By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Good blogging is no easy task. That was the message that I took home with me after attending multiple sessions on the topic at BlogWorld & Expo 2010 last week in Las Vegas. I also learned that social media best practices are an ever-changing set of guidelines that are quickly evolving. I believe we’re just on the frontier of how social media can help small businesses. In the future, we’ll be seeing real estate offices create effective social media campaigns in the same way that larger companies such as Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and Domino’s Pizza are doing now.
In that spirit, here are some pointers for independent real estate pros and small brokerages that I took away from the session “32 Ways to Make Your Blog Suck Less,” presented by Scott Hanselman, a blogger with eight years under his belt and author of Computer Zen:
1. Know your audience: Most bloggers would probably guess that their audience was composed of people in their area who are interested in real estate. But you shouldn’t assume you know who your readers are without doing your homework. If you have Google Analytics, log in and see where the traffic is coming from. One real estate blogger was shocked to discover that half of his audience was coming from India and, as a result, wrote with fewer verbose “SAT” words.
2. Don’t be overtly personal: Most of you already know better than to share your wild debaucheries involving margaritas on your blog. But there are things you shouldn’t share that go beyond enjoying the nightlife. When you share, for instance, the fact that you have numerous cats running around the house, it might not be the best way to win new business. Some of the examples shown at the conference included people writing about and showing pictures of surgeries they had, which obviously could turn many visitors off. You want to be authentic and be human in your posts, but really think about what is professional.
3. Avoid excessive quoting: People come to your blog because they want to read your opinions and your writing. If they wanted to read someone else’s thoughts, they’d visit another Web site. While it’s fine to quote on occasion, don’t do it too much. And definitely don’t just copy and paste an article on your blog. Most of your readers will know, and won’t view it in a positive light.
4. Check spelling: Yet again, another obvious tip. And yet, you’d be surprised how many times people forget to do this. If you have WordPress as your platform, this task is as simple as pressing a few buttons.
5. Avoid cross-posting: If you host your own blog, and you also blog on a platform like ActiveRain, it’s best not to double-post the same entry to both blogs. Your posts should live at one location so that readers always know where to find you.