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Wastebook, the Final Frontier…

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Can you people please stop Facebook real estate postings?

wastebook_tshirt-p235292375328537786tdf9_125No posts about you wanting to help people find a home or what your latest and greatest overpriced listing is helps you. In fact, all you do is blend in or even look bad because that’s all you do. Your post with your 1977 over-photoshopped picture and the wording that says that you are in a certain market does not make people call you. Advertising is about being persuasive, not just throwing out generic blah.

I am sure you spend good money to learn basis social media skills from people who are as creative as a beige rug but guess what?  They got it wrong. Facebook is turning into Wastebook.  What did people do before this?

Think about the other side of the fence.  What do the readers want to read?  What do you want to see when you log in? It probably bothers you that the X-Max Superduper agent team from the Southern Hollie area posts their new listing with nauseating adjectives and a postlet link followed by the next post that tells you what kind of ice cream they are having a Baskin and Robbins.

Who cares?

How about an engaging chat about what can really help a consumer other than “call me about the $8000 tax credit.”    Let them know that a new store is opening nearby, help them understand what is in a contract that they may be signing that could help help, tell them about the history of snakes in the neighborhood (that one’s for you, Sean).

In other words, let people learn from you, not just hear you talk.

Realty Reality! That describes Fred, a sharp witted and outspoken realist for the mortgage and real estate world who has appeared on CNBC and NPR's Marketplace along with being quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Fred is the CEO of U S Spaces, Inc/Arrivva (a real estate brokerage firm in PA, NJ, DE and CA) and U S Loans Mortgage Inc (mortgage brokerage in PA, CA, FL and VA), and serves on the Board of Directors and is the Federal Legislative Director for the UpFront Mortgage Brokers. Fred is also the co-creator of real estate startup Rentscoper.com, a mathematically driven rental search engine. See everything Fred at fredglick.com.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    December 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Agreed

  2. Michelle DeRepentigny

    December 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Tell us how you really feel 🙂 and I too agree!

  3. Eric Hempler

    December 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    It’s not just facebook, but all social media Realtors use. I think the biggest problems is anyone that signs up for these sites doesn’t take the time to study them and figure out if they’re of use and how to use them.

  4. Deb Tabor

    December 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    The problem is that those realtors use FB ONLY for marketing/real estate. I use my FaceBook page to keep in contact with my clients, and the same way everyone else does – my real estate information is only a small part of what I post. If every post I see from you is marketing, it won’t be long before I hide you.

  5. Fred Glick

    December 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    It seems that we are all in agreement.

    How sad.

    I really would like to hear from those that are using it to promote and why.

    Come on, don’t be shy!

  6. Eric Hempler

    December 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Is it possible the ones using facebook incorrectly are also ones not signed up for agentgenius?

    Kind of goes with what I mentioned earlier regarding social media. Sometimes people don’t take the time to read about the site to learn what they can get out of it.

  7. Sean Dawes

    December 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Agree 100%

    Im so sick and tired of spam. Sadly there 5 or less realtors who commented on here make up a small part that actually agree. All too many realtors are spamming the online world. It will come back and bite them later on. Business post 2009 is content and caring driven. These realtors will lose social equity and will allow for the true people to shine.

    Sean

  8. Tyler Wood

    December 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    “In other words, let people learn from you, not just hear you talk.”

    Enough said.

    I try to mix a little of everything on my page.

    Thanks for the post.

  9. Linda Aaron

    December 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Posting listings is not what people want to see on FB or any other social sites, they can easily find company and realtor websites, search portals and now even Google to find listings. All these spammer will achieve by sharing spammy content is to have the very people they are trying to market to un-follow or un-friend or simply hide the posts.

    People, let’s engage in conversation, share knowledge, thoughts and ideas instead.

    Thanks for your post.

  10. John Badalamenti

    December 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I agree. I stopped posting my listings on FB. It’s boring and I don’t believe anyone really cares. What I like about you Fred is you tell it like it is!

