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Real Estate Marketing

Top 5 false claims real estate pros use in their marketing

(MARKETING) Some real estate pros are known for making sweeping proclamations about their quality without backing it up. Let’s discuss this annoyance, Andy Rooney style.

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I just wanted everyone to know that I am the “Number One Executive Evers,” I also help lead the “Number One Fastest Growing News Organization” in the world. We have the “Highest Reader Satisfaction On The Web,” and I was voted the “Best Wife In The World.” There, I said it.

What’s that you say? How can you disagree with my claims? I put them in print, they must be true!

Alas, some of these may not be true, much like blatant imaginative statements made on real estate websites and business cards worldwide. Is this the stuff your marketing is made of? As most of you know, I’m not a Realtor, but I am a consumer who long worked 70+ hours at a boutique firm. With that,

I give you my Top 5 Offensive (and often false) Claims (pro tip – avoid these claims):

>CLAIM #1- Top Realtor

This is a personal favorite – simply Google “Top [insert your city here] Realtor” and the results are endless. How is it possible that hundreds of people are ALSO the “Top Realtor” in your city? This claim is frequently used because it is subjective, but when everyone claims this ranking, it falls on deaf ears!

So, what does your claim mean? Are you the top highest producing, the top recruiting broker in the city, or do you claim the top closing ratio? All of us here know that fluff is abundant on websites and canned material still rules the day, but if you have to fake it… it ain’t that good.

CLAIM #2- Your Neighborhood Specialist

There are many specialists out there, and several Realtors can specialize in the same subdivision, but don’t close your eyes, point at a map and pick a spot to farm, thus claiming your “specialty.” That would be like ME saying that I am THE Scripps Ranch, CA specialist (yet I’ve never been there and besides, the Bergs have it on lockdown).

I got a flyer on the door the other day. This Realtor claimed to be my neighborhood’s specialist and “Top Realtor.” Strange- I have never seen a sign in anyone’s yard with your name on it here – not once. Hmm… a look at the MLS and… nope, you haven’t had a listing in this subdivision since it broke ground four years ago, so my bet is that my neighborhood looked sexy and you wanted to be invited to the party. Fine, but don’t make false claims – your market will see right through you.

Please don’t say you are a specialist unless you really are! I would hate to go to a gastroenterologist only to learn he’s actually a pediatrician.

CLAIM #3- Top 1% of Agents

Top One Percenters get under my skin in a big way. Locally, there’s a super smarmy Realtor whose website features a clip art illustration of a guy with a huge screw in his back saying “don’t let this happen to you” followed up with his doctored photo, his name and claims to be in the “Top 1% of Agents Nationwide.”

I know he is a major producer, so I might believe him, but where does he get this number? Where does anyone not actually in the Top 1% get this number? If I were a Realtor and I was in the Top 1%, I’d be linking to every flashy site that mentioned my honor, lest consumers think I’m using a subjective term.

If you have a claim to fame (as I know some of you do), don’t just say it- back it up!

Your consumers would like to know – what are you the “Top 1%” of?!?!! Put “Top 1%” on your business card, but let people know what you are the best at (Top 1% of new home sales achieved in May 2016, Top 1% of Realtors who have been in the industry for under 12 months). Otherwise, to the consumer, it is fluffy fluffy fluff fluff.

CLAIM #4- Fastest Growing Company

This isn’t exclusive to real estate, but it is abused frequently in the industry. Look, there is a grassroots brokerage here that has cute marketing and is up to four agents; they claim to be the “fastest growing company” in Austin… how is this measured? By percentage? If you have two people in a company and add one person that year, your company has grown by 50% – woo hoo!

Wait, should I be impressed with that? Be careful of how you market your growth, don’t just make blanket statements.

CLAIM #5- Highest Customer Satisfaction

How is this measured? Did your assistant call after each closing and ask, “yes or no, were you satisfied with Mr. Realtor?” or is it based on a national survey, an Internet Poll, an obscure ratings website, or is it an honor bestowed upon you by a builder or your local Board? If you have proof, back it up, otherwise, knock it off.

The takeaway

The words “top,” “best,” and “specialist” are frequently abused in the real estate lexicon. Many Realtors have beaten these dramatic claims to death. Consumers do like flowery speech and if I were buying/selling, I would love knowing that my Realtor is the best. But as a consumer I can tell you – give me what I want – tell what you are the best at!

Blanket statements can come across as lies, so be specific! As Seth Godin says, “just saying it doesn’t make it true.” In your marketing and on your website, link to the sites that have given you honors, OR simply state, “Top Producing Re/Max Agent in Michigan!” Period.

This editorial was first published here in June of 2009.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Marketing

The psychological reasons that people share online

(MARKETING) Knowing people’s motivations for sharing online is a key component to getting your own content shared.

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I recently saw some family members that I only see once in a great while. Since we don’t know much about each other aside from what we see share online, that quickly became the topic of conversation (“oh, your kid’s are so cute!” “I’m so jealous you went to that concert! How was it?”).

A few of my cousins commented that I seem to leave a “cool life” based on what I post on social media. I explained that I didn’t post about the bulk of my life, which is spent working or sitting on the couch.

It’s no secret that we post the “cool” things in our life on social media to nourish this public perception we’ve all been able to create because of the Worldwide Web. And, as much as we hate to admit it, a lot of us love the instant gratification of likes and comments that come with a post.

Aside from that, there may be some legitimate psychological reasons behind why people post on social media.

First, 94 percent of people say that they share online to better the lives of others. This can be found in posts that are geared to make people laugh, to inform people of events going on in their area, or to teach something new.

Second, as I mentioned before, 68 percent of people post content that they want to reflect their online identity.

If you have an Instagram feed designed to be a “lifestyle influencer,” you may be found posting fashion pictures, pictures of meals, or travel photos.

Third, 80 percent of people want to grow and nourish relationships. This can include posting on a friend’s timeline for their birthday, or sharing an event and inviting people to come.

Fourth, 81 percent stated that they enjoy that aforementioned instant gratification. These individuals like the feeling of having others comment and engage with their posts.

Finally, 84 percent want to spread the word about something that they believe in. This can include sharing online theirreligious posts or posts regarding charity.

There are a variety of reasons to post on social media, some that we’ll admit and some that we won’t. I have a feeling that in the future, there may be a college-level course titled: “The Psychology of Posting on Social Media.”

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Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to your locked potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Small business owners have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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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.

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