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Are You Wagging Your Tail? Begin Now. Here’s How.

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Mermaid_____by_damid

Are you familiar with Chris Anderson’s theory?

If you’re unfamiliar, or need to re-up, here’s my take:

The Long Tail Theory centers around the impact of Google style indexing, searching and filtering all things on-line and humankind’s ability to find today’s hottest and urgent, as well as yesterday’s and yesteryear’s relevant and important.

Here’s a few plain-english definitions from Chris Anderson’s blog:

Best Definitions:

  • “The Long Tail is the realization that the sum of many small markets is worth as much, if not more, than a few large markets.” –Jason Foster
  • “The Long Tail is the 80% of stuff that didn’t used to be worth selling.”–Greg
  • “The Long Tail is the story of how products that were once considered fringe, underground or independent now collectively make up a market that rivals the bestsellers and blockbusters.” –Bob Baker

The question is…

Is The Long Tail Theory Relevant To Real Estate Agents?

When the book was written in 1995, “blogging” was a baby, “Twitter” was a hatchling, “Facebook” was a pimply punk kid and smart phones were dumb.  Our on-line opportunities were small and our tails, if we had one, were minnow sized too.  Today, these 4 factors make the Long Tail Theory worth revisiting.

  1. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others are indexing more information everything.   Recently social media streams, Twitter and Facebook, have been added. [For Extra Credit >  Check out this Web 2.0 Mind Map.]
  2. On-Line publishing [blogs, websites, video, audio, etc.] and conversation [social media, comments, etc.] are filling an infinity-deep, information ocean.
  3. Our on-line participation, contribution and engagement will be included, indexed and found, easily and forever.
  4. The more we share,  the more we receive, in unexpected ways [This almost sounds like an affirmation?].

People we want to do business with use Internet search to find, research, compare, evaluate, discover and select, it’s critical that we show up and shine on-line.  If we can’t be found, we’re invisible and irrelevant.  If we’re invisible and irrelevant, we’ll starve.

Why Is Our Long Tail Important?

Daily.  We focus on our To Do’s.  We prioritize, organize and scramble.  What if our daily efforts didn’t vanish at the end of the day? What if our daily efforts were indexed, catalogued and added to the searchable blue ocean of human on-line publishing and conversation?  By taking our knowledge, conversation, observation, commentary and expertise on-line, overtime, we add to the collective on-line ocean of information.

Why does this matter?  When people search for real estate expertise in your market, you’ll be found.

More.  While sharing and engagement is helping to fill a blue ocean of on-line information, we are also filling our own personal lakes. [ Curation is the next big trend and The Future of Sales Is Social]  When people find you and are comparing and evaluating who to choose, the depth and breadth of your personal information lake will help influence the wisest choice.  If you have a lake and she has a puddle, you WIN.

Are You Wagging Your Long Tail?

Let’s talk about how to grow and wag your Long Tail.

  1. On-line contribution and participation is growing your Long Tail.
  2. Engaging frequently is wagging your Long Tail.

These are the 6 most significant opportunities.

  1. Facebook: This is the MOST important conversation, connection, trust building, broadcast tool on planet earth.  There are new developments every week.  Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., they’ve all been given permission to index public profiles, updates and more (unless you’re security settings nix it.  I wouldn’t nix it).  This is huge and oxygen like.  If you haven’t started breathing deeply, get started, pronto!  If you have, engage, engage, engage (30 minutes a day).  It’s FREE and SMART.
  2. Blog: A blog is the best way to fill your personal lake with relevant, hyper-local real estate information and showcasing your expertise .  Good news.  Getting started is easier than ever.  You have choices.  Go Posterous or WordPress.  Don’t obsess over which to choose.  Pick one and get crack’n.  Tips. More.
  3. SlideShare:  All those presentations, marketing materials, flyers, brochures, things printed, can be stored digitally and shared on-line at SlideShare.net.  Using Slideshare makes sharing your stuff easy, interactive, discoverable and shareable.  Get rid of those dented file cabinets and mountains of paper, and go Long Tail.  Here’s an example, use can do 100X better.  Your Slideshares can automatically appear on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages as well.
  4. Twitter: Tweets are now indexed by Google and Bing, plus, geotagging has just been added.  Used strategically, Twitter is now worthwhile.  Here’s a few tips from Chris Brogan.  Here’s a Simple Guide To Twitter.
  5. Video: People love to watch.  Think about the consequences and repercussions of  THIS – Google uses speech recognition for video indexing and cataloging. If you haven’t, create your own Youtube.com channel. Here’s what a bare bones channel looks like – Bare Bones Youtube Channel.  More.
  6. Smart Phone: Your smart phone now empowers your on-line sharing and conversation.  If you can think of it, there’s an app for that.  While you’re out and about, working and playing, loving, and living, send photos, post updates, share observations and broadcast announcements to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Slideshare and your blog.  It’s easier than ever to share, contribute and engage.  Train yourself to do it daily.

