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Realtors can build better client relationships on Houzz

Houzz.com has rolled out new Realtor member benefits, and I’m in love because it’s consumer-oriented and aims to improve the client relationship.

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houzz

houzz

Houzz: flirting with the pretty faces on the web

At first, it was that flirting glance. It was the longing stares and fluttering of the eyelashes that you give to things that you are lusting after… Maybe you thought it was just a fling, when it was really much much more than that. This is actually a relationship. They pulled you in with fancy photos and the savior fare … things some people just wouldn’t understand, and you thought that you were done at that… but you weren’t. Now they want more. They are ready to offer you more. They want a commitment. They want more more. More. Are you ready for what they are rolling out? This is Houzz.com’s realtor portfolio program. And get excited, because it’s free!

According to Houzz.com Director of Business Development, Katherine Nannizzi, based on a survey of over one hundred thousand Houzz.com users, “[they] learned that about 10% of Houzz home owners, and 50% of Houzz renters are planning to buy in the next two years, and another 10% are planning to build a custom home. Therefore, agents expose themselves to a new potential client base in addition to engaging with their current client base.”

This new program that Houzz.com has just released caught my attention because it is not only free to Realtors but it is also a wonderful way to collaborate with these clients who are looking to become home buyers or build that custom home in the next couple of years. You may recall when it was just becoming an idea to utilize Houzz.com as a tool along with programs and apps such as Pinterest, and that it was just being realized that there was an easier way to collaborate with clients and Realtors.

This way was to create a full system for realtors to be able to maximize collaboration with their clients through their own portfolio program which was not the same thing as the Pro+ monetized program that was released just over a month ago through Houzz. What’s even more exciting about this is if someone has been utilizing Houzz as a private individual and not as a realtor or other type of contractor, they can actually very simply switch their profile over to being a Realtor professional just by editing their profile to become a professional setting. Easy.

Make Your Online Profile Smokin’ Hot

Only a month after rolling out their program for Pro+, Houzz.com realized that Realtors could utilize the system and a whole other way. Only 816 Realtors have signed up for the program in the last three weeks since this program was initialized. Being a tech savvy agent is fantastic and having apps such as Houzz that will allow for collaboration between the Realtor, the client, and the contractors is fabulous beyond words.

Creating the profile has never been more simple. All you have to do is change the status to update the professional page, and invite your clients to look at your portfolio page. The next step to utilizing this amazing tool is to utilize the review system. Similar to the Zillow.com review system, the Trulia.com review system or even House.com’s review system, Houzz will allow for professionals to request a review from current and past clients, but also colleagues, and even other contractors. Building up reviews from will solidify rankings within the Houzz.com Realtor Professional’s search in each hyper-local market.

They know how to talk a good game

With over 20 articles professionally written daily to give service to the clients as a wonderful cool Houzz is able to create a virtual concierge service to luxury client very easily for the Realtor who is utilizing this free tool. Clearly, there was a need for architects and builders to have an avenue to outreach to the consumer and Houzz has very easily transitioned into their approach to work directly with the Realtor through their beautiful aesthetic and ease of use; it was only a natural transition that ultimately they would have this Realtor program available.

The beauty of their program isn’t just maintained through the nearly two million luxury builder and architect photos uploaded, but because the brand has chosen to have the Houzz experience remain beautiful with endemic advertising with is handpicked by their team. Not just anyone can advertise on Houzz.com and not every agent in the free world is using the system either. Just the savvy ones so far who know their market.

Oh, please, take me with you…

The concept is incredibly tote-able. Think about it this way: your client can actually use their mobile device to examine properties in their portfolio through Houzz.com’s virtual library and immediately connect with you, their realtor. This is so powerful. When you used to have to possibly funnel information out of someone, now it is wireless. It is everywhere and it is an amazing way to help the creativity keep on flowing, especially if you are dealing with a client who maybe is lacking in the creativity department.

The whole idea of Houzz was actually started by husband and wife team who was in the process of remodeling their home. They found the process of keeping all of their information consolidated that they wanted to create a more efficient and effective way to convey their details to all of their contractors. They have obviously been able to do that… and then some. Through their second annual survey of over 100,000 people, Houzz was able to find out what homeowners actually want and renovation and design; this means that now you as the realtor can take those things and run with it for your client, the consumer. This ability to create community online and off-line is much more then the aesthetic collection of luxury images, it’s the actual luxury of the concierge service in digital form for the realtor and so many different facets of collaboration.

