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NAR is opening their eyes to blogging

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I don’t know about you, but it feels good when I open a random article by NAR and actually know who they are talking about. Although they are covering Inman’s Real Estate Connect (it only seems right), it was great that Brian Brady and Dustin Luther were featured. They are 2 good guys that I look up to and like their style.

Realtor Magazine

Take a look at the article:

Bloggers Debate Best Way to Attract Consumers

They both present interesting strategies for blogging successfully and although there is no right or wrong way, I do think it’s up to your own particular style to decide how aggressive you want your blog to be.

I agree with both, and I’m usually not the wishy-washy type, but I do think you can reach a happy medium between their suggestions.

Dustin’s method:

“soft marketing” approach to blogging. Start a blog, write about topics you know about and are interested in, and people with similar interests will find you and your business will grow

Brian’s method:

putting calls to action in every blog post and every e-mail sent to potential clients. Calls to action include directing readers to your Web site, giving them a link to find mortgage rates or to search an MLS

I have to admit that the “call to action” on every single post bothers me, but the call to action in the general blog with listings and MLS search does not. I comes back to the idea that each consumer will be different, and your own personality needs to be reflected in your marketing strategy.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Kristal Kraft

    January 12, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I was fortunate to be in attendance at Brian and Dustin’s very lively presentation. It was one of the more memorable because they actually had different view points.

    There were merits for both opinions. My take-away was, there are no set rules in blogging. Different approaches work, just find what works for you and do it.

    Dusting and Brian make a winning combination. Congrats to them for being featured in the NAR Mag.

  2. Ben Martin

    January 12, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I personally thought this was one of the two or three most interesting sessions at Inman. Dustin’s thoughts are more in line with my own on the subject, but Brian opened my eyes to a results-oriented way of thinking about blogging. While I am hesitant to release my reservations on the assertion that “blogging is just another marketing tool” I will be taking steps to encourage definite outcomes for my personal and business blogging.

  3. Ines

    January 12, 2008 at 10:48 am

    KK – thanks for coming back and giving me your take. It makes a huge difference to have been present and I would have loved to be there not only to see the presentation, but to meet you as well (maybe soon).

    There are a lot of people telling us how to blog and what’s right and what’s wrong, and I think you are right. It’s up to each person to analyze and decide what works for them. Sometimes this will involve testing and making changes along the way, but that’s what web2.0 is all about.

  4. Ines

    January 12, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Ben – thanks for your take and I’m sure Brian and Dustin will appreciate hearing that their presentation was good.

    I think a lot of us struggle with the thought of ROI with our blogs and for those of us that have newer blogs (7 months for my Miamism.com), the fact is that it IS a marketing tool – but it is also a lot more than that. As long as we are not just writing away with no specific purpose, and we actually scrutinize the outcome and decide what we want from it, then our blog will be more powerful.

  5. rudy

    January 12, 2008 at 11:17 am

    hi ines!

    i really liked this duet panel format. it was actually a conversation and not a q&a session. hats off to brian and dustin for engaging the audience in a lively manner.

    …..oh yeah, it’s always great to see other bloggers get noticed for their work. congrats guys!

  6. Ines

    January 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Rudy – …..and it is all about conversation, isn’t it? I would expect nothing less from Brian and Dustin.

    Your videos made me laugh btw – between the taxi piece and seeing you filming on the Zebra’s video….good stuff!

  7. Lani Anglin

    January 12, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    FINALLY! Does anyone else get irritated when someone is featured as a “premiere” blogger in the R magazine and yet we (as the blogging mainstream) have never ever ever heard of them? Maybe I’m being high schoolish.

    I’m so glad Dustin and Brian were featured and recognized for their work as THEY are leaders of the mainstream.

  8. Drew Meyers from Zillow

    January 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I didn’t make it to that many panels in NYC, but this duet was definitely the most lively and entertaining panel I attended.

  9. Ines

    January 12, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Lani – funny you mention that because I used to think, WHO????? LOL! (maybe I have to get out more) HA!

  10. Dustin

    January 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I’m so glad that people enjoyed the panel by Brian and I. I can say that I had a blast being up there and the questions/comments from the audience were top notch. Thanks everyone!

  11. Benn Rosales

    January 13, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Dustin, you’re absolutely a class act- I’m so glad it was you up there…

  12. Brian Brady

    January 13, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Ines,

    Thanks for the recognition. Dustin and I really enjoyed that session. We spent a good deal of time on the phone preparing for it. While we had differing viewpoints, they are minor and much of our presentation was to designed ENGAGE our audience.

    Kinda like blogging, right?

  13. Jay Thompson

    January 13, 2008 at 9:51 am

    KK said: “There were merits for both opinions. My take-away was, there are no set rules in blogging. Different approaches work, just find what works for you and do it.”

    I agree *completely*!

    Ines said: “I have to admit that the “call to action” on every single post bothers me, but the call to action in the general blog with listings and MLS search does not.”

