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Heads up: User-generated content hikes your business insurance rate

(MARKETING) User-generated content is a phenomenal marketing tool when used properly, but it can impact your business insurance rates and potentially E&O rates…

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The use of “influencers” on social media and the sharing of user-generated content (UGC) isn’t a new thing in social media marketing. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to generate excitement and curiosity about your brand.

The best reviews are always those from real users, and the best advertising is the one you didn’t have to create: Those are social media marketing golden rules.

The implementation of user-generated content however, is rife with some potential troubles, especially when added to your own website.

A lot of businesses can operate under the idea that the average social media user is okay with the sharing of their content. While some of them will be, you run the risk of crossing an invisible line with someone who then generates negative press about you and/or your company. And of course, there is always the possibility of litigation.

Some insurance companies aren’t taking UGC into account, even today, while others will certainly ask whether you’re using it (and will charge you accordingly). This could impact your business insurance rate and potentially your Errors & Omissions rate.

It’s in your best interest to be above board on user-generated content and it always begins with the first step – asking for permission. How you ask for permission depends on the medium, but be sure to get a DM, email, tweet, or something that clearly shows the content creator giving you the right to use that image (and document that permission in a way that you can locate it in the far future). This prevents you from getting into a whole lot of trouble, and allows you to use user generated content most effectively.

Pro tip: If you’re going to be working with the same brand ambassador or influencer, make sure any contracts or agreements you have include a waiver that allows you to repurpose content they create that impacts your brand.

This is an easy thing to do, and it will help protect the integrity of your brand and your online presence – make sure it’s part of your social media strategy.

But it should be noted that there are merits to only using content that you create yourself – it’s more secure, more controlled, and it typically decrease the cost of your business insurance as it’s less risky. Because a lot of brands don’t ask for permission, UGC takes on some risk and skyrockets insurance rates.

The decision to use UGC should be a smart one, and if you do decide to use it, just follow the golden rules: Ask nicely and keep a paper trail.

This story was first published here in October 2019.

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

How you can use data visualization to boost your business

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Data visualization and illustration SAAS is like a vision board for your business! Skip the Pinterest project in 2021, and get serious with these tips.

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Four people around a computer with chart behind them talking with data visualization to guide them.

Why is IKEA so successful?

…Okay, great meatballs and mediocre sawdust is the real answer, but at least a bit of their sweet sweet furniture takeover included their pictograph instructions!

Face it, as a species, we’re not great at visualizing data. You can tell someone how much more a billion is than a million, but what REALLY illuminates the point is illustrated data like these graphics from the good folks at the MegaPenny Project.

See, here’s a million in pennies.

A visualization of one million pennies, that reach the example person's shoulder.

That’s about… one extra friend who has a pickup, a pizza with three toppings, and an Epsom salt bath worth of moving?

And here’s a billion.

One billion visualized in huge stacks behind the same man, now dwarfed by pennies.

That… requires a fleet of professionals with Class A Commercial Drivers’ Licenses. And you’d probably need to let them use your Epsom salts too.

Interactive Visualization Exhibit with person seated behind it, showing moving mountains beneath their hands.

So as we move into a brand new year, how do we GET better at data illustration? I always stood by the idea of finding someone with equal parts mathematical and design capability to live in my house (graphics arts nerds, slide into my DMs, please and thanks).

But for those of us with companies to run and reasonable expectations, there’s data visualization software out there!

Niel Patel was nice enough to shout out a few different services for us, and I definitely appreciate his list of what to look for when you’re looking! I paraphrased him a little here:

Visualization Capabilities – How pretty do you want it, and what does sexy data look like for you?

This category was further broken down into the types of visualization you may need for different species of presentation:

Different types of charts, with bars, lines, and pie charts.

  • Simple Charts and Graphs: Lines, Pies, and Bars (but the GOOD for you kind).
  • Infographics: Sleek n’ sultry shareables, with the easiest viral capability…and the greatest amount of art theft.
  • Interactive Visualizations: Lets the viewer manipulate the data, enter different parameters, zoom and enhance, and generally play god.
  • Business Intelligence Tools: Super complex data shredders. If you need to turn a forest of multi-sourced info into an insight smoothie, you gotta bring out the BIT guns.

Connectivity – What existing file types does it work with, and how much of a pain in the butt will migrating be?

Skill Requirements – What do you need of the people working it? Interns or certification holders?

Mobile Compatibility – Is this toilet scrolling data, or boardroom only data?

Helpful, no? Google Sheets, as anyone who’s worked with me in person can attest, is my mortal enemy, so taking data out of its probably-not-that-confusing-if-I-really-tried clutches makes me happy.

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Real Estate Marketing

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.

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Real Estate Marketing

The biggest reasons people are unsubscribing from your emails

(MARKETING NEWS) Sometimes promotional emails can cause us to purge our inboxes due to over-inundation. New data examines specific reasons customers unsubscribe from mailing listings.

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I recently registered my work email with a company that shall not be named in an effort to receive a 20% off coupon. While I received the coupon, I also found myself receiving somewhere around 10 emails per week from this company. But after a few weeks, I had no choice but to unsubscribe from this email listing. Though it did give me the option to minimize email settings, the overwhelming amount I already received was such a turn off that I unsubscribed completely.

This has happened time and again with countless other mail listings, and I know that I’m not the only one burdened with email after email. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that eMarketer was able to conduct a survey that complied the top reasons why people tend to unsubscribe from email lists.

The major reasons were broken down into 13 categories.

The additional reasons were as follows: 21% report that the emails were not relevant to them; 19% received too many emails from a specific company; 19% complained that the emails were always trying to sell something; 17%t stated the content of the emails were boring, repetitive, and not interesting to them.

Additionally, 16% unsubscribed because they do not have the time to read the emails; 13% stated they receive the same ads and promotions in the email that they receive in print mail (through direct mail, print magazines, newspapers, etc.)

Furthermore, 11% stated that some emails can be too focused on the company’s needs and not enough on the customer’s needs; 10% felt that certain emails seemed geared towards other people’s needs and not their own. Another 10% did not like the appearance of certain emails, stating that they were too cluttered and sloppy.

An additional 10% didn’t trust the email to provide all of the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. Finally, 1% claimed “other” reasoning as the main cause.

Fully 7.0% unsubscribed from certain email listings because they said emails did not look good on their smartphones. This is important for marketers to keep in the back of their minds.

Assess your email marketing strategy to ensure you’re fitting the needs of consumers, not just your own personal preferences. Data doesn’t lie.

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