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Want more site traffic and engagement? Amp up your visuals

The popularity of the visual web is in full force, but it can be time consuming to create visual content. Here are some quick tips on making it much easier on yourself while winning traffic and engagement.

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The challenge with social media and blogging

Alright, so you’ve jumped on board with social media and blogging. You spend time coming up with witty, clever postings that will make people laugh and get some interaction on your page. The problem is, you’re still not seeing any interaction. Sound familiar?

Many businesses run into this problem when they begin using social media. Content is king, but there’s something else that will REALLY take your social media efforts to the next level. I am, of course, referring to visual content.

Making visual content sharing easier:

In today’s day and age, people are MUCH more responsive to visual content. Photos and video receive more interaction and response than any other kind of content out there. With that being said, I do realize that not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera and that some don’t have the time to take pictures and film videos on a regular basis.

Here are a few ways to make it easier:

Use Instagram. If you haven’t gotten on board with this awesome photo app yet, now would be the time to do so. You can take pictures on the go using a number of unique filters and immediately share them on your social media sites. Anyone can be a professional photographer if they use Instagram well.

Share photos on Facebook. Too lazy to take pictures yourself? If you like enough business pages on Facebook, you can share some of the photos that they put up directly on your page. All you have to do is click “Share” under the picture, write a little introduction, and click “Share.” Boom, you have a social media post for the day and it’s visually interesting.

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Put more pictures on your blog. I completely understand how time-consuming blogging can be. To think of a topic, do a full write-up, link SEO-friendly keywords, find a relevant photo and post is an hour and a half process. Not everyone has the time for that. If you pare down the copy, however, and add more enticing photos, not only will you save on time, but your readership will go up. Make sure the photos you add are interesting though. Having four stock photos won’t be nearly as effective. Clever photo captions wouldn’t hurt, either.

If you’re going to make a video, do it correctly. As effective as videos are, we understand that it’s difficult to be comfortable in front of the camera. We also know that many people make videos that are less than entertaining. If you’re going to embrace video marketing, have fun with it and be creative. Soon, you’ll be more comfortable in front of the camera AND getting more traffic on your blog and social media sites.

The takeaway

These are just a few ways that you can use visual media efficiently while still driving up your online presence. Remember: having superior visual content is just as important as having awesomely written content in today’s marketing world. Get out those cameras and start snapping photos!

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. John Rickmon

    October 1, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Not one client has ever asked me for my website. Nor has any associate. If no one is asking, why are people link farming, cloaking, and trapping leads?

  2. AgentGenius

    October 1, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Likely depends on your market. In Austin (where we are headquartered) it is the norm to be at a networking event and someone whipping out their phone and asking for your website right then and there. So consider yourself lucky? 🙂

  3. John Rickmon

    October 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I have never paid for an SEO lead and I never will. Is “Austin” code for KW?

  4. AgentGenius

    October 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

    We’ve never paid for SEO either, that was clearly not the intention of the article. At all. Austin is NOT code for KW, no one on staff is part of or related to KW. For the record, I (Lani) have been in Austin longer than KW has. 😉

  5. raymondduke

    October 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Nice article. Once my phone gets fixed I’m planning to start taking more photos with it. It will be good to have a library of random photos of my own to use when I’m writing up a blog post! I kind of did this already but your article convinced me I should do it more.

  6. mooersrealtymedia

    December 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    With video go easy on the personal branding or talking head pieces. Push the local area community event videos. Because those are needed first before you can gain the outside buyer as the next step use of video. For property listings. Video is so powerful at creating the transport for the viewer, listener to your home town and the property listings in the communities you sell in. Stills are powerful, but video is 24 and higher still photos per sec with motion and natural sound. That delivers. Beams your customer to your local area. To get inside several homes anytime of day with 24 hour, 365 days a year open house tours.

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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Social Media

Reddit CEO says it’s impossible to police hate speech, and he’s 100% right

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Moderating speech online is a slippery slope, and Reddit’s CEO argues that it’s impossible. Here’s why censorship of hate speech is still so complicated.

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Reddit often gets a bad rap in the media for being a cesspool of offensive language and breeding grounds for extreme, harmful ideas. This is due in part to the company’s refusal to mediate or ban hate speech.

In fact, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman recently stated that it’s not possible for the company to moderate hate speech. Huffman noted that since hate speech can be “difficult to define,” enforcing a ban would be “a nearly impossible precedent to uphold.”

As lazy as that may sound, anyone who has operated massive online groups (as we do) knows this to be unfortunate but true.

Currently, Reddit policy prohibits “content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people […or] that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals.”

Just about anything else is fair game. Sure, subreddit forums have been shut down in the past, but typically as the result of public pressure. Back in 2015, several subreddits were removed, including ones focused on mocking overweight people, transgender folks, and people of color.

