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Why hiring a real estate photographer is critical in spite of smartphones

(MARKETING) Regardless of budget, a professional real estate photographer is a must-have partner in today’s photo-savvy social media landscape.

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Mobile phones take great photos now. Anyone who spends a decent chunk of change for the newest iPhone or Android phone can take beautiful shots. But still, with real estate listings, we see crappy cell phone shots or pictures that may not be awful, but simply don’t capture the beauty of a home.

Let’s face it, you may be able to grab an amazing shot, but photographers can take something hideous and make it beautiful (as seen in the “ugly location photoshoot challenge – seriously, nothing proves the value of a professional photographer more than this challenge).

When it comes to your business, your listing photos are a lot like your headshot on your LinkedIn – it’s your chance to make a solid first impression for potential buyers. You know that.

You want people to be captivated by the image they see enough to come see the property in person. And while you may be able to get some basic shots on your iPhone XS, you’re not going to be able to do what a real estate photographer can do.

Dallas real estate photographer Terry Wolfe tells us why professional photographers offer you more for your real estate listing and what they can do that a phone can’t.

1. The right tools – Real estate photographers know what tools to use for the job. Specifically, the use of wide angle lenses to help open up a room and not make it appear small like a cell phone camera would.

2. Know-how – The photographer knows how to display and frame the shots to show what is marketable and what standouts about the home. It’s what they do. They can make small rooms seem bigger, make dark rooms standout, and make the image closer to how they will actually experience it. The photographer thinks about how people will live in that space and what to focus on.

3. Post Production – The work done in post-production to help ensure the shots follow a consistent image and convey the necessary atmosphere. This is technical knowledge that most people with iPhone or other camera won’t be able to do.

TL;DR – nothing replaces an expert.

Much like how you would hire an HVAC specialist for your AC or a roofer for your roof; professional photographers are technical experts who know what to do, how to do it, and can do it in a way that ensures quality.Click To Tweet

A home is an investment, and marketing listings is a major piece of business – don’t skimp out on the images to help make it shine.

Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

Real Estate Marketing

Instagram just doesn’t like you anymore (so now what?)

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Instagram removes like counts, is this good news or bad? Well it depends on how you use the platform, for personal gratification, or marketing.

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Instagram created a great amount of chatter last week when they finally began testing the removal of like counts on posts. This was something the social media giant had mentioned testing out years ago, with their reasoning being to help combat mental health issues associated with like counts.

I thought that this was great for personal accounts (as I’ll admit I’ve unnecessarily obsessed over how many likes a post has gotten). However, I thought this might be a little tricky for business accounts, as likes sometimes transfer to legitimacy.

As with anything else in my life, I turned to my best friend, Haley Palmer, for discussion. And, it just so happens that Haley is the social media and marketing specialist for a national health sciences company. So naturally, I wanted her take on it.

She asserted that this change may not be as detrimental as people were suspecting. “You’ll still see the engagement from people you trust,” says Palmer. This is a fair assessment, as you’re still able to scroll through who has liked a post – it’s just that you can no longer see the like count.

Palmer feels that this is a step in the right direction of making posts less about the perceived popularity and more about the content. “Instead of focusing on looking ‘cool’ or fitting in by liking something, you can focus on what’s being presented to you.”

A page could post something that is completely on-brand, but because of the time that it was posted or other elements out of their control, it may not get as many likes which could’ve once deemed it a “poor” post – performance wise, that is. Now that this is less of a stressor, an onlooker is able to focus more on what’s trying to be relayed rather than the number associated with it.

There’s still of course many complaints with Instagram – the ever-changing algorithms, the non-chronological timeline, the list goes on. However, removing the like count, and the recent removal of being able to see what and when your friends liked something (which I’ve seen cause many-a relationship problem) are both solid changes to making Instagram use a healthier experience.

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Real Estate Marketing

Stupid Facebook rule will not show your ad if you use these words

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook has plenty of other things to worry about other than abbreviations, but your ad could go invisible if you use these…

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Social media advertising expert Jon Loomer has been in the game for a long time. You’d expect him to know any Facebook rule inside and out—so would he. So he was surprised when he uncovered a fairly niche rule that caused one of his recent ads to be rejected. Basically, don’t call FB “FB”.

Facebook’s rules require that ads not reference Facebook or Instagram in a way that goes against their brand guidelines. Since Loomer’s business involves educating people on Facebook marketing, he usually asks for a manual review and calls it a day. But this time around, someone specified that abbreviating Facebook and Instagram to “FB” and “IG” aren’t permitted in advertisements.

