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Realtors and brokers managing web reputations – what about when it is a crisis?

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It's more than protecting yourself- what do you do when your name is smeared?

Online reputation management for real estate

So you’ve learned about all of the listening tools for conversations happening about you online, you’ve done your homework and are actively engaged in the community so you can earn the reputation you desire while monitoring the space…

But what if your name becomes a bad word online, you become an internet meme, you become the target of viscious blogger bullying or your company is being drug through the mud? What if a picture of you leaks that is less than flattering? What if a former client writes on their blog lies about you and is the first result on Google when searching for your team website? What if you go through a divorce and your ex is posting crazy stuff about you all over the place?

What if you experience a crisis? The kind that feels career ending and soul crushing? Your monitoring tools can’t fight a crisis, they can only warn you of an active crisis.

Feeling like beating up a blogger?

Responses vary depending upon your experience level online.

The beginner: If you’re brand new and you see a chastising tweet about you (or to you), you might immediately scream libel to anyone that will listen. You may call the person who tweeted and threaten their business and call them names. You may call their broker and lecture them on the virtues of the Code of Ethics. You’re just not used to the culture of the web yet and it all feels so big and uncontrollable.

Intermediate: If you’ve been online for a year, comments have less of a sting. But if someone focuses a blog article on you personally and uses your name in the title with derogatory terms, leaves anonymous comments all around blogs or starts a Facebook page about how much you suck (true or not), that is bothersome. Your response will likely be to contact that person directly and politely ask them to remove the content and discontinue. You won’t threaten to kill anyone and at this phase, your skin isn’t thick but it’s thickening.

Native: If you’ve been online since you were a teen, you know that trolls come in all shapes, sizes and professions and they can’t be trained. You’ll give them a dose of their own poison, spin the situation your way or let it go altogether. It doesn’t hurt personally unless it is a personal friend and at this phase, it is doubtful that you’ll spend much time on anything that isn’t business-threatening.

But what if a crisis becomes too big?

When a real crisis occurs that is spreading like wildfire, your name is appearing as a pejorative all over the internet, and the crisis threatens you personally or professionally, there are two solutions: (1) take things into your own hands to attempt to reclaim your name by having your own URL and writing prolifically or (2) hiring a professional to scrub the web like Reputation.com and others can.

NYT recently covered the rise of companies that offer the ability to erase the digital past. Methods include contacting webmasters and the like and there are teams that are devoted to removing the negative items. They know all the terms of service of each web host, blogger platform and social network and know how to negotiate the system. If you’re a successful agent or brokerage, you don’t likely have time to become an expert in yet another field, so professional help may be necessary if your name is being smeared and you don’t want consumers to be distracted by blogger mafias or heresay.

When you are beyond professional help

The truth of the matter is that if what you’ve done that is being spread around the web is legitimately bad and you’ve screwed up, a lawsuit is not your answer, and an apology and explanation goes much further than “just be yourself” like the social media gurus are telling you. Some things can be spun, but if not addressed fast enough, you’ll be beyond any professional web scrubber or public relations professional’s help and your only recourse is to apologize, explain, take it on the chin and keep working your butt off. If Alec Baldwin can recover from screaming to his child that she’s a little piggy, your sins will eventually be forgotten by the majority too… IF you own your mistake rather than lie about it or ignore it.

Recently, Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy.com posted a video of himself killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. Internet users called it a brutal killing and criticized his bragging about murdering an endandered animal. Parsons said this was a “problem elephant” that trashed crops and the Zimbabwe people have so little he was simply providing them with food. He filmed the villagers frantically hacking the elephant to pieces for food and he dubbed in AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” for effect.

The public relations world let out a universal gasp as his videos were released and his response has been flippant as he maintains he is a savior to the villagers. Parsons is beyond professional help and as the world calls out for boycotts of GoDaddy with step by step instructions posted around the web as to how, his business will likely take a hit. His only reproach at this point is to apologize (which he has said he won’t) and to let time shift the focus to the next reason to be universally angry.

The takeaway:

If your business is shady or you’re just an awful person, your chances of being targeted online are high. There is a sense of justice in the defensive world of internet culture and when you violate what the most vocal of your niche believe to be “right,” outrage will ensue. You can choose to deal with it yourself by being active in comments and being your own public relations team and try to outrank the posts yourself or hire a professional.

