Twitter basics for real estate agents

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Alright, we need to get real about Twitter for a second: you can't fake your participation. It's an all or nothing type of social media platform, so if it's something that doesn't interest you in the slightest, I give you permission to close this blog and move on with your day. However, if you are interested in using Twitter to harvest more leads, keep reading. I'm going to tell you everything I know.

Twitter is all about engagement

Twitter is truly an engagement platform. To become popular on Twitter, you have to actively post and participate in conversations. In that way, it's a lot like offline socialization. You can't just make a few comments in a crowded room, walk away, and then expect positive results. Think about how you would approach people at a party, and apply those principles to your Twitter engagement.

For example, if someone is asking about paint colors and you respond offering to sell their home, there will be an obvious disconnect. Likewise, if someone says something funny and you reply with your business card, you're not going to be building relationships. Keep your communication natural, relaxed, and sincere.

Twitter is all about connecting with people who have a common interest. Your local community can be that common interest, but you're still going to need to put some work in if you want to get leads out. You need to post, retweet, reply, and genuinely engage with the people you want to connect to.

Filling out your Twitter profile

The very first decision you'll need to make is whether you're making a profile for your business or for yourself. Because it's easier to connect with a person than a business, my recommendation (and the focus of this post) is to go personal. There are business brands on Twitter and some are incredibly successful, but they are typically run by paid social media experts.

The first thing you'll want to do is fill out your Twitter profile. Twitter allows very few characters to describe yourself and interests, which means you'll need to be succinct. Also keep in mind that Twitter profiles often rank for full names, so keep it minimally professional.

Cover photo & profile pic

The two most visual elements of your Twitter profiles are your cover photo and profile picture. These sections are pretty straightforward but because Twitter is a more casual platform, you can personalize these a little more than you would for other profiles. In fact, this is a great opportunity to show off your love of the local community, so consider getting an updated headshot and use a cover photo of beautiful scenery from your area. If you don't have any high quality local pictures, try something "local inspired" from one of the free stock photo sites we showcased a couple weeks ago.

Profile Dimensions: 400 x 400 px
Header Dimensions: 1500 x 500 px

Display Name

Character count: 50

Use your own name as a starting point, but consider adding extra info if you have leftover space. You can try something simple but clear, such as "Heather Fisk, Realtor". Just know you'll need to keep your name under 50 characters.

Bio / Introduction

Character count: 160

Your bio is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself but you have to do it in under 160 characters. Consider mentioning your occupation, hobbies, and an interesting fact about yourself. You can also use emojis within your bio, which are fun and can be a good cheat around the character limits. Don't forget to mention that you're a real estate agent!

[SCREENSHOT: Melissa Twitter Example]

Location

Character count: 30

This is the perfect spot to enter your territory. Twitter doesn't actually restrict location to "real" cities, which means you're welcome to enter your entire service area. "Western NC," "The Florida Keys," and "Everywhere" are all fair game.

Website

Character count: 100

Hopefully it goes without saying that you'll want to use this space to promote your own website. Stick the URL here so your new followers know where to find you!

Tips for writing awesome Twitter posts

If you do decide to take the plunge into the Twitterverse, there are a few best practices you can follow to help boost your relationship building. Twitter is infamously known for its 140 character limit, but that has since been doubled to 280 characters. There's more space to work with but you'll still need to find ways to be succinct when connecting with your community. The followings tips can't take the place of genuine engagement, but they will ensure your hard social media work goes a little further.

1. Use images to attract attention & improve engagement

Images and video are hard to resist on any platform, and Twitter is no exception. Use images to grab people's engagement and boost the likelihood that they'll interact with your post. If you have something to say, be sure to include a relevant image to make the tweet pop.

2. Add value to the community with local information, jokes, commentary, & insight

The Twitter community is honest in that they'll only follow you if they want to. That means you need to add value to the community in whatever way feels right to you before you can reap the rewards of your Twitter network. Ask not what Twitter can do for you - ask what you can do for Twitter.

3. Take advantage of hashtags

Hashtags are essentially search filters, allowing users to find other posts on topics that interest them. It's great for connecting people at events, but can also be used for networking. In the case of real estate, you'll want to use local hashtags whenever you get the opportunity, like when you're exploring the sites, visiting a favorite restaurant, or commenting on a local news story. Just remember that the hashtags should always be relevant to the individual post.

4. Try to post at the right time

Data on exactly when you should be posting your tweets is all over the place. However, there seems to be a general consensus that tweets are usually most effective after 12 noon. There's a dip around dinner time and then engagement rises again after that. Services like Buffer can help you test a bunch of times and figure out the ones that resonate best with your community.

5. Connect with the right people

Social fun aside, you're here to do business. That means you need to connect with the right people on Twitter. Twitter's Advanced Search allows you to find filter results using words, people, places, and dates. Use this feature regularly to find new people to follow, focusing on individuals located near your city, who have expressed some form of interest in real estate. You can even use If This Then That (IFTTT) to trigger an email alert when new tweets meet that search criteria. How cool is that?

Also be sure to check in on hashtags for local events and trending topics, as these can be a great way to find likeminded people within the community.

Have fun with Twitter

At the end of the day, Twitter is supposed to be fun. It's a network that people use during their spare time to relax, connect, talk, and have a laugh. You can reap these benefits from Twitter, while also mining it for prospective leads, so ensure you're enjoying the process. If not, Facebook may be more your style...

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