Remember an Avalanche begins with a single snow flake.

Good Luck.  Wag Your Tail and swim like a Mermaid or Merman.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Erin Golding

    November 30, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Seriously great stuff here Ken! Usually I just read these and lurk around. After reading Crush It by @garyvee and now your blog post I’m commenting on everything I read to leave my foot print and wag my tail. I’m hanging onto this post so I can read all the other blog links you’ve added. I’ll have to comment on those too ; ) Engage, engage!

  2. Kathleen Buckley

    November 30, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Ken-

    I really enjoy your posts because they are challenging in a way that motivates rather than intimidates. My goal this week: get all over SlideShare.

  3. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Erin G – Amen, that’s exactly correct, footprints, fingerprints, social DNA, YES, you’re living out-loud and that’s cool. Get Crack’n, go get’m. Cheers.

    Kathleen B. – Thanks for the compliment, Slideshare rocks on many levels, just like you! Cheers.

  4. Bill Risser

    November 30, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Ken – Simply put, a post I will be sharing with every agent I come in contact with! Great job of laying out a roadmap for the beginner in new media, as well as confirming the path some have already begun traveling…

    Thank you very much!

  5. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Bill – Thanks. Yes, things are changing and evolving at break neck speed, it’s a journey not a destination, so every little step matters. Cheers and thanks for reading.

  6. Benjamin Bach

    November 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Great article Ken, but I’d like to discuss two of your points:

    “Facebook: This is the MOST important”

    I disagree – I think facebook is a really usefull way to ping lots of people and distributre your content, but I think it’s best used when you’re using it to supplement and push people to your site. Facebook shouldn’t be your main place, because you don’t own you facebook presence. If Mark Z decides to sell the company and it changes, and it was the basis for your online presence, you need to start from scratch. Plus, the ‘cool’ sites change every few years (icq, msn messenger, myspace, linkdin, facebook, twitter, etc). If you own your own blog and use facebook to introduce people to your site, you’d still be ok. Your own blog/space is the most important fo your long tail.

    2) “Twitter is now worthwhile.”

    Twitter has been valuable, long before it was indexed for SEO. The best use for Twitter is listening and responding to your market. Use the search function to see every tweet that mentions “Austin” or “Galt Ontario” and see what people are talking about. Listen to what they say about your brand.

    This will let you meet your prospective clients. I think if you look at twitter as a tool to get indexed with, you will miss out on a lot of it’s true worth.

  7. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Sharp points Benjamin. I believe that Facebook is the most important social tool. Why, because it powers the 3 things that create Top Of Mind Awareness – It’s “Relevant” because it’s personal, it provides “Repetition” because you can interact daily and it’s “Remarkable” because it’s personal and so many aren’t. There is the danger that Mark could do something radically wrong, odds are, the tools and benefits and connections and conversations and sharing opportunities will only grow. I’m definitely down with a blog, you’re spot on there. But a blog won’t create Top Of Mind Awareness or conversation, or interaction or the ability to share yourself on a personal and professional level…doing so builds trust and familiarity…which leads to being chosen/hired or referred.

    As for Twitter, I’ve been on twitter for a couple of years and have always thought it was valuable or would become so. I believe the new indexing, geotagging, lists and who knows what’s down the road, finally make it a Must Do. As soon as people/companies/business figure out how to make geotagging totally relevant, Twitter will zoom. There’s some talk that Facebook will launch their own geotagging feature, this will, IMHO, smack Twitter and Fouresquare in the mouth and make Facebook even more omnipresent.

    Love the feedback and sharing. Thanks. Cheers.

  8. Joe Loomer

    November 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Gotta echo what Kathleen said – I started reading your post an hour and a half ago – then got caught up in the great content on Slideshare. Now I need two more hours in this day to read all the other links you have in here! Thank God I’ve already read most of the posts you linked to!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  9. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks Joe – Yeah, there’s a lot of material there. I’m torn, I know that short powerful posts are best, but this subject requires additional backup, how to, etc. I always appreciate your feedback. Cheers.

  10. Bob

    November 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Long tail is greatly over generalized in the real estate business.

