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Snap-what?

Snapchat!

It’s one of the newest social media craze of 2014. Snapchat is an image capturing application that allows you to send pictures or videos to contacts, but here’s the catch- the picture totally disappears after a few seconds!

So why use it?  Well for one thing Snapchat has over 200 million users.  They do have a younger fan base having about 30% of their users over the age of 24 but each month that number grows.

“How can this help me generate leads?”

With Snapchat REALTORS are able to send their clients and prospects pictures of popular properties and because it requires no downloads, it doesn’t eat up your e-mail space. Look at it as a quick way to visually engage your audience.  You are doing all the work and sending them quick images. This keeps your clients and prospect engaged and wanting to see more of the property! You can also for example, send videos of you personally walking through the home or pictures that disappear within ten seconds of master bedrooms or landscaping. You can even send “priority clients” pictures of a property for a limited amount of time even before a brokerage makes it public.

“Why can’t I just send them a quick text about the property?”

Urgency appeals to younger generations who thrive on immediate gratification. With Snapchat sending your clients a quick ten second picture of a beautiful master bedroom keeps them engaged and wanting to see more far better than a plain text.

Keep this app on your radar, you’ll see more of it this year.

Have you use Snapchat in your Real Estate business yet?  We would love to hear from you.

So many of my real estate clients always ask me why they can’t compete with Zillow or Trulia.  Do you know what I tell them?  I say “Why would you?”  You have no business trying to compete with these portal sites.  These companies spend millions on attracting traffic but they spend most of there time by attracting quantity, not quality.  They do this because the traffic they need, is to fuel there ad campaigns which bring them revenue.  So instead of trying to see what there secret is, you need to create your own.  And you do this by producing QUALITY content and going after the more specific keywords.

Don’t use the buckshot approach but instead be selective.  Choose your target audience carefully and go after leads and build content based on your niche.

It takes time…

You cannot be an overnight success.  It takes time to build your pages and authority up.  Put in the simplest terms I can think of, Google simply wants to deliver the most relevant pages on any given search term.  Your objective is to be the most relevant.  Getting there is the trick.  Here are some basic tips;

  1. Understand your website/blog is fluid and evolving.  You need to always be adding new content or refreshing old content.
  2. Make your website/bog relative to your keywords.  In other words focus on your niche and don’t stray away from it.
  3. You want to be the content king of your market.  You want Google to choose you because you have all this relevant content.
  4. If you keyword(s) aren’t on the page, it is impossible for Google to choose you to be relevant.
  5. Consider having not only a website but a separate niche blog like “Loving Life in Ridgewood” and focus on that hyper-local content.

Confused what to do and where to turn, shoot me your website URL and I would be happy to give you some tips.  Good luck!

Social networking sites, especially Facebook, are one of the biggest forces behind connecting with clients or perspective clients. If you don’t have one already, we suggest creating a Facebook business page. It’s QUICK, FREE, and EASY and is a great source for growing the client list for your realty company. You main goal through this is to gain “likes” from your fans and continuing to have them return to your page. The more “likes” your page receives the better the odds that your page will be exposed to a wider array of people. Before striving to get more likes you must keep these three points in mind:

  • The point of a Facebook page is to convert likers to buyers.
  • Your page must be directed to the correct group of people.
  • You want to leave them wanting more!

Keeping these things in mind, here are some tips on how to get more people to “like” you.

1. Link your page through other social media sites

Facebook isn’t the only social media site that has the ability to gain you clientele. Sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Pintrest have just a good a chance as any other site does (how you can utilize all of these sites will be discussed in later posts). Linking your page to any or all of these sites will broaden your reach for possible clients and will gain you more exposure.

One of the most important things you should do is add a link to your Facebook page onto your blog. Blogs are becoming more and more popular because they are a quick way to interact with clients. Posting on your blog daily is a key factor in gaining your clients (or soon-to-be clients) your trust and loyalty. In addition, blogs can be helpful in directing your fan base to go and “like” your page and/or company website.

2. Incorporate the “Like” button onto your company’s website/ emails

By incorporating the “like” button onto your website will allow your online users to easily find your Facebook page and as a result increase their chances of “liking” your page.

If clients or perspective clients have already opted to be apart of your email list, you can have them interact with you on Facebook as well by utilizing your email signature. You can add an icon in your email signature that will alert your contacts to go and check out your page. This is a simple and effective way to share your business page with perspective and current clients.

3. Stay engaged and be interesting

You should always give your fans a way to express their opinion. Whether it be through a poll or a post asking for your fans opinions, giving them a way to interact with your page is a key point in driving visitors to your page. But keep in mind you must ACTIVELY INTERACT. One of the most harming things to your page is to “go ghost” or, in other words, have your fans wait days to get a response from you. Check your page often and get to know your clientele. In doing so you will be able to post more relevant and effective articles, images, or videos to better equip yourself to solve any issue your clients might be having. Along with being available you also have to be visible. In order for more people to visit your page you need to post things at certain hours so that your fans will see them and be willing to share them with their friends and family. Although understandably it is hard if you have both local and international clients, sooner or later you will begin to see a trend and develop a better idea when posts should be posted.

