10 Reasons to go Paperless

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Have you ever needed a document while on vacation? How about when you are out of the office or showing a house and your buyer wants to write and offer? You call the office and the office admin is too busy to send you the necessary documents. Or better yet, you are in the office and you can’t find the necessary documents to write an offer. If any of this sounds like YOU, then maybe it’s time to consider going paperless.

As a licensed real estate professional, former project manager, television producer, stay at home CEO” mom”, former legal assistant and secretary, I really understand what it’s like to make sure I have access to documents. I can remember having to copy documents and put them in the front of my suitcase, so I could have access to them when traveling. Ugh, who really wants to do that? If you’re not a paperless agent, it’s time to go paperless.

Today, I am managing broker owner of CarMarc Realty Group in West Chicago Illinois.  My goal was to open an office that was innovative with the latest technologies.  The agents in our office are paperless and in a constant mode of learning.  Going paperless isn’t an option.  When you work for CarMarc you must become a paperless agent.  The next gen agent wants this technology.  How about you?

10 Reasons to go paperless

1. Access your files from any Tablet, Smart Phone or PC

2. Sign Documents using your Tablet, Laptop or PC

3. Documents are always legible.

4. Share files with your affiliates, clients and office staff in one logical place—Your Virtual Filing Cabinet.

5. Easier to follow up with your buyers and sellers.

6. Email and split documents from the cloud.

7. Provides the ability to share your documents with an agent that’s helping you while you’re out of the office.

8. Write an offer from your car, in a restaurant, at the airport, just about anywhere.

9. Never lose a file again. Stop carrying that ugly bin in the trunk of your car.

10. Your Staff Will Love You!

If you aren’t paperless today, consider signing up for a paperless class with Docusign. If you’re an MRED agent, MRED will send an instructor to your office if you have 8 agents.

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Amazon Go! Will there be a Real Estate Go?

Amazon Go is changing the way we shop

It’s all about speed for the consumer.  What does this mean for the real estate.  I’ve been saying this since years, making technology a part of your routine and learning process is crucial for the real estate agent’s success. I have the opportunity to educate agents all over the United States and I am deeply concerned for the agents that won’t embrace technology.  The Consumer wants it now and if you think the “Go” world won’t affect our industry, just wait.  I am sure someone is already thinking about how we can make real estate, faster, easier and similar to Amazon Go.    So, what is Amazon Go?

Amazon Go is a new way of shopping in the Brick and Mortar Store.   The name says it all.  You just walk in, Shop, and Go.  Just leave the store and the Amazon app bills your account.   When you walk into the Amazon Go store you scan your app and put your phone away.  The Amazon app recognizes what you purchase as you grab them.

I can see it now, the future of real estate.  The consumer secures a loan, the agent shows the home and the consumer clicks an app to make an offer.  Many agents would panic! and I would say, “The agent that embraced technology won’t be replace” “Make sure you know your market place and technology”.  Then, when Real Estate GO, emerges you are ready for the change.   The professional, tech savvy agent can adjust with change.  What can you do to stay prepared for what might happen to our industry?

  1. Sign up for social media classes – it’s not going away, whether you embrace it or not, the next generation is using it! So, why won’t you?
  2. Stay current with real estate trends. If your only focus is making a living, eventually you’ll be applying for a “Real” job. Don’t get left behind because you refuse to learn.
  3. Sign up for technology classes. What’s new in technology?  Can you sign a document electronically?  If you had to write an offer right now, using DocuSign or dotloop, could you?
  4. Sign up for a google alert to watch technology trends – Yes, I want you to read.
  5. Do you understand Data Trends and how Data impacts our industry?
  6. Learn something new often!
  7. Join Marki Lemons and I on The Real Streaming Estate where we teach technology to real estate professionals.
  8. Take ownership of change.

 

 

 

You Have All This Stuff and No Engagement!

Social Media is a great platform to increase your bottom line.  However, if you are just a poster, sharer or liker it’s time to get back to building relationships and great content.   If you build it they will come!  Just because you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account doesn’t mean you’ll generate leads.  We all must be intentional in our marketing and with relationships.   So how do we create engagement?  What do our followers or future followers want from us on social media?

