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Why real estate pros should *never* use Facebook stories

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook Stories are a fantastic marketing tool, but open up a huge Pandora’s box – better nix them.

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For over a decade, we’ve been touting the importance and merit of social media, educated the industry on best practices, pioneered the culture, and played a role in so many of your campaigns.

This may confuse some of you who are thinking we’re out of touch old folks, crapping on social today, but that’s not the case at all. We care about your rear end. Hear me out…

Last night, I saw an amazing Facebook Story (which disappears, just like Instagram Stories).

A Realtor friend of mine in Texas was sharing the interior of a new listing he had, and it was absolutely stunning.

But he made some mistakes.

Most of them were rookie mistakes that you know not to make (calling a neighborhood “safe” which is subjective and makes you legally vulnerable), but others were pretty serious. He noted that the listing was near a mosque, so it was perfect for his “fellow Muslim friends.” Can you say steering? Fair Housing violation?

I reached out to him to learn his process. What did he say?

“They’re gone in 24 hours, it doesn’t matter.”

Okay, but it could matter to the person who screenshot all of the Facebook Story whose calls you never returned, and because they’re Protestant, they now believe you’ve discriminated against them because they aren’t Muslim like you.

It matters to the person who watched and thought “my car was broken into on that street, it’s not safe,” and shares your Facebook Story, mocking it.

Of course this can happen on any social media platform, in any format. It can happen in email. Why are Facebook Stories so unique?

Because they aren’t archived (unlike Instagram Stories where you can turn archiving on).

In the practice of real estate, you are required to keep copies of all communications, files, and marketing for a specified length of time, depending on your location.

How can you keep record of something that disappears, leaving you completely vulnerable, especially if someone else has saved a copy of it? You’re saying “who cares if they saved a copy?!” but I’m saying that if someone else saved a copy and you didn’t, they can edit it any way they wish with no records to compare it to, and a judge may not see your side of the story.

Skip Facebook Stories altogether.

Do Instagram Stories and archive them, if you must, and if you’re ultra tricky, turn on archiving on Instagram Stories, then cross-post them to Facebook Stories. That way, there’s a record of you that proves whether or not you’re liable.

You already have Groups, Pages, and your personal News Feed to update – put Stories on the backburner, even if they’re a great promotional tool. Future You Being Sued will thank you. #cya

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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Marketing

How to get a 9 star rating on Zillow when you’re limited to 5 stars

(MARKETING) When you’re limited to just a few stars on Zillow or similar sites, how do you prove to the public that you’re worth many more stars?

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Let’s say that you ask all of your customers to rate you on Zillow. Let’s say that you think it’s the best site since sliced bread (or you hate it, whatever, that matters not in this scenario).

But let’s also say that you’re either an overachiever or a smartass and you believe that your five star rating is simply too low and that you have actually earned more stars throughout your stellar career.

What do you do? How do you break out of the “Five Star Zone” without paying people to rate and rank you and without bribing Zillow?

You get creative.

Enter Frank Llosa, Esq., Broker of Frankly Real Estate, who is both hated and revered for his endless pushing of the envelope. Years ago, he figured out a way around the five star rating system on Zillow without any cash exchanging hands.

How? Behold:

Llosa did this stunt long ago, but Zillow never shut him down (and if they had, he’s used to his shenanigans being stifled).

Will Zillow shut you down if you try this? Probably.

While hilarious, it does prove that the web doesn’t limit the creative, rather, it unveils the endless opportunities to capture consumers’ attention – wouldn’t you take a second look at a 9-star agent on Zillow? I sure would!

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Real Estate Marketing

Tweetcat for Twitter organizes your timeline, makes it easier market

Never miss an important tweet again with Tweetcat, an app designed to organize your timeline.

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Virtually every form of social media utilizes a newsfeed or timeline format. This is set in place to allow users to view information from those the follow in a, normally chronological, fashion.

Depending on how many people you follow, it may sometimes be impossible to constantly stay on top of everything that’s posted in your social world. This is particularly difficult with Twitter.

How can you stay up-to-date on Twitter?

Because Twitter operates in a 140-character sphere, updates are seemingly constant. Tweets, photos, and videos go up in a moment’s notice, making it hard to keep up if you only check in every few hours.

But the thing is, do we want to see all of that content? While we consciously choose everyone that we follow, does that necessarily mean we want to be with them every step of the virtual way?

Based on the amount of accounts I have muted, I’m going to venture to guess: no. Sometimes people, or brands, have a habit of tweeting too frequently, which may be a turn-off but not necessarily grounds for an un-follow.

Twitter meets organization

While you may appreciate everyone that you follow, it is unlikely that every single tweet is something that you care about seeing. The constant updates may be easier to digest if there were something to keep Twitter organized.

Tweetcat is attempting to be that form of organization. Operating as an app, Tweetcat’s purpose is to organize your timeline by allowing you to create custom topics.

Categorize your tweets

You are able to create topic categories (i.e. business, music, sports, etc.) that will become color-coded. Tweetcat then sorts out your interests and places the appropriate tweets in the appropriate categories.

This not only helps to weed out the information you do not care to see, but it allows better access to the content you actually care about. Who knows what you may be missing in the disarray that is your current timeline?

Once categories are created and the tweets are sorted, they become accessible at the bottom of the Tweetcat app, which integrates your Twitter account. Available for both Androids and iPhones, the Tweetcat app strives to keep Twitter users organized and seeing the content that they are interested in.

#Tweetcat

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Real Estate Marketing

Real estate drone videography is falling far short of this glorious example

Drone videography is stunning, but the real estate industry could be utilizing the technology to a much greater extent; here’s one breathtaking example to aspire to!

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A stunning new short film, “Austin by Air: An Aerial Documentary” gives viewers the opportunity to see Austin from a bird’s eye view and, hopefully, will inspire the real estate industry to consider incorporating aerial videography into their marketing.

Photographer and post-production technician Gerard Juarez has been working on a drone related startup, and decided, as a side project, to make a film featuring breathtaking aerial shots of Austin’s skyline, of kayakers on the river, and of the early morning traffic-less streets around the University of Texas. He attended a drone piloting training program to big up his skills before hitting the skies to create the impressive documentary. His goal was to “showcase” the city of Austin, and he hopes that the film “will have a little promotional value for the city.”

Tip: watch this video in full screen with the sound on.

How the industry could catch up

We’ve been talking about drones for some time now.

Here at The Real Daily, we’ve long been tracking the technological and legal progress of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration currently prohibits the use of drones for the purposes of selling real estate. However, this could change as soon as this year. In 2012 the FAA Modernization and Reform Act asked the FAA to come up with clear regulations regarding the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles; these regulations are due at the end of September. We recommend staying abreast of these developments, as drones could one day become an important tool for the real estate industry.

Real estate brokers with enough capital to work with could hire quality videographers to make films similar to Juarez’s documentary, which would show potential clients a whole new perspective on their cities and neighborhoods. Aerial photography is a great way to show off what makes a city or town unique, and to give people a wide-angle view of standout architectural and natural features. Such videos could be shared via hyper-local content blogs and websites to draw in new home owners.

I found “Austin by Air” to be a beautiful and inspiring way to view a city; similar videos on real estate websites could make a big impression on potential clients.

#DroneVideography

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