Best Real Estate Widgets-Must Have Tools For Realtors

| Tuesday
We have all seen the cool blogs on-line with flash animation and all kinds of extra goodies on the sidebar. If you want to add some awesome to your blog or website then take a look at this carefully comprised list of the TOP FREE REAL ESTATE WIDGETS!
You may have heard the word "widget" before but do you really know what a widget is? In simple terms adding a widget (sometimes also referred to as a badge or feed) to your website or blog is like inserting a window or a special box that can pull information from a third party resource. Not only are all of these extras really useful they are all also 100% FREE! So here you go:


Share on Facebook - A simple widget that allows your readers to share items from your blog on Facebook.
Add This - The popular social bookmarking button is available.
Twitter - Add your Twitter stream to your blog and display anywhere from your last tweet to the last twenty. Also gives a link for people to be able to follow you.
Skype - The official Skype widget allows you to create various buttons that can show your current status and also allows people to just click it and give you a call.
Meebo Me - Meebo Me will allow you to create a chat box that you can install on your Blogger page, giving you the chance to converse with visitors to your site.
Jaxtr - Create a widget that allows people to call you on the phone without revealing the phone number to them.
MyBlogLog - If someone visits your blog that is also a member of MyBlogLog, their avatar and username will appear in the box. You can then click on any person to check out their profile on the service.
LinkedInABox - LinkedInABox retrieves your LinkedIn profile to display on your blog, allowing people to look through things such as your specialties and experience.
Flickr- You can generate an HTML or Flash based badge of your photo stream to share your images with your visitors.
PollDaddy - PollDaddy lets you create beautiful polls in no time, and display them at your blog.
Odeo player - display an Odeo player for and podcast right there in your sidebar.
YouTube Video Gallery: showcase your YouTube videos (like property tours)

Eppraisal Widgets
City Home Values: Include median home values for a city of your choice and an easy way for your visitors to look up their own. Including this widget in your site can reinforce your commitment to serve a particular market effectively and satisfy your visitor's curiosity all in one easy-to-use widget.
Home Values: Include this redesign of our classic home value widget to allow your visitors to quickly get an eppraisal home valuation for any address they choose.
Trulia Widgets (this links to the widget homepage so you can view all options)
Trulia Stats: Shows a graph of the median or average listing price and listing volume for any location you choose.
Trulia Map: TruliaMap is a free tool to help real estate professionals showcase their listings on an interactive, easy-to-use map on their Websites.
TruliaHomeroll: The TruliaHomeroll widget shows the latest properties for sale on Trulia in your local area.
Mortgage Rates:Live rates for mortgages & mortgage rate calculators
Home Staging RSS Feed: Home Staging Ideas and examples
Slide: allows you to quickly create an embeddable Flash graphic very quickly-which can be used for creating a virtual tour or listing presentation, etc.
Vflyer Listings Widget: Post classified ads on any website or blog through the vFlyer listing widget. Works like a self service banner ad. Simply get a vFlyer account (free for consumers), create attractive classified ads or "virtual flyers" and you are ready to syndicate them using the vFlyer listing widget.
Rentbits Widget: displays the current average rental price for up to any four locations for comparing rental prices.
Postlets.com: this is a property syndication website that is completely free which develops a single property webpage (branded with your information) that allows you to then use an embed code for your property flyer!
Facebook Listing Widget: By Realtor.com (display them on your wall for free with this widget on Facebook.)
Top Producer Market Snapshot: Free application (If you are a Top Producer market snapshot user) allows you to add your listings to your Facebook profile & Fan pages.
Still want more- check out this article: Social Media Marketing Tips
If you want to add more options to your blog but don't know how to use these applications feel free to contact me, your Real Estate Virtual Assistant, for help getting it all set up.

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Spend Less Time on Social Media and Still Get Results

| Monday
Many people get overwhelmed by spending so much time on social media that it takes away from other important tasks each day. Here I share some of my tips on how to spend less than an hour a day on social media. The key is to focus on the most important aspects of social media: Observe. Participate. Grow.

First, spend 15 minutes a day observing your network. See what others in your professional network are saying. You will often find useful information just by looking at updates within your network. Plus this will give you some opportunities to engage communication with those in your current network.

