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!

Does the REAL ESTATE Industry design software for REALTORS® or Consumers?

Does the REAL ESTATE Industry design software for REALTORS® or Consumers?

I love Margaret Gould Stewart’s statement in her TED Talk, “Know who you are designing for”.  Many companies use statistical data to determine software solutions.  As a technology trainer for the real estate industry I’ve had the opportunity to watch our software programs evolve into cloud based systems over the past 14 years.   Real estate software changes at a rapid pace with new programs added and offered to real estate agents every year.  From cloud based systems to apps where buyers and sellers can view properties on smart phones, tablets, and laptops.   Midwest Real Estate Data, a Northern Illinois Company, offers multiple products to their REALTOR® members.

As an instructor for the real estate industry, I have the ability to experience the different skill levels for all agents.  Many agents come into the business with little or no computer skill.  Where others come into the business with a tech savvy background.   The median age of all REALTORS® IS 56.  With that in mind you might think, based on statistics, the MLS service would offer products to keep in line with REALTOR® Demographics.  This age group is among the Baby Boomers and Boomers are adapting to the rapidly changing technology.  However, the Millennials and Generation Y groups are among the extremely tech savvy software, social media and smart phone users.  And learning these products are simple for the younger generations since they’ve typically grown up with technology.  Whereas, working with the Boomer groups, in many situations not all, it might take longer to adapt to technology changes and new products.

Why is this important?  If the median age of an agent is 56 why aren’t we developing products to service this age group?  That’s easy, many people in the market to buy or sell a home are looking online before they decide to invest in home ownership or choose a REALTOR®.    Therefore, if the buyer or seller chooses an agent to represent them in their transaction, that new client might expect that agent to be tech savvy and have the ability to access real estate information just as quickly as they can.   

Therefore, although it might make sense to focus on the Boomer agents when developing technology, focusing on the consumer would be the better option when designing for the real estate industry. The Millennials are expected to spend $2 Trillion in housing in the next 5 years.  Most buyers are searching online before making a decision to purchase a home.  And Based on how quickly real estate programs are developed and updated it’s certain that developers are focusing on the tech savvy users.  Given that this is true, Millennials and the Generation Y groups should be considered when developing cloud systems, websites, apps and software.  This could be one of the reasons the less tech savvy agents show frustration with real estate software.  It’s just not being developed for the agent.  It’s being developed with the consumer in mind.

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip Two

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip Two

Whether you’re a new agent, seasoned agent or an agent that needs to jump start their business; generating leads is key for a real estate agents success.   If you read last week’s blog post you’ve already created a list of everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet.  If not, click to review.   After you’ve created a list of everyone you know, that could be a potential lead or referral source, you’ll have the ability to upload that data into your

  • Multiple listing service
    • Many MLS’ allow you to create mailing labels
    • Email clients
    • And sort your list based on client status
  • Email marketing tools like
  • Client relationship management tools (CRM)
  • MSWord
    • a great way to create mailing labels or
    • form letters
  • Upload that data into a marketing service tool to order postcards
    • You’ll need to convert the data into CSV format. Just save it in MSExcel as CSV.
    • If your company uses a post card company use it

Once you’ve chosen the tools that you would like to upload your database to, create a plan to email, mail, text, engage on social media and call your clients.

  • Contact your Top clients monthly
  • Mail something of value to your clients monthly
  • Share market updates, local events, Real estate news and more to your social media sites at least once a day. The best times to post are 9:00am, Noon, 3:30pm, after 7pm and weekends after 10am.
  • Don’t forget to ask your top clients for a referral
  • Track your leads and where the lead is generated. Next week we will discuss the importance of your database.

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip One

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip One

The best tip I can ever give is to “Get up, Get Dressed, & Get to Work and Start with Lead Generation”.   If you work better in the office go to the office.  If you can work from home, stay home.  If you get more work done at Starbucks, go to Starbucks.   Go to the best place where you can produce new business for your business.

Once you’re up and ready for work think about if you should check your email right away or not.  I know that if I check email I end up putting out fires or responding to emails that could have waited until 11am.   For me lead generation is the best way to start my day.  If I’m not working on lead generation I’m not building future lead opportunities.   Some agents can check email first then work on lead generation.  If you can do this and stay on track with lead generation then go for it!

