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What is Social Media’s Shelf Life?

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Virtual Real Estate

We’ve all heard them… You know, the Brokers and agents who disparage the use of technology and more specifically social media in your business practice. The conversation is something to the extent of “Get from behind that computer and go sell!” To an extent I agree. I know that technology is a good venue by which to obtain clients, but it is not the end all, be all of interacting with the consumer. The nature of humanity dictates that we interact with one another; that we have fellowship and contact with another person. If we’ve found a way to combine this need for interaction and the consumer’s desire to use technology to increase their knowledge base, than fantastic! If you really are hiding behind the computer and thinking that the cash will roll in, than you’ve missed the mark.

Study of Human Nature

Social Media is a great asset to a practitioner who has grasped human nature and is actually able to identify a consumer’s need. It’s not a good tool for those who still think that Real Estate is a get rich quick scheme. It requires time and patience to develop the necessary skills and knowledge base to properly execute any aspect of this business proficiently. It’s important to always be studying and researching what is happening in our culture, what trends are developing and how to be on the tip of the sword when it comes to progress. I feel that this is the key element to technology and Social Media in real estate. Is there a shelf life to Social Media? Yes, there is to every good thing; but we simply don’t know what that shelf life is. For some, Open Houses are still an effective means for connecting with clients. Open Houses have been around for generations.

Look to the Future

My advice is to use the tools of here and now, but don’t get stuck in a rut of what “is”, thinking that it is what you’ll need to master and then skate by for the next 20 years. Below is a video called Vision of Students tomorrow that I sometimes use in technology courses. I use it because the students are telling us how they communicate and some of the struggles they have while in college. Many people watch this video and say that it doesn’t apply, since those “kids” can’t buy… Go look at the demographics of buyers today and you’ll quickly realize that these college students will be your buyers in the next 5-10 years. Practitioners need to be forward thinking and while maintaining business today, also be thinking about what they’ll need for to prepare for tomorrow!


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Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Ben Martin, CAE

    June 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Social media as we know it will cease to exist eventually, but the consumer expectations it is ushering in will not. Even now I’m wondering what’s next. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m becoming somewhat bored by facebook, blogging and twitter.

  2. Chris

    June 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I think we have entered an age of constant change. Those who will not adapt to the changes in society will not succeed. The gap between the haves and haves not, will change to who is technically involved and not involved.
    Spring Hill Real Estate

  3. Jayson

    June 17, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    That’s a good video. I’d say social media is here to stay but that social media will change over the years. It looks like the next step is an all inclusive website with social bookmarking, MySpace/Facebook profile pages, search engines, videos, life management tools and much more.

  4. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Typical naivete. What are they learning sitting here? They are learning how to learn. How far would anyone here have gotten without the ability to learn? Who here learned by flipping through channels on cable television, which was the internet before there was an internet? What percentage of internet surfers regularly use the internet to learn something of value?

    You could download the entire Java platform in minutes, for free. You could find tutorials and tips that would enable you to implement Java to create your own web applications. Hands up all those who plan to make use of that wonderful, totally free resource any time soon? Me neither. I learn in classroom settings because it helps me focus and it keeps me accountable.

    The internet can be a wonderful aid to learning, providing the information of a thousand libraries in a matter of minutes, but those who confuse the internet with learning haven’t been paying attention. The internet is still more like cable TV (or 900-chat lines) than college. The kids who smiled about the number of Facebook profiles they will read and the pages of emails they will compose are the reason we are no longer competitive as a society. Many of them won’t be able to afford homes because they will have wasted their educational years on social networking instead of learning how to learn.

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 18, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Really comes down to staying ahead of the curve – either you are a real estate leader, a follower, or a non-factor. Do old school techniques still work? Sure. Print ads, open houses, etc still have some success. But if you turn a blind eye toward other options, you are a dinosaur waiting to become extinct.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    June 18, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Benn – Sorry to hear that you’re getting bored, I thought it might be me. I like Twitter, but honestly I am having issues both reading and writing original posts. I think that writing a local blog is much easier than an industry one. The local areas and growing, changing and gossiping. The industry has the same good and bad points that it’s always had.

    Frank – I too, see them as spoiled brats, but so did the generation before us as they reflected. The issue is that their sphere of influence is evolving just as this class is and they’ll be in a workforce with the same mentalities over time. I think the internet has it’s advantages for relaying information, but I still think a good old fashion classroom with a good instructor is the best learning environment. Even movies and TV shows about the future still have kids sitting in classes together. I just don’t think humans (as a majority) will get over their need for interaction… Good points!

  7. Benn Rosales

    June 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Fyi, Ben Martin wrote that comment, not Benn 😉

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    June 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Whoops! I actually knew that…. it was force of habit 🙂

  9. Bill Lublin

    June 18, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Provoking Post my Commonwealth Chum! 😉

    When I see things like this I feel really old.

