Authentic Real Estate Marketing: Auto Updates are So Easy, They're Evil

Helping real estate professionals generate business by improving their online marketing

Auto Updates are So Easy, They're Evil

During a presentation I gave last week, someone suggest to the audience that they sign up for a service that will auto-update their status updates on social networks like like twitter, facebook, plaxo, etc. every time you write a blog post.   Personally, I find these updates to be horrible marketing that do more damange than good... and ensure you get no meaningful following on any of the services...

Because this point is so darn important, I decided to record a video to make my point!

 

The takeaway?

Find a way to be relevant to your target audience or don't bother! You're doing more damage than good to your marketing efforts by autoupdating than any possible benefits you might be getting.  Of course, with all rules, there are some exceptions, but those exceptions are so far-and-few between that they're not worth mentioning in this post. 

And by the way, if you want more information about the radio show that we're going to be streaming live at 2pm PST (5pm EST!) today, then check out this post I did on 4realz.net:  Using Facebook Pages to Generate Business and consider giving your RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.  

It's going to be a blast and we have some great people who are planning to be on the call include:

There's lots to learn from everyone involved!

Comment balloon 45 commentsDustin Luther • April 30 2009 03:38AM

Comments

I agree with you to a certain extent. . .the most benefit you will get by automatic posting is content and another source of a link for your site.

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 10 years ago

Great idea. I have my own radio show here in Phoenix, AZ each Saturday for 2 hours. I use helloworld.com to stream my show on the Internet.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) over 10 years ago

Dustin - That's very interesting information and yes, your video is compelling.  What caught me is that auto-marketing to social media is somewhat similar to spam and that people don't respond.   I will not be able to sign up for the round table today due to a prior commitment so please follow up with additional information.  Thanks!

Mary

Posted by Bruce & Mary Smith, REALTORS, Savannah Lakes Village McCormick SC (Savannah Lakes Homes) over 10 years ago

Dustin - The debate over auto updates always makes me think of my mom's advice - "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."  Its not quite the same advice, but replace "nice" with "relevant" or "real" or "engaging" or "with substance" or "insert your favorite way of desribing what you are talking about in social media here"...I think you get the picture.  I think the social media world is even more picky when it comes to what they view as spam compared to the normal one way conversation world.  One of the points of social media is to show the real you - the care, the trust, the information, the importance of what you have to say...an auto-DM will never show that to anyone.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) over 10 years ago

The only social networking site I am involved with is Active Rain . I do not like the idea of auto updates

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 10 years ago
Dustin, I am busy today with contracts. Hope you will provide info on this in a post.
Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) over 10 years ago

Too much is as bad as not enough. If you update twitter 15 times a day and auto feed that out to facebookI quit following you on facebook. It gets crowding on my facebook.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) over 10 years ago
Huh, I am not certainthat I agree with your stance on this, but I also am not a Twitter expert. To me, if you write something interesting that has a good headline, people will want to read it, regardless if it is an auto-update.
Posted by Mark MacKenzie over 10 years ago

I don't agree. I just don't have the time to post to all. I wish I did, but I don't and it is increasingly becoming an issue to get rankings on the search engines.

Posted by Norma Brandsberg (Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496) over 10 years ago

Social Networking is still in the Brave New World Phase. I hear opinions exactly oppositie of yours, but your video suggestions make perfect sense. Do you have a post about what equipment you use for your videos, and I love the page insertions. Any advice will be welcome, and I really want to listen at 2. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 10 years ago

Great stuff!  So glad to see the debate.

Fernando: The inbound link to your site is almost always REALLY minimal since every one of the big social media sites: twitter, facebook, etc. uses no-follow links which take away the SEO benefits of getting an inbound link. 

Harry:  I'm using TalkShoe for the radio show today... check it out! It's a great way to run a radio show (and it's free!)

Mary:  It is interesting that it often comes up as spam. The reality is that if all you're doing is auto-updating, then folks quickly learn to ignore you.

Matt: Great advice! Luv the words of wisdom.  ;)

Gita:  AR is a GREAT social network to be involved in and simply leaving comments on other people's post makes for great networking that can help you when you want to get one of your posts promoted and read.

Rebecca: Not sure if you're looking for more information on auto-updates or Facebook Pages, but if it's the latter, check out this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago on why every agent shold love facebook pages.

Laura: Agreed!  The "hide" on Facebook is particularly easy to hit... and if I do decide to hide someone's updates it means they've lost their opportunity to market to me into the future!

