MY VLOG PROCESS

I remember that day in January 2015 like it was yesterday. I was driving on the windy roads of Great Falls, VA. A blanket of snow still remained from the prior day’s snowfall. I had been thinking of starting a video blog. A little voice said, “Why not now?”. So I pulled my car over to the side of the road, got out my iPhone, opened the camera app, turned the camera around to me, chose the video option, hit record and I was OFF.

The first VLOG was about how to use hashtags on Twitter. Since then, I have made about 90 more videos and posted them to my YouTube channel, Facebook, LinkedIn and shared them in my “Sunday Night Emails”. Their length ranges from two to seven minutes but usually they are just under four minutes.I have received SO MUCH FEEDBACK about my videos and I truly believe they are the main reasons people in the real estate industry so often recognize me when I am out and about in the DC metro area.

I wanted my first blog this month to be about my process. I believe a lot of agents think it is difficult to start/maintain a VLOG. But it isn’t. It is actually one of the quickest and easiest types of content to produce. The bigger issue is you being afraid of how you will look and sound. You need to get over yourself. Sorry if that is harsh but it’s true. Your desire to be perfect is literally causing you to leave money on the table. It is my hope that after you read my process, you will be inspired to start TODAY!

What You Will Need To Get Started:

  1. A phone that can record video
  2. A Gmail account
  3. A YouTube channel

Step One: Pick A Topic. I get ideas all the time and keep a running list in the notes app of my phone. I realize not everyone is like me so I have listed a few ideas to get your creativity flowing.

  1. Do I Need Great Credit To Buy A House?
  2. Does My Lease Need To Be Up Before I Start Looking For A Home?
  3. What Are Contingencies?
  4. How Do I Know What Price To List My Home For?
  5. What Is An EMD?
  6. Showcase A New Store Or Restaurant In The Neighborhood You Service
  7. Review A Restaurant Or Store In The Area You Service
  8. Every Friday, Tell Your Audience What Is Happening This Weekend
  9. Post Settlement Testimonials
  10. Partner Interviews (Lender, Title, Home Inspector)
  11. New Construction Tours
  12. Interview A New Construction Sales Associate

Step Two: Record.

I do not have a script that I follow. I just speak from my heart and tap into the knowledge I have. Sometimes I can do one take. Sometimes it takes me twenty takes. I hold the phone in front of me, hit record and start talking. I do not watch it once I have recorded it because I know I will be overly critical and find something wrong.

Step Three: Upload the video to YouTube.

  1. Open The YouTube App On Phone
  2. Touch The Gray Button That Looks Like A Video Camera In The Upper Right Corner
  3. Allow Youtube Access To Your Camera (you will only have to do this once)
  4. Choose The Video You Just Recorded (it should be the most recent video)
  5. Choose “Next”
  6. Give Your Video A Title
  7. Complete The Description
  8. Make Sure “Privacy” Is PUBLIC
  9. Click UPLOAD In The Upper Right Corner
  10. Wait For It To Upload

Step Four: Upload the video to Facebook directly from your phone. I used to share the YouTube link but I stopped because I noticed Facebook was not giving as much air time to my video when it was uploaded from Youtube.

  1. Go To Your Facebook Business Page
  2. Choose The “Publish” Button
  3. Choose The Button That You Would Choose If You Were Uploading A Picture
  4. Select Your Video
  5. Click “DONE”
  6. “Say” Something Like: LATEST VLOG IS UP or EPISODE #1 OF MY BLOG IS UP or #CHECK OUT MY LATEST VLOG ABOUT THE NEW HARRIS TEETER
  7. Add Some Emojis For Fun (video camera, house, a thumbs up)
  8. Click “CONTINUE”
  9. Click “PUBLISH”

Step Five: Promote / Share

  1. Share The YouTube Link To Twitter, LinkedIn, Email It To Your Database
  2. Boost Your Facebook Video To Your Avatar (I spend about $50.00 per video boosting it to Realtors in the DMV area)

And that’s it! Pretty simple right? As time has gone on, I have tweaked my process.But this is how I did it for two years. So make a commitment today to make a video once a week for the next twelve weeks. Keep me posted with how it’s going!

kara best picKara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

What Realtors Should Post On Instagram

By: Kara Macdonald

January 31, 2018

Real Estate and Instragram go together like peanut butter and jelly. So why aren’t more agents using the platform? I believe one reason is they struggle with what to post. But I have good news! As a Realtor, the opportunities are endless. You tour homes, have listings and are in the community all the time! All you need to do is start being more aware. See three examples of posts below and how to craft them to remind people you are an agent.