Surprisingly, Facebook will let you use the Facebook and Instagram logos in its ads, so long as you use the most up-to-date versions, and don’t spell their names wrong.

There’s no word on whether Facebook’s rebrand as FACEBOOK will be reflected in the new ad requirements, but that rebranding seems to be limited to the parent company, and not its flagship website and app. (That rebrand, the recipient of a great deal of online mockery, appears to be an attempt to dodge an FTC breakup.)

Facebook’s advertising side is notoriously difficult to work with. Advertisers do get customer support in a way that end users very much do not, but the rules can be ill-defined and selectively applied, especially if you’re working in a highly-regulated field.

And yet, Mark Zuckerberg recently stated outright that politicians, specifically, will be allowed to tell verifiable falsehoods in political ads on his platforms, framing the issue as a question of free speech. (Another fun little fact about Facebook’s advertising standards: In January 2018, they banned all cryptocurrency ads because they “are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” Now they’re launching a cryptocurrency of their own.

Even as Facebook (er, sorry, FACEBOOK) expands into new arenas, its public persona is very much that of a multi-billion dollar company that somehow manages to be on its back foot all of the time. In April, Zuckerberg announced that it was going to become a “privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform,” roughly a year after appearing in Congress over Facebook’s spectacular failure to be a privacy-focused anything.

All that to say – if you’re running for office, you can lie all you want, but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t abbreviate Facebook to “FB,” or your ad will be rejected.

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Real Estate Marketing

Your website copy may be too hard to read; these services help

(MARKETING) Your website copy may be too dense, unreadable, and turning away sales. Here’s some tech to help you out.

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You’ve got a killer product or service you’re about to unleash on the world. The bank accounts are made, coffee pot is running, and you’re ready to start reeling in the sales. With your slick new website, you just know your phone is going to start ringing off the hook. But then, it doesn’t.

What gives? Bad UI? Typo in the phone number? One possible reason you’re not getting DM-ed may surprise you – your web copy.

Developing the clear-as-water copy that is going to get you hired or your product sold can be a toughie. Those words you loving poured your time and energy into might be making your potential leads mash the back button. Why? If you or one of your employees wrote the website, you can know your subject too well.

That expertise and familiarity, which makes you amazing at your job, can make it difficult for an outsider to understand what you do. The more difficult you make that understanding for your reader, the less likely you’ll turn a sale.

Case in point: Most people browsing the internet spend less than 15 seconds on a website. That means you have less than 15 seconds to hook your potential client before they remember they have a cat video to finish.

Many a great business died on a piles of jargon, dense sentences and trendy buzzwords. But never fear! Since hiring an army of copywriters is cost-prohibitive, we’ve got some suggestions on services you can use to make that copy do work.

Clarity Grader

Clarity Grader allows you to put a website’s full text into its grading portal or even analyze a url. What you get is a free plain language report and clarity score emailed to you. Of course, if you want the ultimate features, you’ll definitely have to pay for them.

But Clarity Grader’s paid options runs hundreds of checks on your copy, including spell checking, broken link checking and consistency checks. Plus, there’s a free trial to figure out if you want to spend the dough on the premium features for this nifty proofreader.

Jargon Grader

If you’re more worried about relying too hard on jargon, Jargon Grader is a free web-based service without many bells or whistles. Just paste the concerning text into the text box and it’ll run checks and highlight which words detract from your writing. Jargon Grader also reminds you “that some over-used words may be acceptable in context.” A quick run through Jargon Grader, and you’ll be zapping all your buzzwords in no time.

Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor isn’t just for fiction writers. Another free web-based service, Hemingway Editor helps you emulate the bold and concise style of Ernest Hemingway. It flags words and phrases for readability, passive voice and conciseness. Hemingway Editor even highlights adverbs to keep you crystal clear.

If you’re trying to make a sale, web copy shouldn’t hedge or hide under lots of needless words. Run your words through Hemingway Editor and be bold.

Grammarly

The Big Daddy of web and desktop free-mium apps, Grammarly is a must for any small or solo enterprise. Grammarly does seemingly countless grammatical, spelling and clarity checks on what you write. It does paywall some of the clarity features, but by cobbling together all the other services plus free Grammarly, you should be covered.

And, bonus, the extension can be installed in almost every facet of your business (email, web-browser, phone apps). That means no one will be confused by how your website reads crystal clear and how your emails read like a ransom note.

So whether you’re a broker trying to save coin or an army-of-one real estate tech freelancer, arm yourself with a few nifty tech tools, and you’ll start improving your lead generation efforts.

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