Three gems that could make a difference in your business

If you missed Tod Maffin’s entertaining presentation or happened to be multi-tasking while you were there, here are three gems from the presentation that I think will make a tangible difference to your business.

1. Traditional versus Participatory Marketing
Tod used the analogy that traditional marketing is like being the lead bird in a flock. You send out targeted ads and the customers will follow. Participatory marketing on the other hand is where you are in the swarm and lead by becoming the go-to “bee” in the swarm.

What does this mean?

In a sense, nothing has changed. The objectives of marketing are the same. You want to be known as a trusted source for the buying and selling of real estate property (as an example).

But to build trust in the social media world, you have to deliver content, invite questions and comments, answer questions, and did I mention deliver good content? It’s nothing but work but it is doable once you’ve build a system to create that content.

2. Facebook, YouTube, Craig’s List are additional marketing channels… nothing more
The hype told us that social media would solve all of our marketing problems. Thank goodness we’re over the honeymoon and realize that it’s just another channel that needs the same marketing discipline we’ve come to know and love.

However, with 14 million Canadians on Facebook and many more millions of users on YouTube, you don’t want to ignore social media either!

Consider that many first-time home buyers are from the Net Generation, the generation of kids that never knew life without the internet. For the N-gen, interacting and building relationships online is normal! I’m still stuck with the antiquated attitude that I can only make friends face-to-face before being friends online.

So if you want to reach the N-gen, you may want to develop your “N” channel.

3. Multi-Tasking is Bad for Your Brain

Apparently talking on the phone while doing email actually damages the memory centre of the brain. Add driving to it and you’ve easily upped the hazard levels to your life!

Neurological damage aside, technology has created enough diversions to drive anyone to attention deficit disorder. *Bing* goes your email. *Pop* goes the calendar notification, and *Buzz* goes your phone.

The way I see it is the part of your brain that allows you to sit down, focus and do careful and creative work is a muscle that has to be exercised. If you are constantly feeling distracted or unable to focus, it’s not because you aren’t capable of it. It’s because you haven’t trained it!

Hope these gems give you some practical ideas to work with. Remember that you too can participate now by doing one of the following:

  1. Share this post with your Facebook friends by clicking Share This
  2. Post a comment below about gems you got
  3. Post a question about social media you’d like answered.

All the best for your business ventures.

Chris Hsiung
U Venture

P.S. – Want to know the five mistakes realtors do in social media? Get my notes to the first half of Tod Maffin’s seminar from my blog post here.

Notes on Tod Maffin’s Social Media Seminar

Here are my notes from the CIR Realty event I sponsored featuring Tod Maffin on using social media for sales. If you have any questions, feel free to post it below.

1. Traditional Marketing versus Participatory Marketing

Traditional Marketing
Traditional Marketing is like a flock of birds that fly in the V-formation. As the lead “bird” you are trying essentially to “buy eyeballs” with advertising. You send your listing out to the radio stations to the bus benches and so forth.

Eventually with enough eyeballs, you can segment them into four or five categories and you market to each segment differently. You can send the same message but branded differently.

Participatory Marketing
Participatory marketing is like a swarm of bees. There is no clear “leader”. What happens is that in the swarm there are one or two trusted bees that others pay attention to and the swarm will suddenly shift directions [Chris: See Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point about Mavens and Connectors].

So instead of buying eyeballs, you are in the swarm participating with the swarm.

2. Facebook

Facebook was invented by Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook was a publication that came out at Harvard. Only those invited could see it. He thought that it would be interesting to know people that many of your friends knew too. Thus the idea was born.

Facebook operates on an economy of trust which is critical.

Websites, on the other hand, are the point of second contact. Nobody will buy a home from your website. There had to have been a referral to it.

TIP: Remember that people are most often going to your website to look for your phone number or other contact info.

Facebook’s most valuable page is the “News Feed”. This is what everyone checks to see what their friends are up to. Anything that you do to your Facebook account, is or can be reported to your friend’s news feed.

Use friend-splitting to create lists to allow you to target different segments on your Facebook. You can have a list for friends and family, a list for new home buyers, for prospects… etc. [Chris: See Tod Maffin’s blog post]

Fan Page
Use fan pages to be your online storefront. You can brand it. Make sure you name it appropriately so that others can find it. Put things of interest to your buyer. Share articles and videos, create events. Act like a bee and pollinate Facebook!

TIP: If someone posts a comment, reply back every time! This is when you move from advertising to conversation.

You can create an add in a few minutes. [Chris – ask me if you want to know more about this].

3. YouTube

You can shoot videos with a regular camera these days. A $129 Canon camera will shoot HD video. Display an entire house all on one video.


  • People typically watch a video for no longer than 4 minutes.
  • If you shoot multiple rooms, stitch it all into one video.
  • Pretend there is someone on the tour with you. Talk as if they are there.
  • When embedding videos, turn “related videos” off. You don’t want people’s attention diverted from your video.

4. Top Five Mistakes that Realtors Make with Social Media

  1. You don’t sound like yourself. Write as if you were talking to them personally.
  2. You only post listings. Give them other reasons to read!
  3. You post stuff about your vacation. People don’t care (unless you’re a celebrity)
  4. You don’t participate. You don’t comment or reply.
  5. You don’t post reliably or consistently.

5. Craig’s List

Craig’s list started as a mailing list. Someone wanted to sell his bike and asked if Craig could put it at the bottom of the mailing list. Craig’s list was born.

Craig’s list demolished newspapers because it eroded the money they earned through classified ads.

As an advertising tool, it’s free and you can put as much text in it as you want. This is way better than classified ads.


  • Really think about who is looking at your listing. What are they looking for?
  • Take photos from Google streetview or 3D views from Bing
  • Feel free to put lots of detail in the postings. Some people LOVE the detail.

[Chris: Is there anything else I missed? Questions? Then start practicing your participatory marketing by doing one of the following:

  1. Share this post with your Facebook friends by clicking the “Share This” button.
  2. Post a comment about something you found interesting at the event.
  3. Post a question of something about social media you’d like to know more about.

All the best and have fun social networking.]