    Not because the conversation is so new, but because it is not. The ONLY thing that is constant is change. And the debate over the new versus the old is part of a dialogue that goes back to Socrates complaining about the kids in Ancient Greece. The more things change the more they stay the same –

    I would disagree with Ben, Social Media is a catch phrase for the use of technology to facilitate a process that is as old as man, and a basic part of our herd instinct – networking and communicating. We can’t confuse the medium with the message (regardless of McLuhan’s comment that the medium is the message)- Whether it be parchment, snail mail, e-mail , twitter, blogging, or telepathy Benn will communicate. Though the medium might change, his desire to know more and share what he knows continues. What we do electronically changes the scope and speed of our communications, but not the content as much. And its the content that is most important. Can anyone tell me that Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” is less important then this post because it was printed on paper? (Please note the nod to the great Commonwealth of Virginia)Or that the Magna Carta had less impact because it was written on parchment?

    I enjoyed the video, but the concept that something as basic as needing to accept change is new is a pain – even though I think its true – I’m just amazed that everybody isn’t aware of it yet – can’t we get the word out?

  10. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Matthew, I realize that throughout history, each generation has complained about the decline of civilization even as civilization kept marching forward. At this point in our history, I see a critical difference. We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants. The ability to use the internet to learn Java is real, but the young people using it that way are in Bangalore, not Boston. If you’re trying to look ahead to your client base ten years from now, look at building bridges to highly skilled, highly paid immigrants, because they will be driving our economy. This will be a challenge for an industry that has historically been led by the perspective of old, white men.

  11. Bob

    June 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    That has always been the case. We are a nation of immigrants.

  12. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Bob, I think you’ll find the split towards immigrants and first generation children of immigrants is more dramatic now than it has been in decades. The post-boomer generations have been complacent.

  13. Bob

    June 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Frank, I think complacent is an apt description. We tend to expect opportunity to land in our lap while others seek it.

    Confucius say, “Man who wait for Peking Duck to fly into mouth will soon starve.”

    I think this applies to the narrow 2.0 mindset of some agents as well. The one that says “If I blog, they will come”.

  14. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Bob, several local brokers have expressed frustration with agents whose marketing plan consists of a website and/or blog and waiting patiently by the phone.

  15. Missy Caulk

    June 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Matt, that is a powerful video. As a mother of 3 in college…I would have to agree with alot of it, especially buying those 100 and 200 text books that rarely get opened. Then sell on Amazon for 1.2 price.

  16. Bill Lublin

    June 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    SO three out of four of my my Grandparents were immigrants –
    Their children, went to those colleges, My Mom – Pennslyvania College of Optometry, her sisters , University of Pennsylvania, Derexel University,
    Their Children, Penn State, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rutgers, Temple University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania (again) (and married two immigrants who also attended those schools)
    Their Children; Yale, Princeton, Syracuse, ….
    I think I can stop… these immigrants provided several Doctors, Lawyers, Economists, Business Owners, Professors, Artists, – So what’s the point when you say

    look at building bridges to highly skilled, highly paid immigrants, because they will be driving our economy

    What is new or insightful about that ? The immigrants and children of immigrants in my family helped drive the economy. With the exception of the Native American Population who isn’t an immigrant here? (And even they may have migrated from Asia over the land bridge) –
    Tacky Frank – just tacky

  17. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Bill, I was referring only to the first generation of immigrants and their children, not every single generation that ever descended from an immigrant. You also seem confused about my purpose, which wasn’t to criticize or denigrate immigrants, but to point out that more recent immigrants are driving the economy.

    Here in Santa Clara County we have a very diverse population. Our organized real estate community is also diverse with Asian, Indian, Hispanic, and other affiliate groups modeled along the lines of affiliate groups like the Woman’s Council of Realtors.

    In my time in the industry, several people have privately questioned the purpose of these affiliate groups, posing the rhetorical question “What would they say if we formed a white men’s association of Realtors?”

    I didn’t have the nerve to point out that such organizations have existed for decades, from NAR to the state and local AORs. Affiliates like WCR formed because the needs of their membership were being ignored by the old white men running the business.

    Perhaps it has gotten better, but insiders tell me that we still have a long way to go and I believe it because the rhetorical question above is a direct quote I’ve heard on more than one occaision.

    What does this have to do with my earlier comments?

    Old attitudes about other cultures aren’t going to be competitive in the 21st century, at least not here in Santa Clara County. People who look down their noses at Asians, Indians, and other recent immigrants are going to be missing out on some of the most talented and successful members of our society.

