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Posts from the ‘web 2.0’ Category

Sociable! Book Launch in Victoria, BC

This Thursday, April 29th, 2010, Vancouver-based entrepreneur Stephen Jagger and professional sales trainer Shane Gibson will be at the Downtown Victoria Chapters store to launch their new book, Sociable! How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside-Down.

The event starts at 5:30 with a networking opportunity for social-media-curious businesspeople, and then a presentation from Steve and Shane about social media and the unique way they wrote the book. Q&A will follow, and Shane and Stephen will sign your copy of the book.

If you’re interested in learning how social media can help your business, I’d highly recommend you attend this event and pick up a copy of the book. Many of the ideas and methods they teach I have used to build my business, and in today’s business world, it’s not acceptable to answer “What’s your social media strategy?” with a blank stare.

The event is free, and you can confirm your attendance here. Invite your friends and business associates – after all, social media is all about “the more, the merrier!”

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Social Media, Web Marketing, and SEO Training In Victoria BC [Video]

I’m pleased to announce that I will be teaching web marketing and social media training in Victoria, BC starting next month. Reachd.com has approached me to be their Victoria instructor. The 3-hour classes are taught in the afternoon, and are ideal for anyone in any small business who wants to learn how to capitalize on this growing trend. How can you effectively use social media and web marketing to grow your business? I can’t wait to show you how. The three courses that are happening next month are: Social Media Guided Tour ($149), Explode Your Growth With A Blog ($149), and Broadcast Your Message With Online Video ($249 – includes a video camera!). You can take all three courses for $399 – a savings of $149. Come out and learn something in December and be ahead of your competition in the new year!

The courses will also be offered in January, along with courses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google AdWords.

More information and registration at http://TimAyres.ca/reachd

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR Conference 2009 San Diego – Day 1 – Social Media and Gender Differences [Video]

Day 1 of the NAR Convention in San Diego was very productive – I saw two sessions today and unfortunately was shut out of a third due to it being full. The Introduction to Social Media session was great. As a REALTOR® who puts himself out there online using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, I was very pleased with the session. It was facilitated by three practicing agents, just like me, and they nailed it. Ginger Wilcox, Kelley Koehler, and Mariana Wagner were excellent – it was refreshing seeing a social media presentation by three working real estate professionals who actually, as they put it, do this to feed their kids.

Check out my video update from Day 1:

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Biz Net Inaugural Event – Thursday

twitter_logo

Are you in business in the Sooke region? The newly formed Sooke Biz Net business networking group is hosting its inaugural event tomorrow night, Thursday, June 25th.

The idea behind Sooke Biz Net is that it will be different from other business networking groups. Gone is the exclusivity and structured format. We’ve thrown the traditional out the window and have created a made-in-Sooke solution that’s based on monthly networking events, with featured speakers and presenters. You’ll learn something at the event that you can use immediately to help run your business or expand your reach. The focus is on fun, and you’ll need to expect the unexpected!

Tomorrow night’s event will be held at Sooke Ocean Resort, 6669 Horne Road, from 5:30 until 7:30. Tickets to the event are only $20 and that covers wine and fabulous food by Kari Osselton of Sushi on the Sea/Souki Sushi.

The theme for the evening is Communication This Moment! I will be the featured speaker for the evening, presenting Twitter in Ten Minutes, a short overview of one of the most powerful networking and communications tools since the advent of the Internet. The featured technology for the evening will be Skype, and Wendy Ashbee will speak about Send Out Cards.

There will also be prizes courtesy of Bombora Gifts and Sooke Fine Art Gallery, and the grand prize of a full-page colour ad for your business in the RV Times (a $2000 value).

Don’t miss this fun event. Come mix, mingle, network, learn and most of all, have fun!

Contact me at 250-885-012, fill in my contact form, or email tim@timayres.ca for tickets.

Follow Sooke Biz Net on Twitter!

