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Are you joining the conversation?



One of my favorite people and mentor (Paul Chaney) was being interviewed last week about Real Estate Blogging by non other than MarketingSherpa and dropped a line at Facebook asking some questions to a few blogging Realtors.

Keep in mind that Paul was co-author of Realty Blogging and not only is a social networking guru, but a super nice guy. (Sorry Richard for always leaving you out)

Little did I know that my very impromptu answers would turn into rocking link love (thank you Paul). But most importantly it shows how the ball rolls in this intertwining web point something world.

We blog, we share, we pay attention, we reciprocate, we have a little fun (please don’t be so serious) and things turn out beautifully!

A perfect example is – Lani introduced us to RealSeekr a couple of weeks ago and I will admit I was hesitant of yet another real estate listing site. I could not have been more wrong. As soon as I visited I got a personal e-mail from the founders (Gia and Grant Freer), then a phone call, soon we were chatting and laughing in Twitter and then I was fortunate enough to spend some time this past weekend with them on our boat making fun of Grant’s English accent (squall and all). 🙂

So what am I talking about here?

Go out of your way to welcome somebody, to help out in any way you can. Open your mind to the possibilities that this Internet World is opening to us – connect with old friends. Don’t be so methodical and don’t strategize your every move. By joining the conversation you are opening up to a world that is so powerful that it will make your head spin!…….just wait.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and 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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  1. BawldGuy Talking

    June 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Amen and Happy Anniversary. 🙂

  2. ines

    June 19, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Awww! Thanks Jeff….that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

  3. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    June 19, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better!!! By being a connector, your own network gets bigger with each relationship either you engage in or you help others to. It’s a lot of fun personally but has turned out to be tremendously beneficial in business!

    It’s fun to play-fight on Twitter, to teach each other inappropriate emoticons on skype (thanks Gia & Grant) and to learn more about each other through blogs. Social media is great for the social minded AND for those who are *learning* to be social minded. 🙂

  4. ines

    June 19, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Lani – sometimes I wonder if those friends in my computer are real, can’t wait to meet you in person and btw….you are “THE” connector.

    now off to teach some unsocials some twitter moves 😉

  5. Chris Shouse

    June 19, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Love this post I feel so close to some of the people I meet on line and if I could help in any way I would. But people help me all the time and I am so grateful for the help I get. I learn so much from this group and I love ya all. Happy Anniversary Ines:)

  6. ines

    June 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Hi Chris – thank you! I think it will be an awesome day, already feel it.

    I think you have captured the spirit of what I’m talking about – the fact that we can post a question on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pownce or where ever and get immediate answers – people jumping in and sharing – it’s truly amazing. I don’t know if you read but today I video talked to an old friend I had not heard from in over 10 years through skype (she’s in Spain and was right in front of me within reaching distance!)…….I never knew I would love technology so much.

  7. Jamie Geiger

    June 20, 2008 at 12:16 am

    What a great post and really hits home, as a newer blogger- I am trying to come out of my “lurking” shell- I learn so much from everyone everyday and hope that I can help others in the future. This community is so unselfish and always willing to teach and share. Thank you Ines for the encouraging words and I will continue to work on my social ways. Happy Anniversary to you and Rick.

  8. Jeff Turner Says Amen

    June 20, 2008 at 12:27 am

    And again I say, Amen.

  9. Gia & Grant Freer

    June 20, 2008 at 4:31 am


    Through tweeting, skyping and overall connecting, we have made some wonderful friendships that we know will last. It is all about connecting with others, learning from them, hearing their suggestions, teaching them new things on skype (Lani…LOL) and overall having fun.

    Grant and I hope you and Rick have a wonderful anniversary! Besos a los ninos!


  10. Bill Lublin

    June 20, 2008 at 5:14 am

    Ines – Interesting post – It did however make me feel stupid (an easy task) – after following Paul on twitter ,friending him in some other venues , and “speaking” with him, I hadn’t connected him with “Realty Blogging” – I just knew him as a bright and pleasant guy who knew stuff.

    I do wonder though, are the people we hang with in these venues so pleasant on so many levels because we were lucky, or are really social pleasant people attracted to the “mean streets” of twitter and facebook etc? Surely there are other people there besides the brunette queen of all media , the Tan Princess of Miamism, the Photo Queen of St Paul or the Barefoot Countessa of WV? Do they just hang in different neghborhoods then we do?

    A question for the ages…

  11. Mack in Atlanta

    June 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

    Ines, If I ever get to south Florida or if you ever get to Atlanta I want to buy you a drink. You along with so many others here are an inspiration.

  12. ines

    June 20, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Jaime – Lurking Shell? no way! you are doing a great job and you are definitely connecting – it obviously comes easy to you – thanks for the anniversary wishes!

