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Real Estate Marketing

How and why your Instagram profile is suddenly different

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is making changes. Again. It’s time to check in on the proposed updates to make sure you’re making the most of this marketing tool.

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If you’ve logged into your Instagram account over the past week or so, you might have noticed your profile page has been tweaked a bit. On November 21, the social media company announced that it would be “testing ways you can better express yourself and more easily connect with the people you care about on your profile.”

But don’t panic just yet, these most recent changes are relatively minor and are expected to have nowhere near the effect that the company’s algorithmic feed changes have had on influencers and entrepreneurs across the globe.

These new changes seem to be de-emphasizing details such as follower counts and emphasizing stats such as mutual followers in order to create a more “authentic” experience.

The company also promises that these tweaks will not effect anyone’s current photo grids, and this seems to be the case so far. Other changes include a tab devoted solely to IGTV videos for avid users of the stand-alone longform video app, which could be a game-changer for the fledgling platform that launched earlier this year.

The “Grid,” “Posts,” and “Tagged” icons are being replaced with words in order to make profiles “easier and cleaner to use.”

So what will these changes mean for entrepreneurs, business owners, and Realtors?

If you rely on Instagram to generate leads — and you should be doing that — there are some positive updates coming your way.

If you have a business account, look for a “Shop” tab, as well as “Directions,” “Call,” and “Start Order” buttons to be added as options in the coming weeks (if you don’t have them already). If you have a brick-and-mortar location, taking advantage of these new options could be an easy way to increase both traffic and sales.

These updates are in addition to Instagram’s recent announcement that it would start removing “inauthentic” likes and follows from accounts that use third-party services, as they go against the platform’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.

Many business leaders and marketing influencers have applauded these actions and see them as a move toward building and gaining trust with consumers and followers on a social network that has seen its share of fake users and followers grow exponentially over the past few years.

Staff Writer, Krystal Hagan holds a bachelor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives the full-time RV life just outside Austin, Texas, with her musician partner, three dogs, and a six-toed cat. In her free time, she binges TV shows, brandishes her otherwise useless pop-culture knowledge at trivia nights, and tries to become BFFs with every animal she meets.

Real Estate Marketing

Open Design – rarely used in real estate, but boosts earnings

(OPERATIONS) Innovation is what keeps the industry alive, and Open Design improves the process, boosting the bottom line.

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As you begin executing your business goals set at the beginning of this year, it isn’t too late to considering embracing an emerging trend to help accelerate your innovations – Open Design. This refers to the practice of being transparent about the process of building products and services (without giving way too much of the final product).

It’s similar to the practice of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education—sharing information and problems about your expertise, for free, with an interested community.

In many ways, Open Design aims to break down siloed industries and workers. By sharing information about how and why your business does what it does, Open Design actually reduces the amount of work your employees may have to re-do. The open access of the design system allows them to work beyond the traditional confines of their roles.

As creative and often specialized fields like design become increasingly open, the amount of “tedious” work that used to require attention is lessening.

Some of these mechanical tasks are becoming automated as a result of collaborative efforts in Open Design across industries and other times it is the result of interdepartmental collaboration within individual corporations.

open design

This evolution makes sense: if your web team gets feedback from your sales team that a certain process isn’t intuitive and that difficulty creates a bottleneck—they’d act on that feedback and eliminate the blockage.

Abstract reports that companies that focus on the streamlining of their design systems have revenues 32 percent higher than those that adhere to conventional methods.

Taking advantage of Open Design systems would allow your entire team to focus efforts on higher level problems rather than recreating the wheel with mechanical (and often easily programmable tasks) each time they need to begin a project. These cumulative, increasingly efficient efforts, can help your business scale.

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Real Estate Marketing

Can the ‘Blemish Effect’ improve your closing ratio?

(MARKETING) It may feel awkward to use the Blemish Effect, but it could mean more money in your pocket.

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself.

Delivering something inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Real Estate Marketing

This AI robot wants to find leads for you

(MARKETING NEWS) It comes as no surprise that companies are figuring out ways to use AI for marketing. Let us introduce you to Albert, the AI marketer sure to help business boom.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the making its way into every sector, including marketing campaigns. One tool in particular has found a way to simplify modern marketing by taking over menial tasks to run completely autonomous and successful campaigns.

Just ask one of their major clients, Harley Davidson, who raised their sales leads by over 2000% after switching to AI marketing.

Albert is the self-described first ever AI marketing platform and enterprise. Albert learns as a company grows, and autonomously analyzes data and optimizes campaigns to gain new leads.

Although many other platforms like Google and Facebook offer their own autonomous marketing systems, our pal, Al, can work across all channels. That means no more checking every separate channel to get an overview of marketing insights.

Not only does this save time, but it also saves money.

In the present digital age, it makes sense to let AI do the heavy lifting. When it comes to marketing, AI software is able to use online interactions to determine possible leads. For Harley Davidson, Albert generated leads from a large pool of potential customers that made purchases in the past, added items to their cart through the online shop and spent a significant amount of time on the site.

From this larger group, Albert developed smaller groups of “lookalikes,” or potential buyers, and tested out campaigns before implementing them.

This allowed Albert to predict appealing headlines and visuals, while also making adjustments to language that had tested better.

For example, Albert replaced the word “buy” to “call” as a call to action sent in emails and newsletters for customers to find out more about Harley Davidson’s top products.

As Harley Davidson experienced, AI marketing like Albert have the ability to make more accurate decisions that increase revenue and save time. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, Albert can make decisions based on actual data versus just guesswork. Without the ability to analyze online behavior, companies end up underestimating their potential buyer demographics.

Our pal, Al, is able to widen that figure, finding leads that were not even considered, and thus generate more business. The best part is that it is all done autonomously.

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