    A CTA on every post seems a bit much to me (overkill and too salesy, IMHO). But my MLS/IDX search is one of my most heavily traffic’d pages. I’m still not a fan of blogging about listings though.

    Dustin and Brain did a great job. Even better was getting to see Brian again and finally getting to meet Dustin (and several other of the “premiere” bloggers).

  14. ines

    January 13, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Drew – I can definitely see them being “lively and entertaining”!

    Dustin – you are not surprised at the outcome, are you?

    Brian – you? engaging your audience? WHAT?? : )

    Jay – I also agree with you about the listings, unless, for me, if it’s architecturally significant. Should we start calling Brian, “Brain”, or do you think it will go to his head?

  15. Jay Thompson

    January 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    It’s probably too late Ines… my bad.

  16. Brian Brady

    January 13, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    “Should we start calling Brian, “Brain”, or do you think it will go to his head?”

    Jay’s right; it’s too late.

    On a side note, I think I’ve only hung out with Jay three times but I feel like I see him every week; must be an AZ thing

  17. Ines

    January 14, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I don’t believe that one bit Brian! but one day, I’ll hang out with you guys as well.

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Business Marketing

Web design and development trends that will dominate 2018

(BUSINESS NEWS) Check out these top trends for web design and development to revamp your site for 2018.

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google meet web design 2018

New year, new you, new web design for your glorious site. You’re no longer good to go if your website simply boasts functionality in a conventional design layout. It’s not enough to make something that just looks pretty anymore.

Ever-expanding tools make web design a constantly changing digital medium that can and should be regularly updated to remain relevant.

As always, visuals are the first thing that will draw someone into your site. Your homepage and landing pages need to grab users’ attention with striking visuals.

Font choice has always been important for good design, and that’s not changing in 2018. However, the rise of typography, typeface design, and custom fonts will continue to take center stage.

Except for Internet Explorer (crossing my fingers for its death), most browsers can support CSS-enabled custom typefaces. Contrasting sans serif with serif fonts for large lettered headings is newly popular, as well as color and variable fonts.

Bold, vibrant, and saturated color schemes are on the rise as well since advances in monitors mean designers are no longer stuck with web-safe color palettes.

Custom illustration is another growing trend, with product and marketing design prominently featuring tailored illustration to match brand tone.

Broken grid and asymmetry have become more popular too, shaking up more traditional layouts. Just make sure to keep the layout clean, or you risk offending your viewer’s delicate design sensibilities. And please, despite trends, avoid brutalist web design, please, it’s awful.

Speaking of design sensibilities, gradient is making a comeback. But like, in a cool way with subtle fading and complimentary color. Shout out to this fun original web throwback revival.

However, looks aren’t everything. If your site is not offering user-friendly, updated functionality, you’ll fall behind the curve.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) elements aren’t new tech, but their rise in popularity due to their rapid progress can’t be ignored. While these are more relevant to mobile apps, elements can be incorporated into site design as well.

Mobile-first design still dominates (duh) as mobile browsing continues to overtake desktop use, so make sure your site plays nice on-the-go too or risk alienating mobile users.

Using speech as search tool came into play as devices like Alexa and Google Home have people searching using full sentences instead of keywords. Optimizing your site’s content to allow search with speech can put you ahead of the game as the world of SEO evolves.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage too, with more sites implementing smart chatbots to handle customer service and frequently asked questions. AI can also help with voice-based search using natural language processing technology.

As animation and micro-interactions become more advanced, combining form and function for delightful surprises are another rising trend in 2018

Particle backgrounds solve performance issues with video backgrounds by utilizing Javascript to create movement without taking forever to load. The animations make movement a natural part of the background, enticing viewers with motion graphics that don’t affect loading time.

Integrated animation engages users too, using smaller animations and graphics for abstract or concrete concepts. Your site could feature graphics that animate during a load page, or appear when users hover over a link, scroll, or as the main focus of the page.

Micro-interactions can set your website apart from others using more complex visuals, skilled animation, and seamless data transfer. Implementing fun on/off toggles, load status indicators, and light animation when like buttons are pressed can delight users and keep them engaged with your site.

Try out some of these trending changes on your site for 2018 and watch the users roll in.

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Business Marketing

Facebook adjusts how much repeat video views matter

(MARKETING) For video creators and marketers alike, Facebook updates can mean a world of difference. What’s new now?

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mid-roll facebook video

For Facebook Video, intent and repeat viewership matter. Recently, Facebook updated video distribution methods to build more effective monetization tools and improve viewing experiences for users, namely regarding video distribution, ad breaks, and pre-roll.

Most video watching on Facebook takes place in the news feed, making this a great place to reach target audiences. It is the primary hub of activity, featuring status updates, photos, app activity, and video posts.

New ranking methods promote videos people seek out or want to return to, like serial episodes from creators regularly publishing content. Partners fostering communities by actively posting weekly or daily content get a boost as well.

If content publishers link a Show Page with their regular Page, they can distribute episodes directly to followers. This makes it easier to maintain and grow audiences, connecting users with relevant content.