Imagine what we can do together

This new free tool through Houzz allows you to do many things: create idea books just for you; create idea books that are private to share with your client; be a part of the community and answer questions; be a part of your listing and be a luxury concierge to everyone in the community; understand what the client wants and where the drive is within your market.

Nannizzi shared her thoughts on how this program is going to help Realtors in the branding of their business. “Here are some ways that agents can now use Houzz to build their brands and relationships with clients and prospective clients:

  • to understand a client’s desired home style for a search — photos are more effective than words
  • to communicate a home’s potential — using Houzz to provide examples of what similar home look like post-renovation
  • to showcase their expertise – using personal ideabooks as mini-blogs where they share ideas for smart investments when buying or selling, and really localizing the content
  • to continue the relationship post-purchase – i.e. sending over ideabooks they create for specific clients with nursery ideas, or home office ideas
  • to engage with their Facebook and Twitter followers by sharing relevant Houzz editorial ideabooks on topics from staging to increasing curb appeal
  • to share their network of renovation and design professionals with clients
  • to link their Houzz profiles to their websites, blogs, facebook and twitter accounts, and vice versa (you can find buttons/badges to put on your website here)”

The relationship has evolved. Are you going to engage yourself with Houzz’s real estate professional’s free program to win hour clients more opportunities for creativity and connection? I sure have… We are in fact, getting intimate.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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Business Marketing

Unsplash is the secret weapon for seekers, and creators of unique images

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s free, it’s great, it’s free, it’s a marketing multi-tool, and it’s FREE. Why aren’t you using Unsplash already? It has great exposure!

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I really can’t stand seeing the same thing over and over again.

Might be my slutty, slutty, non-brand-monogamous Milleniality showing, but I reeeeeeally feel like something’s wrong when I can’t tell two different companies (or WRITERS) apart because they’ve aped the same template, or bought the same cheap font, or used the same stock photos.

He’s a cutie, but I can only see that surprised toddler in the pink shirt and gray vest so many times. And I guarantee at least 85% of people reading this know exactly which baby I’m talking about, hence the issue I’m having.

That’s where Unsplash has been my friend.

I was introduced to the image search engine in my last job: hundreds of thousands of hi-res images for 100% free, which yeah, was just my boss saving money on subscriptions to pay for our office snacks. But I was pleasantly surprised by the cool stuff I could find!

How it works is; well first, pretend you’re a photographer. One amongst many. And you specialize in, say, bomb ass macrophotography. Except the people who need your services A: Don’t know the difference between your specialty and someone who can use the zoom button, and thus B: Aren’t finding your portfolio because they don’t even know what they’re looking for.

If you’re willing to let people use some of your photos, you can host images on Unsplash, tag them with keywords, and ideally get some subtext or alt-text credit.

It’s not like a paying gig, it’s more like passing out fliers to super warm leads.

Now pretend you’re writing for a nature blog. Justifiable crackdowns on unpaid intellectual property mean that when your client says ‘Just pull some stuff from Google, it’s whatever’, you’re not actually going to do that. But there’s no budget for a subscription to anything, so what now?

You check out Unsplash is what. Then you find that macrophotographer’s amazing pictures of leaves and such, and bookmarking their gallery gives you a way to harmonize all the preview images you use for the ‘5 Most Ominous Things I’ve Found in the Austin Greenbelt’ article you’re working on with everything else on the site.

As a master manipulator of text/feelings myself, I’m also really into the fact that since anyone with a camera, anywhere in the world can host their images, I’ve got a lot of diversity in styles, locations, and of course human subjects. I really enjoyed that I could look up ‘CEO’ and find a Vietnamese woman and a Canadian man sharing the first page and probably a complicated relationship with France as a concept.

And I noticed something else.

Quite a few of these images were branded! As in Harley Davidson, Boxed Water, and more have Unsplash accounts, with their products on display to be used whenever people look up words like ‘freedom’ and ‘quirky’ and ‘hydrate’.

You literally can hire a photographer to take pictures of people in various situations wearing your brand of pillbox hats, and get photos of your product placed any and everywhere!

Now of course there are a few wee drawbacks.

Credit isn’t guaranteed, so whether you’re a brand or a photographer, you may not have your name on your work when it’s displayed, especially on preview images.

You also won’t be notified as to WHERE your photos are being used, so if your properly gloved and be-pillboxed gals end up photoshopped with digital Sharpie mustaches and used in an anti-fancy fashion postpunk op-ed, that’s out of your control.

