I had an interesting conversation with Brian Brady yesterday. All of my conversations with Brian have been interesting, lively, enlightening and engaging. We both agree that there are many ways to meet people and build relationships through the internet. I would never make the statement that what works for me is good for every real estate pro who wants a web presence, nor would I suggest that anyone who is not doing the things that I am doing is missing the boat. There are many boats, choose one.
Some would not enjoy posting on a blog every day like I do. I do much more than write a blog. I have a few web sites, a wiki, and belong to at least 20 social networks. I have had internet access in my home since 1991, was one of the first 300 people to sign up for AOL, and participated in social networks when they were bulletin boards and chat rooms. As I explained to Brian none of this is new. (I stopped using AOL after a year when a new product call Netscape navigator 1.0 became available, I received and early beta copy on a floppy disk) I built my first web site in 1996 using navigator Gold 3.0. Did I built the worlds first web site? No, not by a long shot, but I have been at it longer than most and in internet years I am at least a 100 years old.
When I got my very first email account it did not work very well for me because there were not very many people who had email. I used a program called “pine” that was rather crude to say the least. None of my family had email, nor did my friends and neighbors, and neither did my employer. Yet I saw the potential and embraced it. At the time it would not have worked very well in my business.
The picture on this post is an example of participation in a social network and part of a project in the Twin Cities called “Artsy Twin Cities”. For those who have never heard of it Flickr is a social network built around photos, instead of real estate.
Artsy Twin Cities is the brain child of a local resident who has been photographing public art around the metro area. He saw one of my photos on Flickr and asked if he could add it to his collection. I said yes and joined the group. When I joined a few months ago, there were 12 members. Today there are 45 people who belong to the group and who are submitting photos. The groups founder has started using some of my photos on his blog. I am getting to know people in the group and am enjoying the experience.
I belong to other flickr groups as well, including “The Beauty of St. Paul”, a Twin Cities group, an architecture group and more. I started a group of my own, for pictures of snow and cold. Through these groups I share the photos I take and interact with other members. I met a neighbor through Flickr and she is now following me on Twitter.
Recently I uploaded a picture of my dog to share with my daughter. A week later I got an invite to a group for people with pets named daisy. The group has 30 members from all over the country. The photo I took for another reason is out there working for me every day and helping me meet the people who live in my computer and who may be looking for someone just like me to help them with a real estate transaction.
Most people consider Flickr to be an online photo storage site, it is more than that. As amazing as it may sound real estate is not the only basis for forming a social network, and other agents are not the only people who can be found on social networks. In fact I still question the premise that people outside the real estate industry want to socialize with others interested in real estate. Time will tell.
It all sounds time consuming but the truth is most of the photos are used in my blog posts. In my spare time, when I have spare time, and if I get to do what I want to do, I take pictures. That is how I relax.
When I sent Brian an invite to connect through Flickr, he did but his immediate response was to send an email that said “show off!”. That is when I knew that Brian understood what I am doing. It is showing off, or maybe show casing my photos which include sets of photos for my listings, and photos that demonstrate my knowledge of St. Paul and of housing styles.
There is more than one way to interact with others and meet them on interent. Pictures can be a powerful form of communication and are social media. Would I ever suggest that all real estate practitioners need to have a Flickr account to succeed on the internet? No I would not, just like I would not say that real estate pro’s need to have a blog to succeed, or be active on Facebook. There are many ways to meet people and to use the interent, we are only limited by time and imagination.
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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