    The danger here is to over-simplify this to the point where you are telling people that is all there is to it, so go out and waste your time with all this. The odds are your tweets and facebook entries are not going to out rank those who have a a designed strategy to capture targeted long tail traffic. Long tail is where the money is in search and you wont get it with a willy-nilly strategy.

  11. Doug Francis

    November 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Wow, I was hoping to watch Monday Night Football, but now will spend most of the evening working through all your links! There is a lot to take in here, folks.

    I often think about how many comments that I have left in the last 12 months, and not just for a “long-tail” Google strategy but because I wanted to chime in. For years my friends were shocked to see my letter-to-the-editors of Businessweek, This Old House, Newsweek, Windsurfer (in the 1980’s) and many more. It’s a habit that I picked up from my father.

    When I decided to write my own real estate newsletter back in 1994, it evolved because I knew that I was my own PR department with tons of material that comes from our day to day interactions. Now I blog and it is better, long term better.

    Okay, now time to get comfy on the couch in front of the TV with my laptop and do this homework.

  12. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I’m with you, it appears over simplified because it’s a blog post and not a sit down consultation or a step by step How-To. I’m not advocating “wasting time”, and I agree with you whole heartedly, a “Willy Nilly” strategy won’t work with Facebook, blogging ,twitter, FSBOs, REOs, Short Sales, Expired Listings, Direct Mail, Open House, Chamber of Commerce style networking, etc. Willy Nilly is….well, it’s Willy Nilly.

    Also, I agree that if you’re embracing these Social Media tools in hopes of being discovered and having strangers call, it won’t work. I believe using the Tools I’ve shared (wisely) will generate Top Of Mind Awareness within your personal sphere – this will lead to more referrals and opportunities to be chosen. Another benefit, you grow the size of your sphere by interacting and engaging with your friends and their friends – just like IRL socializing.

    Also, I believe that buyers and sellers do on-line “Search”, “Investigate” and “Research” the agents they may be considering to represent them. If one agent has a considerable on line presence (Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube, Blog, etc.), and one does not, opportunities are the does-not are lost, and the worst part is, they might never know why, the phone simply doesn’t ring and nobody shares their name with their friends.

    I believe that targeted efforts to generate inbound leads is the futile approach for the average agent. Even the most savvy companies have horrible conversion rates for the leads they generate. Survey and survey and personal experience show that the majority of buerys and sellers choose an agent they know or an agent who was referral recommend by a trusted friend. If anything, all the wasted time, money and energy dumped into chasing strangers would be better used cultivating relationships with people who already know and trust you.

    What I am advocating is an individual, personal approach to positioning oneself as the first or second person someone thinks about when they have a need – Social Media works well for helping this happen (Top Of Mind Awareness). This is the very reason that old school, well connected and trusted real estate agents still thrive – even if they can’t spell Facebook or Search or SEO or Google.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t doubt, eventually, these Social Media tools will be as common place and embraces as email and cell phones. Might as well start growing and wagging your tail today – that’s what I say.

    And lastly, your advice is perfect, Willy-Nilly won’t work. You need a strategy. Then again, anything worth doing is worth doing badly in the beginning. The main this is to get crack’n.

    Cheers Bob, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  13. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Doug – What ever you do, don’t miss tonights game, it’s a brawl. I’m like you, watching and clickty-clacking my way across cyber space. Multi-tasking rule. Thanks for reading and I hope my yammering helps you grow you business. Cheers.

  14. stephanie crawford

    November 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Wow. There’s almost TOO MUCH information here. I’m loving the Slide Share.

  15. Ken Brand

    December 1, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Yeah Stephanie, it’s kinda dense and I sorta got carried away. The subject matter lends itself to linkage, thanks for reading and commenting. Hope I didn’t give you a headache. And, lastly, yes, Slideshare is super cool. Cheers.

  16. rosstherrien

    February 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Great tips, Thanks.

  17. Norman Frenk

    March 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    smart. sooooo smart….

  18. Maxwell McDaniel

    May 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Ken,
    Thanks so much for the awesome post. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something like this post comes along and makes me realize just how little I really know. Thanks. Seriously.
    I agree with your comment that Facebook is the most important piece of the social media puzzle. At least at the moment. One of the things I’m experimenting with is having my Facebook posts feed my Twitter, which is picked up on my website. It certainly helps distribute the content efficiently.
    I’m also experimenting with FB PPC advertising, both to drive people to my FB page and also my neighborhood specific listings on my website. My click through rates are about .15% which seems really low. I have about a dozen different campaigns running for different landing pages on my site. Costs are 40 cents to 90 cents per click.
    Curious if anyone else would like to share their results of any FB PPC campaigns.