  1. They want relevant content – are you the thought leader in your market place? Tell me something I don’t know. Provide content that encourages a click, engagement or a lead.
  2. Followers want authenticity – be yourself and tell your story. We all have something to share.   I like telling my story of home ownership.  I purchased my first home in 1997 with little money down.  However, I had to pay $900 per month for five months, to the builder, until I closed.
  3. Information that makes them engage – What can you tell your audience that creates engagement? Are you running a marathon?  If so, tell your audience and encourage them to join you as you run or prepare for the race.   Do you volunteer?  Show us how you help the community.
  4. Information that makes us think – Have you ever wondered why someone would buy a house on a busy street? Me too!  Now go research why and share it.
  5. Video that makes your audience watch, listen or read. –  Are you renovating your home?  Show me the before, during and after.  One day I’ll show you my closet!  Create short video clips then piece them together in iMovie or VivaVideo.   Become a brand ambassador for your business.
  6. The power of the Hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. Hashtags are a group of words the bring a conversation together.   Test Hashtags by following your favorite businesses or television shows on social media by searching for their Hashtag.  I follow the #GoodDoctor on Twitter to join the conversation.

Take the necessary steps to build your social media, engage with your followers today!

The Quickest Way to Capture a Lead

The Quickest Way to Capture a Lead with the Least Amount of Money.

In 2001, I became a REALTOR and the only thing that mattered to me was whether or not I would make money.  I wanted to generate a lead, with little to no cost, the fastest way I possibly could.   I walked my subdivision, went to laundromats, and apartment complexes with doorknob bags   I put flyers that said, “Warning Renting is Hazardous to Your Wealth”. Whatever i could to generate a leads with the least amount of expense.  When I talk to new agents, agents that have been in the industry for many years, and those that are redefining their businesses all want the same thing.  They want to generate and convert leads into closed transactions.

On April 16th, 2016, in my Cubs T-shirt, I went “live” on Facebook and talked to my followers on the steps to home ownership.  The live event was only 2 minutes.   In that 2 minutes I talked shared on:

  1. The steps to purchasing a home
  2. If you’re a college graduate you can purchase after graduation – yes, there are rules.  Talk to a lender!
  3. How I can negotiate your down payment.
  4. If you’re paying rent you are paying a mortgage.  Just not your own mortgage.

I didn’t look my best.  However, the consumer often needs to see that we are real people.  Even if, we can’t see because of the sun, if we have chapped lips, and no makeup there is an opportunity to generate new business.

From this short live video I’ve closed 6+ deals.  In the first 24 hours one of my high school friends sent a private message on Facebook that he was already approved to purchase.  This buyer closed in June and the other 5 deals closed before the end of October.  The first days I build what are called organic leads.  Leads that come from people that are already on my Facebook Business Page.

Take advantage of Facebook ADS.  Below is a short video on using your email list to target your database.  I don’t finish the ad, however, I show how to build the custom list using your network.

 

 

Snapchat for Business

It’s been a few years since I started using Snapchat.  I downloaded the app during a news broadcast when I heard that Mark Zuckerberg wanted to buy the social media app.  Evan Speigel, Robert Murphy and Reggie brown are   the co-founders and owners of Snapchat that never sold their trending app.  The app is mostly used by millennials and the igeneration.   I vaguely remember my 14 year old at the time telling me the app had an age limit.  She almost had me convinced.
Now that’s it’s been a few years using Snapchat, this is what I know:
  1. Millennials are clearly using this tool to communicate with their friends. All 5 of my kids use the tool daily.  The 26 and and 25 year olds use it differently than the high schoolers.  My youngest doesn’t snap as much but clearly uses the chat tool to communicate.
  2. Millennials and the generation are getting their news from this app in the Discover section.
  3. It’s a great way to build a story for business and build followers that might not follow you on Facebook or Twittersmartgirlgeofilter
  4. Snapchat uses geofilters.  Not sure what that is?  Small businesses can build their own filters to build awareness about their new products and services or to promote an event.  I recently created a geofilter for a tradeshow and a geofilter for my kids homecoming dance.  One of the filters from the homecoming dance generated 87,000 views. That’s 87,000 more opportunities for your business.
  5. We can create 10 second snaps and re-purpose those snaps on other social media platforms.  Re-direct your current followers to Snapchat and share new or different content.  A great place to build a short series of snaps about your business.
  6. Not quite ready for Snapchat?  Create an account and let someone else in your company manage it for you.  You social media team can create a behind the scenes experience.  Bring your fans into your office.
If you haven’t considered Snapchat, download it today and check it out.  I am sure your kids can teach you how to use it.  If not,  register for my online course at www.SmartGirlUniversity.com or click here.
snapchat-basics-pdf

Facebook Live Vs. Periscope

Live Streaming gives a face to your personal brand and your business.  In 2015 Periscope gave the average marketer the ability to broadcast their thoughts, opinions, tips, basic information, hobbies or just about anything to the world.  These tools give everyone the ability to share news in real-time.  We have officially become our own broadcasters.   Although, a picture may be a thousand words, live video can show you around the event live and invite the audience into the conversation.  The trend in social is changing.  More businesses are using video and asking for assistance in video per the Social Media Examiner annual report.

live streaming

Periscope officially launched in March of 2015 for Apple IOS and Android in May of 2015.   The live streaming app gives the broadcaster the ability to share whatever they like to an audience that chooses to join your broadcast or when the broadcaster builders a network of followers that jump into the stream whenever they go “live”.