Next, spend 15-20 minutes participating in your social media network by updating your status or adding information to your network. Impossible you say—not if you know how to take shortcuts! If you haven’t yet check out Ping.fm. This is a wonderful application that will automatically post your updates to all of your social network sites at once-yes all at once. Meaning you type it once and it sends out your update to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Here are some other things to keep in mind when you consider what you are going to post. It is never a good idea to send out meaningless posts or pointless messages-this may make people skip your meaningful posts later. Always try to post substantial information on your network that will actually be worth reading. It is also a good idea to separate your professional and personal contacts on your networks—that way you segment the information appropriately to each group.

Finally, spend 15 minutes a day developing new relationships. This will help you to continue growing your network each day. This can be accomplished through participation on social networks, through reading new blogs and commenting, or participating in group discussions, etc.

P.S. Don’t forget it is okay to say NO to requests for access through your networks-you don’t have to accept every application request people send you-especially when you use your social media network professionally—this can end up being a real drain on your time if you let it.

For more tips on social media marketing check out this article Starting a Social Media Marketing Campaign.

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Drowning in Social Media? A Social Media Virtual Assistant Just Might Rescue You!

| Tuesday

The growing popularity in social media has created great anxiety among many businesses about how to use them and how to create a profitable ROI using them. Social Media is the buzz in many marketing departments these days, and the biggest concern is how to spend time and resources wisely when using Social Media. So how can you build your company's social media presence when it seems like the next hottest thing is popping up every few seconds? One way is to utilize a social media virtual assistant, someone who is knowledgeable and can help you optimize your return on investment while promoting a positive image for you and your business in social media networks.

Creating a successful social media marketing strategy is a very complex process and often times leaves you frustrated and overwhelmed if you really don’t know what you are doing. In order to achieve a profitable ROI it is very important to strategically plan your social media campaign. First, you need to research your current industry to see where your consumers are already gathering online.

Once you have established key locations to engage your consumers you need to then establish a plan to generate interaction with them. This is the hard part. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether you should engage in a conversation that's happening about your company, products or services. It is also usually a challenge to develop quality content—a common misconception is that quantity is more important when it comes to social media—this is false. People have trained themselves to ignore those little ad-like posts and simply skip over them while browsing. Think about it—when is the last time you actually read a post that looked like an advertisement? You also need to choose content that is easily shareable-but how do you decide what type of content to use with so many options? A social media professional will help you weed out time wasting tasks while helping you focus on generating quality content that will get you results.

How do you calculate your ROI? This depends on the investment of time and resources used in executing a social media strategy and the actual costs of any targeted advertising within social media platforms. A successful strategy will create new leads and drive new sales while building customer loyalty at the same time for repeat and referral business. You have to really consider the amount of time you are actually spending on these tasks.

Can you research on-line and read countless how to guides for Social Media marketing? Yes.

Can you spend hours working on social media instead of running your business? Yes.

Can you struggle with learning new platforms and technologies in order to promote yourself on-line? Yes.

The real question is why in the world would you-when you can easily and affordably outsource this work to trained social media virtual assistant who could handle it all for you?

If you really want to achieve a profitable ROI it may be well advised to use professional support for creating your social media marketing strategy. A social media virtual assistant will know how to best use the tools and platforms to optimize your strategy. If you are overwhelmed with the tasks involved in implementing your social media marketing campaign, then outsourcing to a social media virtual assistant may save you valuable time, resources and money. With the demand increasing daily for your market position on-line can you afford to start a New Year without a fresh marketing campaign?

With the increased demand for social media services we are now offering a Free Social Media Marketing Consultation to help you get your marketing in gear for New Year. Just complete the form and we will contact you for your free no obligation consultation.


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Starting a Social Media Campaign: Basic Ideas for Social Media Marketing Strategy

Here are a few social media ideas designed for those companies who are just beginning to engage with social media marketing. This initial strategy will help show some benefits of social media marketing services while limiting the risk involved.

