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Imagine this… You are at Starbucks downloading your favorite artist’s new CD from iTunes when you spill your coffee on your table. You jump up and run to grab some napkins from the dispenser on the counter, rush back to your table to clean up your mess, and the only thing there is your spilled beverage.  Your laptop is missing!

You look around frantically trying to figure out where your laptop went.  You run outside to try to see something, anything.  Nothing is there and no one is around.  You go back inside the store and start asking people who are sitting nearby if they saw who stole your laptop, but no one saw anything or knows anything.  How can this be?  You only turned your back for 10 seconds.  You’ve been in this store a hundred times, and you’ve never seen anyone seedy patronize the place.  This is a safe community.  You’ve never heard of anyone having any issues in this area, until now.

Now, you are living the nightmare that none of us even want to think about.  Your life was on that laptop.  Pictures, documents, contracts, contacts, account numbers, social security numbers – the list goes on and on.  After reporting the theft to the police, you don’t have any hope that you’ll ever see your laptop again or that they will ever catch the person who has just stolen your personal information and possibly your identity.  You feel sick to your stomach, and you are on the verge of having a meltdown!

You start to second guess yourself.  What could you have done differently in this whole process?  You could have bought LoJack.  LoJack is an innovative piece of software that I ran across recently.  It is a computer theft recovery service with remote device and data security features. If your laptop is stolen or missing, you’ve got the power to remotely block access to it and the personal data it contains, while LoJack’s Theft Recovery Team works to recover it for you.

This is a really cool service that I’ll be loading onto my laptop tonight!  I consider this service to be a very inexpensive insurance policy, and I encourage all of you to check out their website and protect yourself as well.  Identity theft costs its victims huge headaches, heartaches, and thousands of dollars to correct the damage.  Don’t be a statistic!

Check out LoJack today at http://lojack.absolute.com/ and leave me a comment below to let me know your thoughts or if you know of another similar service.

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You can use social media to sell real estate, but the most important thing one needs to keep in mind is that social media sites don’t sell real estate, Realtors do. The challenge when using social media is to make sure that you are attracting the right kind of traffic to your sites. The way to do this is by posting specific content that you know your visitors are looking for. When posting, you will want to think about what you are looking for in a client, what kind of questions they are looking to have answered, what kind of information they would be interested in searching for, and then you will post answers to these specific questions on your blogs and social media platforms.

So how do you do this? To help you with your techniques, we have listed 4 tips for using social media to help you sell your real estate.

1. Are followers the key? Remember that getting more followers is really not your goal. Twitter, Facebook and other social media are more temporary than mass media. Tweets fly by in real time, Facebook posts are slower in the newsfeed, and newspapers are easier to catch, however, usually they just lay around. There’s so much content flying by, and unless you stay awake 24 hours a day, glued to the screen, it’s impossible to catch it all. Social media is trendy, and it can be effective, but you could invest all of your time and energy in it, building up a list of 10,000 fans and followers, when a more effective strategy would be to post smart. Give your clients what they want, and they will follow.
2. How do you engage? Social selling is about engagement that comes from effective interaction. You can’t just post information and hope that someone will comment or read your post. Your engagement on social sites, your blog, and your comments are a way of opening the door for people to approach you, ask you questions, and feel comfortable with you. When they are ready, they will contact you to do business because they will view you as knowledgeable and an expert in real estate. If they are in the market, it is likely that they will use you for their next real estate transaction.
3. Are you looking for clues? You will find many clues that are posted on websites and other social media sites of what your potential buyers or sellers are actually looking for. The prospects from your blogging website will contact you with questions. You will find posts from your friends on Facebook. You might even search through Twitter and find out what kind of questions people want to learn about. When you provide the answers they are looking for, you can even go further and post even more information on that topic to draw them in more. People will come back to your social sites to get valuable information that you are posting. These sites do not “sell” homes, but the right information prompts people to want to keep coming back for more.
4. Are you committed? If you plan to set up your social profile, you have to commit, just as you would if you were taking care of a child or a puppy. You have to feed it, nurture it and monitor it daily. If you can’t commit the time, then this is probably not something for you. Being involved in social media requires you to be social, patient and personal. You have to get to know your audience. Your profile on these sites, your blog, and your comments are ways of opening the door for people to approach you, and then potentially use you for their next real estate transaction. Get committed!

