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Real Estate Marketing

The ol’ white-boxing trend is back in real estate

(REAL ESTATE) White-boxing refers to emptying out your entire house instead of staging it like an IKEA display, and some are opting for this when selling.

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Staging your home for sale is a hilariously convoluted process that can involve anything from vacuuming your sofa to renting a whole house-worth of furniture to ensure that the feng shui (or whatever) matches up with the price tag. If your client is in a slightly less pretentious mood when it comes time to sell, consider white-boxing.

Far from being a racial slur, white-boxing refers to emptying out every space in a house to present clients with a blank slate. The idea is that no furniture is better than outdated or ratty furniture (your horse-hair blanket is hurting more than it’s helping, Kyle), and clients may even be able to save on some renovation costs along the way.

White-boxing also allegedly allows potential buyers to envision freely the space as they prefer it rather than emphasizing a style which may not appeal to everyone in the market.

Buyers who are interested in touching up or renovating their home may also be more attracted to a white-boxed house due to the open nature of the presentation. By that same token, though, white-boxing makes it much harder to hide blemishes and other flaws which can turn buyers away — if a home is a bit quirky, you may want to stick to a traditional form of staging or address the problems before the house goes on the market.

There are a couple of key things to note if you’re thinking about white-boxing a home.

Firstly, the home’s location and/or view should be the main selling point if you’re in a high-end market; otherwise, you may end up with a string of snooty customers wondering why there’s nowhere to sit. Similarly, you should avoid white-boxing a client’s home if it’s particularly cozy — empty rooms can appear even smaller than they actually are, so you may have to rely on the existing furniture to close the deal.

Hiring a staging professional is always ideal and is proven to increase the bottom line, but in some instances, white-boxing (you know, the way you used to sell homes) is a growing trend that has some upsides to consider.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you commit to a staging style — leaving a dining room set in the middle of an otherwise empty house is super weird, and the inverse is just as unnerving. However, if you’re looking to cut down on staging costs and your client’s home has little to hide, white-boxing may be the right choice.

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

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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