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A few months ago I received an email from a scuba diving friend I see occasionally and mostly around our shared interest in diving. He was inviting me to join Facebook so I could see his photos and update. I was curious about what he was up to so I joined.
I had heard about facebook in early 2005 when one of the news magazine programs I watch began to buzz about how Harvard a collegiate created a social network for their student body that became such a hit that another 30 other colleges soon signed on. By fall of 2006 Facebook went public allowing anyone with an e-mail address to join.
Once I had an account the most amazing morphing started happening. I was getting friends request from people I’d gone to college with over 35yrs ago (Here I start to date myself!). I found it both amazing and at times distressing to have a past that feels at this point ancient, in this NOW. Some people where relating to me as if I was the 20 year old they left behind.
During this same time, I was getting started with Vortex Media Productions virtual tours so as I was growing my new business I was able to use Facebook to get the word out to my friends and get some exposure for the company I was birthing. As I grew with Real Tour Vision, I realized that it wasn’t just a virtual tour company but a community & I had a new set of “friends”, fellow RTV users, and tour providers.
These were important contacts to share professional interest and the virtual tour journey. It gave me exposure to their virtual tours and gave me an opportunity to share my tours of central Colorado. Putting them on Facebook changed the nature of my Facebook “friend.” There is a social juxtaposition when you start mixing the pictures of your wild time the night before with the colleagues who now share your Facebook page.
With Facebook users now having the option of having a public profile, the social networking capabilities become expanded. As business and personal mix in this ever-changing arena that is Facebook you have to ask, ” What happens when your boss asks to be your friend on Face Book?”
Avril AnjersCentral Colorado Virtual Tourswww.vortexmediaproductions.comOrder a tour today: 719-689-2766
I confess, at first I did not understand or realize the power of blogging sites like Twitter and Facebook. While other professionals have raved about the contacts, referrals, etc. that they have obtained from Social Networking sites, I initially did not see its true value or potential. However, a recent news story and my own experiences have shown me the power of these Social Networking sites.
If you have any misgivings about social networking’s business value, let me dismiss them for you now. Although social networks and online communities may not drive instantaneous sales, they can absolutely help you build customer retention – through gathering feedback, responding to concerns, sharing informational content, and more. In the case of responding to customers’ concerns, social networking is turning out to be a powerful retention tool. Many companies today are surfing online communities and social networking sites for customers’ comments and following up as a result. So, if you have a complaint many businesses are actively listening and willing to resolve the issue.
In this week’s publication of BusinessWeek (March 2, 2009), there is a short article called “A Social Networker’s Story: Zappos CEO and UPS Step In.“ The story describes how Tara Hunt, a marketing executive with Intuit, initially contacted UPS regarding the tracking of a delivery package and received a generic response from the customer service representative explaining that packages sometimes aren’t delivered until 9 p.m. during the Christmas season. Not satisfied with the response, Tara called upon the power of Twitter and posted a message (known as a “tweet”) describing how she wanted to walk her dog and was waiting on UPS to deliver a package. The message or tweet was relayed to the CEO of Zappos who was having dinner with UPS’s President for the Western Region, who then mentioned the tweet to the UPS exec. The Zappos CEO replied to the tweet “someone will call.” The UPS exec contacted the operations manager who then was able to schedule a pre-set delivery time. The UPS driver arrived not only with the package – but also flowers, chocolates, and dog toys. It was an excellent example of customer service. The question is though; did it pay off? Absolutely! Ms. Hunt now goes out of her way to use UPS and even purchased a pair of shoes from Zappos.
As word spreads of these types of stories, customers will increasingly want to experience it themselves—and may actually go to online communities before contacting a customer service department directly. (Or may look to see if they can contact a customer service team through their Social Network site.)
So here is what I’ve learned from the BusinessWeek article and my own personal experiences:
~Customers don’t like automated replies or generic responses.~Customers love good information~Customers can accept mistakes and problems if they know what is going on with their problem or complaint and obtain timely updates.~When blogging or posting, remember that others are or may be listening (including friends, family, employers, competitors, etc.).~If you are a company, you may just want to listen in on Twitter to see what your customers are saying about your company and the service it provides.~A satisfied customer is more likely to be a source of repeat business and referrals.~An unhappy customer will shout (louder than the happy one) from the rooftops the bad service they received.