I hope to see you there!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Think Realtor.ca Sucks? It Will Get Better Soon

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Since the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) replaced the much-loved MLS.ca with the (so far) much-maligned REALTOR.ca last month, they’ve had nothing but complaints from everyone who uses it (consumers) and everyone who benefits from it (REALTORS® in Canada).

I can understand the domain name switch. Since its inception, MLS.ca has never been all that clear that it is a service provided by REALTORS® in Canada, and the switch to REALTOR.ca takes care of that. And I do believe it was time for a technology update – MLS.ca was pretty old-school.

But it worked, and it was simple. CREA threw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

Yesterday, I noticed an update on our REALTOR® intranet, which outlined a few changes that will take place later this month, which should help to improve the overall user experience.

Users may have noticed that there is a limit on how far you can zoom into the interactive map. You can zoom only so far, and then it sort of bounces back to the limited zoom level. Effective November 20th, this restriction will be removed. This should help alleviate the “500 property” warning because you will be able to zoom down to reduce the number of properties displayed on the map. The map will also stop “yo-yo-ing”  as users reach the zoom limit and it snaps back to a wider view.

A big complaint has been the clunky way that neighbourhoods are handled. CREA assumed everyone would enjoy zooming down into the specific neighbourhood that they were interested in. This is in contrast to the old static MLS.ca maps where you could drill down to the specific MLS zones set up by the various real estate boards. For example, you could click BC–> Vancouver Island/Smaller Islands –> Victoria–> Sooke–> Broom Hill to see all the listings in that MLS zone. The Realtor.ca experience so far has been limited. The site was launched before many of these neighbourhoods could be defined in the database. So when somebody searched for Broom Hill, they might get the actual geographical feature rather than the MLS zone of the same name – clearly a problem. CREA has identified and added some 3500 of these areas since October 2nd, and will continue to add more as the local real estate boards provide the data. The Victoria Real Estate Board has been on this since day one and many of our MLS sub-areas are already in the CREA database. This is probably the largest issue with the site, and it will get better.

The issue of limited/no compatibility with non-Internet Explorer web browsers (Firefox, Safari, etc) is also being worked on. Thank-you, CREA, for no longer excluding some 47% of browser market share 😉

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome FireFox Moz Safari O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

There have also been complaints that photos are too small (I agree!), thumbnail information that pops up when you mouse over a property on the map is insufficient (probably), and that the listings are just too hard to find. There are changes that are being tested to address these issues as well.

Specifically in our marketplace, one of the problems has been that too many listings have appeared in the “not mapped” column which makes them extremely hard to find. This was caused by our previous MLS back-end software, which had an antiquated procedure for placing properties on a map. Also, the default data setting was to not supply an address to MLS.ca. With our new MLS system, the default is reversed, and all of the old listings were automatically mapped by address and postal code as they were imported into the new database, so that should solve most of the problem.

We want REALTOR.ca to work. Believe me. CREA spends millions of our (the REALTORS®) dollars to create and operate that site for the benefit of consumers. Canada is lucky to have it. There is no equivalent in the U.S., where MLS data is sometimes split across different websites for one city, let alone the entire country like we have here. I believe that once the bugs are worked out, REALTOR.ca will be far superior to MLS.ca

Questions? Comments? Post them below (or click through to the post if you’re reading this in a reader).

If you’re still having trouble with REALTOR.ca or would like more detailed information than it provides,  I can set up a private client portal for you to view the Sooke or Victoria MLS listings. Give me a call any time at 250-885-0512, fill in my buyer’s form, or shoot me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca. My services are available to buyers at no cost.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Blogging W-5 Wednesday Part 4 – Who?

As one of our real estate board’s most prolific bloggers, and certainly one of the most active bloggers in the region, many people ask me questions about it. In this weekly section, I’m going to answer the W-5 (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) of blogging. I hope you’ll enjoy my commentary.

Q: Who do you read?

lol, nostalgia!

As in, which blogs are on my Google Reader list? I have many. Too many, probably, but my mouse cursor is attracted to that little RSS feed icon like a moth to a flame and I can’t stop subscribing to interesting feeds.