  11. Ken Brand

    December 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    What is this $8,000 Tax Credit you speak of? Sorry, it sounded funny in my head, now, not so much.

    I’m with you sorta, spam is spam, BUT, where I would bounce to the right is, it depends on how it’s done.

    I think if a listing was posted straight up with a link and picture it’s boring. If it’s done repeatedly, it’s annoying and counter productive. If it’s done well, with a clever comment or intro, or there really is something unique and the listing post is shared sparingly, then it’s ok.

    As you’ve shared a great way to let people know what you do, is to share information they can use or benefit from. I think it’s smart to let people know that you’re successful, posting an occasional listing or Open House is fine in my book, but you have to be clever and entertaining and conversational and most of all, skip the “call to action”, which turns any sharing and conversation into Spam. (imho)

    In conclusion, I think you’re right, done poorly it hurts all your efforts. More importantly, any and all of your activity on Facebook and other sites should be done with forethought and an over-arching strategy. Ready-Fire-Aim is lame and hurts more than it helps.

    I appreciate your flare for the direct. Amen.

  12. Mark Madsen

    December 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I agree with Linda – If you’re boring or acting like an idiot, people will just un-friend / follow or hide you.

    It might be OK to occasionally update your FB wall with a link to a blog post you’ve written, are proud of and want others to be aware of. But, if you make a habit of spamming your social networking streams with too much noise, people will eventually determine that you don’t value their time or attention.

    Regarding listings – Real Estate designated FB Business Pages tied to a branded property / neighborhood twitter feed could be used to market listings as a means of getting in front of other sellers or a specific target audience of buyers within a niche.

    I’ve seen some of the nice custom Real Estate FB business pages that Mike Mueller has designed, which appear to be more SEO / SEM focused.

    It should be simple common sense that if your business is built on “social networking” activities, then you’ll have to make a conscious effort to be relevant, timely and engaging.

    That’s too much work for me, so I don’t bother much with the relationship building components of social media.

    However, there are several social tech tools and strategies that will allow you to leverage high traffic conversations for the purpose of reaching a larger audience with a specific message, without having to be everyone’s friend on FB or Twitter.

    For example, commenting on this post allows us all to connect and participate in a high level discussion that may have legs if other people reference this link in their social streams, blog posts or emails.

    Either way, this is a great discussion and I look forward to watching it evolve.

    mm

  13. Ken Montville

    December 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    But, Fred, I’ve got this really great listing that all my Realtor Facebook friends need to see. Especially if they’re in California or Alabama or South Dakota or Costa Rica.

    Nik Nik did a piece similar to this on My Tech Opinion and I’ll mention the same thing here that I did there. Yeah — posting listings on Facebook is a pain but it’s not so much that I think I’m going to sell a listing on Facebook. It’s for the Seller during the listing presentation. “Mr. and Ms. Seller, I am a hip and cool Realtor on the cutting edge of real estate marketing which includes putting your house in front of 350,000,000 Facebook users.” I don’t want to be a liar, so I put it up there once.

    Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. ad nauseum don’t do nearly as much for selling my listings as the good ol’ MLS and another Realtor in their role as a buyer’s agent. But Sellers don’t know that. We have to create activity to make them think we’re worth the big bucks and part of that is the newest, latest grooviest thing – social media. And, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, one of my 621 Facebook friends (of which 90% are other Realtors I’ve never heard of) or one of my 1566 Twitter followers (ditto on the Realtor ratio) will see it and create a sale. Kinda like a postcard or a ad in a home magazine.

  14. Sean Dawes

    December 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Ken,

    Bring up a good point. I wonder how many realtors have friends on facebook that they dont even know or get to know. I make sure to engage with all new friends via facebook that i have not met in person to get to know them.

    Because Im not looking to be a number in their friend list.

    Im here to engage

  15. Fred Glick

    December 5, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Ken M,

    What’s an ad in a home magazine? 🙂

  16. Mariana Wagner

    December 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    But what about the people who just LIKE to talk to hear the sound of their voice?? If THEY don’t care if anyone is listening to them, then why should we care if anyone is listening to them? Chances are they don’t even know they are on FacePage, or MyBook, or FaceSpace or whatever other newfangled internet thingy we are talking about …

  17. Mariana Wagner

    December 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    All that aside … I do not think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to “use” social media “tools”.

