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The next big trend in social media marketing is something you already do

(MARKETING) All signs point to the next big trend in social media marketing being something you’re naturally adept at doing, but are you doing it well?

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We’ve had our finger firmly on the pulse of social media marketing since before it was even called social media.

We were excited to read “Why personalization is the next big trend in social media marketing” recently, detailing how the next must-have strategy for businesses is to focus on tailoring their messaging to their clients. The author provides a lot of great advice for how to go about doing this, but the sentiment behind this “emerging” trend may sound familiar – customers are more likely to engage with a brand that they feel values and remembers them (my words, not theirs).

This idea, of placing the user’s experience and needs, is a foundation not only of solid marketing but a cornerstone of excellent customer service in any industry, across the ages.

During high school, I worked at my small town’s public library. This was at the beginning of the 2000s, at the transition point between the old-school card catalogue and digital circulation systems. In this “analog” world, whenever someone came to the desk to check out their stack of books, we still ruffled through a cabinet to find their library card and could see a list of titles that they had taken home before.

We didn’t use the terms “user data” or even “database” back then, though that’s essentially what our record system was. Each patron’s file was almost a haiku of their interests in Dewey decimal. You could look over the card and discern whether someone was a fan of detective novels or gardening guides, but that intel wasn’t seen as marketing, we were just doing our job.

Over the year or two that I spent stacking shelves and checking out books to the families and friends that came through the doors, I got to know the various tastes of each patron. Knowing these interests allowed me and the other library workers to provide personalized recommendations. It was pretty reasonable to assume that if someone was into the Harry Potter series, they’d probably enjoy an author whose stories also involved teenagers, special powers, and faraway schools like Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books.

As a bookish girl (and let’s face it, I’m still a bookish woman), providing these individual suggestions was not only a professional service, but also an excellent retention technique. Generally, if you were able to get someone who liked reading to continue to reading (and feel excited about telling the person behind the circulation desk what they liked or didn’t like about the story), you could count on them coming back in a few weeks, thrilled to see what other adventures they could find among the stack. It was an effective, and touching, sales technique.

Our COO Lani Rosales had a similar experience as a teen, working at her family’s independent bookstore. Instead of having a patron’s book record to peruse, she independently kept track of customers’ preferences, birthdays, and other information they told her, using post-its. She tells me that she would even send handwritten thank you cards to customers, and these personal touches led to lasting relationships with customers who felt special, recognized, and known by the business.

The tools that we now use to keep track of this consumer data have grown more sophisticated, just as surely as the digital circulation system has replaced the card catalogue, but the basic concept remains true: people appreciate when others take the time to get to know them.

In an increasingly complicated and technical world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget that paying attention to your customer allows you the opportunity to be agile and provide the best products and services for them. But before the CRMs and apps that you may be employing to collect this data, before you even drafted your business plan and thought about how to design your logo, I would hazard a guess that you were already paying attention.

You’re smart, so you were able to see that there was a need or desire that wasn’t being addressed properly and then you had the drive to go out and fill that market. Keep listening, keep learning. Your customers will continue to love you if you do.

AprilJo Murphy is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. She is a writer, editor, and sometimes teacher based in Austin, TX who enjoys getting outdoors with her handsome dog, Roan.

Real Estate Marketing

Turning plastic waste to lumber, Goodwood is the savior this world needs.

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Goodwood plastic is a company that has some great uses for old plastic waste. As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

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plastic waste turned into lumber

If ever there was a niche to fill in this world, it’s finding more uses for plastic waste. With public concerns for global warming on the rise, more people and local governments are starting to search for ways to be more eco-friendly and reduce their plastic waste.

Plastic use has become a pain-point for modern consumers. People are searching for companies who use less, or no, plastic in their packaging. Having a clear plan for reducing your company’s carbon footprint is not only good for the Earth, it’s good for business.

While many companies are working to reduce their use of plastic packaging, one Canadian company is taking charge of the single-use plastics already floating around the world.

Goodwood Plastic Products is turning plastic waste into lumber. Yes, you read that right. Lumber.
The leaders over at Goodwood Plastic aren’t wizards, but they are brilliant. The company takes single-use plastics and recycles them into sturdy, innovative building materials. These building blocks can be drilled, nailed, and glued just like lumber. The building blocks even have superior durability to traditional lumber and do not suffer from the same kind of deterioration.

