For the better part of a year now, the RE.net (I loathe that name, btw) has been all abuzz over this concept termed “web2.0.” On the other hand, for the better part of the same year, the underlying question has remained- why? Why am I blogging, what is the point of social media- why?Blogging, and other social media such as video, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin have all been pressing in the face of those not only in real estate, but in all facets of business today- the “Why?” still remains as making the connection seems fruitless, but yet many in our profession have realized the short term sweet success of a new contact here and there, and a client once or twice, while others have tapped in to a longterm, more lucrative success story of using such media- but even then, many times it may appear it’s sheer luck, or is it? You beg the question, “Why?” are they successful?
Then & Now.
In real estate, for 100 years agents have been spoon-fed basic fundamentals of marketing and advertising. Few have questioned it because it seems to have worked for years, regardless of its corny nature. The simple, cookie-cutter approach to drawing business, although highly priced, seems to have an R.O.I. that is tangible to some degree, so it feels okay to get and stay on board until it doesn’t and suddenly we all ask the same question- “Why?”
Well, maybe you feel the need to debate the merits of marketing and advertising, understanding generational marketing, the study of who responds to what and why, but those in the know do not. Those that spoon fed you that corny 1.0 marketing in the past cannot spoon feed you what is apparent today. Why? Because its not 100 years old. The fact is, it’s very young, and so is the demographic that built and designed it. It is that organic reality that leaves many to appear naive in balking it as the reality of this new emergence of consumer enters the marketplace with an entirely new perspective on how they wished to be reached, educated, and yes, sold.
Tomato versus Tomato.
I remember a spelling bee where I had to learn to spell ‘influenza’ and looking at my mother and asking why she called it the ‘flu.’ Maybe it was easier to spell, maybe folks were lazy, or maybe that was just the term most would recognize. I still call it the flu today, but am well aware of the actual defined medical term of the flu. I am also aware of the varied symptoms of having the flu, some may experience pain behind the eyes, others may not, but the underlying illness remains, the flu- you just don’t get hung up in the details, you simply drink lots of fluids, regulate the fever as best you can, sleep as much as possible and see a physician. One could add a new symptom to the flu and suddenly you have a new strain- physicians and the like will adapt treatments but few would debate the merits of whether you call it the flu or influenza.
Folks may very well believe what they do in relation to real estate marketing is in fact marketing and advertising, but few really understand the key elements of even an actual post card. The color blue that was once popular in the 1990s is no longer the color that is modern today, but most actually do not get that it doesn’t really matter the shade of blue, but the color blue itself is the relevant factor- blue takes you off guard, relaxes you, calms you. If your goal is to excite the A.D.D side of a buyer and build enthusiasm and excitement over a product and demand action of the reader, red is maybe your answer. In fact, the psychology of color to some would seem so under the radar and so 1.0, but a truth is that color is the point and this fact will remain. All the words on a postcard matter not if you’ve not drawn the reader- it is the impact of the presentation and capturing the attention of the consumer to even get them to read the words on the card that are the goal. Some may call it over thinking something, but that’s because you’ve never thought to think about why 1.0 worked in the first place- that’s okay because you’ve been spoon fed by folks paid to do the thinking for you.
Blending your approach to transcend is the step after understanding who you’re blending for. Boomers, X’ers, or millennials all have the same goal in mind when setting out to buy a home. The Why? factor is reaching a varied audience and still being successful in the delivery of your message. Using social media isn’t the the end, it’s another means to the sames ends. However, knowing who is in the social stream will simply tell you how to tailor your message in a way that has meaning to those in the stream. Grabbing their attention, holding them in place, while guiding them to a powerful landing statement which is your product.
Whether you get it or not we’re going to continue deeper and deeper into how we see other companies outside of real estate are using social methods of marketing and advertising and relate it back to our own profession. Anyone that reads me knows I do not buy into one method or the other, I actually prefer to blend them because I believe today that what is attractive to Generation Why? is equally attractive for different generations for different reasons. The fact is, what is new and fresh transcends all lines eventually if you have a clue where those lines are.
Audio branding: Is this the next big boost in brand recognition?
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Brands have invested heavily in audio branding in 2021, here’s how that is changing up the branding rankings for businesses.
Media consumption and engagement with brands across digital platforms is increasing, according to sonic branding agency amp; and companies investing in audio branding are creating a significant competitive advantage. The Best Audio Brands (BAB) index created by amp uses 5 key criteria to measure audio investment performance: Customer recognition, customer trust, customer experience, customer engagement and customer belonging. The agency claims that companies investing in high quality audio assets for their brands have gained ground by establishing a recognizable audio identity.
