Why Pinterest?

Pinterest IconI LOVE Pinterest. It is such a great resource for everything from recipes to home improvement to architecture to design to whatever you can imagine. Most of my friends are on Pinterest and if they’re not I invite them to be on Pinterest. But I’ve yet to meet a REALTOR on Pinterest from my office. There are REALTORS on there, but I believe it to be a mostly untapped social media marketing opportunity.

Although I hate to admit it, I don’t use it to it’s potential. Now, I have a Real Estate Board, but I use it more as a humorous/educational tool for myself, because sometimes I need a good laugh or a reminder as to why I am in the profession. I also have a Home Decor Board and a board devoted entirely to Atomic Decor (we have a lot of mid-century homes here) and of course one devoted toGarden Pinterest Gardening.  (I have a lot more boards which you can view here). The point I’m trying to make is that all these boards have to do with real estate: homes, home buying, home maintenance, suggestions for your home and garden. There is so much potential here that I have not tapped. I should be able to drive people to my website, my blog, my contact page, and my email.

My most popular pin was repinned almost 7,000 times. Could you imagine if that had been related to my business? As it was, it happened to be a recipe for fried rice. fried riceI did try (twice only) to post homes for sale. One was my sister’s house in another state and one was a beautiful home here. NO ONE repinned. I felt as though my pin had, well for lack of a better term, “cooties”. So, I need a different strategy and I’ll keep you posted on how that works out. But I will be starting a business Pinterest account and I have a few ideas already on Boards to create. Hopefully the following infographic will help you see the value in marketing on Pinterest. And I encourage you to dip your toes in the water. Contact me if you need an invite to join (just send me your email address. I will only use it to invite you not spam you.) E.
Check out this wonderful infographic from Prestige Marketing, Inc. Click here to be taken to their post.

Pinterest Marketing Infographic

Finding Images for Free or Cheap

I’ve been running into the issue of using and trying to find non-licensed pictures. This is an issue I’m sure others have as well. I must admit it gets tSpokane at Nighto be a challenge. In trying to be very careful I’m going a little crazy. I have purchased pictures (rather affordable, around $1) from photos.com. But free is almost always better. I came across another great resource from SociallyStacked.com You can click here to read the entire article and get links to the suggested sites. I found this image of Spokane using an advanced Google search.

Recently we’ve received a ton of questions about best practices for finding photos for Facebook posts and blog articles. One of the reasons is that there has been a lot of coverage about the fact that photos in the News Feed receive better engagement than a general status update. Facebook’s redesigned News Feed which emphasizes larger photos proves the point!

But how do you avoid violating copyright when using images? The general preference is to use a photo that you’ve taken yourself, but sometimes that’s not an option. With easy access to millions of photos it can be tempting to pull a photo from Google Images and use it to assist your blog or Facebook post. However, this is not a suggested or best practice. We recommend using images with defined licensing to save yourself a copyright-violations headache.

Use these tips for finding beautiful images for Facebook and blog posts:

1. Search under Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License are licenses that allow photographers to choose which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for their work. Some websites offer photos that fall under the Creative Commons License which have been approved by the original creator to be used by a third-party. The owners of the photos have chosen whether they want attribution or not when their photos are used, and these photos are available for use as long as you abide by the Creative Commons License. Flickr includes more than 17 million photos licensed under Creative Commons License. There are several other Creative Commons Licensed images than can be found from a simple Google search.

2. Search Google’s Publicly Reusable Images

In Google’s Advanced Image Search you can filter your image search by licensed for public reuse. When you open the Advanced Image Search an option appears at the bottom to choose Usage Rights. You can use the drop down menu to choose how you’d like to filter your Images. You can choose from “free” to use or “share,” “free to use or share, even commercially,” “free to use or share or modify,”and “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially.” You know exactly what you’re getting when you use Google’s Advanced Image Search and there are several million photos to choose from.

3. Search Free Stock Photo Sites

There are a variety of affordable sites where you can find quality (and legal) stock photography. One of our personal favorites is ShutterStock where we have a monthly subscription and are allotted a certain amount of photos to use each day. A recent blog post from TheMarketingAgents.com provides a detailed list of 13 free and cheap stock photos. You can read the article here. We’ve listed out the thirteen sites below, but for details on photo prices and types of photos offered reference the original article.

4. Create your own images

As mentioned earlier, our number one recommendation for photos is to create your own. Obviously this isn’t always an option, but self-created images hold several benefits. You don’t have to worry about copyright laws, they’re more personal to your business, and you won’t get stuck using the typical stock images that we see far too often across the web.

5 Marketing Resources for REALTORS

I want to continue to emphasize the value of using various social media platforms as part of your marketing. The following are 5 different online marketing opportunities geared towards REALTORS that you can take advantage of AND the reasons WHY it is important to include them in your marketing campaigns. The article is written by Laura from Breezy Hill Marketing.