Goodwood is currently working with the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia to recycle about 80% of the plastic recyclables collected in the city. City officials are thrilled to have a local company helping them find a use for such a large quantity of their waste. The Halifax Solid Waste Division Manager, Andrew Philopoulos says the city would have a hard time dealing with the plastic waste without Goodwoods services.

“Without them, I think we would find it challenging to find a market for a lot of the plastic packaging that we are collecting.”

Goodwood has made headlines before. Recently, they partnered with Canadian grocery store, Sobeys, to make a parking lot completely out of post-consumer plastics taken from landfills. And it doesn’t appear that they are slowing down anytime soon. Their latest venture will focus on recycling fishing gear, which makes up a significant amount of plastic waste in oceans and causes immense harm to sea life.
The vice president of Goodwood, Mike Chassie, hopes that their business model will inspire others to fight the good fight against post-consumer plastic.

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Real Estate Marketing

Why Google may soon label your website SLOW, costing you money

(MARKETING) Google’s putting warning labels on slow sites! If Ads are your bread and butter, the toaster just got thrown in the bathwater…

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google slow warning often due to ads

The rumors about consumer attention spans aren’t 100% true.

Every other article will tell you you have to grab grab grab, because anyone on a smartphone is a goldfish-brained, flashing lights junkie who won’t give your poor company the time you really deserve because they’re too overstimulated to know how good you are for them.

Well, first of all, goldfish actually have such good memories, that they can distinguish one human from another, and learn tricks.

And second of all, we can and do hyperfocus online! The catches are, the content has to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and it has to actually be easy to read.

No, I don’t mean easy to read as in legible, though there’s certainly more I could say about people still using black text on navy blue backgrounds. I don’t mean easy to read as in ‘keep Chaucerian references to a minimum’ either.

I mean easy to read in the purest form: your site and its content needs to actually load in a timely fashion.

I’m blessed with full use of my hands, so I can physically open a book in under a second. But connected to a great source of wifi, even with only one tab open, I can’t always make the same boast of opening a new website on any laptop I’ve ever used, and I definitely can’t say that about sites loading on my phone. Before you start an Apple vs PC/Android war, think about your own experience for a minute. It doesn’t matter what your tech specs are—slow sites are a universal demon!

And because they’re always listening, our Google Overlords have decided to do something about it.

The big G is starting to put the smackdown on sites with crappy loading times by branding them with a big ol’ ‘SLOW’ shame badge in the search results.

That means, even if you’re page one, result one, and the first ad in that little pastel yellow box, you can be passed over just like the losers on page 6 because Google will tell your potential readers visiting your site is buying a ticket to frozen screen town.

That town sucks.

So how do you get ahead of this latest development? You attack what makes your load times slow! The bugbears dragging you down are:

Ads

Videos reiterating what your articles say

Needlessly uncompressed graphics

Ads

Sites unformatted for mobile devices

Large gifs

ADS.

It’s ads, okay, the technical stuff is all easily fixable, but your biggest issue is ads.

As hard as it is to deal with your company not bringing in any cash, it’s even harder for consumers to properly peruse your content without getting hit with a video pop-up, some creepy cleavage-ridden clickbait, an animated banner, a new tab forced open, malware, extra sound, and the creep factor of the sites they only spoke about being right in front of them five minutes later.

It’s more than just distracting and dystopian—ish this brings your site load times to a grinding halt.

If they can’t click away from the ads, or have to wait for them to load before your content shows up while everything sorts itself out, more and more users are opting to hit the back button, or click over to be seduced by a competitor’s faster tab. With a ‘Slow sticker’ slapped on your pages by Google, these rightfully impatient browsers will start scrolling past you entirely.

It’s not just a problem for anyone selling directly either. Even the trusty Snopes is getting hit with my ‘NEXT’ thumb swipes on mobile because whether or not I’m scrolling on my personal porcelain or somewhere someone important might notice I’m bathroom blogging, it’s taking too long to get where I need to be.