Get ready for some link love, bloggers!

Real estate related, I read the Ubertor blog – all about real estate web technology and their most excellent real estate website software. I also enjoy the Geek Estate Blog (fairly self-explanitory), and the Sellsius Blog. One of the first blogs I got into was The Real Estate Zebra, Daniel Rothamel. And Ian Watt’s video blogs are always entertaining and often provacative (Ozzie Jurock, eh Ian?)

I also love to read tech blogs, TechCrunch being my favourite – keeping me up to date on emerging Web technologies and other goodies. I also follow the Official Google Blog, the Official Gmail Blog, and the WordPress Blog. Reachd.com has a great blog with SEO, adwords, and social media training tips.

CBC has a feed or two, as does the Times Colonist. The best source I’ve found for breaking news so far is Vancouver’s News 1130 radio station‘s feed. BC’s government news feed is also informative.

I love to read Rebecca Bowlitt (aka Miss604). She has a great style and is a big inspiration for the type of blogging I am trying to do here. Other Vancouver blogs I follow include Buzz Bishop’s blog.

Just for fun, I read XKCD – possibly the funniest webcomic ever. Hint: level of hilarity is directly related to the reader’s geekiness. I also laugh to the FAIL blog, Engrish Funny, and Stuff White People Like (although it’s largely disappeared after their book came out 🙁 ). Just for fun I also read the PlayStation Blog – Sony has really hit the nail on the head for interacting with their customers via their blog and their forum.

I also really enjoy Darren Barefoot‘s blog, though I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon it. He has a style I like, and is a bit of a power geek like me.

If your blog isn’t listed here, don’t fret – I probably read it. In fact, if you’re on my Twitter friends list, I can virtually guarantee I read your blog.

What blogs do you read that you’d like to share? Post them in the comments please!

Do you have any questions about blogging? Post them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Blogging W-5 Wednesday Part 3 – When?

As one of our real estate board’s most prolific bloggers, and certainly one of the most active bloggers in the region, many people ask me questions about it. In this weekly section, I’m going to answer the W-5 (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) of blogging. I hope you’ll enjoy my commentary.

Q: When do you find time to blog?

lol, nostalgia!

I thought this would be a timely place to discuss WHEN I blog, since there are only 40 minutes left in Wednesday. Technically, this post is on time as promised!

A common complaint among REALTORS® who want to get into blogging is that “I don’t have time.” Baloney. You do have time, and you need to look at your blog as you do any other part of your business. Find the time. Schedule it. Keep a notepad beside you at all times to jot down those ideas for posts.

Blog about something daily to keep you interested. My Horrible MLS Photo Of The Day was born out of the same need. It gives me something to do and I make sure I do it every day. I think I only missed one or two days in the last 215 or so. If daily is too much, then weekly is a minimum.

Regular updates keep you readers interested and coming back for more, and keeps the content on your blog fresh, which Google and the other search engines love.

Your posts don’t need to be long; in fact, they say shorter is better. Consider splitting a long topic into several parts. Not a writer? Get a camera, some online video training, and do a video blog. Ian Watt does his from his car as he drives around downtown Vancouver (see, you have time!)

Me, I blog usually in the early part of the morning. I just find I’m more creative at that time of the day, and I’m able to sit and write for awhile without being distracted by the phone, co-workers, or e-mail (or Digg, Twitter, Facebook, etc… 😉 )

Or, sometimes, after a long and busy day, I write at night, just 34 minutes before W-5 Wednesday becomes Tardy Thursday.

Do you have any questions about blogging? Post them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
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You can bookmark this post using the button below,
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Blogging W-5 Wednesday Part 2 – What?

As one of our real estate board’s most prolific bloggers, and certainly one of the most active bloggers in the region, many people ask me questions about it. In this weekly section, I’m going to answer the W-5 (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) of blogging. I hope you’ll enjoy my commentary.

Q: What do you blog about?

lol, nostalgia!

