Spend a few minutes staring at Twitter for a moment, and you might think you’re watching a slot machine spin around and around. I know many agents who can’t imagine using Twitter for their real estate business. Usually the first question they ask is, “How can anyone keep up with it?”
Twitter isn’t for everyone, and I certainly don’t think every real estate agent should use it to promote listings. When used properly, you can gain new followers, get more eyes on your website, and potentially grow your business.
If Twitter is on your list of social media sites to break into this year, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.
Don’t treat it like it is. Twitter is most known for information gathering and sharing. Blog posts, web articles, and other useful info are pumped out on a constant basis. Unlike Facebook where you can go back and forth, commenting and replying for hours or days, Twitter moves faster, and you only have 140 characters (for now) to say what you need to say.
As with everything, too much of a good thing becomes an ugly, scary, bad thing pretty quick. Hashtags are no different. Use one or two, three at the very most. A tweet with nothing but hashtags looks either like spam or like you don’t know what you’re doing.
People use hashtags to follow a topic of conversation or to learn more about a subject. Make them relevant to what you’re sharing. Is it a blog post about listing a property for sale? Don’t use #buyers for something you want sellers to read. Are you discussing home staging? Don’t use #home staging – use #homestaging instead. Your inner grammar nerd might cringe, but once you add punctuation after a letter, the rest is no longer part of the hashtag.
I know you’ll be tempted to share all of your listings all of the time. Stop. Take a breath. Twitter may move really fast and a lot of content can get missed but don’t go crazy on me. This is no different than any other social media site – people don’t want to be spammed. I follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your tweets should be good content – yours or others, and 20 percent should be promotional.
You can talk to people on Twitter, no matter how fast it seems things are moving. Using @username at the beginning of the tweet is common and semi private (only people who follow both of you will see the reply). Direct messaging – which now allows more than 140 characters – is another, and only the two of you can see the message.
Twitter chats are also popular. Organizers of these chats use a hashtag for everyone to follow in order to be part of the conversation. Find one relevant to real estate or business, and you’ll meet new people, network, and gain new followers.
Feel free to re-share your content. Be smart about it, though. Don’t post the same tweet multiple times in a row. That’s no different than spamming them with all of your listings.
Space them out strategically. When you publish a blog post, tweet it out that same day. Then tweet it a day later, next a week later. Change the text of the tweet and feel free to use different (but relevant) hashtags with each one. Make sure you’re sharing other content in between to add some variety to your feed.
Unlike personal Facebook profiles, Twitter isn’t all about you. The best way to make connections, gain new followers, and get eyes on your own content is to share other people’s content. Retweets and shares from other websites or blogs are great ways to let people know what you’re reading and what you think is important while connecting with people.
Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Triberr make sharing much easier. Triberr is probably the least known of the three and is based on the idea of like-minded people coming together to form a “tribe” in order to share each other’s content. It’s a great way to get your blog posts in front of a new audience, while also sharing content you didn’t create.
I don’t recommend Twitter for all real estate agents, but if you want to connect with a different audience, it may be the place to try. Don’t let the speed of flying tweets intimidate you. With a little planning and a clear strategy, you may find it’s a great way to build your business and get eyes on your real estate website.
Former Communications Director for a local Realtor Association and a big cheerleader for all things real estate related, Michaela is now a full-time freelance writer specializing in real estate and other business industries. When she's not writing the serious business-y stuff, she's likely to be found writing about the hilarity of being a Mom to two rowdy boys.