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Getting Social with Photos

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The last couple of months have been busy, leaving me little time to write a post for one of my favorite blogs. I don’t have time to do one now, but I put my phone on silent and am ignoring my email.Sometime in April I wrote a post on Agent Genius about social networking with photos, and about how Flickr is one of the greatest social networking tools ever created. Much has happened since I wrote that post. I have been on a couple of photo walks with people who live in my area, and made some new friends. I am discovering that it isn’t just photographs that start conversations, cameras do too. On the first photo walk I attended I watched as a diverse group of people stood in a circle, introduced themselves, and then introduced their camera’s.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new lens for mine. There is a learning curve for any lens and this one is a wide angle that I need for interior property shots of my listings. I brought the camera and new lens downtown with me, met with a client, showed him some lofts, and then headed back to my car for the camera, and some target practice. I wandered around shooting pictures here and there, so I could try the lens. I went out into a street and started using one of my favorite building for target practice, the horn honking did not get my attention. It wasn’t until I heard someone calling my name that I decided to get out of the street.

A young man standing on the curb said, “you just have to be Teresa Boardman”. He has a point, I really do have to be Teresa Boardman, no choice on that one. He told me that my camera gave me away, and that he doesn’t see many people standing in the street, on a busy street, taking pictures.

He identified himself as the person from the local convention bureau who has been sending me email. He found my photos on Flickr and contacted me. We now have an agreement in which I supply photos for the visit Saint Paul web site, and for some printed materials designed to promote St. Paul. One of my photos was selected for an “explore Minnesota” flyer.

An exciting opportunity for me. There are photos of St. Paul on flickr that are better than mine. I believe that mine were selected partly because they are easy to find, and because I am easy to find, and contact. I use Flickr as a tool for my business. Photos are labeled, tagged and put into sets. I network with other Flickr users and leave comments on their photos. I participate in contests and must belong to 20 groups. It all takes time but I love doing it and it has been good for my business.

Now they call me “the photographer”, it has a nice ring to it, and I guess it is true. I could never explain how it all happened but I like it. It doesn’t involve any extra work, with my web sites and blog I have endless uses for photos.

None of the pictures I took that day, as I dodged traffic turned out. I learned some important truths about wide angle lenses, the camera needs to be kept level, and if the lens is put on it’s widest setting, the pictures are kind of weird. I managed to shoot one where it looks like all of the buildings on St. Peter street are leaning, into each other.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Paula Henry

    May 28, 2008 at 9:25 am

    T – I do admire your work with the camera. I know we don’t see all the ones you didn’t post, but – WOW, the pictures you do post are amazing. I think the reason is, the passion you possess about St. Paul is evident in every picture you post and every post you write. KUDOS!

  2. Chris Shouse

    May 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I love your photos and I think you are brilliant. I have just started my flickr account and am really enjoying it. I have made some great friends in my area already and plan to expand on it. You have just reinforced that I am headed in the right direction. Thank you.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    May 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Thanks Paula, I do love taking pictures of the ordinary. 🙂

    Chris – do it, and stick with it. it is more fun than work and the more photos you take the more of them google will find and the better you will get at taking them. you will meet people, mostly people you will like. Ger involved, join a group, create a group, and just have fun.

  4. Jay Thompson

    May 28, 2008 at 10:28 am

    The pic I would really like to see would be of T standing in the street, blocking traffic, oblivious to everything but what’s in her viewfinder. THAT would be a great shot! 🙂

    Flickr is amazing. I just recently started posting listing photos to it, and incorporating “Flickr streams” into single-property blog sites. Thanks to Teresa’s tip to put the URL of the site into the Flickr labels (or whatever term they use, I’m still a Flickr noob), people actually FIND the photos and the single property sites. It’s very cool.

    I’m not a very good photographer yet, but I have learned a couple of things — if you take a bazillion photos, sooner or later you’ll get lucky and one will turn out great. And cropping pics can turn something marginal into something that’s actually pretty decent.

  5. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I’m with Jay – would love to take some pics of T in action! Why didn’t that guy have a camera?

  6. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one hoping we’d get a shot of T in the middle of traffic. 🙂

    I also wanted to commend our own @tboard for recommending . I’ve found myself immersed in it a few times in the past few days.

  7. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    FAIL

  8. Andy Kaufman

    May 28, 2008 at 11:32 am

  9. Teresa Boardman

    May 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    LOL – me wandering around with a camera is not a pretty sight. I get into trouble, I have no idea what is going on around me. I get lost too, and lose track of the time and come home late.

    Jay – Flickr is a great way to promote listings. 🙂 nice to hear it is working. As for your idea about taking shots until you get a good one, that really does work . . if you have enough time to look at them all. 🙂

  10. Bill Lublin

    May 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    A young man standing on the curb said, “you just have to be Teresa Boardman”. He has a point, I really do have to be Teresa Boardman, no choice on that one.

    Man, Talk about a picture painted with words – This is the portrait I have of you in my mind!

  11. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    May 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Teresa,

    I’ve always admired the photos you’ve had on your website. I loved it when you had photos of flowers and you said ‘What does this have to do with real estate?…Everything’. Cracked me up.. showed your personality (just like your photos do) and give people an opportunity to come up with 1,000 words to describe it.

    AG has always been great of including photos in posts so it’s not just a bunch of text. I enjoy it. It’s even better when you know it’s someone’s original photos. It keeps me coming back to your site for more. Keep up the great work!

  12. Teresa Boardman

    May 29, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Bill – your comment actually made me laugh out loud and I am still smiling. I really do have to be Teresa Boardman and it isn’t an easy job. 🙂

  13. Eric Blackwell

    June 1, 2008 at 7:32 am

    @Teresa- Your photos are a BIG piece of your site. I enjoy your writing style as it is one of the most authentic and warm in the real estate blog world, but I really enjoy the photos from around your area. Putting proper photos is something that I desire to learn from you just like I am learning from Russell Shaw the fine art of photoshopping great graphics that make a point..

    Summertime in St Paul is awesome subject matter as well!

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?

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A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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