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Tips on using social media for your business

Last night at a Social Media Club of South Florida meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Realtor Ines Hegedus-Garcia shared some great tips with the crowd about how to use social media for your business. She runs Miamism.com and uses several forms of social media to market her real estate business. She's also on the advisory board of The Social Media Marketing Institute. You can find her on Twitter as @Ines.

As a real estate agent, she has to face the growing challenge of people finding homes on their own through the Internet. You can pretty much find any product or service with a little Google searching these days. So if you're going to use social media to market your company or services, you need to be clear about what value you bring to the table and how you are unique. What can you bring to your profession that no one else can?

"Find out what you're passionate about and what makes you different," she said, adding, "Be genuine. Don't be something you're not. Be yourself."

She said she spends about 5 to 6 hours a day on social media, which includes blogs, Twitter and Facebook. But if you're not sure how to fit it in your day, start by including it in your schedule and see what works and what doesn't. Of course not everyone can dedicate 5 hours a day.

She said being web savvy is no longer about building a webpage that lists your credentials. It's about being helpful to others you connect with online. Of course Niala and I are always preaching about this very thing -- it's it's about what you bring to the conversation that makes you valuable.

This also plays a part in Twitter netiquette. It's not about how many followers you have. It's about what you bring to the conversation.

"Don't go to your friend's followers and say follow me," she said. "It's not about quantity. If you don't engage these people, you're not going to achieve anything."

Hegedus-Garcia encouraged the crowd to combine their personal life with your professional life. I agree -- but of course there needs to be a balance. She tweets, blogs and posts videos about her love of mojitos to promote the Miami scene and encourage people to move down here, but she doesn't get sloshed. She also doesn't have her children mentioned anywhere on her social networks for their protection -- not even a photo on Facebook. Since she uses Facebook to connect with friends and professionals, mixing private things on Facebook isn't something she feels comfortable about doing.

I can understand that. These days it's getting so hard to keep personal stuff, well, personal on Facebook -- even with privacy settings, there are ways of seeing things.

Another Twitter netiquette tip she gave: The hard sale is not welcome. Don't just push your stuff online without interacting with others. You're human. Don't always be the pushy salesman.

The more people that connect with you online increases your social capital -- it's your online influence with a network of people that trust you. Use that social capitol to help others. If you receive a favor, pay them back.

"Start doing favors before you ask for favors," she said -- like retweeting other people's stuff that you like before you ask for people to help you on Twitter.

She also brought up what Niala and I spoke about in a previous post: Have a human name behind the Twitter account, not just a cold company name.

"If there's no person behind the brand, it loses strength," she said. "If people aren't engaging you, its because they don't think you're human." She added, "People want to talk to you, not a business."

Oh, and you can't just dip a toe in the Twitter pool and give up after a week it doesn't work. "You have to try things for at least six months," she said. "Be consistent about it."

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You have no idea how much I enjoyed last night's preso - loved the interaction and the "like-minded individuals" - it's amazing to think that we can all help each other to be successful in our businesses. Thank you so much for the shout out and look forward to reading and connecting with you. :)

Not only were the ideas and information Ines shared last night incredibly insightful, the energy in the room and the emerging excitement about social media were palpable. There is a great community developing here in South Florida. Check us out at socialmediaclubsf.org and on Twitter @smcsf.

Inez Garcia's presentation at the #SMCSF was one of the best formats for Social Media I have ever seen. Inez H. Garcia's background is architecture and she dovetailed that into real-estate. She is the most natural born marketer I have ever seen and her advice and recommendations had the crowd glued to her every word. The audience asked many questions and the format was very interactive.
She received several applauses and everyone could find some application in her presentation because most of the room was busy taking notes!

As a consultant, I see the value of social media. However, for the average small business, effectively navigating social media is largely about understanding the Millennials. Please see my review of Millennials and social media.

http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/power-of-social-media-and-importance-of.html

See also the ways in which social media and sustainability are aligned.

http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2009/05/social-media-and-sustainability.html

While I agree that it is important to understand Millenials as digital natives, they are no longer the dominant users of social media.They may be earlier adopters, but as @Ines proves, some of the most succesful and transformational evolvers of how this technology shapes how we communicate and do business are GenXers and beyond.

To me, understanding, embracing, and empowering team members with an entrepreneurial spirit within our organizations - large or small - is the key to successfully incorporating social media into our brand toolkits.

Angie Moncada
@addventuresMIA
addventures.com

Ines gave some great advice.

Angie is correct. The median age of SM users is 35. LinkedIn is 42.
I usually attribute this data point to a ratio of "amount of information to share" to "time in which to share it". GenX'ers are sharing information about their children, their soccer games, photos with family, reunion information, etc. They also have the benefit of working jobs at a senior level (supervisor, manager, director) where time away from work is greater.

I first signed up for twitter 2 years ago then dropped my acct after I kept getting notified that people I didnt know were following me. I jumped back in after researching it alittle more in November. I have learned some amazing facts from the peeps I am following on twitter. I feel like a sponge... love twitter! follow me @whitneypannell I make it fun.

I have been experimenting with social media marketing for about two years religiously. I spend about 10-15 hours a week on the Big ones FB, MySpace, Digg, Linkedin, Twitter, Yelp, etc. I like digg and facebook the best as all the applications are nice especially Fan Pages on Facebook and the SEO effects of Digg.

I have read the Social Media Industry Report for 2009 and the experts say after surveying over 900 marketers that Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook are Tops in addition to blogs of course. Most advanced Social Media Marketers spend over 10 hours a week and 88% of all marketers use some form of social media marketing campaigns, but most only for a few months so far. The average age is between 30-39. Many report an interest in Stumbleupon and Delicious or social bookmarking sites. I can attest to stumbleupon getting huge traffic for me, but targeted traffic??? The finding did demonstrate that ROI or return on investment was higher among social media marketers which I am still awaiting my actual rewards.

http://www.whitepapersource.com/socialmediamarketing/report/

I have written a lot about what I have found or discovered to practically use in business and actually make money with if anyone is interested, but do appreciate the valuable insight here. I have already bookmarked this blog and will return. Thanks. http://www.guidetosouthjersey.com @SJGUIDE

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