  1. Internal Communication - One of the often overlooked social media advantages is that they can often be used privately for internal communication. You can create a password protected workspace for collaborating, a corporate blog, a private intranet or you could start with some online training.
  2. Web Conferencing- Another great option would be to utilize professional web conferencing. This is a wonderful way to engage in social media. The next time you have a planned conference that would normally require travel utilize a free trail from a web conference company online to try it out. This is a great social media tool and as a bonus, it is a great way to save money on travel expenses!
  3. Content Sharing- One of the concepts becoming a huge force in the future of social media marketing is the idea of content curation. First, you simply find content that already exists and then share it in some sort of useful format, such as a blog. The greatest advantage with this activity is that at first it requires no content creation. It also helps brands to ease into social media simply by finding what is already out there and bringing it together in a useful way. This is a great way to share relevant information with your audience without the pressure of coming up with new content (just be sure to observe copyrights and always post sources).
  4. Industry Tracking- Though it is common to hear that you should be listening online, what is often disregarded is how you should be focusing on keywords for the industry that you are in. See what words people are using to talk about your industry online and you can learn how you might be able to make your business or brand more shareable with your social media marketing efforts. Twitter is a great tool to use for searching keyword content for your industry—simply enter your industry as the search term and see what posts come up—you can easily scan the posts to see what words people are commonly using within posts that are relevant to your industry. This will help you better target your market with your social media strategy.
  5. YouTube Channel - Many businesses or brands have videos that were produced for some reason, maybe for sales training or as advertising. Posting these videos onto YouTube is an easy way to share content that you already have. It is cost effective and gets you started with the process of uploading, tagging and sharing your content online. If you are worried about possible comments on your channel simply disable the commenting option-instead offer a link on the page for private feedback if you wish.

    As an internet marketing specialist and social media marketing consultant I have developed this initial social media strategy to assist those companies just beginning to use social media and internet marketing. If you are interested in social media but are not sure where to start with the technology involved a virtual assistant may be a great option to get you started with using social media marketing.

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Blog Marketing Plan: Tips to Get Found on Search Engines!

| Thursday
So you spend all this time working to set up a blog-you add fresh content often and yet what good does all that hard work do for you if your blog is not showing up in search engines?

Honestly-it is doing you no good at all if it is not being found in search results. If people searching online do not find you in the results how are they ever going to end up reading your posts! Simply put- they won't be unless you do some basic optimization so search engines find your blog. Well how in the world are you going to do that you ask? Here are some simple steps anyone with a professional or business blog should take to make sure it is actually being found in search results:

  1. Use Tags: Add tags (or keywords) to your post. The best way to do this is to actually consider how you would type it in on Google or whatever search engine you use. For example my tags for this post will include (blogging tips) since I am offering tips for your blog. Using keywords is not rocket science--but keep in mind most people only type in a few words at a time so keep it short and simple with your tags.

  2. Submit your Blog: actually take the time to submit your blog to search engines--or if you have a webmaster make sure they do that for you.

  3. Register with Technorati: (they are actually a blog search engine and directory)

  4. Link your Blog to Social Media Sites: add your blog link on your social media sites like Facebook

  5. Twitter: open a twitter account and then tweet your Blog Titles with a link to the post every time you add new content

  6. Connect on Networks: link your blog on your professional networks like LinkedIn

  7. Post Content Often: you should try to add fresh content often-this is good for your audience and for search engines too.
  8. 8. Get Your Free Blog Analysis: Find out what you are doing right and more importantly wrong now with your blog--this will help you develop a clear marketing plan! Get it now by clicking on the picture.

So here are some basic tips for optimizing your blog-now maybe all that hard work will pay off. Please share our blog if you think it was helpful and subscribe to get our latest tips!

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Custom Twitter Background For Realtors

| Wednesday

Twitter is one of the biggest social media websites out there. Twitter offers a great opportunity for people looking to market their goods and services. When marketing yourself, you want all pieces to look similar and cohesive: logo, business cards, letterhead, envelope, website, brochure, media kit, marketing materials, signage, etc.

Your Twitter profile backgrounds are another tool to help market and promote your self. The background should match your existing brand or look. Custom Twitter backgrounds get noticed: if they’re unique, fresh and stand out from the crowd. Another great benefit of using a custom branded twitter background is that you can also include your full contact information-which is traditionally limited by twitter account settings. This will help capture more leads making it easier for your audience to connect with you.

When marketing your Real Estate Business you are competing with thousands of other agents online--why not help set your self apart from the crowd!!

Virtu-Assist is a virtual support firm specializing in Internet Marketing & Virtual Business Support. Our talented team is ready to Create a Custom Twitter Background for you today. Visit us online at http://www.virtu-assist.com now!