Plants, Trees & Flowers

Next time you are out showing property, be cognisant of what catches your eye and snap a picture of it with your phone. You already naturally notice things as an agent so the key is to remember to snap a picture. Perhaps there is an especially impressive tree in the front yard or a stunning potted plant on the front porch or a gorgeous arrangement on the dining room table . . . all of these would do very well on Instagram. Below is an example of a post I did (and then deleted since I am not a Realtor): Notice I have chosen a beautiful picture of flowers with multiple colors and a brick accent, I have added a location (Fairfax County, VA), the text part of my post has a touch of my personality and I have made it obvious that I am a Realtor and lastly, I have used 15 applicable hashtags using the 5/5/5 method (5 location based hashtags, 5 activity based hashtags and 5 fun/expressive hashtags). The hashtags for this post are #fairfax #fairfaxcounty #fairfaxva #nova #northernva #flowers #landscaping #backyard #singlefamilyhome #moveupbuyers #backyardgoals #realtor #sorelaxing #gladIamNotAllergic #colorfordays

favetitlelady

 

Beautiful Décor

I find model homes are the easiest to find stunning décor. Builders are so good at decorating, aren’t they? Next time you are passing by a new community, stop in, tour the model and snap a few pictures of what catches your eye (seeing a trend here?) and voila . . . you have content in your phone for posting over the next few days. Below is an example of how to do this while reminding people you are an agent. Notice I have chosen a beautiful bathroom picture with a splash of color, I have added a location (Loudoun County, VA), the text part of my post has a touch of my personality and I have made it obvious that I am a Realtor and lastly, I have used 15 applicable hashtags using the 5/5/5 method (5 location based hashtags, 5 activity based hashtags and 5 fun/expressive hashtags). The hashtags for this post are: #ashburn #ashburnva #loudoun #loudouncounty #northernva #ryanhomes #newconstruction #modelhome #masterbathroom #realestate #iwantone #timetonegotiate #springmarket #karakares

bathroom

 

Highlight Local Places

Not a day goes by that we aren’t in a local coffee shop, restaurant, store, park, school, etc. Keep your eye peeled for interesting and beautiful things. Sometimes our coffees come with foam art (hearts or swirls), THAT’S AN INSTAGRAM MOMENT. Sometimes a restaurant has a super unique bar; THAT’S AN INSTAGRAM POST. Sometimes a store has a local artist’s work on display or for sale, THAT’S AN INSTAGRAM POST. Parks have creeks and animals and rare birds and views of a gorgeous sky, THAT’S AN INSTAGRAM POST and schools, well they have your kids! And if you’re not keen on posting your kids, post pictures of flyers displayed of upcoming plays, musicals, mattress sales, etc. The best part of this kind of post is that you get to mention a local place and that ALWAYS gets you more engagement. Below is an example of how to craft this kind of post AND remind people you’re an agent: Notice I have chosen a modern and colorful establishment, I have added a location (Henry’s Sweet Retreat), the text part of my post has a touch of my personality and I have made it obvious that I am a Realtor and lastly, I have used 15 applicable hashtags using the 5/5/5 method (5 location based hashtags, 5 activity based hashtags and 5 fun/expressive hashtags). The hashtags for this post are: #bethesda #montgomerycountymd #bethesdamd #maryland #moco #realtor #realestate #showingproperty #icecream #cookies #henryssweetretreat #afternoondelight #sugarrush #sugarfix #guiltypleasure

its ok to crave

 

TAGS: #RealEstate #SocialMedia #Marketing #Instagram #Realtor #RealEstateMarketing

kara best picKara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

INSTAGRAM FOR REAL ESTATE: 5 Easy Things To Do Now & Be Light Years Ahead Of Other Agents

Jan18Blog MainInstagram and real estate go together like bread and butter. Instagram is a photo sharing app. Real Estate is extremely visual. It only makes sense for a Realtor to be on Instagram. In this article, I will share five easy things you can do now to be WAY ahead of the competition. This article assumes you have the app on your phone.

