Monthly Archives: April 2012

Survey Reveals Real Estate Agents’ Favorite Tech Tools

Real estate agents overwhelmingly chose the iPad presentation app as their favorite new marketing tool in a recent Imprev survey. Asked to choose their five favorite from a list of 25 real estate marketing products, three out of four real estate professionals placed presentation apps for iPads at the top of their list of must-have real estate technology tools. Here’s the list of the top five real estate marketing tools Realtors would most like to have in their tech tool bags:

  1. iPad presentation app 75%
  2. automated eMarketing campaign 35%
  3. single property websites 29%
  4. personal blog 28%
  5. video 25%

While iPad apps were the marketing tool after which most real estate agents lusted, the iPad itself came in second to smartphones as agents’ favorite technology. Fifty-two percent of real estate professionals choose smartphones as the technology they couldn’t do without, reflecting the increasing popularity of mobile marketing which many are calling a “game-changer” in the real estate industry. iPads and android tablet computers came in a distant second. Here’s how real estate marketing technologies stacked up in the survey:

  1. smartphones 52%
  2. iPad or android tablet 26%
  3. laptop, notebook or netbook 16%
  4. desktop computer 5%
  5. other 1%

Not surprisingly, the survey clearly reflected the real estate industry’s transition from print media to internet marketing. When asked to compare the real estate marketing tools they found most useful today to those they used 10 years ago, the majority of real estate agents chose email marketing as today’s most effective marketing tool. A decade ago, 69% of survey respondents said newspaper display ads formed the core of their real estate marketing program. Despite their limited effectiveness today, 8 in 10 real estate agents still use newspaper display ads to market homes. However, rather than being an integral part of a Realtor’s marketing strategy as it was a decade ago, today newspaper advertising is more likely to be done at the seller’s request or because local sellers expect it. Only one in 10 of the Realtors surveyed still considered newspaper advertising an effective marketing tool.

More Tips on Adjusting Facebook Business Pages to Timeline

Facebook’s move to its new timeline format requires a little getting used to, but Timeline’s visual emphasis actually works to the advantage of real estate professionals. Adding property listing photos to your Facebook updates and featuring Virtuet videos of new listings on your Facebook business page will enhance the attractiveness and professional appearance of your page in the new format. Unfortunately, reaping the greatest benefit from your Facebook business page will now require regular tweaking which means real estate agents should expect to spend more time on Facebook maintenance than they did before.

In our last post we noted the importance of creating a strong cover image for your Facebook real estate page. Today, we share more tips geared to help real estate agents make the most of Facebook’s new timeline format:

  • In the timeline format, cover photos are essentially banners that stretch horizontally across the top of the page. To prevent image distortion when converting a photo to a Facebook business page cover, choose a large (greater than 851 x 315 pixels), horizontally-oriented, high-resolution photo.
  • In Timeline, access to custom pages is hidden under the cover image where few Facebook users are apt to find it. To compensate, you may want to link Facebook updates back to similar information on your website.
  • You can break up Timeline’s 2-column layout and highlight new or important information by clicking the star at the top right of the update box which will stretch the entry horizontally across both columns (like the cover). (Mouse over the area if you don’t see the star.) The effect will only last 7 days before the post reverts to the standard 2-column layout. It’s a handy way to highlight new information without worrying about updating old posts as they move down the timeline.
  • Because of the conversion factor, any information that you want to remain highlighted or at the top of your timeline will need to be reposted or re-featured once a week.

Tips for Adjusting to Facebook’s New Timeline Format

Recently, we’ve been talking about how to maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook business page; however, a new priority has taken precedence over any other adjustments you are making to your Facebook business page. It is now critical that real estate agents create a cover for their Facebook business page as soon as possible.

To hear the squawking, you’d have thought the sky had fallen when Facebook migrated all business pages to its new timeline format on March 30. In timeline, Facebook business pages look dull and boring; completely unappealing. While it’s not as bad as it seems, it’s going to take a little time and effort to adjust your real estate Facebook page so you can reap the benefits of the platform’s new format. Given the power of Facebook to attract real estate clients and create first impressions, fixing your Facebook business page isn’t something you can put off. Bite the bullet and fix it now!

