Twitter: it’s not just for celebrities and teenagers anymore.
The power of “the tweet” is proving irresistible to small businesses. Nearly 40 percent of small businesses maintain Twitter accounts, up from 32 percent in 2010, according to a 2011 Merchant Circle survey.
Want to learn more about Twitter and how to channel its energy into your real estate business? Through a multi-part Twitter series, we’ll explain how Twitter works, how to create a Twitter profile and how to successfully engage with your potential clients via Twitter.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking site. Users post updates, or “tweets”, which are then broadcast to followers. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, making Twitter a simple, quick way to relay information.
Twitter uses the “#” symbol (known as a “hashtag”) to link common tweets. The hashtag makes it easy to search for related tweets and find like-minded users.
Take this tweet as an example: “#ScrantonRealEstate is really picking up this month.”
Your tweet will be categorized with any other that includes #ScrantonRealEstate. Any interested user can access tweets regarding #ScrantonRealEstate by clicking on the hashtagged phrase.
Who uses Twitter?
As of May 2011, 13 percent of online adults use Twitter, according to a Pew Research Center study. The same study found that Twitter is particularly popular among 18-29 year-olds (usage rate of 18 percent), but older adults are increasingly turning to the service. Usage among 30-49 year-olds doubled from November 2010 (7 percent) to May 2011 (14 percent).
Twitter announced that its total number of accounts grew to 200 million in September 2011, but there’s still plenty of room for expansion. Research company eMarketer estimates that the number of Twitter users will increase an additional 20 percent in 2012.
Why should I use Twitter for my business?
Twitter is free. It’s simple. It will help you target a specific set of potential clients.
And many of your competitors are using it. More than a third of all real estate agents use Twitter for business purposes, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2011 Technology Survey Report.
Considering Twitter’s burgeoning popularity, a Twitter account may soon become as business-essential as a quality website or a Facebook page. Those who refuse to hop on the Twitter train could quickly be cast aside as outdated and irrelevant.
How do I use Twitter as a real estate agent?
Later in our Twitter series, we’ll talk more about the best uses of your Twitter account. Until then, consider these potential ways to enhance your business via Twitter:
- Alerting buyers to new listings (“New #GlenHillProperty just came on the market. Check my website…”)
- Advertising open houses (“Hosting a #RealtyOneOpenHouse at 1207 Shadyside Lane this Sunday at 2 p.m. Gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a finished basement.”)
- Sharing informative articles with your clients (“Check out this article about #NashuaPropertyValues…”)
How do I start a Twitter account?
All you need to start a Twitter account is a name and valid e-mail address.
But you probably shouldn’t fling your tweets upon the world without a brief trial period. While Twitter is a very basic, user-friendly tool, it does take time to gain familiarity with the concept and its potential uses.
Consider starting a personal account before launching your Twitter business campaign. Spend a few days in exploration mode and focus on how other agents are successfully using Twitter. What appeals to you as a potential customer? What should you avoid?
After a few days of research, you’ll probably be ready to let your tweets fly.
Want to learn how to find (and keep) Twitter followers? Stay tuned for the next chapter of our 'Twitter for Real Estate Agents' series...
Photo courtesy of keiyac