One of the most effective things for realtors is to post stunning pictures of properties in order to drive in comments in likes. People are always more likely to comment or share a picture that seem out of this world. You can also try posting tips or articles to get your audience engaged on the content you want them to see. Try posting tips on finding the right property and see what type of response you’ll receive. Get people talking and wanting to come back for more!

If you have any other tips on how to drive people to your Facebook business page feel free to share- who wouldn’t want people to “like” them?

First of all why am I even talking about Google’s Algorithms updates to you?  That’s easy, while you don’t need to know the specific details, you should be aware how this update might effect your Real Estate Business.

Launched in late July, the update is a new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google stated that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.

You probably noticed by now your the local map results (some call it the 7 pack) are not on every location search anymore.  You know what I am taking about, you type “Teaneck NJ Realtor” and you would see a map with the top 7 results.  To me this seemed to resulted in more exposure for the bigger companies.  Smaller offices and agents that were on the 7 pack are now on the SERP but forced to the bottom most of the time. However in realty I think Google is refining location results based on geo-location and population density.  You tend to see the map results in larger areas.

So in essence since Real Estate is very local, this update is one you should be concerned about.

Some things that you should consider on this update;

  1. Strong Domains Matter
    1. It has been observed local businesses need to attach their brands to strong domains. While Google has not explicitly confirmed that there is a bias toward brands in their ranking algorithm, many of us  have suspected as such. So if you have a strong franchise or local brand make sure you are well optimized on your location pages.
  2. Location, Location, Location
    1. Location really matters now as Google attempts to deliver the most relavant location based SERP. This comes in the terms on how close to the center of a city you are.  If you are searching for News Real Estate Agents, the closer you are the better.
  3. Please don’t over optimize
    1. I have been preaching this for a while but don’t market yourself on too wide of a territory.  If you do, Google will notice in most cases and will drop your location based results. Limit your markets and make sure you have solid unique content and a well optimized page for each of these areas. If you can, utilize your home page for the top geo location you serve.

While like you I am not thrilled in what has transpired but let’s sit back and see how this plays out.  Google does invest a huge amount of money and time trying to bring the best possible results.  Many of the changes over the years have been a huge benefit and refining the local search is important.

Recently Twitter has recently become the new face of social networking sites. With its 140 character posts, Twitter is an easy way to catch up on trending topics and gives its users a quick and easy way to connect with its followers. But, like with many tools, you only get what you put in, so gaining followers is a vital source of expanding your reach over the twitter sphere.  Whether it be you’re new to the twitter family or you’re simply a silent ghost on your timeline, here are six easy ways to gain followers on twitter.

1. Be Original

Creating thought-provoking tweets is important. Most people quickly scroll along twitter on the bus or on their lunch break, so they tend to only see the most recent tweets. That is why it is important to tweet often and add variety (pictures, links, videos) to make your tweet stick out. Publish content worth sharing and comment on relevant news and tweets to make yourself active on your follower’s timelines.

2. Don’t Be A Hash Tag Fanatic

Hash tags are an important part of twitter. They allow the user to click on them and find more tweets relevant to that specific word or phrase. Make sure not to use too many hash tags per tweet, but also make sure you use enough (1 or 2 per tweet). Let’s say you are trying to sell a house in Orangeberg. An example tweet would be: Check out these HOT listings in #Orangeberg. This allows your users to click on Orangeberg and see things relevant to that town (possibly events, the latest news, etc.). While using hash tags it is important to remember: quality over quantity.

3. Be An Active Follower

Be sure to actively seek out new followers. Industry experts suggest that for every 10 people you follow, at least 2 of them will follow you back. Make sure that when people follow you, you follow them back. This will let them know that you are an active part of twitter and not simply a “ghost follower”. Try following influential and well known industry leaders such as real estate agents in or around your market or even nationally. These people are great for re-tweeting and gaining inspiration for your own tweets.

4. Utilize Your Bio

Your twitter bio is the italicized portion of text below your Twitter handle on your profile page. This should clearly say who you are and what you do and should tell your followers and potential followers what they are to expect from your feed. Keep it short, simple and to the point: “Orangeberg real estate professional specializing in short sales and foreclosures”. Remember, your bio is displayed on others “Who To Follow” feed so keeping it straightforward is important.

5. Publicize Yourself

As well as publicizing yourself on twitter, it is important to publicize yourself in the real world. Adding links to your account on blogs, e-mails, and other social networking sites is important in allowing peers and clients to find you. If you are giving a presentation it may be a good idea to let your attendees know in case they want to live tweet your event, which is also a good way to get your name around.

6. Be Career Focused

Tweeting about your profession and staying career focused is important. Don’t mix your personal life with work and keep your tweets directed towards real estate pros. Using the Orangeberg example, you may want to tweet about the city’s lifestyle, hot listings, and hot spots in order to gain your followers attention. Publish content worth sharing, but make sure you stay focused.

If you have any other suggestions for gaining more followers on twitter feel free to share your secrets with us!

