Show Me The Money
In the comments of a recent post right here on Agent Genius, I inquired about another Realtor’s success in developing his real estate business through social media marketing. The measure of success I was looking for is simple: closings. Yep, show me the money.
I haven’t heard back from him, but I do have some success of my own to share with those Realtors who are interested in adding to their bottom-line like I have, by building an on-line brand that results not only in clients directly requesting my assistance, but also in earning referrals from agents across the globe.
How It All Began
My husband and I entered real estate together in 2001. We’d just moved to Metro Detroit, I hadn’t lived in the area in 20 years and I had spent the last 8 years living in Europe. Let’s just say my local real estate market knowledge was small, and my sphere of influence was even smaller. RE industry knowledge – zero. My partner, my husband, faced the same challenges yet, the odds were even heavier against him. Dmitry had almost never driven a car, had never been in any type of sales position, spoke English as a second language, knew nobody outside of my family and friends because he had just immigrated about 2 months before we got our licenses together. By the way, I got mine because I had to drive him to the pre-licensing classes. The odds were stacked against us and a couple of local real estate offices were not interested in us as new licensees. Today, those same offices that wouldn’t return Dmitry’s calls in 2001, give us regular calls seeing if we would consider a move.
If I knew then what I know now, I might have bet against us too. Thankfully, I didn’t know.
Building Through Technology
We’ve built much of our business through technology. We work in one of the wealthiest areas in the State of Michigan. Many of our peers in our Sotheby’s International Realty office have built wildly successful careers through their country club memberships and their social connections. I envy them. Who, afterall, wouldn’t want to get her clients while sitting by a pool or drinking cocktails after golf? And I don’t even like golf. These are good agents who work hard and know their market. Their clients just come to them differently than mine tend to come to me.
Next week I am giving a presentation to local Realtors about social media marketing and creating/managing a web presence. That talk is the impetus for this post, and I hope it will help anyone else who wants to see a direct correlation from a Realtor, between social media marketing and building a real estate business. The missing link, and I will admit it, is that I could not begin to estimate the amount of time I have invested in building our internet presence since we started in business. For me, its a hobby as much as it is work. I enjoy it, so I spend a LOT of time on the internet. I couldn’t begin to tell you my ROI.
So where has it gotten me since we got our first listing two days before Sept 11, 2001?
I’ve established myself as a local expert and the media regularly contacts me and provides me with free exposure. In the last year I have been in most of the local papers, large and small, USA Today, Inman news (thanks Matt Carter), and interviewed on Todd Carpenter’s Blog Fiesta (thanks Todd), Oliver Muoto on the Vflyer blog (thanks Oliver, I love my vFlyers) and more. An interview about our business and how we got started appeared in last week’s Oakland Business Review and is resulting in new calls every day. The reporter found us by Googling something like “Oakland County Real Estate Couple.” Most of the main steam media reporters who interview us find us on Google. (Thanks Google)
Fine. How Does That Draw A Paycheck???
Now for the real “show me the money” part. Here are the NEW opportunities we’ve pulled in since mid-February 2008, and the sources of those opportunities (if you click on the links you’ll see our profile on those networks):
- Trulia Voices This weekend I will be listing a condo for a seller who found me there. She will be buying when we get the place sold. She read my answers, checked out my blog and the listing presentation and interview were done before I knew she existed. (Thanks Pete, Sami, Rudy, et al.)
- LinkedIn An agent from out of state came across my profile. We don’t know each other at all, but we’d both worked for Price Waterhouse, though in different decades, I think. He asked me to work with his mom to find a condo. We are headed out for a second time Saturday morning. (You can add me as a LinkedIn connection if we haven’t already connected.)
- miOaklandCounty.com (our blog) Dmitry has spent nearly every waking hour this week showing houses to investors who flew in from Lithuania. It is kind of funny to hear him speaking Russian and talking about real estate. He’s got an earnest money check and I saw him faxing off an offer right before we left the office tonight. They want to buy more than one house and they have friends in Lithuania who are interested in investing too. I am a little behind on posting on the blog right now, but business is keeping me away. Somebody Googled “Russian Speaking Realtor Metro Detroit” and Dmitry popped up. (Thanks Google)
- miBirmingham.com, Oakland-County-Homes.com, (our sites) ActiveRain, and all the other networks we belong to. I don’t know exactly who gets the credit for the nice referral we received from a lovely agent in Rochester MN. She just said she was impressed with what she saw, and she asked us to take care of her client who had his Birmingham MI home listed for about $1.5 million. She wanted someone with a better web strategy. We’d never met, but we get along very well. Like lots of other people, she found us “on the internet.” I haven’t bothered to ask for specifics. (Thanks Google, Jonathan, Matt, et al.)
- I’m showing my listing at 420Suffield to two buyers who liked the website, photos and tour and gave me a call. I don’t know how they arrived there since P2A has their handshake listings, and distributes lots of places like Craigslist, Trulia and more. (Thanks Point2Agent)
The Grand Total
I have a feeling I am forgetting something, but the sum of these potential transactions is about $3.5 million. I don’t like to count my chickens before they are hatched, nor do I typically like to talk much about ME ME ME and MY business or MY clients, but I am breaking my own rules here to show that these things can be done by anyone, even YOU YOU YOU.
Yesterday I turned away a couple of referrals. We are too busy to service those clients well. I can’t hazard a guess at how many other agents in my market who would tell you they are turning away business because they are too busy, but I don’t think the number would be very big. That doesn’t mean I don’t want you to call me with your referral though!
OK, its late. I’ve spent more time on this post than I could afford at the moment. While I am sleeping soundly tonight I know my dear friends at Google will be out working for me and finding my next client. They’ll be assisted by my friends at LinkedIn, Facebook, ActiveRain. Trulia, vFlyer, Point2Agent, Flickr, and more. I can’t wait to see what opportunity they bring me tomorrow.
How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest
(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.
In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.
But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?
According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.
As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”
Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.
Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!
In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.
So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.
Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive
(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.
Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.
Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.
The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.
The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.
San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.
Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way
(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.
Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.
Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.
The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.
In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.
There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.
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