Tip One – Summary

  • Get up and go to work
  • Schedule your lead generation time and put it in your digital calendar so it syncs with your phone, laptop and tablet.
  • You may also choose a to do list.  I use Gtasks app from Google on my phone.  The to do list can also be located in your Google Gmail account.
Google Task Drop Down Menu

Google Task Drop Down Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Task App

Google Task App

 

Next week I’ll provide tips on how to generate new leads.  If you can’t wait for this post, sign up for the Realist class at www.mredllc.com.  Classes are free if you’re an agent in Northern Illinois and a member of Midwest Real Estate Data.   Also consider putting everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet with Name, Address, phone and email address.  Once you’ve created your list find the top people that would refer you if you asked them to.  You’ll be more than prepared to begin next week.

 

 

Increase Your Business by 42% in the NEXT 12 Months

Increase your business by 42% in the next 12 months.

The Women’s Council of REALTORS® opening session started with a high energy and engaging speaker who challenged us to change our perception of how we do business. Did you know that 10% of real estate agents dominate the real estate market? Maybe you’re one of the 10%. If you’re not, Travis Robertson (@TravisRO) shared simple strategies to change your business by 40% in the next 12 months.

Below are my top take-aways from his presentation:

  1. Don’t give up on online leads. Only 3% or less are actually responded to.
  2. Consider Facebook Ads. By integrating Facebook Ads in your business plan, you will reach more of your friends and your friends’ friends in their news feeds.
  3. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Agents don’t stay in touch with their clients. Stay in their mind; at least 27 touches per year. Use direct mail, email marketing, and client parties as one of your touches.
  4. Deadly Myth: Online leads are crap?! Truth: The leads are not the problem; it’s your lead nurturing system.
  5. Create a business that supports your life! Not a business that runs it!

Check out the 2014 NAR Conference Blog for more tips for your Real Estate Business

Don’t Make Decisions In The Dark

Don’t Make Decisions In The Dark.  A simple but profound statement.  Most real estate agents don’t plan their business strategies let alone their social media strategies.   Trust me when I say, “Agents don’t plan, strategize, or have a vision.” Many have heard the statement, “Write Your Vision and Make it Plain”.  Do you have a vision? Do you have a plan?  Is it written down?

If you don’t have a plan,  you have planned to fail.

Making a decision in the dark is just doing something to do or  jumping from one idea to the next.  I’m going to try that new idea because it works for a different agent.  When most agents have no real idea what that agent does everyday to be successful.  So how to you keep from, “Making a Decision in the Dark?   How do you start with Social Media Marketing Plan?  For every agent the Social Media strategy will be different?

1. Know who your friends and follows are – If your family, friends and  followers are on Facebook know who they are.  Know the age group.  The habits of that age group, then go where they go.   Engage your group in conversation based on this information.   If most of your friends are having coffee every Wednesday at Starbucks then go to Starbucks.   This isn’t Rocket Science.   Posting on your wall when everyone is at a coffee house won’t bring in LEAD!  Basically use social media but know your customer personas.

2. Know the trends.  What’s the fastest growing demographic in social media?   The fastest growing group is 55 to 64.  However, they are not the most active users on social media.  So just because a group is growing doesn’t mean it’s the best group to target for your social media marketing plan.

3. Post Real Estate specific information for your market area.  It’s OK to post on a National Level but most of your buyers and sellers only want to know what’s happening in their marketplace.

4. Yes, It’s ok to share your listings.  Just remember Facebook doesn’t want you to sell anything you don’t own on a personal page.  That means, you can sell your own car, your own house or your own stuff. But if you are selling something that’s not your personal item like your clothes, your car or your house, you need a Facebook Business Page.  (Watch the short video on the top menu bar under videos.)  Creating a page is easy.  Just make sure you have a business photo.  A photo of you not your Dog, and I love my dog, just sayin!

By the way, if you are sharing your listings on a personal page, your friends may have hidden your posts.  Don’t be hidden to find out your marketing efforts were useless.

5. Schedule social media marketing time.  Yep, schedule your Social Media Marketing in your Google calendar.  Make it a reoccurring event so you stick to the date!  Learn how to schedule your social media posts.   “Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” – Mike Volpe

7.  Sixty Four percent of marketers are using social media 6 hours or more per week.  Thirty Seven percent are using it 11+hours per week.   Age is a huge factor.  The younger the marketer the more they use social media.  Check out www.socialmediaexaminar.com for the annual report.

Now that you know that you need social media marketing plan take time to integrate it into your current marketing plan.  You don’t have to make it so intense that you won’t achieve success.  Keep it simple.  Use your handout to get started today!  Check back often as I provide more tips on how to integrate social media into your business.