Revise Your Username

It should be obvious that you are a realtor. Great examples are @JoeySellsGeorgia, @MaryCanMoveYou, @BuyOrSellWithPaula. Including your first name creates relatability. Using “sell”, “buy”, “move”, “list” or “homes” clearly shows you are in real estate and reinforces your brand. Don’t worry that changing your username will confuse your followers. In the long run, it is more important to have a GREAT username and the sooner you do it, the better.

Profile Pic

Your profile picture should be the same everywhere AND it should be a professional photo. It should be very easy for people to recognize you. Other tips to make your picture stand out include using an assymetrical picture (symmetry makes a picture less interesting) and think big. Since most people will be viewing your picture on their phone, your face should be very close to the camera so it is easily recognizable (again, always making things as easy as possible for your audience).

Update Your Bio

Your bio is prime real estate; treat it accordingly. Choose three words that describe you (example: Dog Lover, Realtor and Mom of 2) and place them at the top. Include emojis after each word. Your phone number and email should be next, again including emojis. There is a place for a link to your website. Use it! And if you blog or do videos, use this space to promote them by doing a post that states “link in bio”. Just be sure to change it if it is a time sensitive blog or video (example: 10 Ways To Not Get Stressed Over The Holidays”).

Post Consistently

According to Union Metrics, what matters most on Instagram is consistency. Posting a lot will not negatively affect your account however, if you post a lot and then stop posting a lot, you will lose followers and engagement which does hurt your account. So pick a frequency that you can maintain.

Use 15-30 Hashtags Every Time You Post

In order to grow your following on Instagram, you MUST use a lot of relevant, local hashtags. Try the 5/5/5 method. Use 5 location based hashtags (example: #northernva, #princewilliamcounty, #woodbridge, #woodbridgeva, #virginia). Next use 5 activity based hashtags (example: #home #forsale #homebuyer #closingtime #settlementday) and lastly, use five fun or expressive hashtags (example: #homesweethome, #citylife, #bestdayever #shegotthekeys, #hardworkpaysoff, #dreamsdocometrue).

Kara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

Goals Blog – December

From December 2017 to December 2018, I will be taking a REAL DEEP DIVE into a different topic each month. As a marketing consultant for real estate agents and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, a title company in the DC metro area, I am acutely aware of the many areas in which realtors struggle and desire change. I have chosen 13 topics to take a deep dive into that I am confident will help agents both personally and professionally. It is my hope that over the next 13 months, you will join me in this adventure and be incredibly inspired!

December 2017’s topic is GOALS.

December is my favorite time of year. There is just something in the air. Holiday hustle, Christmas cheer and the dawn of a new year right around the corner; it literally makes me giddy. To me, a new year is a chance for a fresh slate, new beginnings and endless opportunity. It is only natural to think of what goals I hope to achieve in the coming year.

That said, a couple of weeks into January and my enthusiasm seems to fade. I am and always have been pretty hard on myself. I constantly think I could have done more or should have planned better. I want to achieve so much and help so many people but the days seem to get away from me. I always seem to be striving to do better “tomorrow” or “next week” or “next year”. If I am honest with myself (and a little more gentle), I absolutely have made progress. Looking back to one year ago, five years ago and ten years ago …. WOAH! I have come SO far. And I am super proud of ME! But this year feels different. I turned 40 in July. Time to change something up. So what’s going to be different this time? Well, instead of keeping all of those hopes and dreams up in that crazy head of mine, I am going to WRITE THEM DOWN.

