How 'Tweet' It Is For Local Businesses

Local Businesses Tap Into Social Networks

Denver real estate broker Mike Welk isn't shy about admitting he logs onto Twitter while at work.

"We're using it for another purpose," he said.

Welk, who is a managing broker for Your Castle Real Estate, is among a growing number of real estate professionals using social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook to reach clients.

He said many of his clients are targeting short sales and bank foreclosures. Getting information fast is key since many properties priced below $200,000 are moving quickly, Welk explained.

"We move like the speed of light and offers can go in within minutes," he said.

He reflected upon a property in Westminster that netted nine offers the first day it was listed. Welk took video of the property and drove anxious buyers to his Web site for additional information.

He also teaches other Realtors how to use Twitter, and other free social networks, to market their listings though the Jefferson County Association of Realtors. It's not uncommon for 20 to 40 people to attend the weekly training sessions, Welk said.

"People want information and they want it now. That's what Twitter allows us to provide," he added.

A wide variety of businesses are turning to "tweets" on the micro-blogging site to get their message out. Interested consumers can opt to "follow" individuals or groups -- and receive continuous updates.

7NEWS sent its own message out Wednesday afternoon asking for feedback from businesses who use social networking as a marketing tool. Responses came from businesses that offer information technology services, to French fries, even a major communications company.

"We're using Twitter to share information about lawn care, gardening and basic home improvement with consumers," said Cori Keeton Pope, whose public relations company represents a group of Ace Hardware Stores in Colorado and Wyoming.

"We’re also offering Twitter coupons, discounts and we plan to run Twitter contests in the future," Pope wrote in an e-mail.

Followers of a family-owned bakery in Boulder can even be alerted when piping hot goodies are fresh from the oven.

"We can say, 'We have a fresh baked pie coming out, come check it out,'" said Kevin Comstock, co-owner of Boulder Baked.

Comstock said just in the last couple months, his business has sent "tweets" about receiving a free cookie with purchase and other deals to a network of customers ranging from college students to their parents.

Asked if he thought it worked, Comstock replied, "It does. We've seen a lot of response."

Welk believes the new marketing methods are here to stay and businesses who are effective stand to gain.

"Market knowledge is key right now, and if you can show you have that knowledge, you're most likely going to get the sale," he said.

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