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How to use Facebook to brand yourself and expand your business network

April 8th, 2008 · 10 Comments

I have to honest. I have been reading Kevin’s posts on social media and blogging, I am itching to write one on the topic myself since internet & blogging has done tremendous for my business. So here it is! (We will continue the regular programming on staging for next post ;) I promise.)

I have been toying with Facebook a lot lately because I am intrigued of how this thing can work for my business (since I am spending a ridiculous amount of time on it) and how fun it actually can be even for work. Facebook has exploded on the business sphere lately largely because of its user-friendliness, much more professional look than myspace, and easy to network quickly with a string of people in a more relaxed atmosphere (they now even added a People You May Know section, which is frankly scary how they know I know these people).

At first I only used Facebook for contacting old college classmates & long lost friends, secretly comparing looking where they are working now how much weight they had gained, but lately I am finding a lot more business applications being developed and used, as well as an increased number of contacts in both staging and realtor fields. (Finally, no more of those invites of “Are You a Vampire?” but “Have my online business card.”)

I also read Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Things You Don’t Know About Facebook: “the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is those ages twenty-five and older. [per Facebook's own stats] Facebook is quickly becoming not just place for friends to meet friends, but for business users, baby-boomers…”

Which prompted me to establish a “store front” (in Facebook lingo: Page) for my staging business. I listed my mission statement, basic info, even added blog syndications and apps such as charity that I personally support.

It’s an interesting experiment so far. According to Facebook’s stats, (or “Insights” per Facebook lingo) I have received 88 hits so far in the last 2 days. Although it is unclear where these traffic are coming from…. While my page is not like a major consumer product’s page, such as Dr. Pepper or Guiness where they have legion of fans who have the kind of viral power that can multiply consumer bases quickly and sell more products through their Facebook pages, I am interested to see how small businesses or professionals can use this to help them increase exposure.

Moreover, more and more people every day are joining for the sole purposes of prospecting and expanding networks. Similarly to LinkedIn, you can seek introductions via Facebook by simply “poking” someone to view their profiles, nudging them to respond and even visually displayed how many friends you have in common.

Similarly to twitter, you can update your status quickly via your mobiles or on the internet to let your sphere of influence, as well as millions of other users to know what you are doing.

I also have to say, the SEO on the Facebook page is SCARY. I only made it couple days ago, it already popped up on my google alert. I am experimenting and I plugged in “Burlingame” just now, to test and see if it will pop up on future searches.

What do you think? Any success stories so far? What do you use Facebook for? Be part of my social experiment by becoming a fan of my page at http://tinyurl.com/3jryvf. Or simply add me as your facebook friend :D

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Tags: Facebook

Blogging Stressing You Out? You’re Not Alone, Says The New York Times. A Modest Blogger Manifesto…

April 6th, 2008 · 8 Comments

The gray lady herself comments today on the stress of blogging:  intense competition to be the first to break a story, the seemingly relentless need to be on top of all the news.

There is a cost to this:

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

The article admits, of course, that “the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic.”

My thoughts?  There’s more than enough stress in my life already, thank you very much, so I try to make sure blogging doesn’t add to this.  I’ve gone several weeks without posting when things just get too busy.  I find blogging in modest doses — say, 30 minutes per day — to be therapeutic.  I like writing, I like reading, I like the camaraderies and interaction.

So here then is my modest blogger manifesto, part serious, part humorous.  Tell me what you think!  Any more we should add to the list?

  1. From Saturday at 6pm until Monday morning, no blogging.  [Present post excluded.]  There’s really nothing so important that it can’t wait till then.  [Again, excepting this article.]
  2. No vendor pre-briefs less than 48 hours before the news embargo lifts.  I need time to digest the information and come up with a cogent response.
  3. Once a month, I will prune my feed reader.  If I haven’t read a blog in a month, off it goes.
  4. Many of us in real estate tend to be perfectionists, and our motto traditionally is, “Only perfect is good enough.”  Let’s turn that on its head and say:  “Good enough is perfect.”
  5. If it’s starting to be a drag, then it’s time for a break.  A one week moratorium.
  6. I will not take it personally when somebody in real estate says they’ve never read my blog, or they don’t know what a blog is.
  7. I will not nickname any of my kids “Zillow” or “Trulia” or “Redfin.”
  8. I will not obsessively update Wordpress to the latest platform.  Two upgrades per year are enough.
  9. I will not tatoo my subscriber stats on my forehead.
  10. Above all, I promise not to take myself, my blogging, or my blog more seriously that I need to.

Add your suggestions below…

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Tags: Industry

If Iowa Hog Farmers Can Be Paid to NOT Raise Hogs, Can I Be Paid to NOT Blog?

March 25th, 2007 · 11 Comments

Maybe I should submit this one to the Carnival of Brilliant Business Ideas? Maybe I should go on late night TV and try to sell this idea?

