• Bonnie Upright, APR

"Facebook is a gift. It gives you a lot of information."

Think about it. From Facebook, you can learn a lot about your customers' likes, dislikes, attitudes, opinions, milestones - all without paying a single penny for that research. Fleming Island agent Kim Knapp shared these words of wisdom at our PYVOT event earlier this month, giving suggestions on how to use the information as a touchpoint with your customers and future customers.

"I do a lot of personal notes," said Knapp. "For me, it's a way of staying connected in a meaningful and consistent way."

Did a customer post that his or her son or daughter won an award or was recognized for an achievement? Send a note to the student, saying "Your parents must be doing a great job." "It's a genuine compliment and will go a long way with the parents," said Knapp.

Milestones are also an opportunity to connect with your customers. "I acknowledge birthdays or our transaction anniversary of buying or selling a home," said Knapp. "I send something small - less than $10. But it goes an incredibly long way."

Town Center agent Anthony Stroud took Knapp's message to heart, and now uses Facebook as another tactic in his communications tool box. "I took Kim's advice from the PYVOT meeting and am using Facebook as a reason to write cards," Stroud said. He also uses cards with his branding, rather than generic cards.

In fact, the first card Stroud sent resulted in a Facebook post by a future customer. "This particular person is a future customer. She is a rising singer and her song got played on the radio for the first time," Stroud said. "She posted her reaction and I knew just what to do, thanks to Kim. Her words didn't fall on deaf ears."

Stroud's friend posted images of the card - and tagged Stroud's business page, encouraging HER friends to use him for any of their real estate needs. It took less than three minutes to write, address, stamp and mail the card. Not a bad return on the investment of three minutes.

When you can touch people's hearts and make them smile, that's a relationship builder, Knapp said.

Meaningful communication is the core of any relationship, and the act of simply writing a note can be one of your biggest advantages in personal and professional relationships.

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