Why is this so hard for me? Who knows? I have difficulty focusing. Don’t we all feel like we have a touch of ADD, ADHD, Shiny Object Syndrome, SQUIRREL!!! Perhaps there is some subconscious doubt or fear happening like I won’t achieve it anyway or that’s going to be a lot of work. It’s hard to admit that but it’s true. Luckily, difficult tasks (or fear that I won’t know HOW to do something) is exactly what drives me to try it.

You will be tempted to want to write down several goals. But you must be realistic. If you try to tackle multiple goals at once, you will probably fail. So the first step is to do some soul searching. What one thing have you thought about for a long time? Do you want to lose weight? Take more vacations? Save more money? Increase your income? Spend more time with family? Volunteer more? Make that ONE THING your goal.

Next step: WRITE IT DOWN. The research is conclusive. Goals work if you write them down. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal setting with 267 particpants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. This is fascinating to me so I dug a little deeper . . . . Neuroscience has proven that when you write something out that takes deep thought like your goals, you build over 10,000 new neural pathways in your brain in one sitting. And the more you write your goals down (even if they are the same goals), the more likely you are to achieve them. Your brain will start to think of these goals automatically by default and become a part of your subconscious. Actions we take will subconsciously be towards the goals. You can literally wire your own brain for success. WOW!

So I challenge you . . . pick one main goal and no more than one secondary goal for 2018 and write them down. I will share mine in the next blog. I hope you will share yours with me too!

If you need some additional inspiration, one of the books I listened to this month came with a free  downloadable worksheet (I love a good worksheet).

I am on a mission to learn, educate and inspire realtors all over the world. We are in a very unique time right now. I hope you will join me on this adventure. It’s an amazing ride!

 

GET YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS ON GOOGLE FOR FREE

The definition of GOOGLE MY BUSINESS, according to Google Support, is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.

Google loves local businesses so this is their way of helping local businesses get seen more by consumers. Google My Business combines Google+, Maps, and Google Search  into one convenient all-in-one business solution which in turn helps you get more easily found! Can I get an AMEN?

Benefits include a Google+ Page for your business which others can engage with, tracking insights and enagagement, manage and review metricsw from your YouTube Channel and Google Analytics Account and seamlessly start and manage a Google AdWords campaign.

So how does it work?

  1. The first thing you should do is visit https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Next, add a single location and type of business (choose Real Estate Agency for the brand category).
  3. Google might ask you to place a marker on the map correctly.
  4. On the next page, Google will prompt you with a few suggested addresses. Choose “none of these match” at the very bottom.
  5. The last and most important step is to verify your business listing. Assuming you did everything correctly, you will be brought to a screen that says “how would you like to get your verification code” with just the mail option. Once you receive the code (Usually it takes 14 days for the postcard to arrive), login to Google My Business and click on the Verify Now button on top. Enhance your profile page by adding photos, writing a detailed business description, offer coupons or specials, upload videos and asking for reviews.

More good news …

Recently, Google added a new feature called Google Posts, formerly called Candidate Cards. It can show up on Google Search and Google Maps along with your business details when someone searches you. Posts can be up to 300 words long, giving you ample opportunity to convey valuable information that resonates with your audience. If your title and image are catchy and people click on it, you could send them to a landing page.

Google definitely favors websites that are fast and mobile-responsive over ones that aren’t because most of Google’s users are mobile. Google Posts have a card-based design making it very easy on the eyes. Users will easily see it when they search for your business or topics related to your business. Thoughtful design will attract more mobile customers in your area.  Creating a Google Post is very easy. Simply log into the dashboard, then head to the left side of the screen to access the “Posts” area. From there, you can select “Add A New Post”. The jury is still out as to how much benefit you could get from Google Posts. But it takes almost zero effort and it’s free. So if you have a new listing, a new team member or an event to promote, I think it’s worth the time. I mean, it is GOOGLE so it can’t hurt your rankings, right?

Kara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

How Often Should You Post On Social Media?