    Use these tools however works best for you and your goals…. right?

    I DO agree with the message in your post, and ideally, we all want to build the perfect-relationship-storm on these SM sites, but that is a different formula for each person.

  18. Benn Rosales

    December 6, 2009 at 1:19 am

    There’s a really simple fix for all of this and that’s to use real estate networks to orgy on and leave facebook and the lot to friends and family.

    Deep thoughts,
    Jack Handy

  19. Ken Brand

    December 6, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Benn,
    What if your one of those? Your friends and family are your real estate clients (past, present and future) and real-estate is your life style?

    PS. “Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.” ~ Deep Thoughts, Jack Handy

    PS. Thanks for the 1-Click recommendation. Looking forward to laughter.

    Cheers.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 6, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      I’m not really the one that’s complaining, I’m more talking about peeps that want a less professional experience on fb might aughta stay personal in whom they follow- pretty simple really. 🙂

      The bottom line is I’ll unfollow those the compromise my experience, and I suspect anyone that goes above and beyond to violate the space will pretty much end up friendless anyway, and why not? They really werent there for frendship anyway, isn’t that the meat of it all? Opportunist versus casual user?

  20. Ken Brand

    December 6, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Should have been “you’re” not “your”. Ugg

  21. Jim Duncan

    December 6, 2009 at 9:22 am

    All too many realtors are spamming the online world. It will come back and bite them later on.

    Maybe, maybe not. While I’m still in the conceptual stages of my facebook “strategy” but one thing I know is this – spam works. I know it works because the spammy realtors and agents are still in business.

    Consumers – the market – hold some responsibility too.

    If a consumer searches for “realtor in Charlottesville”, sees the top 3 results, two of which are spammy facebook realtors, emails those three and the spammer returns the email the fastest … and then the buyer uses that realtor …

    That realtor has demonstated SEO skills but no real estate skills … if the consumer encourages this behavior, shouldn’t they accept some blame as well?

    I’m all for quality, but I think the message is tried and true – quality counts, but spam (all too frequently) works.

  22. Hal Benz

    December 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I couldn’t agree more!!! Markets are conversations. And people only converse if they’re interested.

    Here’s what I think people should be doing on FB…LISTEN, and comment on what matters to those in your friend list. Build relationships. Do you really think people are going to your FB site to see your listings? Get a grip…

  23. egoldre

    December 7, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I posted a listing on my Facebook fan page a few days ago and got two leads right away. My profile is all personal, my fan page is pretty much all business as per the Terms of Use.

    If my friends want to know what’s going on in local real estate they can become a fan.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting listings on Facebook. I don’t spam them out all the time. I spam more on what crazy thing my two year old said or did.

  24. Mark Washburn

    December 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Fred….Completely agree with your point of view about Realtor spam on FB. A little filtering is a great way to improve your FB experience.

  25. Eric Holmes

    December 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Facebook in and of itself is about spam, see Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. If you think that adding information about a new listing is causing people to shut down the FB accounts then you’re mistaken in my opinion. I

    There’s nothing wrong with letting folks know what you do for a living. If we get a new listing, then I simply make a photo album with information and I post it to my profile. That’s it. I don’t hit everyone with daily updates. I know they don’t care. However, I’ve seen plenty of work not come my way from old friends because I’ve been too passive. I agree content is key, but don’t be shy to let people know that you’re there to help.

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Business Marketing

The secret to crafting consistently high-converting emails?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject LinesThink about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?

    If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.

    The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.

  2. Nail the IntroNever take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.

    It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!

  3. Use VideoEmail might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.

    According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”

    This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.

  4. Keep Eyes MovingThe goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.

    One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.

    One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.

  5. Don’t Ask Too MuchIt can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.

    Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?

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A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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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.

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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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