Capturing More Consumers with Social Media Marketing

| Tuesday
In the world of Social Media Marketing the obvious goal for most business owners is to capture new customers. In order to do that there are certain things any successful plan should include. First things first, you should always direct new customers to your social media pages online-this means adding the information to your current marketing materials, corporate website, blogs and any other media outlets you use. One way to increase participation is to offer an incentive or promotion associated with the act of becoming your friend, fan, or follower. Capture current customers by offering those who have just made a purchase a discount for the next purchase if they become a fan, etc. Another great way to promote your business is to add sharing options within your website—for example offer a share this with your friend’s link after a purchase-this can easily be set up using applications that are already available with many social network sites, like Facebook.

After you have users signed up to follow you, you need to consistently engage them with new content, exclusive offers or useful information they can’t get anywhere else. The best way to develop your social media network is to consistently offer them quality content. Another key aspect is to offer exclusive promotions within your social media network-this makes it more valuable to your consumer and creates customer loyalty.

Engage your audience—most consumers actually like to participate in conversations about products or services they use—utilize polls and allow commenting on your posts—you might be surprised by what you learn from your consume. As an added perk you are actually getting market research without the hefty price tag.

Follow these simple steps to help capture more consumers with your social media marketing campaigns.
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How To Target Traffic Online

| Monday
Do you know what your target audience wants and how they are searching online? As an Internet Marketing Specialist I often find that many website owners do not know who their target market is or how to target them.

Keywords are the words that consumers enter in search engines to find websites about their interests. If you want to get in front of potential consumers, it is important that your website has good search engine rankings for the keywords that are related to your services or products.

Knowing what your target audience wants and how they are looking online is crucial to your online success. Optimizing your web pages for keywords that no one uses is pointless. In addition, in order to get targeted visitors, the keywords must not be too broad. Your content and metatags should also support the keyword phrases your market uses. Then once they have reached your site the content should be appealing as well.

The Right Keywords

The first step in successful SEO copywriting is choosing the right keywords to make them very specific to your market. You can survey your target market for their keyword usage or use more thorough keyword research tools. When conducting the keyword research and analysis:

1) use keyword phrases containing two to four words
2) be specific - geographically, topically, or by product
3) only use the keywords that are important to your web business
4) avoid very competitive keywords or general keyword phrases

Use focused and targeted keyword phrases that are common enough so the web searcher will use them, but selective enough that they don't return millions of matches. Most consumers use a two to four word phrase when they search online, so phrasing is very important. For example, if you are a real estate agent in Nashville, you would not target the key phrase "real estate agent" or "Realtor", instead use something more specific like "Nashville Real Estate Agent". Very specific keywords generate targeted traffic that are more likely to increase your sales.

The Wrong Keywords

Single words cannot promote ranking or sell effectively, for example you would not want to target just "real estate" as an agent. Avoid the most popular keyword phrases or general keyword phrases because you'll be competing with millions of other web pages for a search engine ranking.

It's unrealistic to think that a new web site could rank number one with a popular phrase like "Marketing". You are better to target "Internet marketing strategies". More established companies who have been on the Internet for several years will have the advantage of link popularity and a high Pagerank and therefore better rankings in the search results for these broader or general keyword phrases.

Working With Search Engines

Another important factor to help drive the targeted traffic to your site is optimizing the site using metatags. Metatags, often overlooked and misunderstood, are elements of HTML coding on a website. Search engines use these metatags to help them determine what the site is about and assist with indexing a website. Most metatags are included within the 'header' code of a website. The most important tags are the title tag, description tag and the keywords tag. Different search engines have different rules about how these tags are used and how many characters they should contain. To make good use of your metatags use your targeted keywords that you found during your keyword research and analysis in the site copy and in the metatags.

By reviewing or crawling your website content and metatags, search engines will find out what your web site is about. As soon as search engines consider your web site relevant to the topic or search, the easier it is to get high rankings for your keywords and key phrases.

Megan Faust is an Internet Marketing Specialist & the Founder of Virtu-Assist. Internet Marketing includes keyword research and analysis, search engine optimization (SEO), creating compelling web content, and producing online marketing strategies. Contact me to learn more about how our Internet marketing strategies can boost your web presence.

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Real Estate Tech Tip: Linking Your Blog on Facebook

Are you linking your outside blog on Facebook? If not you should be-especially if you are in Real Estate. This is a great way to post valuable content on your profile or you business fan page without the added work of posting new status updates. If you link your blog to your account it will automatically update your feed any time you post. This is a great way to add your properties on Facebook for FREE. Follow us to get the latest tips for Internet & Social Media Marketing.

