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Some Old Rules Still Apply

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It doesn’t take much reading here on Agent Genius, or on other web sites aimed at real estate professionals to notice that our world has changed a bit in the last few years.

There are new “web 2.0” ways to market our listings and ourselves. One big difference between internet marketing and more traditional marketing is that internet marketing is less expensive.

I think by removing cost barriers some new problems are cropping up that no one is talking about. In the past an agent would buy a marketing program and use it. We could spend thousands on it, but before deciding to make an expensive purchase we would do a little research. After we made the purchase we would track the results. Smart agents will stop using products where there is expense and little or no ROI.

Many of the products we use on the internet today are free, or inexpensive. We write blogs, and join social networks, and use electronic flyer’s and web sites. Once the cost barrier is removed there really isn’t any reason not to experiment with every gadget, doodad and web site that comes along. (I know I do – when I have time)

The problem is, the social networks and blogs can be very time consuming, taking time away from revenue generating activities. They can also steal valuable family and personal time. That is the true cost of our newer marketing techniques.

We need to treat social media and internet marketing sites the same way we used to treat expensive marketing programs. Do some research, test the product and measure the results. If the results are not there it is time to move on.

Just because we can join social networks, start blogs and use some really cool internet based programs does not mean that we should. Keeping up with what is going on and even learning how to use new technology is a great idea, but spending hours each day on the internet “keeping up” might not be the best use of our most valuable and expensive resource, time.

Looking at “must join” networks like Active Rain, I see people spending hours online writing and commenting. Out of close to 60,000 members there have been some success stories. The success stories are quickly turned into “featured posts” so that everyone sees them. They write the same posts over and over again, and they get featured over and over again. That is what keeps the network going and growing.

The people who have not been successful, which is a much larger group than those who have had successes, either go away, or stay on and assume that success will come soon. Either way we don’t hear much from them or about them.

Not everyone has the same success with blogs or social networks. Not all social networks are equal and writing blog posts is not for everyone. My point is we should not be afraid to experiment and learn, but we should also keep track of how much time we are spending on the free internet services and hold ourselves accountable for measurable results. If the results are not there it is time to move on.

The neat new watchamacallit that one of our blogging buddies just wrote a glowing review of may have little or no value when it comes to building a business. Some products don’t have any practical application for real estate practitioners for revenue or lead generation.

Failure on the internet can be expensive, even when the programs are free.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. joe Peffer

    November 26, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Well Said Teresa. It is soooo easy to lose your entire work day with this new gadget or that blog post or last week’s Carnival. ROI is a tough nut and it mostly involves live follow up to make all the tech work.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to use potential tools like twitter and utterz for client building.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    November 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    An excellent post. Discussing AR you are probably about 99% right. I have really, conciously dialed down my participation on AR not because of a lack of success, but just the opposite.

    My other blog keeps me busy. Both from a logistical and a money in my pocket point of view. And money in my pocket is what it’s all about.

    On AR I found that points was the driving force for a great many people and that just didn’t interest me. So I stop in now and again. But really only to say “hi” to those I got to know.

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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