On the searcher side, the AI is a little off as you scroll through. You might be distracted by photos of fighting racoons being auto-tagged as dogs hugging, and lose time laughing and taking screenshots, and then explaining why you’re posting to Tumblr during work hours.

Still worth it, by the way.

Ultimately Unsplash has been my ace-in-the-hole when it came to advancing the radical left agenda by viciously adding different ages, races, and settings to my last gig’s newsletters, and it’s another great resource for anyone in the ‘get/KEEP your name out there’ stage of business.

Hitch up your water wings, dive in, and make an un-splash!

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Business Marketing

Instagram’s false information flagging may accidentally shut down artists

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Instagram is doing its hardest to insure no false information gets released wide, but the net they cast may catch a lot of artists who manipulate images.

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technically a false image

Instagram’s new update is hiding faked images. The downside? Posts by digital artists are being swept up in this new flagging system. In December, Instagram announced the release of a false information warning in order to combat the spread of misinformation on the platform.

How does this work? Content that is rated as partly false or false by a third-party fact-checker is removed from Instagram’s Explore option and matching hashtag pages. Additionally, the image will receive a label to warn viewers about its credibility with a link back to the fact-checker and further sources that debunk the visual claims in the image. These labels can be seen on profiles, feeds, DMs, and stories. Identical content from Facebook will be automatically labelled if posted to Instagram.

Digital artists are feeling the effects of Instagram’s update as digitally-altered images for the sake of artistic expression are being slapped with the misinformation label. The good news, however, is that not all photoshopped images are in danger—only the pictures that have gone viral attached to false information and identified as such.

So if an artist manipulates an image, releases it, then someone else decides to use the altered image to spread misinformation, the artists image could be labeled as misinformation and will be hidden from the Explore and hashtag pages. The artist pays the price for someone else spreading false information.

While a label will save a viewer from questioning a post, digital artists, whose careers depend upon visibility and the spread of the work are likely to feel the effects—whether it be scroll-frenzied viewers passing their work by, deterred by the label barring the post from a quick look, or even worse, the artists having their own credibility called into question.

With only a couple of weeks into the new year, it’s yet to be seen how other digital art may (or may not) be caught up in Instagram’s well-meaning update.

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Business Marketing

How becoming better listeners eliminates our culture’s growing isolation

(BUSINESS MARKETING) We have all be frustrated by someone who doesn’t listen to us; so why not make sure that you are taking the steps to not be them, and be better listeners.

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good listeners breed good listeners

We all want the same thing: to be heard. In this digital age, we’ve created an endless stream of cries for attention via comment sections, forums, and social media feeds—shares, retweets, tags, videos, articles, and photos. Worse, our words echo in our digital bubbles or specific communities, doing nothing but making us lonely and isolated. However, in the midst of a divided political climate, we can all stand to strengthen our ability to listen.

Me? A bad listener? What are you trying to say? I got enough flaws to worry about and don’t wanna hear about another skill to improve. Oh, the irony.

“Bad listeners are not necessarily bad people,” assures Kate Murphy in her new book You’re Not Listening. “Anyone can get good at it. The more people you talk to, the better your gut instinct. You’re able to pick up those little cues. Without them, you’re not going to get the full context and nuance of the conversation,” she says in an interview with The Guardian’s Stephen Moss.

Our bad listening aside, we can all remember a time when we weren’t treated with the attention we craved. Moments where you’d do anything for the person you’re conversing with to give a sign of understanding—of empathy—to validate our feelings, to acknowledge the vulnerable piece of ourselves we’ve entrusted to them is cared for. Nothing is worse when we’re met with blank expressions and dismissive gestures or words. These interactions make us feel small and lonely. And the damage can stay with us.

So what can we do to ensure we’re the listeners we’ve always wanted from others? Being a good listener does take time, energy, and tons of practice. There are easy tips to keep in mind:

1. Show you care by making eye contact and putting away your phone.
2. Patience. Everyone opens up on their time.
3. Ask open-ended questions. Yes/no responses inhibit the flow of conversation.
4. Repeat what you’ve heard. This clarifies any misunderstanding and validates the speaker.
5. Give space. Let the conversation breathe—silent pauses are healthy.

By becoming better listeners, we show care. We become curious about and empathetic towards others, leaving our bubbles—we become a little less lonely.

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