Author Archives: kramerland

Interview with a Real Estate Agent

This is an interview with Real Estate Agent Barry Kramer of Westchester Choice Realty in Scarsdale, NY.  We’d love reader feedback on what questions we should be asking in future interviews so please leave a comment, either with follow up questions for this interview or questions you’d like us to ask future subjects.

CSM: What kind of business do you own?

Answer: Residential Real Estate, homes, condos, co-op sales and rentals.  We are an independent brokerage with about 10 agents.

CSM: Where is your business located?

Answer: Scarsdale, NY in Westchester County

CSM: Where do you do most of your sales?

Answer: Locally, Eastchester, Scarsdale, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Hartsdale and White Plains.  Our most significant market is along the Harlem Train Line.  We specialize on Garth Road, Scarsdale, NY.

CSM: What is your target demographic (age, location, social-economic status)?

Answer: Since we sell a lot of co-op apartments we target first time buyers.  We also target seniors that own homes and may be considering downsizing.

CSM: What is your primary marketing strategy (is it traditional, like print/TV or does is it mainly digital)

Answer: We do a lot of Internet marketing, and less print than we used to.  We have our own website, and are also on most major Real Estate search engines like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com.  We also still do quite a bit of direct mail.

CSM: – if both, how does the approach to each differ?  How do the results differ?

Answer: With our Internet marketing we try to get new buyers, while our direct marketing is to secure listings in the area we specialize in.

CSM: What social media do you use (Facebook, twitter, etc., etc.)

Answer: We use Facebook, and have our own Facebook page.  We also started to use Twitter, but haven’t really used it very much.

CSM: How does marketing through social media impact your business (if it does not impact your business please explain why)?

Answer: Well, it seems like in Real Estate you’ve got to be in nearly everything.  Places like Facebook have begun to eliminate separate places on individual pages to list homes for sale.  They seem like they want mainly personal stuff, and if you’re a business they want you to have a business page. Consumers, and especially young buyers like the interaction through places like Facebook.

CSM: Please discuss the primary impact as well… is it sharing information, actual sales, building a fan base, etc.

Answer: Yes, all of the above.  Consumers want information and not just selling.  If you can provide information on your social media and other web tools you’ll be ahead of others.  Everyone wants to be liked.  I’m always weary about liking other Realtors.  They’ll just take that into a listing presentation and say look, even Barry Kramer likes me.  Building a base of clients is great, but you’ve got to stay in touch!

CSM: How is social media changing the sense of community around your business?

Answer: Yes it is.  Every Realtor has a Blog and communicates on Facebook etc.  You’ve got to be careful though not to exclude older buyers that might prefer an old fashioned phone call.  It’s a mix.  Real Estate has always been a people business, and media like Facebook is just one more way to communicate with buyers and sellers.

CSM: How would your marketing strategy be different if you didn’t have social media as a tool?

Answer: We never got rid of the other stuff. We’ve cut back on print media, and have not eliminated entirely. We still do direct mail. We’ve included social media into our strategy, but it’s not the only thing we do.

CSM: Is there any instance in today’s world where you would NOT recommend social media as part of a business strategy?

Answer: When we try to reach older buyers it’s not a really good strategy.  Also, homes need to be seen, felt and explored.  Sure we can do a virtual tour, but you just can’t smell fresh baked cookies in a beautiful kitchen on Facebook, at least not yet anyway.

CSM: What advice do you have to offer other people entering your industry as they contemplate where to put their efforts online?

Answer: Be online, but there’s more to real estate than social media, having a good website, and blogging.  Eventually you’ll have to meet a buyer or seller and through ups and downs negotiate a deal.  Social media may be a start, and may even be the way you keep in touch after the deal is over.  Studies have shown that buyers and sellers work with people they like.  Even if you’re the best social media expert if they don’t like you they won’t do business with you.  Embrace social media, but don’t forget the basics.

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Facebook 101

Most likely if you’re reading this blog you are on Facebook. Facebook has truly changed the way we keep in touch with one another mostly, to see whats happening in someone’s life. It has made the world a smaller place. The same applies for business. For any business it’s important to keep your fans up to date with what’s happening. This applies more so to certain business than others. For example, an auto body shop doesn’t need to update it’s customers with what is going on, but a TV network does it to keep their viewers informed. This applies to small business and non profits as well.  Facebook helps you reach out to your consumers/fans and hopefully create new business opportunities. Facebook is also a positive way to engage fans and get them to interact with your brand. Status updates are a great way to ask fans questions and get them thinking about how they feel about what you do. Keeping your existing fan base up to date with information they want to know is key. e.g – a sale, specials, tips, and even relevant articles.  Also, add the “like” button to website! Become friends with other businesses and most likely they will friend you back.

One thing that is a bit confusing is if you want to create a page or link it to a profile. I would recommend a page, however there are certain times that a profile will work best.  Here is a great article that explains it all.
http://searchengineland.com/facebook-101-a-simple-guide-to-understanding-when-how-to-use-basic-features-57888

Facebook 101 Business Guide – here is a great step by step on how to create a Facebook page: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-101-business-guide/

Facebook Pages – This page is direct from Facebook Help Center.  It’s a great link for any questions you have. http://www.facebook.com/#!/help/?page=175

There are tons of great Facebook apps for doing business, one that is invaluable is Static FBML.  The application allows you to create tabs on your profile that are specific to your business using html, cms, and javascript coding.  For those who can’t code, its easy to find what you need by doing a simple google search.  Static FBML also allows businesses to change their Facebook landing page.  So rather than having the Wall be the first thing people see, you can have have a page that displays your merchandise and encourages people to purchase.

