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Not a Peep

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The Great Escape


Makes Me Think…

Every now and then I get asked a question that makes me think.  Not that all questions are easy to answer but I do get asked some of the same questions over and over . . that is the subject for another post, I am thinking it would work best on the Real Estate Weenie.

I was asked to give a sample presentation today, to a group who is interested in having me do some web 2.0 type classes for their organization.  I have a kind of overview presentation about marketing on the internet that lasts about an hour so that is the one I chose to present.

It went very well.  When I was all finished the owner of the company asked me why I would share so many of my secrets with direct competitors.  After I answered his question, he seemed satisfied with my answer but he asked once more, he may have asked three times.  I am still not sure he understood my answer.

It Is Simple To Me

It is simple to me, none of what I do with my blog is a secret.  Anyone can do what I do, and they can learn about it from many sources on and off the internet.   I share my knowledge and experience with direct competitors in my own market place.  Most never start a blog,  and some end up starting but give up after three months because they did not achieve instant wealth fame and success.  There are a few who take the information that I give them and add to it and end up building some mighty fine blogs.

There are bloggers in my market place who are very successful.  They don’t take any traffic or business away from me and I am always happy to answer questions or share ideas with them.  I learn just as much from them as they do from me.

The Peeps

Here is where the peeps come in.  I did have a reason for putting the peep on this post. My blog is my unique voice and I am the only person who can write it.  I am also the only person who can take my photos, and one of the few who would buy a package of peeps just to photograph them, without even really knowing what I would do with the photos.  I think I have seven or eight of them scattered around the internet.

I recently found a direct competitor on Flickr.  The other agent has different interests, belongs to different groups, and does not take the same pictures as I do, even when we both photograph the same subject.  Who shoots a peep from behind, or a flower from the bottom up, or part of a building instead of the whole thing?  Do other real estate bloggers write posts about socks and have photos taken of themselves wearing two pair of glasses?  I do, and there is no rhyme or reason to it what so ever.

Some Try, But…

Some of my competitors try to imitate my blog, or almost copy it.  My content is all out there for everyone to see, I don’t make any attempt to hide it.  No one can have  a blog just like mine, and would have more success if they stopped imitating and found their own voice.

Each of us has something unique and special to offer the world.  There are so many ways to make connections through the internet we are really only limited by our imaginations and by how much time we have to generate content. There isn’t any one way, or one system that works for all.  So no, I don’t worry about showing my competitors what I am doing and how it all works.

There are no secrets and I can not harm my own position by giving my direct competitors step-by-step instructions and by coaching them along the way.  The blog works because it is real and helps consumers get to know me and trust me enough to pick up the phone or send and email asking for help with a real estate transaction.  There is plenty of room for more blogs and enough business to go around.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Ines

    March 10, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    A clear sign of feeling secure about yourself – makes you a better person. I’m not ready to do what you do though, my hat goes off to you (did I say that correctly? my expressions are all whacked today)

  2. Vicki Moore

    March 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Some day I’ll be as big as you – and as confident. I still get irritated when agents in my office copy me. I guess I have a lot of growing up to do.

  3. Jay Thompson

    March 10, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    T, I’ve been asked that same question, and gotten pretty much the same responses. I’ve given a few sessions on blogging and web sites to several dozen agents and could count on one hand the number that have really done anything with the info.

    I went to a (Phoenix Mega-agent) Russell Shaw seminar here and someone asked him, “why are you sharing your secrets with us?” His response was, “It’s not a secret. Besides, odds are none of you will do a damn thing with the information”.

    With 50,000ish licensed agents and brokers in the Phoenix area, and even more listings in the MLS, there is plenty of real estate to go around.

    Nothing on our blogs/sites is cloaked in secrecy.

    Now for something really fun, put a couple of those Peeps in the microwave…

  4. Kathy Drewien

    March 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Ahh, finally. A peep I can love.

    Sharing tech tips and “secrets” is something I’ve been doing since the mid-90s. Empowering others to achieve success is one of my gifts. Dispensing “magic pills” energizes me.

    If only others would follow.

  5. Kaya Hardin

    March 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I think your approach is a wonderful example of how social media is developing. The gift of free information actually works to your benefit in the “end” as it helps web 2.0 concepts grow and grow. Thanks!

  6. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    March 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    If more agents adopted this attitude and approach, the profession of real estate would be a much better place.

  7. Mack in Atlanta

    March 11, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Teresa – Writing is an art form that you have mastered. Most agents will not invest the time and effort that you do in creating compelling articles. For most they are looking for the instant gratification rather than building an audience and following like you. Keep doing what you are doing because I for one enjoy your works.

  8. Kevin Sharkey

    March 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    One of my all time favorite quotes is from Howard Aiken, a pioneer in computing and innovation. It seems to apply very well to your post:

    “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
    Enough said.