Mark: A good title is just one small element of getting someone to click on your post.  A great example comes from a tech blogger I gave similar advice to a few months ago when he attended one of my presentations.  He came back a week later and thanked me saying by simply writing unique tweets for each of his posts he averaged 30% more click-throughs the next week and (he said "more importantly") he was seeing more comments on each of his posts. By giving just a little bit of love to the social network, they paid him back with engagement.

Norma:  if you're looking for search engine rankings, then you should definitely reconsider your position. The no-follow links you're getting from these services are generally doing you no good, but you are likely alienating your key audience.  A few great well targeted tweets *can* get you mentioned in other people's blog posts which almost always pass along the google juice and will do much more for your SEO rankings than a slew of autoupdates.

Joe: I don't have a post on my video equipment, but it's pretty darn simple.   Just using the webcam and iMovie software that comes with my macbook pro.   No upgrades or additional software at all for the video, although I did buy a headset with a mic in order to improve the sound quality, but I've made lots of videos when I don't even bother with this!  ;)   So glad you appreciate it!

Posted by Dustin Luther (4Realz.net) over 10 years ago
This is good....I've always wanted to auto update(s). This is now bookmarked.
Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 10 years ago
Sounds interesting. It takes so much time to always keep updating profiles that I was wondering how people find the time. Maybe many use the auto-updater. But I'm glad to hear that using an auto-updater it is not necessarily the bees knees.
Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 10 years ago
I think this follows the same premise that auto-responses and drip campaigns are too impersonal. I prefer to personalize everything! Thanks for sharing your perspective.
Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Dustin...

I was going to turn off my auto update for Twitter...But one of the Big Dogs sent me an email and said I fall into that category of folks these rules are not applicable to. I am not blogging for business and many of the Members here follow me on Twitter. I don't write that often so they count on Twitter to let them know I've posted something new in The Rain. If I were blogging for business I would definately turn off my AR Twitter feed. I would do it because you're right :)

P.S. I don't use FaceBook at all. I actually don't care much for it. I dislike all the crap FaceBook loads on my pc in exchange for using their site. Nothing is really free. Nothing :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

You will notice that there is always a theme when we discuss Social Networking with real estate agents........What is one of the top responses that defines that theme?

"I don't have time." or "I am too busy."

HOGWASH!!!!

I honestly believe that you can not afford to miss out on Social Networking/Media education.

I can promise you that your competitors are making the time, and more and more of your prospects will be expecting you to have a presence as social networking evolves too. I have been telling people to "Find the time, or get left behind!

Dustin, you never stop amazing me with the quality of your content, and it also tells me that there are few folks out there "busier" than you are. I am very "busy" today myself, but I will be moving around my schedule, signing up, and really looking forward to the round table.

Every single time you post, I feel like my attitude and business improves! I can always find the time for that!!! :)

I am not trying to offend the folks who are "busy", so please do not take that the wrong way. I just want to push people to get out there and get active! We tend to hide behind things we are intimidated by, and when you find a resource like Dustin, I can guarantee you that his content/events are time well spent, and will improve your business!

Have a Profitable Day Everyone!

- Harrison

 

P.S. I do agree that the auto stuff can backfire. My DM thread on Twitter is basically useless with all of the auto DM's i get from people. I do not even look at it anymore. Also, I tried the marriage of Twitter and FB, and it was way too crowded on my wall for me, let alone everyone else! Keeping them separate will attract more people, you will retain more friends/followers, and it allows you to build stronger relationships.

Thanks again Dustin, you are a real Go-Giver!

Posted by Harrison Painter, New Media Consultant (GoGladiator Media) over 10 years ago

I think that auto updating is beneficial in certain circumstances, but you have to be careful as to what content you present.

Posted by Home Loan Search.Online (Home Loan Search Online) over 10 years ago

Auto updates aren't of any interest to me. I keep my AR rain drops updated myself!!

Patricia Aulson/Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Larry: Always happy to provide a bit of inspiration! 

Melissa: Do bees have knees? :)

Diane: I had never made the connection to drip campaigns, but I totally see where you're going with the thought.   There are a few drip campaigns I've used with agents in the past that I know work well, but they tend to be things like market condition updates that people opt-in for and appreciate the regular updates that are relevant to them...  But in many ways, those aren't your standard drip campaign, but rather something a bit more targeted to the interest of the individual.   Then again, the best drip campaign around (at least in my book) is simply updating your blog on a regular basis!

