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Can you really fight back when social media traffic returns are diminishing?

(MARKETING) Missing out on social media traffic isn’t the end of the world, because there’s always room for improvement and course correction.

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Social media is a doubled edged sword – while its ubiquitous nature in the realm of marketing makes it impossible to avoid, a variety of caveats ranging from rising fees to government-imposed limitations on content have contributed to more than a few headaches.

The most recent entrant on the migraine list — a diminishing return on social media traffic — is sure to turn heads, but rest assured that you have some options at your disposal.

According to social media expert, Neil Patel, the bulk of social media advertising traffic (paid or otherwise) has seen a slight but consistent decline over the past few years. Chalk it up to whatever you like — consumer awareness, technophobia, a surplus of tinfoil hats — but the fact is that your social media ads are performing worse than they used to, and will continue to do so.

Fortunately, there are a few habits you can break in order to reverse this effect (if only temporarily).

The first thing you should realize is that common advertising trends which started out as successful strategies have become stale with age. These include things like constant video or photo uploads, frequent text posts, and links to your company’s blog; while these pieces of content should still appear on your social media accounts, they are no longer enough to keep your customers engaged.

“Engagement” is the key vocabulary word here. If your customers aren’t interacting with you or a member of your business in some format, they’ll be dissatisfied; even if the manner in which they interact is simply through an Instagram Live video or a Reddit AMA, you’ll notice an increase in traffic right away.

“But Jack, it’s completely asinine to expect a business owner to do a live Q&A session with any kind of frequency” you might say — and you’d be absolutely right.

To that end, using an automated chatbot to keep customers informed without tying up valuable assets in the meantime is probably your best approach. Most major social media platforms either have or support multiple chatbots, and Patel’s site shows a steady increase in the number of businesses using them anyway — don’t get left behind.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep uploading a variety of content, so letting customers see your beautiful face in a live video from time to time is still a good idea.

Other ways to increase customer engagement and conversion range from using SMS notifications to implementing social media platforms you wouldn’t usually consider (WhatsApp, anyone?), but the bottom line will always involve giving your customers a two-way avenue of communication.

Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Real Estate Marketing

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

(REAL ESTATE 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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Man browses website on tablet with a cup of coffee nearby.

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 has died on 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 freemium 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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Real Estate Marketing

Income verification startup makes common ground for property managers and tenants

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Income verification startup, The Closing Docs, gives property managers and tenants objective communication tools during economic crisis.

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Calculator sitting on top of 20 US dollars ready for income verification.

For property management companies who want to better understand the capacity of their tenants to pay rent during the pandemic, The Closing Docs is a startup hoping to help.

The Closing Docs is an income verification company using automated income verification with three simple steps: Collect, Confirm, and Share. Currently 3 years in, the company supports income verification to lender offering vehicle loans and more than 700,000 landlord-managed units. This system is intended to significantly compress vacancy periods and underwriting cycles, resulting in applicants being approved in minutes rather than days or weeks.

The Closing Docs was co-founded by Mark Fiebig, a serial entrepreneur and investment property manager, and Stephen Arifin, a former engineer at Microsoft. They say that what sets them apart is that they have remained laser focused on one very specific, difficult problem in a giant market. The co-founders described when inspiration hit, “The ah-ha moment came when realizing potential customers kept telling us the same thing: They were waiting days for applicants to submit required information. A good market is more important than a good product. When you have both, you’ve struck gold.”

Fiebig said, “Because we offer instant access to up-to-the-minute income history, we are not only supporting applicant approval decisions and existing tenant renewal considerations, we are also giving property managers and tenants a tool to objectively communicate about current income status. Our data provided to both parties supports these negotiations in constructive ways.” The company claims that in some cases, using The Closing Docs decreases processing time (~30%) for rental applications and increases funding rates (~15%) for loans.

This works by the software connecting to the bank accounts of the applicants and analyzing their deposit history. It then organizes that data into an income report. Income screenings can be a standalone service or be integrated into an online rental application. Income reports provide a net income summary of an applicant, summarizing key metrics such as Annual Net Income and Monthly Net Income.

The Closing Docs pricing starts at $10.00 as a one-time payment, per user. There is a free version trial and they support workflows where either the applicant or the decision maker can pay the $10 report fee.

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Real Estate Marketing

Right to be forgotten: should our internet past be erasable?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) With the infinite memory of the internet ever present, can or should your right to be forgotten exist or is memory the key?

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They say that everyone deserves a second chance – but with the Internet creating a permanent record of so many of our actions, it’s quite possible that mistakes from the past could come back to haunt us for years to come. Recent high-profile examples have included Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the Oscars over homophobic tweets from years gone by, or Representative Katie Hill being forced to resign after her ex-husband leaked compromising revenge porn photos to conservative news sites.

Several countries around the world have varying degrees of success or failure implementing the “right to be forgotten” – that is, the legal right for people to ask for information about themselves to be removed from search engines.

The right to be forgotten is controversial. On one hand, victims of revenge porn and other slanders, like Katie Hill, have very little recourse to repair the ongoing damage to their careers and reputations. Others feel that people with a criminal record, especially for nonviolent and petty crimes, shouldn’t have to answer for their past mistakes forevermore.

Others argue that allowing people to remove information about their past infringes upon freedom of expression and could lead to censorship and the ability for history to be inaccurately rewritten.
In the United States, we lean towards the right of the public to access information. However, in countries around the world, the right be forgotten is gaining a foothold. For example, the European Data Protection Directive protects the right to be forgotten by requiring search engines to provide a process whereby a person can ask for links about them to be removed.

In fact, Google has entire Advisory Council dedicated to making such decisions by weighing the harm done to the individual against the rights of the public to know. As of 2014, Google has removed over a million URLs from its search results (webpages aren’t expunged from the internet – just from the search engine listings, making sites difficult, but not impossible to find).

Some of the decisions have been controversial, such as a case where a doctor had removed links to articles about malpractice in his past. Nonetheless, many countries feel that the right to be forgotten should be protected, and in recent years France has put pressure on Google to remove contentious links not only from Google Europe, but from all of its search engines internationally.

In the United States, there’s not much legal precedent for the “right to be forgotten.” So what should you do if you really want to erase incriminating links about yourself?

First of all, if you are a victim of revenge porn – don’t worry you’re not alone. Organizations like Cyber Civil Rights, Without My Consent, and BADASS Army can help guide you through the steps to get the content removed, deal with the emotional damage, and potentially take legal action, as posting revenge porn is against the law in many states.

And what if you want to vanish from the web just because? Lifehacker has a pretty comprehensive guide on how to “wipe your existence from the Internet.” This includes making private or completely deleting your social media accounts, emailing websites and asking them to take your name down, and opting out of people search sites. They even recommend a paid service called Delete Me who will, for a price, troll the Internet on an ongoing basis for content about you.

For now, there’s not much legal protection in the U.S. for the right to be forgotten and erasing something once it’s been posted may or may not work. We can’t necessarily control what reporters, public records, and exes say about us online – but we at least start by being careful with our own content and thinking twice before posting.

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