At the top of your Facebook “to do” list should be creating a cover for your business page. Timeline is a more visual format than Facebook’s previous layout. Adding a large cover image to your Facebook business page will give your page an attractive, professional appearance and attract user attention. To see the impact a cover makes, check out the newly-revamped Properties Online Facebook business page.

Adding a cover to your business page is quick and easy. When you log onto your Facebook business page, you’ll see an “add a cover” button in the top right corner. Click it and follow the instructions. The following tips will help you create a dynamic cover that will attract attention and create a positive first impression:

  • Don’t get into trouble with copyright infringement. Only upload images you have taken yourself or that you have purchased the rights to.
  • Keep your cover image clean and crisp. Don’t enlarge your logo to fill the space or litter your cover with ads or promotions. Use your cover to make an emotional connection with potential clients.

More tips next time

Google Search Changes Necessitate Real Estate Website Tweaks

High search engine placement is the key to driving client traffic to your real estate website, and search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to high search engine placement. It would be convenient if search engines would stop tinkering with their search algorithms so that real estate agents could maximize their sites for SEO once and be done, but that’s never going to happen. Like it or not, constant changes in search algorithms by the masters of Google and their ilk mean that real estate agents must stay current with new search parameters and periodically tweak their real estate sites to accommodate new search strategies and re-maximize SEO. Realtors and real estate agents that fail to keep up with the latest SEO strategies will see their search rankings plummet, site traffic fall off, and new clients move to more web-savvy real estate brokers. Such high stakes justify the effort and expense it takes to keep your real estate site search engine optimized.

At the end of February, Google began implementing a series of 40 changes and updates to its search engine, many of which boost support for Google+, Google’s Facebook competitor. For real estate agents the two most important changes were to Panda, Google’s year-old search ranker, and the self-explanatory Link Evaluation. If you want to keep your real estate website at the top of Google’s search rankings, the following tips will show you how to tweak your site to accommodate Google’s newest search engine modifications.

Link Evaluation shifts search impact from offsite links, the backbone of traditional SEO strategies, to social media engagement. Your blog entries, article submissions and directory submissions will still count toward your search engine ranking on Google, but their value has been marginalized in favor of social network mentions, social update shares and customer engagement (comments and reviews). Not surprisingly, Google places premium value on Google+ interactions. If you’re not on Google+ yet, the SEO advantages alone should make this a priority.

Continued next time

More Facebook Tips for Real Estate Agents

As we noted in our previous post, heavy user volume and the potential for viral sharing make Facebook an extremely useful marketing tool that can be an asset in growing your real estate business. But to keep from annoying Facebook followers and alienating potential future clients, it is important to follow Facebook best practices.

Today we continue our list of smart Facebook tips for real estate agents:

  • Follow your gut. Pay attention to what you do and don’t like about the Facebook pages you visit. Incorporate good ideas into your own site and avoid annoying practices like begging for “likes” or asking lame questions.
  • Limit your posts. Over-posting is at the top of the Facebook user complaint list. The greatest traction is achieved by posting every other day, but not more than 3 times a week.
  • Offer value. Give Facebook users a reason to come back. Use Facebook apps and real estate widgets to post listing domains to your profile, connect to your real estate website and publish new listings to your wall.
  • Be yourself. Your Facebook page should reflect your personality. Don’t forget that Facebook is a social network of friends, not a business forum. Facebook users expect chatty, personal conversations and will judge you by the character and content of your page and posts. Approach your Facebook page as if you were talking to a long-standing customer with whom you’ve developed a comfortable, friendly relationship. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that your Facebook persona will reflect upon your business. Aim for friendly, helpful and cheerful and steer clear of chummy, gossipy or complaining.
  • Be careful what you share. It’s desirable to share a little personal information on Facebook; but keep your comments positive and don’t share information or offer comments that could come back to bite you. For example, sharing a few scenic vacation photos with an observation or two is humanizing; but no good will come of posting photos of yourself drinking margaritas on the beach. Keep your postings friendly but never post anything that could impact your professional reputation.