What is Viral Marketing?
The buzzword, viral marketing, refers to marketing techniques that use social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to this segment of the population and have a high probability of being passed along.
The term “viral marketing” has also been used pejoratively to refer to stealth marketing campaigns—the unscrupulous use of astroturfing on-line combined with undermarket advertising in shopping centers to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.
So how do we use this?
One of the great social aspects of the internet are the popularity of Social Networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. All of which focus on the primary goal of staying in touch with friends, family and colleagues, as well as the sharing of information.
One of the benefits of these sites is the ease of automated replication of your listings onto your profiles, so they can be seen and shared with everyone on your network with little time involvement.
The next few pages will list information on how to display your listings on these sites, the initial time involvement is minimal and once done you will never have to manually update anything.
Acquiring your RSS feed. Chances are no matter which Commercial Real Estate brokerage you work at, your companies database puts out, or has the ability to put out, Property Listings via RSS feeds. For example, at Colliers we have feeds for our Market Reports, PodCasts, Exclusive Listings for each office as well as individual broker listings.
Ask your local Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer or Research Department for it, if you have questions on this. Once you have the feed url you can start to get your listings showing in lots of different places. Your feed will look something like this: http://www.colliersparrish.com/rss/excl/las/feed.emolfetta.excl.xml
Step Two – Linkedin
I’ll begin with Linkedin.com as it is probably the most easiest to implement as well as the most used site for strickly professional networking.
Once logged in you will select “Edit My Profile” from the left hand sidebar. Next select “Websites” and choose “Edit”. While you can select up to three sites to enter, choose one of these to be “My RSS Feed” and copy your Properties RSS feed to this. Click “Save Changes”.
Next, select “Applications” from the left hand sidebar. Scroll down until you see an application called “BlogLink”. This application will pull information from any of your website(s) feeds and display them on your profile. If you’re feed is working, you should immediately begin to see your listings displayed on your profile.
Note: If you have more than one website listed BlogLink will only display up to the four most recent posts, however it does have a scroll arrow users can use to click through your listings or posts.
Step Three – Twitter, TwitterFeed & OpenID
If you have a Twiiter account, you will not need to do anything special from here. If you don’t have a Twitter account, it might be a good time to create one.
Once you have a Twitter account you will want to go to TwitterFeed.com and set up a RSS Feed that will post to your Twitter account automatically.
You will need to sign in with an OpenID. See below for explanation on what an OpenID is. Once you have logged into TwitterFeed, you can select “View My Feeds” or “Create New Feed”. The form here is pretty self explanatory, you paste your Properties RSS feed where it asks you as well as you can set the time to display updates. I’d recommend setting it to 5 hours. On the section where is says “Include” I would recommend selecting “Title & Description”.
You will need to “Authorize” the application to access your Twitter account. It just involved clicking the Authorize link and signing into Twitter. Congratulations, within the next 5 hours you will start to see your Property listings displayed on your Twitter automatically.
Chances are you already have an OpenID, though if you do not, you can sign up for many free online services and use that as your login. For me, I have an account on Gmail as well as WordPress, so I use those to login.
Step Four – Facebook
Once you login to Facebook, choose “Home” and scroll tot he bottom of your page. A button on the lower left hand corner will say “Applications” select this and choose “Browse Applications”. Search for the Twitter app. (Note: this is different than Twitter Updater app). Or you can go directly to the applications page at http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/ to install it.
Once you have it installed, and have “Authorized” the application your Facebook “Status Updates” will display your Twitter posts, which should be including your Property feeds.
Step Five – Other Sites
While other social sites include Myspace, Orkut, BeBo, Hi5 and Friendster – the popularity and target audience are not necessarily the most beneficial for the Commercial Real Estate industry.
Therefore I have not taken the time to create a guide for them. That said, if you have an existing social network on any of these sites and would like me to look into it for you, I would be more than willing to help you out. Just drop me a line.