Five Tips on Social Media for Real Estatebrownstone steps

  1. Facebook. A Facebook page for your business can help you promote your properties and your business at the same time. Here are easy things that you can do to promote your business through Facebook: 1) Share your listings using photos, videos, and information. People love to see beautiful pictures and information about houses for sale in their neighborhood. Natural curiosity helps drive the activity on listing posts. And, listings posted on Facebook generate click through to your web site. 2) Create events in Facebook for all of your open houses. Make sure your open houses get the exposure that you want through the event feature in Facebook. You can even send invitations to specific people who you think might be interested in your open house. You can share the event on your personal account causing further engagement for the open house, the listing and your personal brand. 3) Help your search results in Google by having a Facebook page…as previously mentioned in this article, social media content is now searchable so everytime you post information about real estate for sale on your Facebook page, you are also adding Google search juice to your web site…. Nice benefit, isn’t it?!
  2. Twitter. Twitter is the fastest growing social media network and offers Realtors an opportunity to engage locally, nationally and internationally. Twitter can be a great way to promote properties to a broader audience and offers you the ability to get links and traffic to your site.When using Twitter, make sure to spend time listening to what people in your community and in your niche are talking about and what they are re-tweeting. This will help to guide your own communication so that you can comfortably engage in the conversation. Add a hashtag to your tweets so that they come up in searches performed by others. You can use hashtags for specific areas or for your specific niche, real estate. Most communities now have local hash tags (#btv = Burlington, Vermont) and this helps to focus your tweets locally and helps you to follow conversations.
  3. Blog. One of the best ways to be found online is to provide Internet users with rich content. A real estate blog provides you with an opportunity to develop rich content about your specialty and to continuously post the content to social media sites. Some topics than can be used on a real estate blog are: 1) Describe your real estate listings in further detail with information that is not available in an MLS form. 2) Provide further details about the different neighborhoods that you serve with your real estate firm. 3) Provide insight and direction on ways that buyers and sellers can improve their real estate experience.
  4. Craigslist. This is a wildly underused vehicle for creating great traffic to your web site and your listings. Craigslist is a constantly trolled web site where visitors are looking for the new and the interesting and always for the great opportunity so play to their instinct for a sweet deal or unique offering. Many web site companies offer Realtors an auto post to Craigslist function. Caution Weary Traveller!! People on Craigslist are not looking for your glossy ad, if they were they’d be on Realtor.com…. so make sure your posts LOOK like the raw, unformatted post of the for sale by owners etc.
  5. Realtor.com, Zillow, & Trulia. Real estate junkies like me troll these web sites for the latest listing and the best pictures. We are seeking the new offering, the thing we missed, the best investment, a vacation or retirement home. Make sure that your presence on the sites is fresh, up to date, and linked to all of your other profiles on the web. Each one of the sites offers the ability to build out your profile with additional information and links. Encourage your buyers and sellers to write references for you on one of the social media sites. The rule of thumb is to pick a site for references and direct your reference traffic there. Since Realtor.com is driving the most traffic, I recommend having your clients provide references for you on the Realtor.com page.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

5 Easy Tips for Website Maintenence

With 90% of consumers going to the internet first to research real estate (realtor.org), your website is the first impression you are going to make. And we all know what they say… “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Nothing is a bigger annoyance than going to a website to find a plethora of unfriendly issues. So, when I  come across a website that is user unfriendly I leave and go look elsewhere. I often go do DeDe Watson for advice and insight into social media marketing. She is so very knowledgeable and makes social media very accessible for those who don’t think they have the time for it. I was of course on her site turnitsocial.com and saw this post from DeDe and I absolutely had to share it! Your website is not a “set it and forget it” type of media. It requires some attention and monitoring. But not to worry! DeDe Watson has some wonderful and easy tips on how to maintain your website to make that stellar first impression!

5 Easy Tips for Maintaining Your Website

from turnitsocial.com October 11, 2012 By Dede Watson

Building a website can be very time consuming and financially draining. So, you want to be sure that you have carefully thought out both what you are trying to convey on your site and that it is user friendly!

Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Website

1. No clear message as to who or what you are from visiting your home page. I cannot even tell you how many sites that I have visited where there is no visible clue as to what a company offers. You have perhaps 5-10 seconds to gain someone’s attention. You might have an amazing company, but if there is no visible benefit for the viewer, your opportunity will be missed!

2. There is no homepage link or it is broken. Be sure that you have a visible homepage link. The best advice is that it says “home.” If someone begins browsing through your site and wants to go back to your homepage, it must be easily accessible for them to return. Also, make sure that it works!!

3. Make sure that your site works on multiple browsers and MOBILE!!! Your site must be easily viewed on mobile networks as a significant percentage of your viewers will be checking your site from their cell phones.

4. Too much flash is not your friend! Flash can be an exciting feature to add to your website but, it is not seo friendly, can slow down your website and can actually detract from people viewing your website. A little is okay but don’t make your homepage all flash and no content!

5. Don’t allow your website go stale. This can happen when businesses are not web savvy or have very little interest in their website maintenance. Sometimes, products no longer exist, contact information changes, links are not working or worse yet, a website can go down! Even if your website does not require constant updating, it is important to check in frequently to make sure everything is up to date and working properly.

I hope that these tips will help you to keep your website running smoothly!!

Building Value for Twitter Followers in Just 15 Minutes a Day