Michele Arenese, amp CEO said, “Making a brand heard is more important than ever before. The past 18 months have accelerated the importance of sound and voice as vital elements of the brand identity and customer experience toolbox. Meaningful and purposeful brand communication takes advantage from a ownable and authentic sound ecosystem.”
For the second consecutive year, Mastercard ranked highly across all key criteria measured by the BAB and topped the list. Other brands that fared well on this year’s index were Netflix, which moved up 27 places by using it’s famous “ta-dum” more widely and Coca-Cola which collaborated with Tyler the Creator and invested more in bespoke music. In addition, 5 new brands to make the top 10 this year were Audi, Mercedes, Netflix, Hyundai and Siemens. The highest climbing brands were in the financial sector: HSBC, American Express and J.P. Morgan. The highest climbing sector, however, was beverages followed by automotive. Brands that dropped in the rankings this year were Google, Amazon, Colgate, Goldman Sachs, and Danone.
Björn Thorleifsson, Head of Strategy & Research, amp said: “This year has shown that those who were already embarking on their sonic branding journeys have increased their lead on trailing rivals – now clearly falling behind. Given the evolving ability of sound to reach consumers whatever the device or channel they’re on, we expect to see increased investment from brands looking to stand out amongst the online noise. There are already best practice examples from leaders, such as Mastercard, and we’d encourage those who want to improve brand recognition and even performance, to adopt a little less conversation on sonic branding, and a little more action.”
Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?
(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.
The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”
Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.
Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.
Four-Day Workweek Trials
In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.
“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.
Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.
With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.
“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.
However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.
The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.
What’s in store for 2021?
Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.
“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.
The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.
For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.
Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.
If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.
But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.
“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.
10 easy steps to get into Instagram marketing
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want to up your social media marketing game? Start better with Instagram for your business using these easy tips to quickly get established.
When Instagram first came on the scene, it was simply a place to share pictures of your cat or a pie that you just baked. While it still is a place for that kind of content, it has also grown into a platform where one can influence others and build an empire.
So, if you’re looking to step up your social media marketing game through use of Instagram, look no further than using these 10 steps from Neil Patel.
- Switch to a business profile: This is super easy and can be done in just a few clicks. Switching from a personal to a business profile gives a better look at your followers through Insights, allowing you to see analytics and impressions. It also adds a contact feature that takes a visitor right to an email draft to you – just like it would on your website. All this and it makes it possible to publish ads.
- Use free marketing tools: Because Facebook owns Instagram, they operate kind of similarly. As mentioned in #1, Insights allows for a deep dive into personalized analytics to see what kind of posts are clicking with your audience and which aren’t. That way, you know what kind of content to continue with and what to do away with.
- Post product teasers: There are a variety of ways to do this, including posting about flash sales or linking business platforms that sell your product to make it easier for your customer to shop. The trick here is to not be pushy, but instead be enticing and make the post convenient for your consumer.
- Create a sponsored ad: Like Facebook, you can post ads and include a specific budget of what you want to spend. You can showcase one ad or multiple with the carousel feature. You can also target the exact demographic you’re looking to hit.
- Instagram stories: These last 24 hours and don’t have to be as “fancy” as a regular post. Give followers a glimpse into your brand with behind-the-scenes shots, polls, fun questions, etc. Make them feel like they’re part of the experience and use this as a way to tell your brand’s story.
- Partner with influencers: Work out a deal with influencers who have a decent following. Send them one of your items in exchange for them posting a photo of the item and tagging your brand. This will reach their whole followership and build your credibility.
- Collect user-submitted photos: Share photos posted by customers loving on your brand or product. Either share them to your story, or use a regram app to repost customer photos to your feed. It’s basically free advertising for your product.
- Hashtags: Come up with an interactive hashtag solely for your brand. Think in terms of verbs (a la Nike’s “Just Do It”). It can be punny or practical, but something that people attribute to your brand and your brand only.
- Timing and over-posting: Look into the best times to post – this is when your users are most active. It will be helpful to use Insights to understand when your time to shine may be. According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. Also, don’t over post. It’s annoying and it’s always best to err on the side of quality over quantity.
- Track the right metrics: Insights do no good if you aren’t looking at the right data. You need to keep tabs on whether or not what you’re doing is increasing your follower growth as well as growth for your interaction. With research, use of Insights and a little trial and error, you’ll get yourself to where you need to be.
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