Either way, just remember John Gabriel’s theory, try to do the right thing at all times and be a good person, and when all else fails, there is professional help.

As a sidenote, if you are threatened personally in a way that puts your safety at risk (someone is posting death threats online or publishing your home address encouraging people to burn your house down, etc.), PLEASE don’t fret over calling a professional, you need to immediately call the local police.

Social Media

This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Social Media

Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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10 Snapchat Ad tips to increase engagement for holiday shopping season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As holiday shopping draws near, Snapchat offers helpful tips to help business owners make use of their advertising and branding tools.

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Woman holding phone open to Snapchat chat window, casually dressed with journal and coffee nearby.

The holidays are basically here, and Snapchat wants to make sure you get the most out of your Snap promotions. The company recently released its “Snapchat Ads Best Practices: 10 Tips to Help Increase Ad Engagement” post. With these pointers and advertising best practices, Snap hopes to help companies “build visually appealing ads that drive quality engagement and high return on investment for your business.”

So, let’s get into the tips!

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals
With a lot of advertising options, Snap says you need to select the right ad type that will better align with and help you meet your business goals.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative
Displaying a fullscreen video or image of your product will encourage a viewer to want to engage more. As a result, it is good to include a ‘hero’ message at the beginning that has all relevant information, such as offers and specials.

For eCommerce purposes, products should be featured “front and center to drive purchase intent.” For apps and games, include the app’s UI, features, and benefits in the ad. Meanwhile, local businesses should highlight the services or products their business specializes in.

And, always remember to make sure your creative meets Snapchat’s ad specs so your ad can be displayed flawlessly.

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat
No one likes intrusive ads that scream at your face telling you to buy a certain product or service. To prevent this from happening, Snap says your ads should “mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps” already on the platform. These non-intrusive ads should be kept short at around 5-6 seconds. And, Snap says these more “conversational ads” get viewed more fully than polished ads do.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging
Don’t overcomplicate the message. This will just get people to swipe away. Instead, make sure relevant information is at the beginning and is easy to understand. Placing your messaging within the first 2 seconds is preferable.

5. Design for sound on
Despite what you might think, silence isn’t better. Snap says that about 64% of Snapchat ads have the sound turned on. And, an effective way of including sound in your creative is by using a customer testimonial. Spoken testimonials help viewers understand and better relate to the brand or product.

6. Link your ads properly
Make sure users are being directed to where you want them to go. You don’t want them clicking on a broken link. Or worse, someone else’s content. The right link is crucial for impressions and conversions. Here are Snap’s recommended “attachment types depending on advertiser goal.”

  • Drive online sales by using Web View Attachments. These pages instantly load for the user and are available in Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.
  • Drive app installs by using App Install Attachments. Snapchatters will be able to swipe and download your app. Using ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download’ as a CTA, Snap says you will have strong conversion rates.
  • Drive app engagement/app visits by using Deep Links. These links will bring existing users back to your app. At the same time, any new users will be directed to the app store to install the app. Deep Links can be added to Single Image or Video ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats
Testing something is a pretty good idea when it comes to anything. Snap emphasizes this, and says testing can give you “insight into what content resonates most with your target audience.” They recommended testing your ad creative for about 2-4 weeks using different formats. After you’ve gathered enough information, you can determine the winning format that is best for you.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

  • Goal-based bidding “allows you to optimize towards a specific action that a Snapchatter is most likely to take, such as installing your app, watching a video, or completing a purchase.”
  • Snap has several bidding strategies, and it recommends using Target Cost Bidding.

9. Broaden your targeting
After you’ve been running your ads for at least a couple of weeks, Snap says to consider broadening your target audience. Snapchat has several different targeting options. Some of the categories you can expand on are geo, gender, age ranges, and languages. Expanding your audience will allow you to get more impressions.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize
Finally, make use of Snap’s Audience Insights. These insights provide Snapchat with data like demographics, interests, locations, and devices overview. By knowing this information, you can better understand your audience and create content that is tailored to them. Content that will ultimately maximize your advertising efforts.

Overall, Snapchat understands that “mobile advertising is a key component to any digital marketing strategy.” By offering us these tips, they are reminding us of some things we already know, and telling us how they can help us achieve our advertising goals.

With the holidays around the corner, Snapchat says they can help you reach a large and engaged audience for just $5 a day with their offerings. So, what do you think of Snapchat’s tips?

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