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Twitter just made it easier for your business to join the twitterverse

(MARKETING) Twitter is unrolling new tool to help businesses personalize communications in the twitterverse.

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How to set up your customer Twitter business profile

Twitter is helping businesses take customer service to the next level with it’s newest feature, which allows employees to respond to Direct Messages (DMs) using custom profiles.

So what are custom profiles?

Super simple: the staff member’s name, profile picture and job title will show when they’re talking to a customer rather than the company’s Twitter photo and name.

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The goal is to give a more personal feel to customer service interactions and reassure customers that they’re talking to a real person rather than a robot.

Real life people!

To really amp up the authenticity, customer service agents can even add emoji to their Twitter names which display in group DM chats.

This way you feel like you’re getting help from a buddy who’s genuinely concerned about your well-being, and isn’t that a great feeling?

I want! How can I get?

Businesses of any size can use this new feature, and there are no limits on the number of custom profiles each business can operate.

All a business needs is a verified Twitter handle and to be whitelisted.

Setting up your basic business Twitter profile is pretty straightforward, then after that if you want to go custom, you can get on the list by signing up on this form after you receive verification. Easy peasy right? Twitter doesn’t stop the friendship circle there: the new feature is free, and so is the API that’s being made available (after working with Twitter’s partners to access it).

Twitter’s friendship game is strong

Twitter has taken several strides to provide outstanding customer service offerings for businesses: they’ve added more prominent buttons to make DMing customers easier, created a “send a private message” button that businesses can add to their tweets, automated DM messages, enabled businesses to show support hours on their profile page, and the list goes on.

These new custom profiles give businesses even more ways to make the customer service thoughtful, personal–and you have to admit, kind of fun!

Why all the efforts to personalize?
Robots just can’t give you the warm fuzzy comfort that real people can.

Making customers feel special goes a long way: according to Twitter, 77 percent of consumers are likely to recommend a brand after they receive personalized customer support, are 19 percent more likely to feel like the issue has been resolved, and are 22 percent more likely to be satisfied than customers who experienced less personal interactions.

T-Mobile, the original homie

T-Mobile is the first business to adopt this new feature. The company has long been leading the pack in personalizing the customer service experience. For example, it was one of the first companies to use customers’ real names and customer service agents’ initials in tweets, and last year created each of its agents a custom bio webpage to link to their tweet replies, displaying the agent’s picture and name.

Now T-Mobile is getting even cozier with its customers: the account @TMobileHelp will be the first company with the ability to use Twitter’s new custom profiles in its Direct Messages, too.Click To Tweet

However, T-Mobile won’t be your only friend for long–Twitter says other businesses will be rolling out the feature soon.

#TwitterForBusiness

Helen Irias is a Staff Writer at The Real Daily with a degree in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara. She works in marketing in Silicon Valley and hopes to one day publish a comically self-deprecating memoir that people bring up at dinner parties to make themselves sound interesting.

Real Estate Marketing

URL shortener: Once clicked, you can retarget ads across social networks

(MARKETING NEWS) This new tool helps expand your brand with a simple URL shortener that then lets you retarget site visitors. Bingo!

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The URL shortener is a must-have piece of the toolkit for the social media marketing age. PixelMe is a combination of a tried and true URL shortener with a retargeting pixel in every link to help your marketing efforts. Bingo!

If you’re not #intheknow, retargeting is a form of online advertising that uses cookies to help you advertise to your visitors while they browse the web. Basically, a piece of Javacript, a “pixel” is placed on the browser as a cookie. The cookie then notifies retargeting platforms to serve specific ads.

Usually, it’s part of an overall marketing strategy to help capture potential customers who visit your site, but don’t necessarily check out or become customers. Combined with content marketing and targeted displays, it can help get more people back to your site and ultimately become customers. In terms of numbers, if only two percent of customers normally convert on first visit, the ability to retarget gives you a better shot at the other 98 percent.

Key features of this tool beyond link shortening include: Measurement, with links analytics to help you determine what is working; Custom Domains with branded short domains; the ability to include single or multi-pixels so you can retarget with multiple ad platforms; bulk import that lets you quickly add multiple links and then share them from the dashboard; customized slugs edits (to the last part of the URL); a custom 404 screen if you have a dead link; and team member collaboration if you have a small marketing team coordinating your efforts.

The effectiveness of PixelMe comes from its development (a great story pulled from the blog here) with specific use cases in mind.

Influencer marketing (which we’ve written about: check it out here) for example, is often a one-time marketing exposure – with PixelMe, the campaign audience gets retargeted so you get more ROI on working with influencers.

PixelMe starts at $10 per month (with up to 200 shortened links a month and one pixelID); and goes all the way to $79/dollars a month (for 15 pixel IDs, 10 team members, and 5,000 links per month). At three pricing levels, practitioners of all kinds can find marketing benefits.