    Jeff – “poke”

    Bill – YESSSSsssss! (I made you feel stupid – do I get a prize or at least a side of something with that?)
    You are a trip my friend and have the ability to make people laugh and enjoy the conversation. As for Luck……it seems to me that all the people you mentioned have good social skills….in twitterland and beyond (I think) 😉

    Mack – if would be a pleasure to hang out with you! I will expect that drink if I’m ever in Atlanta.

  13. Paul Chaney

    June 20, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Ines, you’re a dear. Thanks for those kind words. And, btw, it’s ok to leave Richard’s name out. 🙂

  14. Ines

    June 20, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Gia & Grant – you were stuck in spam! na na na na na! 🙂 …and seriously, you are doing a great job of adding personal service to a market that really needs it – Kudos to you both!

    Paul – LOL! Just talked to Natalie from MarketingSherpa (thank you) – you are a great guy with untouchable ethics and a glowing spirit, thanks for everything you’ve done for me.

  15. Paula Henry

    June 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    I welcome the opportunity to someday meet many of the faces I see through my computer screen. I feel as if I know many of you already. It truly is a powerful connection!

  16. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 21, 2008 at 6:05 am

    The short sighted people are all about “spammin’ and jammin'” for short terms gains (through links, publicity, etc). And while that may have its place and usefulness, people with a bigger picture in mind realize that its really all about creating relationships with others – and it goes beyond just hitting up potential customers. Relationships are where its at.

  17. ines

    June 21, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Paula – I totally agree

    Jennifer – sometimes I wonder if those spammers are just new to the medium and need to be taught manners or if they just have poor people skills. Sometimes we forget that although we may be doing business through a computer, those people skills are very important and sometimes more difficult to put across because or writing can be misinterpreted.

    I recently found a local woman and blogger write a statement in a forum about one of our listings and mentioned it in twitter – she later found the twitter stream and got offended and felt we were talking about here behind her back. It’s not an easy one, that’s for sure.

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Business Marketing

The rise of influencer marketing and its effect on digital marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) More businesses are planning to invest a larger part of their marketing budgets on more relatable, branded content and influencer marketing.



Influencer speaking to camera for marketing segment.

The digital age has created more savvy consumers, and the barrage of advertising on top of the plenitude of content online can be a lot. Many consumers have learned to hide ads or they simply scroll past them to their content of choice. Most business owners know that digital marketing is a crucial part of any ad strategy, and branded content and influencer marketing continues to grow in the market, because consumers see that it’s different from traditional advertising.

Hardly anything stayed the same in 2020, and traditional advertising also has shifted. Advertiser Perceptions reported on the trend for 2021, based on a survey from late 2020.

“More than half of advertisers using paid branded content and influencers say doing so is more critical than it was a year ago. Throughout the second half of 2020, 32% increased spending on branded content and 25% spent more to back influencers. They’re now putting 20% of their digital budgets into the complementary practices, which is more than they put into any other digital channel (paid search is 14%, display 13%, paid social 12%, digital video 12%).”

The benefits of branded and influencer content are that you are speaking to the consumer where they already are, when you choose an influencer. The people who follow their accounts are more likely to trust that the influencer would only share something they like or use themselves. The best matches are when the influencer marketing fits nicely into the kind of content, the voice, and any specialties they already deal with.

The word “influencer” as well as the concept rubs some people the wrong way. Marketers see the value, though, as influencer marketing can be effective if done well, and the cost to hire them is often less than a traditional ad campaign. If I want to know about food in a city, I’ll follow the hashtags until I find a local food blogger or micro-influencer whose style I like. Then I’ll seek out those restaurants when I visit. Sure, some of the meals are comped, but the truth is that food bloggers and influencers like to share their food recommendations. I have been influenced this way more than once, and not only for food. I am not alone in this, either, which is why it’s an important part of a marketing strategy.

In influencer marketing, the content creator is then given free rein to create within their own style, voice, and persona. They need to connect with their audience in an authentic, familiar way without creating a dissonance for their followers between their public page(s) and the brand. The level of trust is fairly high with influencer marketing, and many influencers realize that promoting something crappy or something outside of their area of expertise or recognition hurts everyone involved.

The power of storytelling comes into play here, as with all good advertising. Branded content is specifically all about the story, often the story of the business’s philosophy or some lifestyle aspect that goes with the brand’s vibe–or is so off that it goes viral. Some branded campaigns join into or build off of conversations already happening in the wider world. The purpose is to have people engage with the brand, with the content, build awareness, encourage conversations, sharing, comments, all with the long term goal of fostering a positive image of the brand so that down the line, they will become consumers.

Think of 2004 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, based on a study showing that around 2% of women saw themselves as beautiful. The widely studied, award-winning campaign featured women of all backgrounds and body types, without airbrushing and Photoshopping them into a narrow vision of “beauty.” While some people hated it, many loved it and applauded the brand for treading into traditionally uncharted waters. Among haters, fans, and people who weren’t sure what to think, the Dove Real Beauty branded content campaign generated conversations. The campaign also encouraged women to feel good about themselves and lift up other women. One could argue that the campaign you could argue that the Real Beauty campaign was a forerunner to the currently popular body positivity movement, which started gaining traction around 2012. Dove increased sales by at least $1.5 billion in the first ten years the branded content campaign ran.