  19. Ken Brand

    May 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Maxwell, I’m not sure we’ll ever have it figured out. It’s sorta like trying to figure out a river or what make fire, fire. You’re approach is the one I try to take, keep moving forward, keep an open mind, experiment, learn, share, grow.

    I haven’t used any of the PPC campaigns, but it’s an inexpensive way to test things. If I had any advice, I’d say, we all need to remember that people choose people they trust. in-person and on-purpose contact and conversation is the fastest and best way to build trust, discover needs and share solutions and other relevant stuff…which all leads to getting chosen (hired) or referred.

    Thanks for the comment. Cheers.

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Business Marketing

Restaurants might actually lose money through Grubhub and similar services

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Restaurant owners are asking themselves if third-party food delivery apps are nothing more than a good, old-fashioned shakedown.

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If you haven’t seen the GrubHub receipt that has everyone outraged, you probably should. It exposed the food delivery apps for their unreasonably high commissions and excessive charges to the restaurants (on top of the changes to the consumer).

Many people, in an honest attempt to support local restaurants while staying home and safe these days, have started ordering out from their favorite small, local eateries. And they should! This could be the lifeline that allows those restaurants to survive being closed for upwards of a month. However, if they order through a third-party food delivery service, they need to know that a good chunk of their money goes to the service, not the local business. Plus they are paying extra for the service.

It’s a big bummer, to say the least, a bamboozle some might say. Why would restaurants agree to use these services at all, then, if they aren’t beneficial? Well, they initially served the purpose of helping smaller restaurants and food trucks sell to a wider customer base without having to incur the cost and manage the logistics of offering delivery. Not all of the charges are immediately apparent, either, although I am sure they are in the business agreement.

GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats all charge eateries a commission between 15%-30% to even work with them. This is for the most basic level of service. When GrubHub, for example, wants to stimulate more sales, they may offer a deal to consumers. This could be a dollar amount or percentage off of a customer’s order or free delivery.

Everybody loves a deal, so these promotions are effective. They drive more sales, yay. The restaurants, however, incur the full cost of the promotion. You would imagine GrubHub would share that cost, but no, they don’t. If that weren’t unscrupulous enough, GrubHub then charges the business the commission on the full, not discounted, price of the order. Unctuous, right?

Sure, restaurants have to opt in for these specials and other promotions the third-party apps are marketing, so they know there’s a fee. Yet, if they don’t opt in, they won’t appear as an option for the deal in the app. It’s deceptive, feels like a bit of extortion to me. All of these delivery apps have some sort of similar way to rack up fees. For a mom-and-pop food truck or restaurant, the commissions and fees soon eat away at the already small profit margins restaurants usually have.

It’s simply wrong, so wrong. But wait, there’s more! Another nasty, duplicitous practice GrubHub (specifically GrubHub) has implemented, with Yelp’s help, is to hijack the restaurant’s phone number on Yelp. This means if you look up your favorite restaurant on Yelp, and call in an order from the Yelp platform, your call will actually go to GrubHub instead. And get this–they charge the restaurant even if you pick up the order yourself, not only for delivery.

These third-party companies have even started buying up domain names similar to the restaurants to further fool patrons into ordering through them. They also have added restaurants to their platforms, even if the restaurants haven’t agreed to work with them. They seem willing to do anything to get a cut of restaurants’ hard earned dough (and ours). Loathsome! How are these scams even legal?

It happened to me recently. I kept trying to order for pickup at the restaurant, but somehow the order kept going through GrubHub. Bamboozled!

RVB bamboozled

This boils my blood and breaks my heart for these restaurants. In my other life, I am a blogger for a hyperlocal blog whose sole purpose is to highlight, celebrate, and promote local everything. I’m also the internal marketing chair for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, where we work with local restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and such to promote them and help raise their visibility in the community.

I only bring this up, because I’ve sat with these restaurant and food truck owners, listened to their stories, seen the fire in their eyes as they talk about their recipes. They’ve regaled me with stories of how they got started, what inspires them, and when they had their first successful day. It’s delightful to see the intensity of their enthusiasm for sharing good food with people and how much of themselves they put into their restaurants.

In the original post that lifted the curtain on this shady practice, the Chicago Pizza Boss food truck owner Giuseppe Badalamenti, says the money he got from his GrubHub orders was “almost enough to pay for the food.” Badalamenti had participated in some promotions, which admittedly reduced his cut dramatically, yet the whole premise came as a shock to customers who have been spending their dollars to keep these local businesses afloat. Then here comes the third-party apps, poking a hole in the floaties.

