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Social Media – The Perpetual Question

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Web2.0 and Social Media Works – I don’t care what the skeptics have to say, but we have proven it and keep coming up with new ideas to implement on a regular basis.  Sometimes I feel like I am preaching to the choir here on Agent Genius because if you are taking the time to read here, it means that you get it and don’t need reinforcing.

Today’s post is different – it’s about questioning your business practices and the way that you may be approaching your options.  So instead of asking if your blogging and social media outlets are working I will ask this:

What would happen to your business if your blog or favorite Social Media Site were to disappear tomorrow?

What if you had no control of keeping that blog live and it went “poof” into cyberspace?  I’m not here to tell you about my personal experience and I’m not here to point fingers, blame others or tell you what blogging platform to choose.  I want to plant a seed to see if you are prepared to face a major problem if it ever came your way.

I know many of you are geeky enough to know to back up your blogs and content on a regular basis but others depend on web-hosts to do it for you.

The question still remains – if your current servers went down tomorrow, or your web-host got sucked into a black hole in the blogosphere….do you have a plan?

Who would you blame?

Blaming others for mistakes or problems is not an option, on the contrary, you would have to blame yourself for making the wrong choice not being prepared … or worse yet, for not questioning and falling into the “naive” category.  Many of us with successful blogs have been discussing how we cannot place all our eggs in one basket, how there are tons of nice people in the real estate blogiverse but it does not necessarily mean that they would have your best interest at hand.  We have also discussed how there are a lot of people out there that seem to know what they are doing, but there is no real way to tell (I know….that one is the most frustrating).

So here I will continue playing devil’s advocate just to make you think and hopefully to help you prevent any future problems with your already successful Internet marketing methods:

  • If you only have one website/blog, what would happen if it would go down from one day to the next?
  • Does it make sense to have several sites just in case?
  • Does an open platform (WordPress or Typepad) make more sense than a proprietary one based on the fact that you would have more control? – This includes sites like Active Rain, other networking sites with blogs, as well as sites hosted on proprietary platforms.
  • Same applies to sites like Flickr and even Yahoo or Google (maybe a bit far fetched….but could happen) ….and God forbid Twitter!
  • Do you back-up your own content on a regular basis or do you trust your web-host to do it for you?
  • Do you know if you own your content, skin, data and could you take it with you anywhere and anytime you choose?
  • Would that content/skin/data be compatible with other platforms?
  • Do you copyright your content?
  • Have you granted rights to that content to the web-host/designer?
  • If you have a Lead Generation System, do you back up those contacts on a regular basis?
  • Are your back-ups safe and easily accessible

DO YOU HAVE CONTROL?

I am not a pessimist and I don’t like to look at worst case scenarios – but the idea is to keep the Perpetual nature of our business going and be ready for obstacles that could come our way (although I really hope they never do).

My job here is done – make sure you have a plan.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. David Wilson

    December 1, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I totally agree with you! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! We tell our clients this all the time. We push our clients to maintain their own hosted blog, and a separate wordpress blog, that is slightly different. We also get them on all the major social sites, get people talking!

    Great advice!

  2. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    December 1, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Ines,

    Great Post. You have officially scared the crap out of me!

    Does anyone have any suggestions on great hosting services for WP Blogs?.. I’d like to have a back-up. I currently use HostGator.

    Thanks in advance 😉

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    David – live and learn…..and then share so others can learn as well 🙂

    Tyler – send me the dry-cleaner’s bill

  4. Monika

    December 1, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Ines,
    We thankfully always back our site up. If it went down today…I have a back up as of yesterday. I would be be pretty upset if someone fooled around with my livelihood ie my blog!!! We have a (few) wordpress.org sites and I am so glad we went that route. Jay just re-did my site…so we very much just depend on ourselves.

  5. Jim Duncan

    December 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Tyler – I use bluehost; they saved my butt a few months ago when some idiot (me) deleted my blog – they pulled a backup from three hours prior.

    Ines – I don’t know about the preaching to the choir analogy – when I was in the choir I was too busy chewing gum trying to not get in trouble during the services. 🙂

  6. Monika

    December 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    We also use Bluehost and are very pleased with them.

  7. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Monika – that’s because Jay is DA BOMB!! You guys have it all under control. (glad to hear it)

    Jim – LOL – spit that gum out boy!

  8. Jay Thompson

    December 1, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    This is a thought provoking post.

    My blog gets backed up daily, automatically (via a plugin) and an copy is sent to me via email and stored on my server (I use Media Temple). In addition, my hard drive is backed up in basically real time via Carbonite (*highly* recommended).

    This is one thing I tell people who blog exclusively on platforms like ActiveRain, RealTown, proprietary sites, even wordpress.com and typepad. You *never know* what could happen. These companies could go out of business, be sold, change their terms and conditions, whatever.