For help with adding this application to your Facebook account or for assistance with other Facebook apps contact me today.

Realtors Guide to Facebook Marketing

As an Internet marketing specialist I work with Realtors on a regular basis. Generally we focus on developing a comprehensive Internet marketing plan that will maximize exposure and generate leads. Today a strong Social Media Marketing plan is essential to any Internet marketing campaign-especially for Realtors. Of course one of the most popular social media sites today is Facebook. So I have to ask the question-are you really maximizing your marketing efforts on Facebook? If not you should be-it is a proven tool for reaching consumers, getting leads and is an invaluable tool for networking. I am beginning a series of Social Media Marketing Guides for Realtors and I have decided to start with Facebook. Below I have compiled a list of some essential marketing tasks that will get your real results on Facebook.

Facebook Marketing Guide For Realtors:

1.Start with what you already have. Contacts. Go through your email contacts, your CRM software, your blackberry, or whatever else you use for storing contact information. Encourage all contacts including past clients, and new clients to ‘friend' you or ‘add' you to their networks. Include links to your profile in your marketing materials, business cards etc. This will help you begin your network online.

2. Create a Fanpage for your Real Estate Business- this is an essential task for any Realtor. Create a business page for your Real Estate Business-then invite all of your contacts to become a fan. This is a great viral tool-because it updates their status when they become a fan, which is also shared with their networks.

3. Share.Share.Share - You can use Facebook to market properties to a select group of contacts or share your properties with all of your friends. Make sure you add external links to your posts. You could add a link to a property from your own site, or you even include a vFlyer page or Postlets listing, etc. *For those who are using Market Snapshot from Top Producer-you can now add your properties with an application on Facebook.

4. Create Groups - This is the most obvious way to use the site. Create a targeted group featuring your niche market such as "Baldwin County Homebuyers" group for example and help buyers with their questions or offer free market reports. Influence members by offering free advice or posting resources. Everyone loves free information & advice. For example you are reading this guide right now. (wink.wink)

You could also try to create a Unique Peer Group-this is also a great way to keep in touch with business networking contacts you meet - maybe it's at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting or even a real estate conference you have recently attended. You can engage in post conference discussions, and share information in a neutral environment.

4. RSS Feeds-If you're a blogger, add your RSS feed to your profile. Facebook lets you add a Blog feed to your Notes. You could find new readers and even drive traffic back to your blog by sharing your posts with your network.

6. Twitter-If you have a twitter account link it to your Facebook profile. This nifty application automatically updates your Twitter account when you post a status update on Facebook. It saves you extra time posting updates in both places.

7. Flagging Friends- If you upload your property photos into Facebook-you can flag contacts in the picture. This is a way to provide some viral exposure for your listing because it automatically posts an update on your friends' page which all of their friends can also see. Be careful not to be abuse this function-if you do it to often it could become more like spam instead of sharing.

8. Modesty is the best policy. While it might seem like you need to spend hours a day posting and sharing to get results, which is not always the case. It is much better to post fewer significant posts than to blast useless updates all day. Avoid being overly aggressive with your posting and avoid spam messages. A good way to gauge whether you should post something is to ask yourself if you would actually read it yourself. If you wouldn't find it worth reading the odds are no one else will either.

9. Linking-It should probably go without saying but always remember to add your Facebook links to your personal website, blogs and other social media sites online.

These are some of the essential steps to successful Facebook marketing that we include as part of our Social Media Marketing plans for Realtors. I think that maximizing your exposure on social networks like Facebook is going to be increasingly important to the real estate industry. In order to stay relevant and to have real success with your Internet marketing strategy you simply must include Social Media Marketing. This may seem like a daunting task to those Realtors who are unfamiliar with these networks or to those who are already working longer each day than they would like to. In either situation we recommend utilizing a service provider to complete these tasks for you such as Virtu-Assist, a virtual assistance firm that offers marketing support and consulting for Realtors.

Follow me to continue with our Social Media Marketing Series.

Megan Faust | Founder, REVA
Real Solutions For Realtors!
Phone: 1-251-216-4080
Fax: 1-888-222-7962
Email: megan@virtu-assist.com
Skype: Virtu-Assist