There are many reasons for people in real estate to be blogging. Premier among these are the essence of blogging itself: enjoying the process of writing, creating connections, meeting new people, educating yourself, honing your wit and writing style.

But, at the end of the day, very few of us blog for charity. Real estate is a business, this is how we make our living, and so a constant refrain is, “Where’s the money?”

Well, I think I’ve found what we’ve all been looking for: the ultimately scalable, easy to start, even easier to manage real estate blogging money-making idea.

Through sheer grit, lots of writing, a good number of incoming links, and a bit of luck, Google now considers my blog if not famous, then at least respectable, to the point where if I mention a non-celebrity’s name — say, a local real estate agent — within 48 hours my blog rises to the top 10 when you search for that agent’s name.

Realtors are nothing if not publicity-hungry. (If you doubt that, open your local paper’s Sunday real estate supplement. Have you ever seen so many happy faces smiling out at you?) One of the reasons most agents have a web site (typically branded with their name) is so that prospective clients can find out more about them.

So what happens when three of the top ten Google spots about John Q. Agent come not from John Q. Agents’ web site, but from my blog? Assuming John Q. Agent finds out about it — which, to be honest, is unlikely — he ain’t gonna be that happy. At the same time, since I’m writing a real estate blog and enjoy first amendment privileges as much as the next guy, it’s perfectly within my rights to write about John Q. Agent — as long as I don’t slander him.

So, here’s the deal: Pay me $50/month, and I won’t blog about you. Then the top 10 spaces on Google for your name will be your web site, and the local newspaper which has your listings in it, and the interview from four years ago that describes what a charitable person you are. My blog? Nowhere to be found.

Here’s the genius of this idea: Writing about lots of people takes time. Not writing about lots of people takes absolutely no time! In fact, I could become so good at not writing, that I could end up not writing about thousands and thousands of people!

Any takers?

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Tags: Blogging · Industry · Real estate · Real estate blogging

Escaping from tab hell (aka “Google’s taking over my desktop!”)

November 18th, 2006 · No Comments

I’m constantly coming across nifty blog-worthy items on the Internet.  Typically I keep track of them by leaving them in an active Firefox tab:

That works fine up until about a dozen…but then what?

Enter a new product from Google:  the notebook.  You install a little widget, and voila!  A new option appears on your right-click menu:  Note this (Google Notebook).  From there, you can drag topics where they belong, comment on them, delete them.

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Tags: Blogging · Google · Real estate

Help! I’ve been hijacked…

October 22nd, 2006 · 2 Comments

There are some clever rascals out there… I recently moved my blog from Blogger to a Wordpress platform.  Alas, my previous address has been hijacked!  When you go there (http://kevinboer.blogspot.com) you get this:


How did that happen?  Quite simple.  After I moved my blog (which involved, among other painful things, copying my old posts over) I noticed that my new blog (this one) seemed to have been consigned to the Google sandbox and wasn’t being let out.  Thinking it might be a “duplicate content issue” — ie. Google thought my new blog was just a copy of my old one — I completely deleted my old blog.

Sure enough, within 24 hours my new blog came to life on Google.

However, I didn’t go back to Blogger to re-register my old blog name, and somebody — the clever rascals above — beat me to it.

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Tags: Blogging · Real estate

Insanity hath a name — and here’s how to profit from it

September 23rd, 2006 · 3 Comments

Taking up the challenge posed by Sellsius Real Estate, Greg the Phoenix Bloodhound takes on Ardell the Prolific Seattle Blogger in a race to see who can produce 101 cogent blog posts in a 24 hr period, beginning at 12:01am Tuesday Sep 26 and ending at midnight the same day.

Live coverage provided by Sellsius and The Property Monger.

Don’t just be a bystander — you can make some serious, if fake, money by betting on the outcome. Go to Inkling Markets (login required) and place your bets!

Here’s how this betting market works:

The “price” of each “stock” – one for Greg and one for Ardell – reflects the market’s current consensus of who will win. The market starts at $50 each—ie. each has a 50% chance of winning.

If you believe Greg’s prospects, for instance, are better than the current market price, then buy shares in Greg, which will drive his price – the % probability that he will win – up.

If you believe Greg’s prospects are weaker than the current price, then sell shares in Greg. (This market allows short sales, which means you can sell shares even if you don’t own them.)

The market closes at midnight on Tuesday. If Greg wins, his shares close at $100 and Ardell’s close at $0 and your shares are automatically cashed out. Likewise, if Ardell wins, her shares close at $100 and Greg’s at $0, and again your shares are automatically cashed out.

If neither of them makes it to 101 posts, then the one with the most posts at midnight on Tuesday will be declared the winner.

Email me at if you’d like more information.5.png

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Tags: Blogathan · Blogging · Real estate · Real estate 2.0