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What are the Twitter Do's and Don'ts for Home Builders?

Sunday, September 27, 2009 /

Twitter Don’t’s
Carol Ruiz

There’s no doubt that Twitter is the latest cyberspace phenomenon. It’s grown by more than 1400 percent in the past year and isn’t slowing down.  It may have started as a way for individuals to connect on a personal level, but businesses have quickly realized the marketing benefits and have adopted it to effectively grow their customer base and develop relationships with them.

The key is that Twitter is all about creating relationships so it’s critical to learn what not to do in order to avoid turning off customers and having them block you (the ultimate Twittersult – I just made that saying up but it’s essentially a slap in the face).

Here are what I consider the top five don’ts in Twittiquette:

1. Do not use Twitter for blatant self promotion.  It’s all about building the conversation.  Sharing useful information is the way to go versus using the hard sell.  For example, I started following a home building company (which will remain nameless) and the first tweet they sent back to me was “How can we help you buy an XX home”? There was no effort to engage me in conversation and I have not read a single one of their tweets since.  On the other hand there are builders out there doing it really effectively. Check out the below Twitter streams to find out how these builders are doing it right by tweeting useful information that engages followers and starts conversations. These two builders have learned how engage with followers who in time start asking specific questions, which signals that they are open to a more direct sales approach.:

@TLofts
@LiveBlancoRiver

2. Do not forget that when you write something online, it lasts forever. If you wouldn’t say it IRL (in real life), don’t tweet it.  This is especially important in a business situation where your company’s reputation is on the line.

3. Avoid mundane tweets.  When Twitter was in its infancy, that was common, but more and more it’s unacceptable, especially with a business account, to talk about what you had for lunch or that you just flossed your teeth. Information that is of interest to your target market is what will create the effective conversations you’re seeking from Twitter.

4. Do not respond to an attack by a follower by lashing out.  If the follower has a legitimate complaint, be authentic and transparent, and apologize quickly and honestly. If you write a response, it’s best to save it, sleep on it and send it in the morning.  If you are being unjustly attacked by a ‘troll,’ it’s best to ignore that person. Answering will just add fuel to the fire while ignoring the attack generally makes the person go away (think about a five year old looking for attention in any way possible – you know what to do).

5. Don’t replace all forms of marketing with social media.  While social media is becoming more prevalent within the journalism world (you’ll notice that White House correspondents are now sending out tweets during press conferences) and online marketing is yielding big results for homebuilders (since about 85 percent of consumers start their new home search online), the death of traditional marketing has been greatly exaggerated and there is still room for such strategies as direct mail, event marketing, billboards, etc. Think of Twitter as an additional means to market your new home community.

There are a multitude of other “don’t’s” when it comes to Twitter, but if you really adhere to #1 and learn how to build conversations that lead to relationships on Twitter, you’ll be ahead of the game.  If you have additional questions, you’re welcome to email me directly at cruiz@redrocketla.com.


Twitter Do’s
Carol Flammer, MIRM

Twitter Do’s are equally important. People choose to follow (or not follow you) by what you Do on Twitter.

1. Chose a name that makes sense. People are most likely to search for you by your name. If you have signed up as BGH3356 they are unlikey to find you. Isn’t getting found the goal of twitter? Pick your name, the name of your company or a phrase that describes who you are and is memorable.

2. Complete your Entire Profile. Include your photo, your location including a city and state, your web site starting with http:// and a brief bio on yourself or your company. Most Twitter users won’t follow a person with an incomplete profile or a blocked account. If you are using Twitter to expand your business, let them find you! Make sure to promote your Twitter profile in your email signature, on your Facebook page, etc.

3. Follow the people that you want to follow you. If you are a builder in Austin, Tx doesn’t it make more sense to follow Realtors in Austin than the cookie store in Chicago? Have a plan for who you want to start conversations with on Twitter and find those people. (You should have similar goals for followers on other sites including Facebook, Trulia and ActiveRain. Figure out which audience you want to address with which tool.)

4. Retweet others interesting Tweets. In Twitterville RT stands for Retweet. This is like forwarding an email to all of your friends when you like it and want to share it. It is the ultimate compliment to the person who Tweeted it because it shows that you find their information valuable, relevant and worth sharing with others. Become everyone’s cheerleader and make them feel good about their successes. Remember, you get back what you give, so give often and cheer others on.

5. Ask questions and engage in conversation. Reach out to your followers and get to know them just like you would at a cocktail party. I’ve made friendships on Twitter that have become friendships IRL. Last week I went to a conference and ran into a Twitter friend in the parking garage. We had never met IRL, but we immediately hugged because we felt that we knew each other.  Make sure your tweets are interesting and have information that others want to read. Just like other forms of social media, what you say does not have to be personal, but it should have personality.

I look forward to sharing conversations with you on Twitter. Feel free to Tweet questions to me @AtlantaPR. redrocketLA and mRELEVANCE did a conference call on Twitter for NAHB earlier this year. You can get more information on Twitter from it as well.

 



Published by : Ask Carol
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