The goal of branded content is to raise awareness of the brand, but the path from point A (creating the content) to point B (brand awareness, ultimately leading to better sales) is not a straight line. Brands are paying attention to grabbing attention, aka building brand awareness via more upper funnel marketing than lower funnel.

One thing that marketers are looking for now, however, is almost eliminating the funnel. With the mind-boggling increase in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, clickable sales capability becomes important in any kind of marketing, including influencer and branded content. It pays to listen to customers, to find an influencer who meshes with your brand’s purpose, and to create thoughtful branded content that isn’t out of line with your core product or service.

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Business Marketing

Need design help? Ask a Designer offers free peer-review for better design

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Good design is more than just slapping some fonts and colors together. Ask a Designer promises free design advice on their new website.



A white sign in an urban setting reading "In Design We Trust" with glowing yellow lights above.

With the necessity to create and maintain an online presence for our businesses nowadays, content creation is essential. One impact this proliferation of content has had on entrepreneurs, bloggers, and small businesses is that many non-designers have had to take a stab at design work. Sometimes this works out for the amateur designer, but often it could be better: More effective, accessible, and appealing. This is where Ask a Designer comes in.

Creating designs online can be fun, but your average Canva, Squarespace, or WordPress user, for example, has no more of a sense of design than the man on the moon. Design work encompasses so much more than just slapping some words on a stock photo and calling it a day. While there are truly incredible and helpful free or inexpensive DIY design and business tools out there, nothing beats the power of knowledge and experience.

Ask a Designer provides one more level of professional review and counsel before a business owner puts their DIY (or even paid) design work out there for the world to see—or worse, not see. As a writer, I have always valued editorial reviews, comments, and feedback on my writing. Second eyes, third eyes, and more almost always serve to improve the content. It makes business sense to get as much feedback as possible, even better to get expert feedback.

For example, an experienced web designer should have a good idea of how to incorporate and test for UX and UI purposes, thus making the user interaction more functional and pleasant. A skilled graphic designer knows what colors go together for aesthetic appeal, accessibility, and even the psychology behind why and how they do.

Take logos. Pick a color, image, and font you like, and go for it, right? I’m afraid not. There is a lot of data out there on the science and psychology of how our brains process logos. There are examples of logo “fails” out there, as well. Consider the uproar over AirBnB’s logo that many thought evoked genitalia. Or the raised eyebrows when Google changed their color scheme to one similar to Microsoft’s palate. Just search for “logo fails” online to get an idea of how a seemingly innocent logo can go horribly wrong. I haven’t linked them here, because they would need a trigger warning, as many of the worst examples can be interpreted as some sort of sexual innuendo or genitalia. Searchers, be warned.

It always makes good business sense to use professional designers when you have the option, just as it makes sense to use professional writers for copywriting and professional photographers for photography. After all, if you have the chance to get something right the first time, it saves you time and money to do so. Rebranding can be difficult and costly, although sometimes rebranding is necessary. Having a designer review your design (whether logo, WordPress, blog, or other) could possibly help you from missing the mark.

How does Ask a Designer work, and is it really free? It’s super easy—almost like designers had a hand in it! Know what I mean? First, you go to the website or app and enter your question. Next Ask a Designer will assign your question to the appropriate type of designer in their network. Within 48 hours, they’ll get back to you with feedback or an answer to your design question.

While Ask a Designer is available to anyone to use, the website suggests it is especially helpful for developers, teams, junior designers, and business and product owners. They suggest, “Think of us as peer-review in your pocket.” The team at Ask a Designer will provide feedback on specific projects such as websites, logos, and portfolios, as well as answer general questions.

Examples of questions on their website give a good idea of the scope of questions they’ll answer, and include the type of feedback they provide. Sample questions include:

  • “How do I choose colors for dark mode?”
  • “I’d love feedback on a logo for a restaurant.”
  • “I’m an industrial design student and I’d like to move into automotive design. What are some resources that can get me to where I need to be?”
  • “Please send me some feedback on [website link].”
  • “How can I use my brand fonts on my website?”
  • “I’m a full stack software engineer. Are there any resources you could suggest for me to level up my design or UX skills?”

Ask a Designer is new, and so they currently list 2 design experts, each with 20 or more years of experience in their fields. They promise to add more “desig-nerds” soon. It may sound too good to be true, but from what they state on their website, this expert design review service is free. Considering the other excellent tools out there with some free components out there for business, it is possible that this is true. Whether they will add a more in-depth paid version is yet to be seen. In any case, it’s worth trying out the app or website for your burning design questions and reviews.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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