Viral Marketing

Is Twitter Too Automated?

Posted by mhurston on July 14, 2009
Creative Corner / No Comments

With so many applications available to automate Twitter, does it run the risk of losing its social edge? Let’s look at a brief run down of what one could do with a Twitter account and an Affiliate Program that is capable of providing RSS feeds.

Once your Twitter account is created, you swing by TwitterFeed.com and plug in your RSS feeds to automatically post each hour (or however often you want them too) to generate your content. Next we’ll stop by TweetLater.com and make it so that our Twitter account will auto reply to anyone I follow with a direct “thank you” type of message and a link to your website.  Make sure to also check auto-follow anyone who follows you and auto-un-follow anyone who un-follows you.  You can also set it so that you receive an email if anyone replies with a @yourname.

Now we’ll start joining the online directories at WeFollow.com and Twellow.com, but don’t forget to also swing by Twibes.com and join some similar interest groups. Next it’s on to the spam-follow method of gaining users, which seems to be extremely popular these days. Basically, one searches through Twitter for users who have similar key words to their interest and follows all of them. After you follow a couple hundred followers you’re bound to gain a few hundred in return. Wait a week and then use FriendorFollow.com to un-follow anyone who isn’t following you. Oh and if you skipped a step and need to change your following or followers around in bulk there is always ReFollow.com

Guess what happens next? After about a week you’ll end up with a couple hundred followers who are just like you, auto-posting away and ignoring you and your product links. Chances are you may generate a little bit of traffic to your site from this, but more than likely you won’t see any monetary income coming from it anytime soon.

While automation is a great tool for Twitter, it’s not going to work for everyone, especially for users that have no real relationships and instead are just automated bots blabbing away at other bots 24-7. Remember, social sites are popular because they draw on the social aspect of people to talk amongst each other about their interests. If you automate yourself out of this, then you’re losing the whole point behind social based sites and their viral marketing capabilities.

Michael G. Hurston

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Preliminary Marketing Report – It’s about results!

Posted by mhurston on June 03, 2009
Creative Corner / 1 Comment

The following is my preliminary marketing report for the first half of the year. Over the next few weeks I will be interviewing brokers and their marketing specialists to use in the full report coming out later this summer.

Marketing Overview

This year our marketing goal was to completely overhaul the way we do advertising and marketing for our office. We needed a new approach on a reduced budget that would still get us results with lead generation and staying in the public eye.

In the past we had done many overpriced one off campaigns and for the most part ignored any type of promotion of our website, regardless of its updated features. Therefore, this year we decided to focus on multiple phase marketing strategy which included extended length web advertisements to promote our featured property websites, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a consistent branding campaign to show the people behind Colliers and a recruitment campaign to bring in more brokers to our office. We also created guides for the creation and use of listings on Craigslist and Social Media sites, simply put this year we pulled out all the stops.

While our PR firm MassMedia handled much of the price negotiations and the actual buys, the campaign placement, concepts, designs and photos were all done in-house (with exception to the Las Vegas Strip Aerial and Corporate Stock Art).

 

Ad Campaigns

In October of 2008 the planning began for a new ad campaign for 2009. We looked at a few of the ads we had done that conveyed messages or ideas we wanted to promote and incorporated these ideals into our campaigns, but with a unique and fresh look.

While the Las Vegas office has always had a strong relationship with many of the local publications, including In Business, Nevada Business Journal, Review Journal, Red Report, Western Regional and the Business Press.

Due to significant budget restraints this year we decided to pick Greenspun Media as our main outlet for print advertising. Greenspun Media Group is currently the owner and distributor of most publications within Southern Nevada. They currently produce In Business, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Home & Design, Las Vegas Magazine (LVM), and many others.

In addition to their print publications they also own and operate many of the local business news websites and niche media outlets in Southern Nevada including RecruitingNevada.com, 702.TV, LasVegasSun.com and more.

While Greenspun Media was where we placed the bulk of our budget, we still included placements in other print publications such as the North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Henderson Chamber of Commerce publications. For our online ads we chose the Las Vegas Sun website and PropertyLine.