In December 2015 Facebook began testing the ability for users to go Live.   It was then made available to all iPhone users January 2016 then later to Android users.  Facebook live was first available for our personal feeds.  A business owner can now verify their business pages to allow Facebook Live on business page feeds.  If you broadcast on a personal page only your network will see the “Live Event”.  If you have a large network on your Facebook Personal Page your live stream will receive many live followers.  The same would apply for the business page.

Is there a difference in the platforms?  Yes, However, the platforms are also similar. The user can live stream to just about anyone.  By having a following on your Facebook Personal Page you’ll receive instant success if you have worthy content.  If you are new to periscope you’ll have to build your audience.  Periscope is owned by twitter and the great thing about this app is that someone can watch your live feed on the app or watch it live on twitter. You could literally have no one in your scope but have 20 people watching your broadcast on Twitter.  Both are great live streaming tools.  Now you need to chose the one that works best for you.  You may choose to use them both.

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Choosing to live stream might feel overwhelming.  Even I struggle with the idea of going live for anyone to view.  I can say that every time I broadcast live on Periscope I gain new followers on the app and more followers on Twitter. I have also seen an increase in growth in engagement on twitter.

Join me on Facebook for Carrie on Facebook Live Events

Hashtags, A Pound Sign and Why I Need them?

Hashtags were created for Twitter by Chris Messina.  When he proposed the idea to Twitter the response was, “These things are for nerds. They’re never going to catch on.”  Since the adoption of #hashtags, Words with a Pound sign in front of them, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and other social media platforms have started using hashtags to group conversations or subjects.

So what is a Hashtag? First, a hashtag is the Pound (#) sign on your phone or laptop keyboard. A hashtag is also a word or a phrase to group a conversation or your content.  When using a #Hashtag in a social media post it becomes a hyperlink that takes you to the results of that tag.  A hashtag, when searched, allows people to search for specific content on a specific topic, brand or conversation.  It filters online content for those that share the same information as you.  My branded #hashtag is #CoffeeWithCarrie.  Marki Lemons-Ryhal also an instructor uses #ReMarkitable.  If you search for either of these phrases with the pound sign in front of the phrase, you’ll find every post made that is grouped in this conversation.    Check out my Instagram account and add the #CoffeeWithCarrie hashtag.  You’ll see all of my grouped posts on Instagram.

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Hashtags can be used to brand your business and create engagement among your customers and followers.  A great way to build the conversation online.  When you tag your content with a hashtag you’re adding it to a specific conversation.  That hashtag is now a search link that puts your post in a specific category.   By using hashtags it immediately spreads your reach beyond those that actually follow you.

There aren’t really “Rules” to how many hashtags you should use.  However, let’s think about your network and people using a specific hashtag.  If you use too many hashtags it might take away from your key message.  If you use a hashtag that isn’t searched often you won’t be found.  Should you tag a business with their hashtag in your post?  Yes, if it’s relevant to their brand.  But don’t take a hashtag to steal followers.  It’s just bad business.  Let’s look at the top social media platforms and apply #hashtags:

Start Implementing #Hashtags in your Business Today!

  1. Create a simple hashtag
  2. Start using the hashtag each time you post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
  3. Research your industry to determine the top used hashtags. Add these hashtags to your posts.
  4. If you are using a newly created hashtag to brand your business, add that hashtag to your YouTube channels, live streaming platforms and direct mail. Tell your network to use your hashtag find your posts and engage in the conversation.
  5. The number one way to lose followers is to not engage with those followers. Make sure you are checking social media daily.  Yep, I am sure most of you went, “really Carrie, daily”.  Yep, daily.  It’s easy when you turn on notifications and maximize your smartphone apps.  Ok, If not daily, then schedule time to check your updates.   Make a point to engage with your followers just as you would your actual clients.
  6. Check out the top used hashtags for any industry at top-hashtags.com or click now for the top real estate hashtags.