  18. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2008 at 3:56 am

    @Frank;
    Point taken – (I unruffle my feathers and apologize for the misunderstanding) – And I would agree with you, but I think that the “New Americans” have always had the best work ethics, because they usually come from harsher environments, and may not have had the opportunity to improve their situations before. Perhaps they are just more appreciative of what a wonderful place we live

    I agree with your comment about Associations. I belong to NAHREP as well as NAR (no I’m not Hispanic, but you don;t need to be to join, I’m just supportive of Hispanichome ownership – Helck – I think everyone should own real estate) The Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS is a charter member of NAR founded in 1908. In my time I have seen the first Female President and the First African American President (whose term was the year before mine IN THE 1990’S). And thank Goodness things have gotten some better – but there are savants and fools of every type-

    Guess we just need to keep working at- But it was fun trying to remember everyone’s schools and brag on the family a little bit 😉

  19. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Here’s the citation I couldn’t find when I first responded to this post:

    “Two-thirds of the Ph.D.s in engineering awarded by U.S. universities went to non-U.S. citizens.” – Forbes

    Tying it back together, the attitude depicted in the video above is not the attitude of an over-achiever being held back by an antequated educational system, but rather the attitude of the spoiled brat who hasn’t made the connection between the ability to learn and the ability to achieve. Such people may well spend a disproportionate amount of their time on Facebook. They are falling behind.

    Am I disappointed? Nope. It’s human nature.

    I’m grateful that immigrants still see this country as the land of opportunity. We need their desire because our own is lacking, as shown by the statistic above. The forward thinking Realtor should spend as much time developing an appreciation for other cultures as she or he does learning how to blog and tweet.

  20. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Bill, I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to find the Forbes quote when I first responded. It probably would have helped illustrate what I was talking about. My great grandfather used to say “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations”, which was his way of describing how work ethic leads to opportunity which leads to success which leads to complacency over the course of a few generations. When I looked at that video, I saw ignorance and complacency. College isn’t about learning to sit in a seat, it’s about learning how to study, analyze, and learn because your ability to do those things will determine your success over the course of your life.

  21. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Frank – Your Great Grandfather was a smart guy! And I agree completely with your analysis of the college opportunity, but let’s not forget the rest of the experience – football, bars, and parties (I was the Penn State guy obviously!)
    😀

  22. Jay Thompson

    June 19, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Thought I’d add something deep and profound to the conversation here:

    That video kicks ass.

  23. Sue

    June 20, 2008 at 7:50 am

    That was a good video… Obviously those kids are future home buyers and look how they spend their time! I believe its important to keep up with technology. Some of the old school ways work, but the real estate future seems to be constantly changing and evolving. The statistics and comparisons were interesting, really makes you think. I think I got lots more sleep than 7 hours when i was that age…Sad that only 18% of teachers knew the kids name.

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Business Marketing

How ecommerce brands can increase sales, even on tiny purchases

(MARKETING) These tips and tricks are prime ways to boost the dollar amount spent at checkout and close more deals — even on the tiny purchases!

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online sales

There are many marketing techniques aimed at acquiring new customers. Makes sense, right? More customers, more money. But how do you increase sales with your existing customer base? The Average Order Value (AOV) = Total Revenue/# of Transactions. This number is important because it indicates how much each customer is buying. Here are some ways to increase your AOV:

First, it’s crucial to appeal to human nature. People like things for free. So, by setting a minimum to receive free delivery, buyers are more likely to continue browsing and eventually buying, in order to avoid the shipping fee. While we all know that spending $50 when I only meant to spend $37 isn’t ideal, but I’d rather pay $50 for two products, than $43 for one and shipping. It feels like a better value.

Over half of customers will discontinue their transaction when they found out there are additional costs. MORE THAN HALF. Don’t surprise people the wrong way — we don’t like it.

Second, have you ever been to Costco? Ever left Costco with exactly the amount of food you needed? No, of course, you haven’t. The concept of buying in bulk appeals to our sense of value. Oranges are $1.09 per pound but buy a 10 lb. bag and get it for $8.50. Next thing you know, you’re feeding your child’s soccer team as well as the opponents. Offering a discount on package deals and large quantities at least gets your customers thinking about purchasing more.

We all rationalize the need for a good deal. My roommate used to buy two 12-packs of the giant muffins because “They were on sale.” A discount on a package might entice someone who was looking for a little more variety but was hesitant at first.

Next, recommending products is a great way for customers to lay eyes on new things. Not everyone is a browser — some people go straight to a specific section. By using information from previous purchases and browsing history, showing related, best-selling, or recommended products is an awesome way to generate more clicks and potentially increase sales.

Finally, help us lazy people by including a gift-wrapping option at checkout so that people buying remotely for others out of town can send things directly. In order to wrap, they would have to send to themselves, wrap, then send again or deliver to the receiver. The former sounds like it’s worth $6.99 to me!

