

App – An application performing a specific task able to be accessed by your computer or phone.

Archives – An index page that organizes past entries and older posts by date.

Avatar – The image, picture, or username a person uses to identify themselves on social-networking sites.

Badge – A linked image displayed on a blog that promotes a person’s profiles or participation on other social-media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Blog – A regularly updated website or “web log” that allows a company or individual to post content and interact with readers through commentary, subscriptions, widgets, and syndicated RSS feeds.

Blogosphere – A term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet.

Blogroll – A list of sites, typically found in the sidebar of a blog, showing the sites that particular blogger recommends.

Content – Content on any website, including text, pictures, video, and audio materials.

Dashboard – The administrative area on blogs and social-media sites that allows you to edit your information, manage comments, monitor traffic, upload files, etc.

Domain Name – The identifying name or address of an Internet site.

Facebook – The largest social-networking site for individuals and businesses. Facebook has more than 500 million users.

Feeds (RSS Feed) – A program used by a website that allows the user to syndicate their content and provide subscribers with new blog posts and articles without requiring them to visit the site.

Forums – Online forums allow members of social-media sites to interact with other members by posting messages or questions on particular topics.

Geotagging – Adding location-based data to media such as photos and video to help users find businesses and services by region.

Groups – Communities within social-media sites that allow users interested in particular topics or activities to share information, posts, and messages with other members.

Hashtag – Used on Twitter, a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by a “#” that helps organize posts, making them easier to find in Twitter searches.

Hits – A measurement defined as any request for a file from a web server.

Hyperlink – A navigational reference that embeds a link to a document or page on the Internet.

LinkedIn – A business-oriented social-media site for professional networking. Launched in 2002, LinkedIn now has more than 70 million registered users.

Links – Highlighted text that, when clicked, takes readers to another page containing related content or source materials.

Metadata – Information, including titles, tags, and captions, used to describe a media item or blog post in order to make it more easily found by search engines and aggregators.

Micro-Blogging – A form of blogging that limits the amount of characters or words per post, such as Twitter.

Permalinks – The permanent address or URL of a blog post or web page. A permalink is what is used when linking to another story within an email message or post.

Profiles and Pages – The pages on social-networking sites where a person or business displays their contact information, pictures, posts, and files.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of improving and increasing traffic to a website from search engines.

Sidebar – A column or columns along either or both sides of a blog’s main content area that includes widgets, contact and biographical information, links to previous posts and favorite sites, archives, badges, subscription information, RSS feeds, and more.

Social Media – Websites that provide communities with common interests a means to communicate and engage with one another online.

Subscribing – Signing up for a site’s feed, which automatically sends you new content from that site.

Syndication – The process of sharing and distributing content online.

Tag Cloud – A visual representation of the most popular tags on a blog or website. More popular tags are usually shown in larger type while less popular tags appear smaller.

Tags – Keywords associated with a blog post or other content making them more easily found through searches.

Threads – Messages or posts under a single forum topic or the comments and trackbacks of a particular blog post.

Trulia – A real-estate search engine and networking site that allows professionals to create business profiles and allows consumers to find listings, blogs, and real-estate information.

Twitter – A micro-blogging site where members post “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – A URL is the technical term for a website’s address.

Wall – The shared portion, or discussion board, displayed on a social-media profile.

Webinar – A web-based seminar, presentation, lecture, or workshop transmitted over the web.

Widget – An application offered on social-media sites and blogs that performs a specific function allowing users to customize their profiles or blog.

Source materials here, here, here, here, here, and here. Original glossary here.

Please check back with www.theibisnetwork.wordpress.com for future updates and additions to this glossary.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

5 Ways To Grow Your Mailing List For Real-Estate and Mortgage Professionals

Posted in Free Training, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by The Ibis Network

Finding ways to keep in touch with potential referral partners and prospective clients is one thing. That means offering interesting information that will ensure your emails don’t become unwelcome inbox clutter soon after reaching their destination. But, before you have the chance to dazzle the members of your mailing list with a monthly newsletter, new listings, or neighborhood events, you’ll need to have a mailing list in the first place.

Here are some ideas for growing a mailing list that will boost your business and your reputation …

Use a Newsletter: If you have a newsletter that you forward among colleagues, partners, and prospective clients, include some instructions on how to subscribe to your mailing list along with it. It doesn’t need to be long and involved, just add a sentence explaining how to subscribe for anyone getting your newsletter for the first time.

Use Your Emails: Any correspondence can be an opportunity to add to your list. Including subscription information in your emails along with your signature means you can build your list each and every time you send an email. Again, it need be nothing more than a quick note asking them to respond to an email address to opt in.

Use Open Houses Or Other Events: If you’ve set up an open house, or any event where you’ll have a gathering of potentially interested attendees, ask for their email addresses with an explanation of what you’ll be sending them. Chances are if they’ve showed up to an open house, they’ll be interested in receiving more information from you, as long as they’re assured you won’t be bombarding them with emails every other hour.

Use Social Media: If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, use the followers, fans, and connections you’ve already made to build your mailing list. Ask them to sign up to your mailing list and explain that you’ll be sending out information and offers exclusive to your list.

Use a Free Consultation: People love deals. Offering a free consultation for signing up to your mailing list is a great way to get people interested and comfortable giving their information to you. Giving a little something extra will grow your list and many of those freebies will soon turn into real business and loyal customers.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

Social-Media Marketing: Promoting Your Online Efforts Offline

Posted in Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by The Ibis Network

To prevent your social-media profiles, posts, and online efforts from retreating into the forgotten corners of Internet obscurity, you’ll have to give them a push into the real world. Sure you can garner some search-engine attention for having consistent content and a presence on all the major networking sites, but, unless you’re delivering your information to the people most able to take advantage of it, you may have fans and followers in Finland but you won’t have clients in your own community.

Here are a few ideas for getting your business blog and online info into the right hands …

Email-Ready Newsletters: Okay, sending out a monthly email-ready newsletter isn’t exactly something you can do offline. But, if you’re already keeping a business blog, you’ve got content you can use to build a newsletter and your address book is likely filled with past clients, referral partners, and other local contacts to send it to. Compile your best posts and include your blog’s address with your other contact information, then hit send and repeat regularly.

Business Cards: Identify a few of your more successful social-media sites and incorporate them into your business card. You don’t want to go overboard with Facebook, Twitter, email, and blog addresses but adding an address or two to your business card is a great way to turn real-world contacts into part of your online community.

Everywhere else: Creativity is key when looking to garner attention online or anywhere else. Try this list of 39 offline places to promote your online efforts and think of some interesting ways to incorporate your Internet activity on fax sheets, letterhead, envelopes, ads, and more.

More social-media tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

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