Here’s a link to some helpful code:
http://www.mybusinesspresence.com/basic-html-code-for-your-static-fbml-pages-on-facebook/

Here are some how-to links:
http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=4949752878&b
http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/tutorial-facebook-pages-with-static-fbml-application/

Lastly, what do you post? Here are a few articles about what you should and should not post: http://www.123etiquette.com/business-etiquette/facebook-business-etiquette-101/ and http://gigaom.com/collaboration/32-ways-to-use-facebook-for-business/

How does your Business use Facebook? We’d love to know…

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Interview with a Massage Therapist

This is an interview with an NY based Massage Therapist who’s business La Dolce Vita Massage is based in Long Island City.  We would love reader feedback on what questions we should be asking in future interviews so please leave a comment, either with follow up questions for this interview or questions you would like us to ask future subjects.

CSM: What kind of business do you own?

Answer: Massage Therapy Business

CSM: Where is your business located?  Where do you do most of your sales?

Answer: 4712 Vernon Blvd, Hunters Point (Long Island City). From street traffic or by word of mouth.

CSM: What is your target demographic (age, location, socio-economic status)?

Answer: Men & Woman between 18-80. I also focus on pregnant woman of any age.

CSM: What is your primary marketing strategy (is it traditional, like print/TV or is it mainly digital). If both, how does the approach to each differ?  How do the results differ?

Answer: Primarily my website is my main marketing strategy, but I haven’t tried the print approach yet. I’m sure print advertising will work for me, I just have not have placed an add in a publication yet. I’m looking to place an add in next month’s LIC/Astoria free magazine Boro.  I’m excited to see the results of local adverting.

CSM: What social media do you use (facebook, twitter, etsy, etc.)

Answer: Right now I’m on Facebook, Yelp, Google and LinkedIn.  I’m still a little uneducated about  social media, so I’m not as familiar with twitter and even facebook buisness pages as I would like to be.

CSM: How does marketing through social media impact your business (if it does not impact your business please explain why)? Please discuss the primary impact as well… is it sharing information, actual sales, building a fan base, etc.

Answer: I’m not sure how much of an impact social media will have on my business as I am relatively new. I believe that google ads and yelp will help tremendously.  I plan to steer more of my current customers there to post reviews, in order to acquire new clients and increase awareness in LIC.

CSM: How is social media changing the sense of community around your business?

Answer: I believe social media is imperative to the success of any business and while I work in a large city people search locally.  I think social media makes finding places easier, and reviews help either drive people or ward them away.  I’m excited in the way the community comes together in sites like Astorians.com.  It makes this big city feel much smaller.

CSM: How would your marketing strategy be different if you didn’t have social media as a tool?

Answer: I would do more print ads and handing out of flyers (which I don’t think really work)

CSM: Is there any instance in today’s world where you would NOT recommend social media as part of a business strategy?

Answer: Absolutely not, isn’t social media just an extension of word of mouth adverting? Maybe if your running a bad business.

CSM: What advice do you have to offer other people entering your industry as they contemplate where to put their efforts online?

Answer: Know your market and use online resources that are geared towards those individuals. Targeting is key, use internet searches to your advantage.  Sometime even a little homework goes a long way.  Also, understand your client, if you get a negative review reach out and contact that person and see if you can resolve the situation.

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Twitter 101

With 2010 coming to a close and 2011 knocking on the door, social media is all the buzz.  It has emerged as a viable advertising medium and something that can be applied to almost any business.  The best part is that it’s free. With Twitter and Facebook emerging as the clear winners there are lots of other social media outlets as well that could help you. Unless you use these tools everyday this social world may seem scary.  Some questions that might come to mind, are how do I use these social tools to increase my business?  What helps me get customers to come back again and again to my page or following my business?  There are most likely several other questions that come to mind as well.  Hopefully, this will help you get started on social media and understanding it.  Lets start with Twitter.

Twitter:

101 – Introduction
http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/104-welcome-to-twitter-support/articles/215585-twitter-101-how-should-i-get-started-using-twitter
I like this site, it explains Twitter and how it works in ways you will understand.  It also is a great starting point if you have a question about Twitter.  If you are a newbie, this is the first place you want to go.

101 – Business
http://support.twitter.com/articles/218635-business-101-getting-started-on-twitter
http://support.twitter.com/groups/35-business
Plain and simple, businesses are one of the key reason Twitter is an effective tool. The link above gives the 101 on how as a business you can use Twitter.

FAQ
http://support.twitter.com/entries/13920-frequently-asked-questions
Who doesn’t have questions?  This page will help you find answers.

Follow these blogs:
http://blog.twitter.com/
http://twitter.com/search?q=%23TwitterTip

Engage your consumer – JetBlue does this really well.
http://twitter.com/jetblue

Example:
When your promoting your business, remember to give your “fans” a reason to subscribe or follow you.  Do fun promotions on twitter.  A great example of this is JetBlue

http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/5579-jetblue-gives-away-1-000-tickets-on-twitter-3

Tip: Remember that EVERYONE can see your twitter, your followers get updates when they log in on the dashboard.

Tip # 2:  Twitter also shows up on google when you search however, only when it’s a highly tweetted item.  Try typing JetBlue twitter into google and you will see a Real Time Results section in your google search.

How does your Business use Twitter? We’d love to know…

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