    If I woke up tomorrow to find my hosting company had gone belly up, or burned to the ground, I could have my blog up and running in less than an hour.

    I like that piece of mind. Since my business depends almost totally on the Internet, it’s critical that I maintain as much control over it as humanly possible.

    Now should the Internet go away, I’d have to rethink a lot of stuff. (Don’t laugh. While the Internet isn’t likely to go away, it’s almost certainly going to morph and change — it’s never really standing still, and those using it shouldn’t either.)

  9. Kevin Tomlinson-Miami Beach Real Estate

    December 1, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    That’s really scary. I’m happy I have two sites in the engines.

    Really, really scary

  10. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Jay – some are smarter than others and you my friend are always willing to share….thanks for that (SMART)

    Kevin – scary only the first time….then you learn.

  11. Mack

    December 1, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Unfortunately about a year and a half ago my site was with Advanced Access and it along with about 30,000 others went down for almost a week. Ouch!!! When it happened for a second time (Shorter term this time) I had to say goodbye. I have all the pages of my site backed up but the problem with these 2 outages was server related. I did the only thing I could think of that made good sense, I changed hosts and platforms and could not be happier. I hope no one has to go through what I went through but having the backups made the move much easier.

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 1, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Mack – thanks for sharing – can’t even begin to fathon not having an Internet presence for a week. OUCH!

  13. Missy Caulk

    December 1, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Ines, I assume my host backs up and assumes is the word I give you tonight. In the AM I will call and check and if not make other arrangements, No, not talking about my AR blog but my WP one.

    Thanks for getting me to do what I know I need to do.

  14. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 1, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Missy – If all else fails and I get one single person to double check their back-ups, then it was well worth it.

  15. Jay McGillicuddy

    December 2, 2008 at 4:53 am

    Ines,
    We have experienced being hacked and our site went down due to a WordPress upgrade meltdown. We were down for two weeks as I tried to get my previous hosting company to fix it. They couldn’t and that is when we changed to Blue Host.

    We changed to Blue Host because they got us up and running in a few minutes and we weren’t even there customer at the time.

    Monika has addressed our backing up on a regular basis.

    I am glad we are self hosted and I love WordPress as I can do a lot and I have full control.

  16. Thomas Johnson

    December 2, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Great post, Ines. I have assumed that my vendor is backed up. Since our vendors are not banks subject to a Paulson bailout, well, you know about assume.

    It makes an ASS of U and ME.

  17. Lisa Sanderson

    December 2, 2008 at 10:11 am

    I really don’t have time for all this realistic, be-prepared, girl scout nonsense, Ines, so please stop harassing me. 😉

  18. Jeff Bogert

    December 2, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Ines,

    It is funny how the universe works sometimes. I have a my browser close in the middle of an “automatic” upgrade to WP 2.65 resulting in some funky display issues in IE and you have created the timeless but always necessary backup, backup, backup post.

  19. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 2, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Jay – I’m sure you are ready now if it ever happens again – I hate that we learn from our mistakes instead of being ready from the start.
    (love the avatar btw)

    Thomas – I’m sure you will check on your vendor now 🙂

    Lisa – LOL

    Jeff – definitely necessary….can’t say it enough.

  20. Jay McGillicuddy

    December 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Ines, if we didn’t make mistakes then we would never learn anything.

    It is a hard lesson to learn but when we learn from our mistakes we come back twice as strong, as I am sure you will do, with no problem.

    You are a great blogger and real estate agent so that is why you will succeed.

  21. SharonAlters

    December 2, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Ines, this is important. We think that the hosts back up everything so why should we worry but even they can fail.
    I’m putting a back up hard drive on my Christmas list!
    BTW, enjoyed seeing your presentation at the Web 2.0 Panal at NAR with Jeff, Teresa and Cyndee.

  22. Mariana the Wagner

    December 2, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    yeah. that sucks. i’m going to stop talking now.

  23. Ines

    December 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Jay – we do come back stronger. I just wish for people to learn from my mistakes so they don’t have to go through what I’ve gone through.

    Sharon – thank you!! there are plugins also to back up your stuff on your own server or someone elses – there are plenty of options out there, and I’m glad you enjoyed the panel – it was a lot of fun.

    Mariana – shut UP!

  24. Ann Cummings

    December 3, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Hey Ines – oh how painful those lessons have been. And I can’t even quantify what I’ve learned through the kind of messes you’re talking about. One thing I am doing is taking more control of my sites, and will never again be that totally dependent on something proprietary or something I don’t have far more control over.

    Lessons learned and now going forward….

    When I grow up, I want to be like Jay & Monika… 😉

  25. Ines

    December 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Hey Ann – makes us stronger and better people…what we’ve learned in the past 2 years is pretty amazing, no?

  26. Jay McGillicuddy

    December 3, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you Annie. LOL

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Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.

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Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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