How Often Should I Post On Social-There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Plenty of studies have been done. Lots of experts have weighed in. I am no expert but I do have an opinion based on hundreds of meetings with real estate agents and studying social media for real estate for the last four years. Ultimately it depends on who you are trying to reach and how often YOU are willing to engage. I should also mention that real estate agents should not try to manage more than two accounts. If they are very good “at social”, four accounts at the most. However, I know from experience that real estate agents have a hard time being consistent on social media. So I advise that you start with two and if you’re able to keep up with that, increase accordingly.

Facebook Business Page: 1 post per day

Twitter: 15 tweets per day

Pinterest: 10 pins per day

LinkedIn: 1 post per day

Instagram: 2 posts per day and lots of hashtags!!

The good news is there are plenty of tools out there to help you manage this. A few of my favorite are HootSuite, CoScheduler and Buffer. Choose one and spend some time learning how to use it. Before long, you will be up and running and getting exposure for your brand!

The next questions is always, “but Kara, WHAT do I post”? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where I will go over several types of content for all the above mentioned platforms.

About The Author

Kara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

12 Steps To A Successful Open House

A goal without a plan is just a wish, right? Every agent hopes their open house will lead to generating new buyer leads but without a plan, it’s just a wish. And if you’re going to be spending your precious Sundays doing open houses, you should have a clear plan and follow every single step, every single time.

Step One: Prepare clients

If it is your listing, your clients should be aware as soon as you take the listing, not only that you will be doing open house(s), but which days they will be on.  Before you go to the listing appointment, check your calendar. Obviously, it will depend on what date they will be listing so it might be “every Sunday for three weeks after we list”. But the key is to be prepared to tell them which days you are available to do open house(s) and get them on the calendar.

Step Two: Enter it in the MLS

Enter the Open House into the MLS no later than midnight on the Thursday prior to the open house. This will ensure that the open house is “picked up” by all the major websites that buyers use when looking for opens (Zillow, Redfin, etc.).

Step Three: Create an awesome flyer

Your flyer must be awesome. If you have a knack for graphic design, great! But if you don’t, hire someone to create a template for you (estimated cost $100) and then you can drop in photos and update the copy as and when you have an open. Remember, everything you put out to the world is a reflection of you and your business. You can also use sites such as https://www.canva.com/ to create a flyer. They have templates and the most you’ll spend is $1.00 per image that is not free.

Step Four: Promote Promote Promote

Post that flyer EVERYWHERE: LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, EVERYWHERE. And not just once … In the week leading up to the open, the flyer should be on each of the sites mentioned at least twice. Hashtags should only be used on Instagram and Twitter. They don’t belong on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.; they look “salesy”. Having trouble coming up with hashtags, use my 5/5/5 method: five location hashtags, five activity hashtags and five fun hashtags. Here’s an example (feel free to borrow it): #arlington #arlingtoncounty #arlingtonva #northernva #nova #openhouse #vaopenhouse #realestate #home #realtor #dontmissthis #thiswontlast #springmarketisstillhere #icansellyourhousetoo #realtorlife

Step Five: Invite Neighbors

Remember that awesome flyer? Print fifty copies and invite the neighbors the day before or the morning of. You could even have a “neighbors only preview” for one hour prior to the public open house. People love to feel like they are special and they also nosy. Utilize this to your advantage by inviting them beforehand and chatting them up. Be sure to give them your card or have something to give them about yourself that they can take with them (a nice postcard with info about you and what you’ve sold in the neighborhood).

Step Six: Be sure the house is in PRISTINE condition.

Obviously the house should be very clean but a few extra things that some people don’t think of are mow the lawn, put away all evidence of a pet, put away jewelry, be sure all lightbulbs are working, put away toiletries, clear all hallways, make all beds, make sure the light switches and walls are free from handprints and clean and adjust temperature if they keep the house unusually cold or warm. Prepare an email template to send out to your clients a couple of days ahead of the open house(s) so they have plenty of time to comply with your requests.