It comes across as downright predatory. Thousands of people have sworn off these apps in favor of calling the restaurant directly for pickup if you are able. This way, you ensure the business you want to support gets the full bill amount. You can get the restaurant’s number directly from Google Maps or the business’s social media or website. This is the best way to help your favorite places stay in business.

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Business Marketing

TikToks new augmented reality ads seeks new audiences

(BUSINESS MARKETING) TikTok product developers hustle to roll out a new augmented reality brand effect to compete with Snapchat and Instagram.

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TikTok is getting ready to launch a new ad feature to level the playing field with Snapchat and Instagram. The unofficially named “AR brand effect” will allow TikTok users to incorporate augmented reality brand advertisements in their videos. The ads will create visual effects that interact with the filmmakers’ physical environment as if it exists in real life. The ads will include music that can be played over the film.

TikTok also offers an ad product called Brand Effect, a 2D advertisement filter that users can add to their videos. The in-house product development team at TikTok created this feature for a reported cost of $100,000 according to Digiday.

Snapchat already has its AR brand experiences called the Sponsored Lens and Word Lens, which allow brands to create augmented reality filters to advertise via Snapchat’s users and their interactions with friends.

Snapchat charges anywhere from $50 to $500,000 for augmented reality advertisements. The lower tier starts with a 10-second ad between videos that users can choose to “swipe up” and interact with. The higher tiers get advertisers a day-long spot with a Sponsored Lens.

Though the efficacy of this advertising strategy appears to be hit-or-miss, the creative opportunities for advertising to a wide audience is attractive enough to keep this product development relevant. TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin clocked in two billion downloads in the month of March. Its users skew young with 41% between the ages of 16 and 24, and its global following boasts 800 million users worldwide.

TikTok is moving with adept agility to roll out new products to keep its increasingly large user base engaged. “They are doing it a lot quicker [than competitor social media platforms],” media agency Starcom told Digiday. “Their ability to scale and move forward is frightening, really. If they get it right they’re going to be a huge player in the next six months to a year.”

TikTok is also working on new ad products that allow advertisers to connect with prominent influencers. With the future of stay-at-home orders looking to turn into an interminable cycle, it will be telling to understand how these advertising strategies will effect e-commerce and digital brand experiences.

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Business Marketing

Bistro owner rewards 1 star reviews to beat Yelps ‘algorithm’ racket

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Botto Bistro Restaurant owner gives absolutely no f***s and recruits negative Yelp reviews for sport. Maybe yelp should be “persuaded” to chill.

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Botto bistro pizza

Chef Davide Cerretini is a legend. If you don’t know his name, maybe you have heard of Botto Bistro, the Richmond, California restaurant that once held the honor of worst-rated restaurant on Yelp.

In 2014, Cerretini offered pizza discounts in exchange for bad Yelp reviews. Yes, you read that right – one star review earns you 25% off your pizza. When Yelp complained, Cerretini upped the ante to 50% off.

Doesn’t Yelp punish restaurants for exchanging incentives for reviews? Yes – but don’t forget Cerretini does not give a flying fart what Yelp thinks. In fact, he started the ploy to beat Yelp at its own game.

According to Cerretini, and many other small business owners, Yelp participates in what amounts to extortion of restaurant owners. Sales reps reach out to these businesses and urge them to buy an ad for a monthly fee. Upon buying the ad, some mysterious algorithm filters more positive reviews to the top of the restaurant’s page. No one knows what the algorithm is or how exactly it works, but it seemed no coincidence to Cerretini that his best reviews disappeared and bad ones rose to the top after he refused to participate.

“I came from Italy, and know exactly what mafia extortion looks like,” he says. “Yelp was manipulating reviews and hoping I would pay a protection fee. I didn’t come to America and work for 25 years to be extorted by some idiot in Silicon Valley,” Cerretini told the Hustle.

Cerretini’s plan worked. In one day he attracted a month’s worth of business in response to the discount incentive for a one-star review. After a few more days, there were 2,300 one-star ratings.

Botto Bistro has since been sold to Mountain Mike’s Pizza. But Cerretini’s legacy is far from forgotten. In fact, he kept the website as a monument to his success: “We would like to thank Yelp for being so stupid and arrogant that they tried to extort the Italians. In doing so they allowed us to have fun, increase our business and our popularity, troll them for the last 6 years, sell our place at a profit, and forge a new career that took us all over the world exposing them for the idiots they are.”

Botto Bistro has a 2.5 star rating on Yelp from 283 reviews. Italy 1, Silicon Valley 0.

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