Archive for August, 2010
Facebook Announces ‘Facebook Places’ and purchase of Hot Potato!
Facebook recently announced a new geolocation feature for its users, Facebook Places. You may be familiar with other geolocation services, such as the start-ups Foursquare, Gowalla, or Hot Potato. Hot Potato was recently acquired by Facebook, which has brought all eight Hot Potato employees on-board, presumably to expand and develop Facebook Places.
In a statement released to Mashable.com, Facebook announced, “We’re excited to confirm that we recently acquired Hot Potato, a service that helps people socialize around live events and share what they’re doing with friends. We’ve admired for some time how Hot Potato is tackling this space and look forward to working with them to bring Hot Potato innovations to Facebook.”
Will Facebook Places eliminate these other small geo-location services? Only time will tell. Foursquare and Gowalla offer fun game-like features with their services, and often work with business to offer discounts for users. Facebook Places doesn’t offer any of these features yet. One thing’s for certain, though- Facebook serves over 500 million users compared with Foursquare’s 3 million users, and Gowalla has even less. Also worth noting is the strong relationship between Facebook and Yelp. I can only imagine there will be more integration with Yelp and Facebook Places in the future.
But how does Facebook Places work? How will this new feature be implemented and effect user privacy? How can Business Owners capitalize on Facebook Places?
Facebook Places Basics:
Facebook Places is currently only available to some users in the united States and on the Facebook iPhone app. Places will be available to other smart phones that support HTML 5 geolocation, such as the Droid, in the near future.
Places works by allowing Facebook users to ‘check in’ to the various locations they visit, such as restaurants and bars, your local library, a friend’s home, etc. by logging into Facebook Places from their phone application or via touch.facebook.com.
Upon checking in, Facebook will announce to your friends that you have arrived at this destination. You can also ‘tag’ your friends that are with you, much like you would tag someone in a photo, and find out who else is currently ‘checked in’. If you tag a friend that is not using Places, it’s just like mentioning their name in a status update.
If you tag someone who is already signed up for and using Facebook Places, it will mention it in their Newsfeed and add them to the ‘checked-in’ list as if they checked-in themselves. The first time you are tagged, Facebook will send you a notice and give you the option of allowing your friends to check you into places or not. You are always notified of when someone checks you into a location, and you can always selectively delete check-ins, much like you can delete a comment on your wall or a status update.
Privacy Concerns with Facebook Places:
Facebook learned a lot (the hard way) when it changed the structure of its Privacy Settings, automatically setting all users’ accounts to share EVERYTHING with EVERYONE as the default setting. This time around they have made the automatic sharing settings much more conservative, with the default setting only sharing your location with the people on your Friends list. However, what if you still want more privacy? Maybe your boss is on your Friends list, or you have an ex you’re trying to avoid.
Don’t go deleting your Facebook profile yet! You can customize, or even completely disable the Places feature! Facebook has even made a helpful demo video for you to show exactly how to customize your privacy settings.
Facebook Places for Business:
Right now, Facebook Places is in it’s Beta version, so there’s not too much information about how business will be able to interact with it and use it to promote their business, although when Mark Zuckerberg announce Facebook Places he hinted that there is more to come. If Places follows in the footsteps of Foursquare, business could start offering promotions to customers that check in a certain number of times, etc.
In the meantime, if you’re a Business Owner, you should probably log into touch.facebook.com, add your business address, and check in! There still aren’t a lot of businesses listed, and new users will be eager to test the software out and visit new places they find. You should also make sure you have a business listing on Yelp, too. Your clients/ customers can and will add your business to these listing services sooner or later, if they haven’t done so already. It’s in your best interest to be an active member of these online market places. By adding your business to Facebook Places, you are making your business easier for the 500+ million Facebook users- for FREE!
If you want to learn more about Facebook Places, visit the Facebook Blog.
If you aren’t involved with Google Adwords already as an aspect of your real estate marketing campaign (agent or office), then read up on why you should.
Local Businesses thrive on online advertising.
89% of people in the US search online for services and products online before they make a purchasing decision. This is true – perhaps even more so – even when the potential service is available at a business in their area. And with such a geography-centered field as real estate, PPC is perfect. You can also use Google Adwords to set your ads to show only to people in your area: so you can target your specific demographic in the city, state, or zip code that you specialize in!
