This is the third in our series of Social Media Success Stories. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Tim Ayres. Tim is a successful realtor with Royal LePage in Sooke.
I first became aware of Tim about a year ago on Twitter. Tim was one of the few realtors on Twitter and was a regular at the early #YYJ Tweetups. With almost 8,000 tweets to date, Tim is one of, if not THE most active Vancouver Island realtor on Twitter.
If you are a realtor in the Victoria area and are thinking about leveraging social media to grow or improve your business, it would be well worth your while to buy Tim a coffee. I know he enjoys a dark roast at Mirage in Langford.
Tim Ayres: August 2007
Tim Ayres: The first social media tool I used was a WordPress blog. I’d always liked to write, and had wanted to start blogging, but about what? Then I stumbled across a few good real estate blogs, and learned about the SEO benefit and the long tail effect of writing good blog posts. I put two and two together and started this way. What came next that kept me going was seeing the 2-way communication take place – people would leave comments/email me questions about what I was writing, and I began to rank highly for very specialized keywords which is always good. Twitter was another issue altogether. Once people in Victoria got turned on to Twitter, it became a great community for bouncing ideas around, meeting like-minded people, and staying up-to-date on the local "everything" scene.
Tim Ayres: I didn’t get it. Had no use for Twitter, and there was no one from Victoria or Sooke on Twitter, which has changed, and is (in my opinion) Twitter’s greatest strength (local, face-to-face interaction both online and offline). It’s an amazing way to expand your network and keep current on local issues and concerns. As above, I’ve always recognized the power of the blog though, for SEO and brand/name recognition.
Chris: What social media tools do you currently use?
Tim Ayres: Personal blog, Business blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn
Tim Ayres: Very positively. I have gotten referrals and met new clients directly via Twitter, I have expanded my sphere of influence outside my geographical boundaries, and through my blog, I get lots of e-mails and even phone calls from out of town people, usually just with questions, but often interested in buying in our region.
Tim Ayres: Late last year, one of my Twitter followers asked me if I worked in a particular area because her good friend needed to sell and was not happy with her current agent. I eventually got connected with the seller, ended up listing and selling their place, picking up another buyer and seller client from that listing, and a couple from that subsequent listing. One tweet = 3 sales and at least 2 or 3 other leads.
Tim Ayres: How people tell me all the time that I "get it." I don’t really do anything special – just be myself and contribute to a conversation. I think the response to my blog from people outside our geographic area has been surprising too.
Tim Ayres: It really depends. If I have something to blog about, I can spend upwards of an hour on crafting a good post. I tweet throughout the day, that doesn’t take long. I’d say I average between 10 and 15 tweets a day, depending on my mood and on what I’m doing.
Tim Ayres: Be yourself and be personable. If you’re not interesting, no one will listen or follow or recommend you to their followers. People are interesting, not businesses. Don’t spam. No one needs to hear about your products/current specials five times a day. Offer a Twitter-only discount or deal to measure your ROI, and to get your message spread throughout the community, and attract more relevant followers. Contribute to the conversation – the whole point of social media is bi-directionality, so don’t treat it like traditional one-way broadcast/print media.
Tim Ayres: I’m looking forward to attending the US National Association of Realtors conference in San Diego next month, to get some new ideas from our counterparts south of the border. The US seems to be one step ahead when it comes to social media. I also hope to put together some seminars/educational sessions for real estate agents and other small businesspeople to help them learn more about this emerging field.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Tim. We would like to congratulate Tim on his recent marriage and wish him and his new bride all the best.
If you would like propose a company to be featured in our "Social Media Success Stories" please contact me or leave a comment below.