This is an easy one. I blog about many different things. When I first started, it was pretty random – a post about real estate here, a personal musing there. Obviously, being a REALTOR®, I do like to blog about real estate, to provide a 2-way conversation about real estate for consumers and my clients to participate in and learn from.

But more than that, I’m focusing on local content as much as I can. I want to tell the world about Sooke, and why it’s such a great place to live. I moved here just over three years ago, I don’t think I’d live anywhere else. I was particularly inspired by Rebecca Bollwitt, also known as Miss 604, who is arguably Vancouver’s most recognized internet personality. Her blog is absolutely huge, and she focuses on hyper-local content for the Vancouver area.

I also use my blog as a forum to express my frustration with certain aspects of the real estate profession. There is no excuse for horrible MLS photography! Show your clients’ properties off to the world with stunning images, don’t have people like me poke fun at them!

Do you have any questions about blogging? Post them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or get free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Blogging W-5 Wednesday Part 1 – Why?

As one of our real estate board’s most prolific bloggers, and certainly one of the most active bloggers in the region, many people ask me questions about it. In this weekly section, I’m going to answer the W-5 (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) of blogging. I hope you’ll enjoy my commentary.

Q: Why do you blog?

lol, nostalgia!

lol, nostalgia!

This is an extremely common question. In fact, I’m sure I asked it of a few bloggers (both REALTORS® and other types) before I got into it.

I blog for many reasons. Blogs are a great way to draw traffic to your brand. And for those in small business, this can’t be underscored enough. I would say that there isn’t any other more cost-effective and efficient way to draw attention to your services and your expertise by writing a good blog. Search engines love blogs, especially those that are updated regularly. Why? Search engines like Google love content; and a blog is all content when it’s done properly. Search engines also love recent information and sites that are constantly being updated. Again, a blog by definition is constantly being updated with current information and stories. Seach engines also love links. A good blog will have lots of links to related information on the Internet.

That being said, it’s not at all about gaming the search engines. Google didn’t get to be Google by being easily fooled. Search engines know when they’re being gamed. Try and manipulate the search engines and you’ll get penalized.

A blog is also a great way to have a two-way communication with your audience. In my case, I want my current and future potential clients to read my blog and comment on what I have to say. Most blogs have a comment function which allows a conversation or discussion to occur. I have my opinions, you have yours. Let’s talk about it in the comments section. Beneath each post is a link to comments. Use it. Engage your audience. Ask for feedback. Write something controversial and see what happens.

Lastly, I blog because I like to blog. I love to write and I have opinions – what a deadly combination for a blogger! If you decide to start a blog solely for reasons one and two above, it will suck. Guaranteed. You’ll come off as cheesy and fake. You have to like to write and you must practice. It takes a while to find your voice. My number one tip if you want to start blogging for your business or anything else? Read lots of other blogs for a few months. It will help you define your voice. You’ll learn what to say and what not to do, and get a few ideas for posts.

Do you have any questions about blogging? Post them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Twitter Explained in Plain English

The guys at CommonCraft have created this great video on what exactly Twitter is all about. I joined Twitter a few months ago and had not been using it at all. I was confused as to why I joined and why it would be useful or fun. Then I downloaded a little desktop application called Twhirl, and activated Twitter on my mobile phone. It suddenly got fun. Updating whoever cared what I happened to be doing at any given moment became a near obsession. Seeing what others on my list were up to was also fun.

The best way I can explain Twitter is that it’s like instant messaging (MSN, Yahoo!, GChat, etc) but not as frequent, and with more users. It’s like a blog, but with shorter, more frequent posts (limited to 140 characters, to be precise).

You can export your Twitter posts to your blog, your website, or any other web space you can think of. Your clients can follow your updates, and it’s a great way to share new information (listings, price changes, sales, or even the latest webcomic). I think Twitter is pretty useful, it’s easy to use, addictive, and a short <140 character message is not a time-sink like many web applications. Give it a try.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o">http://youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o</a>


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