Excellent SEO coupled with PPC ads can increase the ranking of your website.
You’ve diligently taken all of our LogicClassroom advice, read all about real estate seo best practices, and your website is now perfectly optimized after all of your hard work. So, your real estate business may already appear in the organic search results on the left side of the page. But run a quick test: Does your website appear on the first page of search results? 2nd? 10th? Does it come up for all possible search terms that your customers may be using when they are looking for what you have to offer? If “yes”, that’s great, HOWEVER, studies have proven that search advertising can still increase traffic to your site. In fact, appearing in both organic and paid positions of the page at the same time increases the perceived relevance of your website and as a result even increases the number of free clicks you get to your website.
Paid Search compliments your SEO Campaign
SEO Campaigns take a great deal of diligence to see through, and takes time to see results. However, in addition to your real estate SEO campaign, paid search has a few advantages: It is easier and quicker to setup, offers much more control over when and where your ads appear, and its impact is easier to measure through comprehensive analytics and reporting. It is recommended that website owners practice both effective SEO and advertising.
Online advertising can be customized to fit any budget
Consider PPC Advertising as an investment, not a cost. You only pay per each click that a user interested in your product clicks to learn more, so there is a direct return on however much or little you spend. And how much you are willing to spend is completely up to you. There’s no minimum spend requirement and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can even set a maximum that you are willing to bid per click and you can start and stop your advertising at any time.
You don’t need to be an expert to set up your own campaign.
While it’s helpful to solicit the service of experts (ahem, Boston Logic!) to manage your real estate sem, getting started is easy. You don’t need to have the perfect keywords or ads immediately: you simply get started, see what works and what doesn’t, and make alterations. You can constantly fine tune and tweak your campaigns as they run, without having to check in on them everyday.
The automated feature allows you to let them run without checking in every day.
Real estate agents and brokers are busy. We get that. But once you have got your online ads up and running, the automated PPC feature doesn’t require that you check in with them everyday. Still don’t have time to get started? We can help you! Contact Boston Logic today about setting up your business’ online advertising campaign.
The argument that a digital identity is just as powerful as your true persona has some merit when it comes to social media. So how can you leverage social media for your real estate marketing campaign, and get more hits to your website?
Here are a few tips to help you navigate, protect, and capitalize on social media:
Don’t accept every person who friend-requests you. It is with it to do some digging around and try to identify the person if you don’t immediately recognize them. While your online networks are not always exclusive, they should still be monitored regularly. Facebook also has an option to create lists to help you further organize your growing number of “friends”, and you can even publish certain content to certain audiences. (To learn how to do this, check out our previous LogicClassroom slides on Leveraging Facebook for Your Business.)
Additionally, Facebook is becoming more than just a social network — it can be a search engine too. According to some recent statistics, it is the #2 most visited site after Google, and some days even surpasses Google in total searches. By creating special interest pages on this social network, you can increase hits to your business’ profile or Web site. For example, Williams King created a “365 Road Warrior Marketing and Technology Tips” page, which now has more than 200 fans.
Which Social Media Site is Right For Me?
Well, take a look at your personality and what your strengths are. Are you a great writer? You should write engaging real estate blogs and witty tweets. Enjoy being photographed (and don’t we all)? Maybe you could give YouTube a try.
Now You’ve Got a Presence. How Do You Protect It?
(Click here for some resources on Social Media Liabilities by NAR.)
Consider how you’ll monitor your social media sites. Who gets access to them? How will you handle negative postings? It gets tricky when deciding whether to delete these comments or address them online. What will you do?
Sometimes a personal phone call to the party to discuss why they are upset can really help smooth things over . It can even motivate them to post something positive about your follow-up outreach.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
After all this data and through the online buzz about social media, and you still don’t think you need an online presence, you may want to reconsider. Social media will be one of the primary search tools for the next generation of real estate buyers and sellers. And if you want to get started and don’t know how, you can always ask a younger agent for some help, or contact us on how you can get started on some real estate SEO help and services offered. We’ll be happy to give you some guidance!
Source Article: The Right Way to Get Started in Social Media