  9. Mike Farmer

    March 11, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Correct. You could give them exact step by step instructions on how to copy you and they couldn’t do it. Unless they take the concepts you suggest and add their uniqueness it won’t succeed.

    The way I see it, each unique addtion to the network of voices enhances all the other voices.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    March 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    @TBoard, you’re one of my top five fav writers. I am sure you’re a great speaker, but the reality is that most of the folks out there won’t put the work into social media marketing that’s necessary to make it work. So… why not share?

    Even if they don’t pick it up, they MUST be aware of it, as it’s shaping the future of the industry. Do I think that blogs will be the end all, be all of the internet marketing trend? Nope, something new will come up in a few years. However, it’s up to all of us to stay on top of how the consumer is gaining information and meet them there.

  11. Vance Shutes

    March 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Teresa – you describe a wonderful example of how to increase your own success by helping others increase theirs. I’m reminded of an old saying – Those who throw dirt lose ground, while those who throw encouragement gain ground. And you’re correct that few who heard you will actually have the persistence to apply, over the long term, what they learned from you.

  12. Jacksonville Real Estate

    March 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I have heard, “I don’t mind telling what I do because the majority of people won’t do it” from many stars in the real estate industry. I do believe it is totally true.

    However, for those who do try to follow in your footsteps in blogging it is a steep climb. Even with good content the newbie won’t have the numerous post on their blog. Thus they won’t be able to display the depth of knowledge and expertise they have in different areas of real estate.

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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One easy way to organize your influencers inbox, get paid for fan DMs

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Superpage is a contact page for influencers that also allows users with a fanbase to charge fans money for guaranteed attention on their message.

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Demo page of Superpage, a contact page for influencers that lets you filter DMs across social media platforms.

At times, our inboxes can get out of control. Besides email from our family and friends, marketing and spam emails wind up in there, too. While for some of us, it isn’t too bad to handle. Some people might find it a little harder to manage because of the great influx of messages they receive. And, some of those people are influencers.

Well, that is one company’s target – if you have a fanbase, you have an influence. Superpage is a “contact page for influencers.” According to the company’s website, their product will help influencers declutter their inboxes and offer them a better communication setup.

“DMs & e-mails were built for generic human communication. With huge follower-base & more people seeking their time, influencers need a slightly different communication setup – designed just for them. That’s what we’re building at Superpage – a communication system uniquely crafted for influencers,” wrote Superpage Founder Srivatsa Mudumby.

Who can get Superpage?
Superpage is meant for influencers, creators, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and just about anyone with a social media presence.

What does it do?
The platform allows fans to directly connect with influencers by letting them send a message through the influencer’s Superpage. So, instead of hoping to receive a reply from the DM they sent on Instagram or TikTok, Superpage guarantees a reply, as long as it isn’t illicit or spammy of course.

But, while Superpage lets fans communicate with their idol, it doesn’t do so for free. Fans “pay what they want” to send a message. However, the website doesn’t make it clear whether what you pay makes a difference. If someone pays more, will their message get prioritized? I doubt a $10 ticket gave anyone the chance to choose between general admission or VIP.

How does it work?
You sign up and set up your personalized page by adding a bio, display picture, cover photo, topics you’d like to discuss, etc. Once you link your bank account to your Superpage account, you can share your page on social media, website, or blog post. Through your unique “Superpage link” anyone can send you “Super texts” (messages).

In your Dashboard, you can view, manage, and reply to your messages. Superpage uses “restricted messaging”, which means each sender receives a limited number of messages to follow-up. Once you’re finished replying, the conversation will automatically close.

Fees and Payments
There is no monthly fee to use Superpage. The company makes money by charging a 5% commission plus credit card fees. And, it uses Stripe to process payments directly to the influencer’s bank account.

“People want to talk to influencers of the world but because of huge volume of messages & poor incentivization, influencers can never respond to everyone mindfully. We spoke to a ton of influencers and almost everyone complained “my inboxes are spammed,” wrote Mudumby.

Superpage does provide a new way for fans to reach out to their idols, but is it more like a way for them to charge for office hours? One thing is for sure, it’s a way for influencers to reach out to fans, but make money in the process, too. It’s up to you to decide if it’s something you’d put your money into.

As for a decluttered inbox, it does seem like all those emails and messages might not end up in your messy inbox. Instead, they will live on the platform’s dashboard in a, hopefully, more organized manner.

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If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!

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Clubhouse member hanging out on the app, on a couch with mask on their face.

The new exclusive app Clubhouse is challenging what social media can be – and it might possibly be the best thing to blow up during quarantine.

Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.

From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.

Why is it special?

Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.

If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.

If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.

The celebrities!

Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.

How do you get on?

Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.

With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.

Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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