However, other equally offensive subreddits didn’t get the axe. Reddit’s logic was that the company received complaints that the now retired subreddits were harassing others on and offline. Offensive posts are permitted, actual harassment is not.

Huffman previously stated, “On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behavior from beliefs.” So posting something horribly racist won’t get flagged unless there’s evidence that users crossed the line from free speech to harassing behavior.

Drawing the line between harassment and controversial conversation is where things get tricky for moderators.

Other social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at least make an attempt, though. So what’s holding Reddit back?

Well, for one, moderating hate speech isn’t a clear cut task.

Right now, AI can’t fully take the reins because to truly put a stop to hate speech, there must be an understanding of both language and intent.

Since current AI isn’t quite there yet, Facebook currently employs actual people for the daunting task. The company mostly relies on overseas contractors, which can get pretty expensive (and can lack understanding of cultural contexts).

Users post millions of comments to Reddit per day, and paying real humans to sift through every potentially offensive or harassing post could break the bank.

Most agree that cost isn’t a relevant excuse, though, so Facebook is looking into buying and developing software specializing in natural language processing as an alternative solution. But right now, Reddit does not seem likely to follow in Facebook’s footsteps.

While Facebook sees itself as a place where users should feel safe and comfortable, Reddit’s stance is that all views are welcome, even potentially offensive and hateful ones.

This April in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) a user straight up asked if obvious racism and slurs are against Reddit’s rules.

Huffman responded in part, “the best defense against racism and other repugnant views both on Reddit and in the world, is instead of trying to control what people can and cannot say through rules, is to repudiate these views in a free conversation.”

So essentially, although racism is “not welcome,” it’s also not likely to be banned unless there is associated unacceptable behavior as well.

It’s worth noting that while Reddit as a whole does not remove most hate speech, each subreddit has its own set of rules that may dictate stricter rules. The site essentially operates as an online democracy, with each subreddit “state” afforded the autonomy to enforce differing standards.

Enforcement comes down to moderators, and although some content is clearly hateful, other posts can fall into grey area.

Researches at Berkeley partnered with the Anti-Defamation League recently partnered up to create The Online Hate Index project, an AI program that identifies hate speech. While the program was surprisingly accurate in identifying hate speech, determining intensity of statements was difficult.

Plus, many of the same words are used in hate and non-hate comments. AI and human moderators struggle with defining what crosses the line into hate speech. Not all harmful posts are immediately obvious, and when a forum receives a constant influx of submissions, the volume can be overwhelming for moderators.

While it’s still worth making any effort to foster healthy online communities, until we get a boost to AI’s language processing abilities, complete hate speech moderation may not be possible for large online groups.

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Red flags to help you spot a bad social media professional

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social Media is a growing field with everyone and their moms trying to become social media managers. Here are a few experts’ tips on seeing and avoiding the red flags of social media professionals.

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Social media professionals, listen up

If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.

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We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.

You can tell a lot from their socials

According to our experts, the first thing you should do if you’re hiring a social media professional is to check out their personal and/or professional social media pages.

Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.

“If they have no professional social presence themselves, that’s a big red flag,” says Chelle Honiker, executive director at the Texas Freelance Association. Another entrepreneur, Paul O’Brien of Media Tech Ventures, explains that “the only way to excel is to practice…. If you excel, why would you not be doing so on behalf of your personal brand?”

In other words, if someone can’t make their own social media appealing, how can they be expected to do so for a client?

Other taboos

These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”

Besides eliminating candidates with poor social media presence, several of these pros also really hated gimmicky job titles such as “guru,” “whiz,” “ninja,” “superhero,” or “magician.”

They were especially turned off by candidates who called themselves “experts” without any proof of their success.

Jeff Fryer of ARM dislikes pros who call themselves experts because, he says “The top leaders in this field will be the first to tell you that they’re always learning– I know I am!” Steer clear of candidates who talk themselves up with ridiculous titles and who can’t provide solid evidence of their expertise.

How do you prove it?

According to our experts, some of them don’t even try. To candidates who say “’Social media can’t be measured,’” Fryer answer “yes it can[. L]earn how to be a marketer.” Beth Carpenter, CEO of Violet Hour Social Marketing, complains that many candidates “Can’t talk about ROI (return on investment),” arguing that a good social media pro should be able to show “how social contributes to overall business success.” Good social media pros should show their value in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

While our experts wanted to see numerical evidence of social media success, they were also unimpressed with “vanity metrics” such as numbers of followers.

Many poo-pooed the use of followers alone as an indicator of success, with Tinu Abayomi-Paul of Leveraged Promotion joking that “a trained monkey or spambot” can gather 1,000 followers.

Claims of expertise or success should also be backed up by references and experience in relevant fields.

Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”

Freshen up

So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.

And if you’re hiring a social media manager, watch out for these red flags to cull your candidate pool.

#RedFlag

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