The Reality of Pintrest

Pintrest has become the fourth largest social networking site to date. It connects its users through images and for a REALTOR this is a helpful tool to sell listings via visual emotions. On Pintrest you are able to set up boards and engage with your followers via comments, likes, and repins. Here are the top four tips that will help you excel when it comes to Pintrest marketing.

1. Set Up Specific Boards

Creating specific boards for yourself is important. For example, you can create a board of your neighborhood or the neigneighborhood you have the most listings for. Sell the area. Include pictures of shops, amenities and even services to get your potential buyers interested. You can even create a board that promotes your most recent listings. Show pictures and put links into the comments to draw your buyers attentions. Another idea is to create a home decor board. You can include links to how-to sites to get you followers talking. Lastly, you want to seem like a normal person so create a board that shows who you are. If you like to bake make a board dedicated to recipes. Not only do you want to sell your houses, but you also want to sell yourself.

2. Use #Hashtags

Hash tags are not only a twitter thing, but can be used on Pintrest as well. Connect with your market and expand beyond your followers. You can use hash tags for geographic locations (i.e #MyrtleBeach), listings (i.e #dreamyard), or specific images (i.e #howto).

3. Promote Yourself Through Contests and Giveaways

Using Pintrest to promote yourself through contests and giveaways is a great way to get people involved in your posts. You can have a voting contests where your followers can like an image of their favorite listings. You can have a photo contest where your followers can tag you in their favorite bathroom or yard (you can even add a vote element to create a little more competition). Or you can even try creating a video contest where your followers can submit a short video about what they like about your newest listings (you can even use this as authentic marketing material!). Adding a “grand prize” is helpful but not required. Either way holding a contest will create conversation throughout your board!

4. Cross Promote

As with all other social media sites cross promoting is important. Add a link to your profile on your Facebook and twitter profiles as well!

If you have any questions on how to set up a Pintrest board or have any more ideas on how REALTORS can use Pintrest to their advantage feel free to share!

In my last post I wrote about what is happening with your posts.  We will continue with things that you can do to leverage your posts with these changes.

Why is organic reach declining?

There are two main reasons.

The first is quite obvious: the amount of content created and shared is increasing daily. With the introduction to the glorious smartphone, sharing a photo or video with customers from across the globe is only a few  swipes away. While a couple of years ago you had the ability to see 1,500 posts every time you log on, with the increase of activity on Facebook you now have the potential to see over 15,000 new posts. So now there is far more information to absorb and far less time to absorb it.

As a result, the competition on news feeds- the place of Facebook where family members and customers are aloud to see your content- have drastically increased and now it’s becoming harder and harder for people to gain exposure. Along with increase of content there has also been an increase of likes. Since April, the number of pages likes by a typical Facebook user has increased by 50%. With each new page liked the competitions within the news feeds has also increased.

The second reason why organic reach has been decreasing has to do with how the news feed works. Recently Facebook has decided to sort through all the “potential posts” and show only those that are most relevant to you. Of the 15,000 potential posts that are available Facebook cuts that number to showing around 300.  In order to decide what stories to show, Facebook ranks all the posts from least important to most important depending on several thousands factors specific to each person.

Why not show everything?

Every time a user logs onto Facebook they only have so much time to look through their news feeds. They may be on it for an hour on their lunch break or a few minutes while waiting for the bus. Either way, content that is towards the bottom of the page will be missed- and that may be the most valuable content for them. If Facebook did allow users to chose what they want to see by showing them every single post available to them, organic reach would decrease even more.

“How can I gain reach instead of losing it?”

Avoid using meme and frequent calls to action

Being able to gain reach back is pretty simple. One of the major things you would want to do is avoid meme and frequent call to action use as much as possible. Instead of using phrases such as “click like if you agree” be more creative and let what you’re saying sound natural.

Keep a link a link and keep a photo a photo

Some Facebook users find themselves wanting to include links within the descriptions of photos, but instead a link should be posted as a link and a photo should be posted as a photo. Think about how you can deliver content in the best way for your audience to consume it.

Increase post frequency

This does not mean you should be posting 10 times a day. Instead try posting once a day for three days and see what happens. Every realtor’s page is different- you just need to see which way works best for you and your business.

What do people love/ hate about your page

Finding out what people didn’t like about your page is just as important as finding out what they did. Facebook gives users the options to “hide” a post from their view. which is basically the same as “unliking” a page. Overtime you may see a pattern that demonstrates that more people “unlike” your page when certain subjects are discussed or certain themes are used. Finding out what people didn’t like can help make better informed decisions about your content strategy.

Analyzing outbound links to determine which source is the most well received is a perfect way to figure out how you can better your posts to increase your organic reach. Try focusing on engagement during your posts- users tend to look at posts that can involve them.

Try out new things

It seems simple enough but most users tend to forget that practice makes perfect. Try testing different times of the day for different content (i.e marketing a home sale in the morning and posting a video blog in the afternoon).  Figuring out what is most beneficial to your users at certain times of the day is a simple and beneficial way to increase your organic and total reach.

Let me know what you have done to help keep your reach increasing as Facebook continues to make changes to its social network.

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