Thank YouMichael ThompsonReal Vision StudioDetroit Virtual Tourswww.RealVisionStudio.com734-727-2276Cell Phone 734-560-0213
According to the 2007 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 84% of all buyers and 87% of first time buyers use the internet as an information resource during their search for a home. In the 25-44 age group this number jumped to 91% of all home buyers. Also, according to the same survey, 33% of all buyers are using now using social networking sites with 19% using them at least a few times a week.
This makes it more important than ever to incorporate social networking tools into your overall marketing strategy. Fortunately, RTV virtual tour software has just made your job much easier!The software powering your RTV virtual tours now includes a Social Networking tool that allows viewers to bookmark your tours within their social networks with just a click of their mouse!
End users simply select ‘Social Bookmarks’ form the ‘Share Tour’ menu and the icons will appear at the bottom of the tour instantly. Share the news about this new tool with your sellers at your next listing presentation!
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – December 29, 2008 – RTV, Inc. today announced the release of their new Social Networking Utility that is now integrated with their virtual tours. This newest addition to their already technologically robust virtual tour features will allow virtual tour viewers and end-users to quickly add their favorite virtual tours to popular social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious, Furl, Backflip, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Mixx, and Bebo. The Social Networking Utility also allows virtual tour viewers to submit their favorite tours to popular social networking sites such as Facebook, FriendFeed, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.
“We are very excited to give our virtual tour provider network and their customers the ability to instantly share online tours across social networking and bookmarking sites that accept virtual tours.” Stated Jason LaVanture, Vice President of RTV, Inc. “Now more than ever, real estate agents and business owners need our powerful marketing tools to stay ahead. This latest enhancement from our marketing department gives our virtual tour providers, real estate agents and brokers the competitive edge and visibility they need in an aggressive market.”
This latest virtual tour marketing tool was released as part of a series of marketing enhancements to optimize RTV virtual tours for maximum exposure and distribution potential on the internet. The virtual tour viewer was also recently Search Engine Optimized and offers geographical targeting features to enable RTV virtual tour providers, real estate agents and brokers to effortlessly appear more quickly in search engine results for their farming areas. These pre-programmed features are controlled through the tour builder’s tour management system and are able to be controlled on individual virtual tours.
“Team RTV understands that although we are in the virtual tour industry, we are first and foremost in the marketing business. Our marketing department has been hard at work to not only integrate incredible marketing features such as this, but also to coach our virtual tour providers, real estate agents and brokers how to use these tools to their greatest advantage.” Stated Cheryl Waller, National Marketing Manager, RTV, Inc. “We are constantly evolving our virtual tour features and training to incorporate Web 2.0 features and functionality. This enables our virtual tour network to effortlessly market with progressive technology and concentrate on their businesses without having to keep up with the Web 2.0 learning-curve. That’s the power of Team RTV; we do the work so that they don’t have to.”
According to the website, RTV virtual tours already incorporate integrated popular virtual tour features such as audio, video, brochure, and floor plan attachments as well as MLS information, maps, area information and even a linked tour gallery that is automatically populated with a real estate agent’s virtual tour inventory.
About RTV, Inc.
RTV, Inc. is a recognized leader in interactive 360 panoramic virtual tours and virtual tour software. Since 1999, RTV has continually led the way in the virtual tour industry with marketing implementations such as their proprietary interactive software, RTV PanoRider(TM), single property websites, on-demand HitStats 2.0, 2D/3D interactive floor plans, 3D animated walk-throughs, custom websites, TourTrack(TM), tour audio solutions, TourDiscs(TM) and Sketch-and-Fax(TM) services.
RTV virtual tours are chosen over other virtual tour software programs daily by intelligent business owners who demand the best virtual tour software to showcase and market their businesses online. For more information about RTV virtual tours and marketing tools, visit their website at RealTourVision.com or give them a call at (866) 947-8687.
TourTrack, Sketch-and-Fax, PanoRider, HitStats, TourDiscs and RTV are trademarks of RTV, Inc.
Contact Information:Jason LaVanture, Vice PresidentRTV, Inc.https://www.realtourvision.com/(866) 947-8687