However, although New Feed is a popular zone for creators and publishers, Facebook expects video engagement to eventually move to Watch, the platform for shows. In Watch’s Discover tab, shows people come back to will be prioritized for more convenient access.

After all, News Feed isn’t the easiest place to go for returning viewers since they have to sift through a constantly changing barrage of status updates. Watch offers a place more akin to YouTube, where episodes and content are contained in one place.

Creating a Facebook Group for the show adds another level of engagement, providing viewers a social viewing experience to connect with other fans.

Putting videos and content in an appealing, easily accessible area makes your viewers likelier to stick around. Grouping similar content will encourage binging, keeping your viewers in one place to engage with your content.

If content is difficult to find, or re-find when showing friends, it’s less likely to spread.

Revisions to Ad Breaks will hopefully drive up engagement as well. Previously, videos were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were at least 90 seconds, and the ad could show up as early as twenty seconds into the video.

Starting in January, videos must be at least three minutes long to have an Ad Break, and the break won’t come until at least one minute has passed.

Although Ad Breaks benefit content creators with a share of the revenue, disruptions to already short videos can drive users away. Delaying the break may improve viewer satisfaction, keeping people watching longer.

Creators now have an Ad Break insights tab to better understand video monetization performance, tracking impressions and clicks per minute.

Additionally, Pages with over fifty thousand followers can now have Live Ad Breaks. Smaller Pages and Profiles aren’t eligible since Facebook determined these publishers are less likely to comply with their monetization guidelines. Plus, their audiences are typically smaller, meaning it’s more difficult to gain significant revenue from Ad Breaks.

Facebook also plans on testing six second pre-roll ads, but only in places like Watch since viewers are already actively seeking out this content.

Combining metrics tracking insight and updated distribution tactics with intentionally crafted content may promote repeat viewership, leading to more success for publishers.

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Business Marketing

How Snapchat earns over $1M a day on just one lil’ feature

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon, giving Snapchat more and more money – but what little feature rakes in so much cash!?

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snapchat 3d filters

Although Snapchat is still struggling to net a profit, they make a million dollars a day with branded AR lenses. If Snapchat can remain crazy popular with its users, this may help the company get out of its revenue slump.

Snapchat’s shares dropped 22 percent since their March IPO, and their Q3 earnings saw a revenue loss of $0.14 per share with the slowest user growth ever. But there’s still growth, and Snap has never really been profit focused anyways.

CEO Evan Spiegel certainly isn’t worried, publicly at least. Spiegel’s product strategies have been mirrored by Facebook and Instagram, and a huge chunk of teens prefer Snapchat over these other social media giants.

Which is why Snapchat can charge upwards of one million dollars a day for augmented reality lenses. Snap’s popularity, especially among teens and young adults with disposable income and social influence, bodes well with media agencies.

AR lenses are one of many features offered on Snapchat, allowing users to superimpose augmented reality images on pictures and videos. If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, the dancing hotdog is a testament to how easily an AR lens can turn into a meme.

In September, Snapchat introduced sponsored 3D World Lenses, giving advertisers the opportunity to feature targeted campaigns on the platform. Bladerunner 2049 was the first campaign at the launch, and since then Budweiser, BMW, and McDonalds have jumped on the bandwagon.

Pricing varies depending on when the lens goes live, if it’s a “premium” day like a holiday or anticipated movie release, and the targeting criteria of the agency. If a lens is specific to a region, for example, it’s not going to cost as much as a nationwide campaign.

In a report from Digiday, one NYC-based ad executive stated AR lenses are currently Snap’s most expensive ad product, and for some agencies it’s offered as a standalone purchase. Others reported Snapchat offered a “holistic media-buying plan,” including stickers and filters as well as AR lenses.

James Douglas, SVP and Executive Director of social media for Society explained Snapchat Ads are all about media negotiation, with some of his clients signing annual media contracts, while others may try out shorter stints.

“If it’s a well-known consumer packaged goods company, Snapchat may quote $200,000 for an AR lens, but not on a premium day,” he stated. “Snapchat is very flexible to negotiate media investments with agencies, and I like that.”

According to a Snapchat spokesperson, the base price for a 3D lens running up to 12 months is $300,000. However, the final price depends on if the lens is based on audience impressions or a national takeover on a premium day.

While the AR lenses are not necessarily driving sales for featured brands, users are completely engaged with lenses. Featured lenses are widely shared among users, and screenshots of particularly popular, interesting, or funny lenses end ups shared on other social media platforms.

Even if the lens is being mocked, that still leads to impressions since ultimately the ad is being spread when people send Snaps to friends and feature lenses in Snapchat Stories.

Right now, Snapchat is doing all the engineering for AR lenses. Agencies provide the ad assets and Snapchat creates the lens. Future plans involve opening up creation to select brands, as Spiegel announced in November.

Snapchat is testing a pilot program with Lens Studio, a self-service toolkit allowing advertisers to create their own lenses in as little as an hour. Eventually Snap plans on offering the AR toolkit to advertisers for free, but for now it’s only available to top clients.

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