 

Facebook

Twitter Google+

Instagram

2 to 3 hashtags 1 to 3 hashtags 2 or less is better. This is the only social media site that will suggest #hashtags if you allow permission. No rule.  Consider adding 2-4 #hashtags then revive your post a few days later by adding new #hashtags to the comments.

 

Build Your Real Estate Business with Linkedin

What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the World’s largest professional network.  The social media network has over 300 million users. This social media site gives an individual the ability to build their brand, power their career, future careers, learn and share professional content.LinkedIn

Building your brand with LinkedIn gives a real estate agent the opportunity to showcase professional expertise so they are noticed. Build your brand by updating your profile with great stories that attract the right viewers.  Who are you trying to reach?  Know your audience and write your professional resume to reach that audience. Real estate agents can highlight customer service skills, marketing skills, research skills, follow up and the ability to gage the market.

Put a face to a name by adding a professional photo, not a photo of your vacation trip.  First impressions are everything.  Think about how you want people to perceive you.  If you want your potential clients to take you seriously then spend the money to have a professional photo taken.  Once you’ve updated your profile create a catchy headline to reach your target audience. Then tell your professional story.  Make sure the story uses keywords and phrases to highlight your best skills to increase your visibility on LinkedIn.

Are you an expert in your industry?  What have you done to set your business a part from others in the real estate industry?  LinkedIn provides space to showcase your work.  Add your blogs, articles you’ve been featured in to highlight expertise in real estate or in a past profession.

Linkedin also provides opportunities for real estate agents to grow their networks. A real estate agent will already have a core group of people they interact with on a daily basis. These core professionals also have a network providing new opportunities for real estate agents to expand their networks. After your core network is established reach out to alumni, colleagues from previous jobs and past clients.   Another way to connect is to ask to be introduced or recommended by your core network. Many are eager to help build relationships.  The task is to ask if you don’t ask you’ll miss out on the opportunity to build your LinkedIn network.

Build Your Core Group

Connect with Alumni Join a Group Make Connecting a Part of your Routine Search for Industry Connections

Ask to be Recommended or introduced

Now that your network is established it’s important to cultivate these relationships.  Show your network that you are the expert with videos, blog posts and quick tips to help them with the sale of their home or how you can help that buyer get into to a home.

Stay connected with the LinkedIn App. Download the app to your smartphone and tablet. This is a quick way to stay connected, interact, say happy birthday, watch job changes, and comment throughout the day. Take advantage of the auto-reminders. Keep in touch with potential leads when you set up reminders to connect.

Reminders can be set as daily, weekly, monthly or recurring. A great way to stay connected without logging into the social media tool daily.

These are just a few tips on how to integrate Linkedin into your real estate business today. Continue to check in or follow my blog for more tips on how to take advantage of one the best professional social media tools available.

Build Your Real Estate Brand with Social Media

With so many Social Media Platforms real estate agents want to know how to integrate social media into their businesses. The simple answer is, “You need to start” integrating social media today.  Whenever I speak at a real estate office about social media the top complaints are, how do I find the time? Which platform should I add first?  What should I share on social media?  Where do I begin?

  • Let’s start with social media platforms. There are hundreds of social media platforms available for personal and professional use.  Of these platforms the top 5 social media tools are:  Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest and Google+.

When choosing a social media platform consider your sphere of influence.  Is your sphere of influence on social media? Would your sphere interact with you on social media?  If your sphere of influence is on social media, start with the platform they are using.   If your sphere isn’t on social media I recommend picking one of the top THREE sites and perfecting it.  Once you are proficient with that platform move on to the next.  If you are not sure which social platform to select first consider starting in this order:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twittersocial_media_icons
  3. Linked In
  4. Google+
  5. Pinterest

Once you’ve select the social platform begin using it today.  Take the next 30 days to learn it.  Take a class and watch how to videos.

What should you share?  The best form of sharing is writing your own content, sharing photos and short videos.  Your own content can be as simple as, “click now to buy or sell a home” then add the link to your website.

How do I find the time to share?  I’m already busy searching for new leads and managing my current inventory.

  • Consider sharing one article a day. If you’re organized with your time plan your social media for the week.  Facebook has a new feature that gives you the option to schedule your posts.   Add your social media marketing time to your calendar.  Then stick to it.  Add social media apps to your smart phone so you can be social whenever you have a few extra minutes.  If you’re tech savvy jump into HootSuite. A great way to manage your social media in one place.

When you take advantage of social media by sharing, engaging and posting great content your real estate brand improve.  So what are you waiting for?  Start today!