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How TV helped 'Million Dollar Listing' star warm up to social

Besides the over-talked-about Housewives franchise, Bravo has fine tuned Million Dollar Listing: LA, a real-estate focused series now in the middle of it’s fifth season. The show’s main stars are three extremely successful real estate agents who have a nose for expensive deals.

“The Million Dollar Listing fans love hearing from their favorite brokers – Josh, Josh and Madison – so they will be live tweeting the premiere and throughout the season,” Lisa Hsia, EVP of Bravo Digital Media, explained to Lost Remote. She said Bravo has been experimenting with various social approaches with the show. “We discovered we had lot of uptick from Pinterest on Million Dollar Listing NY, so look for great house porn there as well as blogs, video clips and video tours and photo galleries of the houses on Bravotv.com.

We spoke to star Josh Altman about how being on television helped him warm up to social media and the deals he’s secured via social networking.

Lost Remote: How did you get involved with the show originally?

Josh Altman: I’ve been in the business for almost a decade now. I’ve been in every part of the business. I’ve flipped homes – I have a mortgage finance background. About five years ago I got into the agent side. I really went after all my Hollywood contacts. I have a lot of connections in the talent agent world. Those are people who have contacts with celebrities and well known people and wealthy people. Million Dollar Listing was looking for someone who had the connections and did big business. That was right after I sold Kim Kardashian a house. At the end of the day you have to do some serious business. Nine episodes, nine sales during taping. At least 60% aren’t going to let me tape them. If anything goes wrong, I needed about 30 sales a year.

LR: How do you use social media?

Altman: Up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t. I’m an old school sales guy, a hand shake kind of guy, face to face. I have not gone after social media as much as other people were when it started to get hot. At some point I realized the potential and the amount of business other realtors could do. I had no choice. I started Facebooking and Tweeting and all that kind of stuff and learning how to use that to my advantage.

The number one thing as a realtor is that you want to be known. Ten bench signs, newspaper ads, they’re going to see somebody and you have to be in people’s faces. With the show, I’m having a lot of fun tweeting, you gotta be careful what you say a lot, whenever you tweet you’re writing that down and that’s not going anywhere. I try to have fun with it, I try to keep it strictly real estate so when my clients follow me, it’s relevant. The beach tanning is not what I’m looking to do.

As far as Facebook, the same reason why people watch the show, they love to see these houses that people can only dream of. I like to post a lot of pictures, so they get more of what they see on the show. It’s so important to be connected everywhere, the amount of money coming from overseas and investors. I get a lot of messages on Facebook of people saying I want to spend a little money.

Bravo has a much bigger following than me. When all three of us [cast members] promote the show together, it’s another way of advertising and getting the word out. I don’t really watch the show when it airs live because of that. I’ll watch it on the corner. I try to be as involved as possible and live tweet because I think it’s fun and people get a kick out of it.

LR: Do you have tips for other reality stars using social?

Altman: I try to answer as many as [@mentions] as possible. Twitter is not my job, the most important thing is to sell my houses. I’m really just trying to respond to as many fans as possible. They love it, it’s fun and they end up watching the shows anyway. It’s important to respond.

LR: Have you ever closed a deal because of a lead from social media?

Altman: Hollywood Hills, for $4.5 million, someone reached out to me on Facebook and they were looking at my listing and we ended up selling the property. The commission was a little over $100,000 – so Facebook worked.

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