This is our final social media success story of 2009, and a great one it is.
I recently met Teri Conrad on Twitter while doing research on a social media strategy for a local realtor. Teri is an avid tweeter with over 5,000 tweets and almost 2,000 followers.
Teri’s website also impressed me in terms of its "social media readiness". She’s a regular video blogger and has integrated video into the home page.
When did you first start using social media (blog, twitter, facebook) as a marketing tactic?
Back in early 2007 when the market was nose diving and I was busy trying to build a network. I was hungry for information and quality contacts and Twitter was a thrilling discovery for me. I realized early on that I would have the ability to make quality connections and stand out from the crowd in a way that never would have been possible before social media. If I played my cards right I could position myself as an expert by providing valuable information. The challenge had always been how to get in front of the customer…now I had my vehicle.
What attracted you to social media?
I’m a social gal so its not much of a leap for me! I have always seen the importance of building relationships and social media allows me to infiltrate the business world in a whole new way. I meet some amazingly successful and interesting people that I never otherwise would have met and it’s like a big party all the time! I no longer have to scour the newspapers for timely information – it’s being talked about in real time as it’s happening now. Puts me in a powerful position.
What was your first impression of Twitter?
Twitter was a natural fit for me but originally I guess I felt a little awkward like I was ‘parachuting’ in on other people’s conversations. I used Twitter initially mostly for information gathering – a sort of online education.
What social media tools do you currently use?
I primarily use Twitter and FaceBook, but of course blog and post video on YouTube and Viddler etc. LinkedIn is also becoming a great tool although I think it’s important to maintain the integrity of LinkedIn with keeping the connections authentic.
How has using social media affected your business?
Almost all of my business has stemmed from my network I’ve built online. I am a true believer of the power of Social Media…but when you break it down, its really just about building relationships and no more hard selling which is way more comfortable for me anyway!
Do you have a particular success story you could share?
The fact that I’m still in business as a Realtor after last year’s market crash is my success story. I did many deals all from my network and referral base and am building a much larger business with a new partner. 2010 is looking good!
What has surprised you most about using social media?
To be honest I’m not really surprised about any of it. It makes good common sense to me to increase my ability to meet local people with shared interests, but perhaps I was surprised to have made so many truly good friends.
On average, how much time do you spend on social media per day?
Well entirely too much! 😉 Unfortunately I have a blackberry addiction but I am learning to turn it off in the evenings when I’m with my family.
What advice would you give to a company just starting to use social media for their business?
I would say don’t underestimate the power of building your brand online. People are emotional beings who need to connect. If you want to connect with them – engage! Have conversations! Be honest and open and responsive! Do more listening and sharing than selling. Nobody wants to be sold to anymore! If your product is worth anything – the trick is to be where the customer goes looking for you in their search and becoming the valued source.
What’s next for Teri-Lyn and social media?
That’s a good question. I’m not really sure. I’ll continue to study how best to utilize it for my marketing and continue to build my relationships. I guess I’m always on the look out for the next big thing! I got my Google Wave beta invitation but am still not sure if it would replace what I already use. We shall see!
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Teri. Best wishes for a happy holiday season. You can find Teri on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TLCHOME
If you would like to be featured on the bWEST blog or if you would like to nominate someone as a social media success story you can leave a comment using the form below.