Broker Bryant's Wife:  I'd disagree about it not applying to you because I'd think you'd want the folks over on twitter to click through to your ActiveRain post.   If you're going to spend 20 minutes writing a post, then it seems like a no-brainer to spend the extra 2 minutes crafting an update on twitter that will be interesting enough to get folks to click through.   No kidding, a custom twitter update is likely to get you way more traffic (probably 3X right off the bat) and way more followers over the long run!

Harrison: Thanks for the compliments.  It's been fun to connect with you around the web over the past few weeks!

Darrell: I can think of one great example of where an agent should auto-update, but I haven't mentioned it because I don't want to sidetrack the conversation.   Nonetheless, I'd be curious to learn what examples you're thinking of...

Patricia: Leaving comments around AR has to be one of the BEST ways to generate interest in your blog posts!  You're definitely on the right track!  ;)

Posted by Dustin Luther (4Realz.net) over 10 years ago

Good article.

Posted by Realty Dot Com (Realty.com) (Realty.com) over 10 years ago

Thanks for writing this - I have automatic updates going but the comment on it looking like spam stopped me cold.  Writing a new headline and providing a link to the articles I think are useful seems like a better way to do it.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Good stuff Dustin.  I will need to bookmark this post so I can learn some more.  Thanks!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 10 years ago

I've recieved several leads via my auto update from A|R to FaceBook. However, I put thought into my content and whether or not to make it public or Member's Only. I rarely post pubic content more than a few times a week, and 3-4 updates a week on FaceBook regarding market conditions, mortgage options, etc. I find a fair amount ... just enough for people to read when they want and not in the way when they don'r want to.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Margaret:  Making things interesting and relevant to the audience your trying to reach can go so far!  ;)

Anna:  Come back any time!   And your nickname makes me smile because I often call my wife Anna Banana in jest!  ;)

Steve: I can totally believe you that you've received a few leads from FB, but do you really attribute it to your auto-updating your FB status from ActiveRain?  Without knowing anything else, my guess is that you've personally touched each of the people that have sent you a lead beyond simply sending auto-updates to Facebook.   By the way, have you looked into createing a FB Page so that you don't have to worry about bothering your "friends" with mortgage updates and instead focus on peole who opt-in to receive that information?

Posted by Dustin Luther (4Realz.net) over 10 years ago

always good to see a debate... Looks like this had both pros and cons here.

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) over 10 years ago

Hi Dustin -- Makes perfect sense, as always, thanks!

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 10 years ago

Great roundtable today Dustin! I had a great time and learned a lot of valuable information!

You are keeping me on my toes!!!!!!!

Keep up the great work!

- Harrison

Posted by Harrison Painter, New Media Consultant (GoGladiator Media) over 10 years ago

Dustin - great information.  We all like to automate certain things in life as much as possible.  I might give it a try.  Thanks.

Posted by Marzena Melby, Realtor, Twin Cities Minnesota Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty) over 10 years ago

Interesting.  I agree there are some things that I would put in Facebook that I wouldn't write on Twitter and vice versa. 

http://www.homeinspectioncarolina.com/

http://askthecharlotteinspector.com/

Posted by Preston Sandlin (Home Inspection Carolina) over 10 years ago

Dustin - I agree that the message needs to change for the audience - good post.

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 10 years ago

I have been thinkiing about turning off the auto-updates.  My problem is forgetting to go to Tweevisor and smack something out...  I have been trying to be better about actually spending time conversing instead of just sending the blog tweets...

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 10 years ago

This is something I've been trying to decide on, and I appreciate the debate and different views.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

Dustin, I think people like the personal touch and many will not respond to autos. However, I do tweet auto when I post on AR. Hopefully, it's something someone is interested in. Then again, I don't tweet every 5 minutes either and will unfollow those who do because it clogs up my flow.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) over 10 years ago

I have an auto tweet on my AR blog and I like that. But, when I see people who have a service that does multiple post from certain key words I find that I glaze over because I know thatthere  isn't any character to the message. I need to at least feel some sort of human substance to respond.

Posted by Sabrina Kelley, Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I'm in social networking overload. And Twitter feels like the new hot spot for the equivalent of telemarketers. Every day I get at least 5 more following me. I'm ready to close the account. The only thing I like about Twitter is the way it picks up my blogs when I post them.

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) over 10 years ago

Dustin,

Twitter auto feeds can crowd up the feeds quickly. They seem to be predatory, seeking business directly by following. I was an innocent babe on Twitter, but have learned to be more discriminating and have found the block button.

Enjoyed your talk yesterday.

Lisa a friend told me yesterday that more people are closing their account than are opening a new one. It seems to me that it is best to keep what is helpful and to lose what is not.