In conclusion, there are always ways to boost sales with your existing, loyal, customers. If buyers are only purchasing one thing at a time, reflect on why this is. Perhaps a few sweeteners or additional opportunities could lead to long-term growth. Remember human nature and happy selling!

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Business Marketing

A more environmentally sensitive Pantone color of the year

(MARKETING) Why is Pantone’s coral color causing a ruckus? Marketing is just marketing, right? Maybe not…

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pantone unofficial color of 2020

Every year Pantone declares the Color of the Year and for 2019, the institute declared Living Coral to be the “it” shade calling it “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” And it totally is. Imagine bright red orange swimming in a sea of crystal blue water.

Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman even goes so far as saying it that Living Coral was what “consumers craved” and that it incites “human interaction and social connection” which might be a stretch. It is just a color after all.

However, some found this messaging to be anything but convivial and well, off-color.

Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, partners at Jack and Huei, a Melbourne-based design agency, took umbrage with this decision and for good reason.

Their native Australia has front-row seats to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef and for them, coral is anything but lively. If anything, it’s on life support.

To call attention to the tone-deaf decision, the duo preemptively christened Bleached Coral as the Color of the Year 2020.

Touche.

The duo furthered their burn, saying, “It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change.”

Oof, way to pull back the curtain, guys.

As much of a buzzkill as this pair might be, they’re not wrong, and they bring up the larger question of social responsibility in marketing.

But it’s just marketing, right?

Wrong. The very root of marketing is aspirational. We see ads for luxury cars, we imagine ourselves behind the wheel and believe that maybe we can get there. We see beauty products that promise flawless ageless skin and maybe we decide to take better care of our skin. We see Living Coral and we’re blinded to the reality that the coral just might be a thing of the past.

Yes, Pantone’s Color of the Year is one of those fun end-of-year things we in marketing get excited about, but when you’re living in a world where climate change is our reality and we see it in unnatural weather patterns and the dying off of one of our greatest natural treasures, it’s time to take pause. We can do better.

These days it’s hard to please everybody. Try as we might to make everything for everyone, if we’re going to attempt to talk about a unifying the human race through color, we sure as hell shouldn’t choose a color that reminds us all that our environment is in rough shape and it’s largely humanity’s fault. Bleached Coral isn’t the color we need, but right now, it’s the color we deserve.

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Business Marketing

Genius: How a Yoga studio is using AI to help the masses

(MARKETING) Here’s an interesting case study in how yoga, a 5,000+ year industry is using modern technology.

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yoga

Yoga is everywhere. From small town strip mall studios and big city meccas with guidance from YouTube gurus to Instagram-able practice with goats. If monitoring your breaths and balancing your body is your thing, it’s not out of reach.

However, despite its ubiquity, getting into yoga can be intimidating.

Sure, you’ve picked up a mat at Target, you’ve purchased all the Lululemon pants and Outdoor Voices bras, but actually getting on the mat and moving your body can be overwhelming if you’ve never practiced before.

Well, Would-Be-Yogis, push those fears and worries out of your mind, take three deep breaths and get on the mat, because you’re about to start posing at your pace.

Introducing the YogaBot from Austin’s own Yoga Yoga. It’s a fascinating case study in how a 5,000+ year old industry is using modern technology.

Over the past 20 years, Yoga Yoga has guided thousands of yoga students from their first class all the way through advanced teacher training and now, to help improve students choose the right path for themselves, they’ve created Design Your Yoga.

With the intention of helping new and advanced students achieve their yoga goals, Design Your Yoga is an automated experience that begins on their landing page.

Once you arrive, the bot asks you if you’d like to “Design Your Yoga.” After an initial greeting, the bot begins by getting to know your skill level.

Asking a very straightforward, “Have you done yoga before?” you are then offered nine responses ranging from “Never” to “I am a yoga therapist.”

Once you answer, you are asked further questions regarding what you’d like to achieve from your practice, what styles you’re familiar with, and when and where you’d like to practice among a few others. At the end, the bot will ask for your email address to send you a customized yoga plan. Easy peasy.

Their algorithm has thousands of possible combinations promising to make each yogi’s practice results unique to them.

“For years we’ve been working on ways to better personalize our services to the needs of each individual student. Design Your Yoga is our solution to delivering an exceptional user experience with a plan a student can follow and stick with,” said Yoga Yoga CEO Rich Goldstein.

Landing page bots are nothing new, and more often than not, they’re annoying as hell. However, this one actually seems helpful, which is refreshing.

From a marketing standpoint, Yoga Yoga CMO Marc Lefton said, “As marketers in a city as creative and entrepreneurial as Austin, we wanted to make sure we use every tool we can to bring yoga students the information they need as fast as possible.”

He’s not wrong. It worked. After trying it out for ourselves, we can’t help but be a little more ready to get on the mat. First, we’re going to need to put down the tacos.

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