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Getting Social with Photos



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, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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  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


  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


    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

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!



video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.



Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.



Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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