The updates have helped me. I love interconnecting AR, Twitter, and Facebook. Need to go back to my LinkedIn to see what damage my inactivity has done.

Richard

Posted by Richard Byron Smith, NMLS #184479, Mortgage Loan Officer (Mortgage Loan Officer, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation NMLS #2289) over 10 years ago

Dustin - I don't know that I agree with you on this one. I know my FB connections click through to my postson ActiveRain and read them, and I know I get comments back a lot asking a question about the post. So isn't it possible that 'what works for one may not work for another'?

Posted by Christianne O'Malley, Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno! (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 10 years ago

Roland:  What's your take on the debate?  I'm still not seeing anyone give a good reason to auto-tweet.

Chris: Thx

Harrison: I thought the roundtable was a blast as well!  I'm gonna do more of those in the near future because it was too much fun!  ;)

Marzena: Try it out... Instead of doing the autotweets to Facebook and/or Twitter, write something compelling that links back to your post... you might be surprised how much more activity you'll get on both your profile and your AR post.

Preston: Definitely. There's lots of banter on my twitter account that I wouldn't want to subject my Facebook friends to!  ;)

Lisa: Thanks!

Lane:  Especially someone like yourself who has a decent following on places like Twitter, I think you'll really benefit from writing down the reason someone should read your post... I look froward to it!  ;)   But the time part is critical.   As you know by being active on AR, it's really important to dedicate at least a 30 minutes AFTER you write a post doing some promotion (which can be as simple as engaging with your community) or what's the point of writing a post in the first place!

Christine: What's your take on why someone should auto-post?

Maria:  Have you tried spending a bit of time writing a unique tweet regarding your post instead of auto-updating it?  You might be surprised at how much more your audience on twitter reacts.   In other words, if you go back to the title: "Auto Updates are So Easy, They're Evil", the point I'm trying to make is not that they're hard... but that they're so easy people think that's all the marketing they need to do on twitter (and other social networks) and hurts their ability to attract attention, inbound leads, referrals, etc. through their posts.

Sabrina:  What do you like about the auto-tweet?  Just that it's easy?

Lisa: That's funny!  You're definitely not alone in expressing twitter fatigue!    But similar to the last few comments, I gotta ask, what do you like about the fact that it picks up your blogs?  Is it the traffic or the SEO?

Richard: You rock... Let me know how it goes... Personally, I've never closed down my own twitter account, but I did go through at one point and unfollow hundreds (I think 500 people) who only did auto-updates.   It wasn't worth trying to engage with those people since they were often not going to respond to my outreach anyway.

Christianne:  It's not that it won't work at all...  My point is that if you put just a little bit of luv into each update (like a compelling reason to click through on FB that's geared toward your FB audience and a similarly compelling reason that's geared toward your Twitter audience), you're likely to see much more interaction.   Try it. You might be surprised at how easy it is.  Writing a unique tweet and a FB update doesn't have to take but 1 or 2 minutes at most) and how much more traffic you'll get... especially when you compare that to the time you put in writing the post in the first place!

Posted by Dustin Luther (4Realz.net) over 10 years ago

When I am busy the auto updates are helpful.  but I always think that a personal touch is better...

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) over 10 years ago

Dustin,

Pretty lively discussion here on the topic. Auto updates do make it look like the poster is really busy, but, yes, too many of them will just dilute the intended message.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago

Auto updates are like school in summertime...no class. 

Posted by Casey Wright (WingWire) over 10 years ago

Thanks for the great insite.

Why did you record the video on Facebook and not on Youtube? It looks refreshing that way. Was it the reason?

...Sometimes I wonder how we can manage to do so much online and still sleep?! :)

 

Posted by Karina Kfuri, Leal, Florida Broker - FALO PORTUGUES! (Leal USA Realty 561-350-3503 ( FALO PORTUGUES)) about 10 years ago

Karina,

Sleeping is definitely important!  ;)

I uploaded the video to facebook instead of youtube because I have such a larger audience on facebook... I don't do many videos, so it's just a lot easier for me to get traction with stuff on Facebook.

Posted by Dustin Luther (4Realz.net) about 10 years ago

I get your point.  It would be a little more work to manually do the updates, but like you say you can tweak the tiitle or catch phrase each time as opposed to Just Posted On Active Rain....  I'm going to give it some thought.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 9 years ago

Thanks Dustin, now I know not to feel guilty that I'm not doing what was recommended by another.

Aloha!

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 8 years ago

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