NDG Marketing Manager
2011: Twitter is our newspaper. YouTube is our TV. And iTunes is our radio. In just twenty short years, the power of the media world has slipped from the hands of corporate masters into the hands of the people.
While Twitter appears to those unfamiliar with it to be a “broadcast” technology, it is actually, fundamentally, a conversation between millions of people that goes on every hour of every day.
What can Twitter do for homebuilders and real estate developers?
- Give you the ability to speak directly with—not to—your audience members together and individually, and to respond to them accordingly.
- Provide a platform, with 200 Million people participating, where you can deliver engaging content that links back to your website.
- Allow you to take advantage of shoppers using real-time search engines—your Twitter content will be indexed very quickly by search engines like Google.com, so that shoppers looking for the latest information will be more likely to be exposed to your fresh content.
When homebuilders decide to create a presence on Twitter, the next question is often “What do we say?” Of course, what you say and when you say it is of extreme importance. But even more important is listening. Here are some Twitter basics for homebuilders and real estate developers, but of course they apply to almost any business.
Let’s start with content. Who is your audience? What are their interests? What do you have to offer in terms of content that is not just self-promotional but of actual interest to your prospects? Remember, shouting about your company and your products or services is not going to work on Twitter. Engagement will work, though, which means more than posting interesting things. It means noticing your followers, reaching out to them, re-tweeting their content, responding to them thoughtfully and as soon as possible, and in general, connecting with people.
Now, let’s talk about timing. For homebuilders, like most other businesses, providing good and engaging content is critical. But timing your tweets with your prospects’ schedules can give your tweets even more reach and create more response. How do you find out when your followers are on Twitter? It’s very easy to see when tweets were posted by your followers, suggesting that they are active during these times. The times of day with the highest activity may surprise you.
Finally, let’s talk about LISTENING. If you use Twitter as a one-way channel for broadcasting messages about your company, there can be some small benefit to the content being indexed on search engines. However, most people on Twitter will likely ignore you. And, people may be talking about your company elsewhere on Twitter but not say it to you. So how you keep up with all of this? There are several very robust and cost-sensible solutions to social media monitoring that can help you stay in the conversation even if you weren’t included in the first place. They include Hootsuite Pro, Radian6, Alterian, Seesmic, and several other options of varying cost. Of course, you can do manual research daily without these services, but these vendors and their products do all the hard work for you, freeing your time for actually creating, responding, and engaging.
Remember, there’s a conversation going on about you out there, and whether you take part or not is up to you. But if you can’t find the threads, you can’t respond to them. So actively listen, and be prepared to respond. Don’t just stop at creating good content and targeting the timing of your tweets. Take the next step and create a plan for engaging and responding to your customers and prospects on Twitter.