During the year, as always, brokers and their clients were free to pay out of pocket for any specific publication ads. Those included, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Nevada Business Journal among others.

The primary message we wanted to get across in our branding campaign was that we were not simply a business offering services, but rather people servicing our clients. The concept of the ads was to show the “faces behind the divisions”. The distribution for this was In Business Magazine, one of the most popular business magazines in Southern Nevada. We had six Island Ads, with an ad popping up every other month. A couple times throughout the year we managed to be upgraded to a full-page ad at no additional cost.

We chose the North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Henderson Chamber of Commerce publications to target a very set demographic. We tailored each of the ads to their specific areas, Speedway & Aliante (North), Downtown and Strip (Vegas) and Green Valley Ranch & Horizon Ridge (Henderson)

The Las Vegas Sun was the news site we chose to advertise our website on. All ad banners were created in either flash or animated gif formats and also appeared in the e-newsletters (e-bizclick) sent out monthly. The links directed viewers to our featured property page.

For our recruitment campaign we were able to negotiate for 3 consecutive pages of ad space. This allowed us to place consecutive ads showing growth and work as a teaser within the publication. We again chose In Business to place our ads in. The online version of the ad linked to our recruitment page and was included in the PropertyLine e-newsletters.

 

SEO Strategy, Social Media & Craigslist

While we received an immediate increase in direct traffic to our featured property sites due to our online ads, we still needed to increase the overall organic (search engine) traffic to our website. We did this by incorporating a three-step process. We began by reviewing and writing into our featured property sites appropriate and individualized Meta Tags; the key words and descriptions that some search engines use to index websites. The next step involved the massive re-submission of our sites and main Colliers sites to multiple search engines. We used available free services from Addme.com and Submititexpress.com. The final steps involved created a web presence among sites that already had high organic rankings and could direct visitors to our Colliers site. This was done by the creation of a CPI Wikipedia page and Aboutus.org page. After one month we began to see a slight increase in organic traffic.

Our next online endeavor was to educate those within our office who were members of social sites on how to include their listings on their social pages, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This had two immediate affects, the first was that the brokers now had another reason to give to potential clients on why they should list them based on the amount of exposure their property would receive, as well as this resulted in increasing our organic traffic. Similar results occurred with the implementation of Criagslist postings as well.

 

Public Relations & Exposure

In the past we had lost some of our offices connections with the local media, so this year we made it a point to correct this. We began with the internal promotion of all public transactions to generate buzz within the office and get our brokers and staff thinking about our media exposure. A calendar of events was created, one internally for CRE events and one by MassMedia that included many local events that would be worthwhile for our brokers and staff to attend. We next worked with MassMedia on consistently generating stories within local publications and sharing them with others within the office. To coincide with this we had MassMedia create a bi-monthly e-newsletter for our office sent out to over 12,000 people. An official media policy was developed for our office, as well as a reporter source book of contacts within our office the media could rely upon for accurate and timely information.

We also included more focus to our research this year, with Matt and Campbell organizing an industry round table for the quarter ends as well as a magazine style all inclusive report known as the VQR (Vegas Quarterly Report), later renamed to LVQ (Las Vegas Quarterly). Being the first CRE brokerage in Southern Nevada to release their market report each quarter allowed us to play up our media publicity each quarter.

 

All Eyes on Us

Among the Graphics departments within our partnership we typically all share “best practices” among each other. While many of the other offices in the past have used a few of our ideas, this was the first year that the majority of these marketing strategies created in our office were pushed out among the other offices. The Event Calendar, our Craigslist guide, our Viral Marketing guide, our SEO strategies, our Reporter Source Book, and our Recruitment Page are all being considered for implementation at many of the other offices based on the work done within our Las Vegas office.

– Michael G. Hurston

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Viral Marketing with Social Media

Posted by mhurston on May 25, 2009
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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.

– Wikipedia

 

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.

 

Step One

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.

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