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Real Estate Marketing

Smartphone device plugs in to create 720 ° VR-ready home tours

(MARKETING) VR was once seen as a futuristic novelty, but with the rapid adoption rates, adding this to your toolbox could quickly set you ahead of your competitors.

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VR Maker

Accuracy is an important aspect of any real estate listing, which is why an app called VR Maker may soon become your new best friend.

VR Maker allows you to create a 360° presentation right from your smartphone, creating a seamless virtual reality experience in minutes. Such a presentation allows your clients to view properties’ interiors in crystal-clear detail, thereby removing some of the mystery from your real estate listings and bringing you closer to making a sale.

The way that the VR Maker works is simple: after signing up at iStaging website, you receive a 720° camera attachment for your smartphone (both iOS and Android are supported) along with a rotator unit on which you mount your smartphone. With the VR Maker app installed, all you have to do is make sure that everything is connected and tap “Capture”—VR Maker and the free equipment will do the rest of the work.

“The work” in the above context is quite impressive. VR Maker creates distortion-free 360° images of entire rooms with ease, allowing you to make a virtual house tour for which clients never have to leave the comfort of their homes. This footage also means that you don’t have to worry about uploading 100 photos at a time to make sure that every angle is covered—you can most likely cover the average house in one to two shots per room.

Having 360° footage of your properties isn’t necessary, but it lends a degree of credibility to your listings; after all, it’s hard to hide shortcomings in a home’s guest bathroom when one can see the entirety of the room. Similarly, having a high-definition, comprehensive view of the property gives you a leg up on the competition, and it certainly doesn’t dissuade clients from checking in.

Your clients’ comfort aside, using VR Maker will prove to be a huge time- and resource-saver for you as well, given that the app and equipment take little pre-existing knowledge to use and the shooting process is significantly more efficient than is traditional real estate photography. If you’re interested, head over to the iStaging website today to check out their demo.

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Real Estate Marketing

Want successful Instagram marketing campaigns? Follow these 8 tips

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram has blossomed and more users means a shifting culture – here’s how to adjust your strategy.

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Instagram feeds update fast and there’s a new face-altering filter available each week. Users have figured out how to attract massive followings and even become “Instagram Famous.”

So how should brand marketing efforts fit the attractive, square mold?

Lucky for you, Buffer has done all sorts of research for you and rounded up eight key guidelines to follow when creating marketing content for Instagram. Here’s what they recommend:

1. Younger audiences like relevant, relatable and creative content.
Instagram’s user base is primarily 18-29 year olds and more women use the platform than men, according to the Pew Research Center. This demographic is fond of inspiring, beautiful and unique content. If you can create high-quality images and videos that can be described as “current, creative and useful” – the top three words used teens and young adults used to describe Instagram – you’ll be in good shape.

2. Post consistently, not constantly.
If you stick to a regular posting schedule and publish well-made posts, engagement will follow. Irregular, low-quality, constant posts won’t do you any favors. In fact, it may drive followers away if your posts becoming a nuisance and/or don’t measure up to others.

3. Post when it works best for you.
When’s the best time to post on Instagram? No one really knows; research varies. Make your own schedule based on what you’ve seen work for your audience.

4. Don’t neglect Instagram Stories!
Snapchat was all the rage for a while, but Instagram Stories are slowly taking over. According to Techcrunch, Instagram stories generated an average of 35 percent more views for brands than Snapchat.

Another study found some Instagram users pay more attention to stories than posts, too. Maximize engagement by posting a story every so often. Not sure how to create amazing story content for your brand? Free template resources, such as this one, can get you started.

5. Add hashtags and location tags.
These are tools to help users find your content. Use them when you can.

TrackMaven found nine hashtags seems to be the magic number for maximizing post engagement. Just don’t be obnoxious. However, use too many and your posts may be hidden from the hashtags feeds if they appear “spammy.”

6. Create a mix of videos and images.
Videos took over Facebook, and that may be Instagram’s fate, according to L2 and News Whip studies. However, whether videos will outperform images on Instagram depends on each brand’s followers. Experiment with videos and compare their performance with your image posts. The data will reveal what your followers prefer.

Read also: How to automate your Instagram posts to maximize results

7. Utilize user-generated content.
Big brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and GoPro collect the best customer-created photos taken of their products and repost them to their Instagram accounts – with great engagement success, too.

If you’ve noticed consumers frequently tag your company in pictures relevant to your product and brand, experiment with this strategy. It could be a great (and simple) way to expand your reach and reward consumer loyalty.

8. Caption lengths can vary.
Don’t make your captions longer or shorter than need be. The point of a caption is to convey a message, and this can be done in many ways: From a lengthy text story to a handful of emojis.

Instagram recommends keeping captions to 125 characters or less so users don’t have to click “read more,” but don’t forgo important details in an effort to be concise. Once again, quality versus quantity.

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