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Every once in a while it is a good idea to mix up your normal marketing routine to experiment with some different methods with the hope of finding another winning technique. So, do you want to mix things up a little bit? If so, then consider using Instagram. Instagram is the hottest thing around right now. Instagram is an online photo sharing service that allows users to apply digital filters to their pictures and share them on a variety of social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

As a former Realtor, I understand the value of professional photos being taken for that new listing I just acquired. But today with so many different medias to advertise in, why not mix it up a little. Use your professional photographer to take photos of your new listing and upload those into MLS and your personal website. Then, consider taking an Instagram photo of some really cool feature(s) in the house and sharing them on Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few simple filters that are available to help make your image stand out.

1. Normal. If you want to make no changes at all and are concerned about authenticity of your image you can use this setting. You can then post your image with the hashtag of #nofilter.
2. 1977. Use this filter if you are selling an older home and you want it to look like it was taken in the 1970s. It is a retro filter with a crisp, Polaroid-esque white border. This image will look like the old Polaroid images that you would take and then shook it to wait for it to develop. With its washed out colors, these images resemble snapshots that have been faded by the sun.
3. Inkwell. This filter uses the classic black and white filter. You might use this filter if the shot you took of the home had poor lighting. The high contrast of the photo adds elegance and emphasizes strong lines. Light and shadow are prominent in your image.
4. Nashville. This filter renders crisp clean images. It gives your image a warm feeling. It also includes a slightly pink tint to help you achieve this effect. The top border is a replica of an old-school film strip. Maybe this filter would appeal to a movie-going audience.
5. Amaro. This filter as more light to your image, but it focuses most of the attention on the center of the image. Use this filter when you want to give your photo an aged appearance. The darker your photo is, the more you will notice this effect.
6. Toaster. Most people love to use a sepia filter. Houses that have natural wood siding really stand out with this filter’s gold and brown tones. Sepia gives your images a warm and comfortable feeling. You might want to use this filter if your photo was taken on an overcast kind of day to add a little sun to the photo.

There are so many other filters available for Instagram. Using the above filters add to your marketing possibilities for your listings. Add a little flavor to some of your photos. People are more likely to invest in something if they can relate to it. So, why not try to remind them of something they saw in a movie or even something in their childhood.

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Video Marketing for Real EstateDuring my technology coaching sessions I often have Realtors question me about ways to get business from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Being the brainchild that I am, I knew if I was getting asked this question by so many agents that I was coaching then there must be thousands and thousands of agents out there who have the same question. So, I decided to write this blog post about my answer to this common question.
Here are the 6 steps I use to help me get more business from social media and the internet.
1. Decide what your target market(s) is/are. Are you going after 1st time home buyers, retirees, empty nesters, foreclosures, short sales, etc.?
2. Research the demographics of all social media platforms. What is the average age and most common gender of a Facebook user?
3. Hang out where your target market hangs out. For example, if you are wooing only 1st time homebuyers, then there is probably no need to use LinkedIn.
4. Deliver the goods. Post amazing and original content. (This can be a paraphrased article if you want it to be.) The content should portray you as the expert in your industry. Try not to repost an article that someone else wrote that you like because you are helping to promote the author of that article as the expert instead of you.
5. Be consistent. Know when your target market is most likely to use your preferred platform and post your content then. Do not go extended periods of time without posting. Take advantage of Hootsuite or other scheduling services.
6. Be social. It is social media, after all. “Comment” and “Like” others who comment on your post. Interact with your fans and followers, and complete strangers will get to know and begin to refer you.
If you will follow the steps above, I will guarantee that you will start to see success from marketing through social media platforms. So, what do I mean by the word success? Success in marketing with social media is getting emails, direct messages, and phone calls from suspects inquiring about properties for sale, selling their homes, or even referring friends or family to you. Don’t forget to ask people how they got your contact information. If you don’t ask, then you won’t know which of your marketing efforts are paying dividends.
If you have a social media marketing success story that you want to share with us, then please do so below. We love hearing your success stories!

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