Bottom line is this: If you have to have banner ads on your website to keep it afloat, it’s time you took the hours to run some intense QA. It’s up to you to vet the ads you’re allowing on your space, to see how they’re affecting your site’s load times, and to ask yourself if the money you’re getting from plastering your content with extra baggage is worth being skipped over for the next search result in line.

Keep your content in the fast lane, or gamble with rocking the sidewalk. The choice is obvious… but as always, it’s yours to make!

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Real Estate Marketing

100 new Pinterest trends to know for 2020

(MARKETING) As we look to 2020, Pinterest reveals the top 100 trends to expect in the first year of the new decade. Understanding these trends can boost your marketing in this visual-heavy industry.

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As we prepare to enter a new year – and a new decade – we reflect on the year before, and take what we’ve learned to help us better ourselves in the new year. What we’ve learned comes in the form of life lessons, characteristics of ourselves, and data.

The latter can help us predict what trends will occur in the year to come, and such is the case with Pinterest as the lifestyle social media platform lists the top 100 trends for 2020 – all based on data involving user behavior.

According to the Pinterest newsroom, “When Pinners are looking for new ideas, they come to Pinterest first. It’s where they get inspiration, dream about new possibilities and plan for what matters most. And every time someone searches on Pinterest, they’re thinking about what they want to try next. Multiply that behavior by the more than 320 million people using Pinterest all over the world, and you get unique insight into emerging trends.”

The Pinterest 100 is a list – that comes with its own mini-site – covers ten categories, all selected via the stats on user behavior. Each category features its own ten trends, and the ten categories include:

1. Responsible Travel – Environmentally conscious travel tips
o Train travel
o Staycations
o Eco-friendly cities
o Eco-friendly travel
o Agritourism
o Learning vacations
o Eco-structures
o Travel stories
o Reduced Carbon Footprint

2. Internationally Inspired – Region-specific design and art inspiration
o Spanish bathrooms
o Indian living rooms
o French antiques
o Australian landscaping
o Japanese tubs
o Macedonian meals
o Filipino desserts
o Arabic treats
o West African recipes
o Kerala breakfast ideas

3. Beyond Binary – Products moving beyond gendered labels
o Gender-neutral names
o Unisex kid clothes
o Gender-neutral party ideas
o Every-kid playrooms
o Unisex nurseries
o Androgynous wedding wear
o Tuxedo dresses
o Gender-neutral haircut
o Inclusive educational posters
o Androgynous flags

4. Space Everything – Space travel and related themes
o Astrology-themed parties
o Two the moon parties
o Galaxy birthdays
o Constellation crafts
o STEM activities
o Galaxy painting
o NASA logos
o Constellation piercings
o Space tattoos
o Planet Makeup

5. Re-wilding – Outdoor adventure
o Lake fishing
o Rockhounding
o Rabbit hutches
o Nature travel
o Bushcraft camping
o Northern lights
o Outdoor bars
o Outdoor play areas
o Outdoor indoors
o Hiking fashion

6. Finding Balance – Self-care tips and products
o Self-discovery journal prompts
o Social media detox
o Embrace being single
o Chicory root
o Art therapy activities
o Sea moss
o Mood-booster playlists
o Ylang ylang oils
o Feng Shui décor
o Cucumber juice

7. Pampered Pets – Advanced pet care
o Pet resorts
o Dog patios
o Outdoor cat playgrounds
o Dog toilets
o Goat playhouses
o Protective halos for blind dog
o Pet fashion
o Cat birthdays
o Cakes for dogs
o Pet memorials

8. Home Hub – Home, and home office, improvement tips and devices
o Garden room
o Indoor microgreens
o WFH wear
o Granny pods
o Audio rooms
o Homebrewing
o Indoor water fountains
o Home theaters
o Coffee stations
o Homemade baby food

9. 90s Re-Run – 90s inspired fashion
o 90s cartoons
o Hip hop parties
o Grunge fashion
o 90s music
o Lip gloss and liner
o Hair clips
o Y2K outfits
o Braided hairstyles
o 90s streetwear
o Scrunchies

10. Conscious Consumption – Sustainable living tips and tools
o Protest posters
o Low-waste living
o Product swaps
o Thrifted home décor
o Ocean trash art
o Thrifted wedding dresses
o Solar light crafts
o Secondhand fashion
o Low-waste weddings
o Thrift store crafts

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