Real You: The Fun of Constant Learning

Recently, I hosted a a webinar for the Women’s Council of Realtors. The focus was on how to get your business up and going as a new sales associate in the real estate business. The thing is, the advice for new real estate entrepreneurs is the same for new entrepreneurs in any business. Today, you are your strongest competitive advantage. It all starts with you. Your personal brand, clearly articulated, is your killer app. Your shining story. Uniquely yours and there for you to use to connect with your perfect customer. We spent a lot of the webinar discussing personal branding and target marketing. As you know, the ability to target, truly reach the right customer at the right time, has never been better. But it’s also really confusing to folks unfamiliar with the social media tools and platforms. I know, I’m learning every day, too.

For yesterday’s presentation, I created a chart—a hierarchy of sorts of how to present the Real You on the web. It starts with your website. There, you and your company tell your story to your target audience, clearly and with passion. Next, start networking. Online, the best place to begin is LinkedIn. Next step, Facebook. And once you’re comfortable with those two platforms—and perhaps you’ve added a blog—then tackle Twitter. If you’ve done your Real You chart , the words you see in front of you should often be found in the 140 characters you post on Twitter.

Trying to explain it better, a woman named Linda chimed in. She said she’s begun to think of LinkedIn as a Chamber of Commerce Small Business Meeting. Informational, flat and decorous. She considers Facebook a business cocktail party, where people are sharing a bit more of their personal side and conversing freely. (Hopefully, not too freely). I asked, so what’s Twitter?

She hadn’t decided. So I’ve been thinking about it. I love Twitter. To me, it’s about sharing thoughts and insights closely aligned with your personal brand and business brand in the world. In that sense, perhaps Twitter is the fly on the wall at the cocktail party. Gleaning the best, most concise insights and sharing them outward. At least, that’s what Twitter can be at its best.

The best way to learn about what any of these platforms can do for you and your business—or the business you are dreaming of creating—is to jump in and learn.

Cheers! And thanks for the learning, Linda!

Real You: The Power of Twitter Babble

A new study by Pear Analytics said 40.5% of tweets are “pointless babble”. Hrumph. Yes, some of it is: “I just had the greatest new ice cream flavor.” But some of this said babble is for a point. When businesses and entrepreneurs share information important to them and their industry, insights into how they’ve achieved what they have and the like, it’s far from pointless. It’s illuminating. As Twitter has grown from small personal networks (how most people start on Twitter) to a blend of personal and professional networks of people—followers—the great potential here is to connect. These tweets humanize each of us. They connect us with like-minded people, folks who are interested in similar topics, and these simple tweets actually can lead to life-long friendships, new clients and referrals. Some of the most-followed people on Twitter provide both “useful” book-type knowledge on a regular basis AND personal insights that humanize them and build connection. And I’m talking about regular folks here; not just celebs.

So whatever it is that you’re tweeting, keep on keepin’ on! I’ve said this before, but I can’t drive home enough the many friends I’ve made, followers who have found my book through Twitter, and interviews I’ve been asked to participate in—all because of my “pointless babble”. Many someones out there think it’s a little more useful than that.

Follow me: @kairarouda.

Businesses Use Twitter to Engage Customers Online

If you haven't jumped on the social media bandwagon, hop on! More and more companies are coming up with creative ways to engage their customers online. According to Marketing VOX, a recent study indicates that more than eight in 10 Twitter users, most of which represent small businesses, expect their company's use of Twitter to increase in the next six months. Juicy Juice AdAnd if you know me, you know how much I love Twitter and believe in its power. Nestle is taking an interesting approach to get moms talking about their product. The company is running a Juicy Juice ad that asks questions like: “How do you help your child shine a little more every day?" and "How do you stimulate your child's mind?" If you go to CafeMom and BabyCenter, you can tweet your answer, and it will be live on the ad, wherever it’s running in cyberspace. Talking about the love(s) of our lives and being an online celeb for a day. Who doesn’t love that?

How are you using Twitter to grow your business and increase awareness?

Building a Professional Network

We always hear that building professional networks is vital to success, but it should also be noted that your network should reach beyond family and friends.

Family and friends are great, and most of us would be lost without them. They create a great support system in a wide variety of situations—including helping you fulfill your dreams. However, if you’re talking business, you really need to expand your network. Most women rely on family members as their primary network, but these individuals don’t always have access to meaningful business information—like new leads, business experts or financial advice.

Your contacts should be people who will help you develop your competitive advantage. You need diversity of opinions and backgrounds, so as you build your network, try to include individuals with varying backgrounds and expertise. Ideally, it should be people who don’t work for you. That way you can benefit from different perspectives and ideas. You can begin by joining and participating in social media sites and joining local professional networking groups. So, get out there and start reaching out.

Tweeps & Business Pages vs. Networking Parties & Business Cards

Are you feeling the pressures of networking through social media but don’t really know what that means, let alone how to do it? If so, you are not alone. Just be honest about it.

I love it when people are honest. It’s great to be able to admit both your strengths—and your weaknesses! And learning to incorporate social media into your business’ marketing plan in the New Year is a great step. If you entered the business world before the Internet, you know and feel the dramatic changes that are occurring almost daily. Every industry is facing these changes and the challenges and opportunities that technology brings.

The key to social networking is to apply it to your business in a genuine fashion. Women are natural social networkers. We always have been. We build and maintain communities across the country through volunteerism. I don’t know about you, but when I look at my kids’ schools, the volunteer ranks are full of women. Still. That’s social networking in the real world.

It’s no different online. What I recommend is to start networking online on a business-specific, direct connection site like LinkedIn. I like LinkedIn because everyone on it is there to make business connections. So start there. And then, invite your contacts to join you. I believe this is the future of networking and the future of powering your business. You and your computer and an Internet connection are unstoppable. So don’t be afraid. Start small. But think big.

If you want to take it a step further and join Twitter, check out for another post about marketing your business on Twitter and feel free to follow me!