Step Seven: Use an electronic sign in

The whole reason we do opens: to capture buyer leads … you’re unlikely to do that with a sign in sheet. People expect you to be “with the times” so be prepared to exceed their expectations by being prepared to have them electronically register. My two favorite apps are https://spac.io/ and https://www.openhomepro.com/ … be sure to create an account well before the open house so you have time to learn how to use it properly. The last thing you want to do is be messing with setting up the app ten minutes before your open house starts. Both of these are very customizable but they do take some thirty minutes or so to familiarize yourself.

Step Eight: Bake cookies

I do this at every open house I help agents with and everyone that attends is always so impressed. The smell of the cookies when people walk in plus the taste of warm cookies creates an ambiance that will be remembered. I also offer water bottles and napkins. All you need to bring with you is a baking sheet, premade cookie dough, a spatula, an oven mit and a plate to put the cookies on. Don’t worry about baking the entire time. I usually put a new batch in every thirty minutes so I have time to talk to the guests without worrying about the cookies burning.

Step Nine: Play music

Bring a Bluetooth speaker and play music from your phone (Pandora or Spotify). I like classical music played softly. Again, it’s just an extra touch to set your open house apart from the three or four other ones they are most likely going to visit that day.

Step Ten: Take Notes & Follow Up

As soon as the guests leave, jot down any personal info they may have mentioned (children’s names, looking to move right away, works at the pentagon). After the open, do some digging, find their address and mail them a hand written note mentioning some of the personal things. For example “It was great to meet you and your wife, Lucy, and your daughter, Jane.” Nothing too pushy (since it’s already going to be a little strange that you found their address) …. Just something lighthearted with your business card. If you can’t find their home address, email them or text them if you have good info. And don’t give up unless you’re flat out told to go away. Just continue to touch them every month or so and be super kind, offer to help without being pushy. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. If it’s not, it won’t, and that’s okay. It’s more time for you to find your next potential client.

Step Eleven: Have fun

People will respond to the kind of vibe you put off. Treat the open as a fun event. Have fun and offer to help but don’t say too much, especially if you’re getting the feeling that they do not want your help. No one likes a pushy agent and a lot of agents are pushy. We need to stop that. Be kind, helpful and genuine and it will be a wonderful, successful event!

Step Twelve: Give a full report to your sellers

Always close the loop by reporting back to your sellers as soon as the open house is finished. Give them detailed information on guests, how many seemed like serious buyers, how many seemed interested in THEIR house and any feedback you got as to why their house was not appealing. All of this will lend to a wonderful experience with you as their agent which will lead to them recommending you in the future.

How To Make Instagram Work For Your Real Estate Business

There is no doubt that Instagram is hot. It has proven its ability to stay relevant with its release of Instagram stories last August. It is definitely where millennials are with 59% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 active on the social platform and 54% of those aged 25-34 using the photo sharing platform on a regular basis. It is the only platform that’s acceptable to post personal and business content. In this post, I share a few tips to optimize your profile and some of my favorite ways to use Instagram as a real estate agent.

YOUR PROFILE

This is your opportunity to showcase yourself. When people click on your name, they want to learn more about you. Do not underestimate this chance to shine! As a real estate agent, you should have your phone number, email, website and service area(s) listed. Get creative with emojis and hashtags, list what you’re passionate about. Stand out! Why do you sell real estate? What makes you tick? How are you different? TRULY DIFFERENT. People should FEEL something when they read your bio. Are there any causes near and dear to your heart that you are able to support because you have a flexible schedule or supplemental income as a realtor? Take a look at my profile below for some inspiration.

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HASHTAGS

If you’re new to Instagram or want to grow your audience, hashtags are crucial. Hashtags are clickable links which become searchable. For example, by using the hashtag #tamparealestate, people that search for that hashtag will likely find you. The more popular the hashtag, the less likely you will be found, so you want to be as creative as possible. The maximum number of hashtags you can use in one post is 30. I know, that’s a lot. I like to stick to 15. So how do you come up with 15? I came up with the 5/5/5 formula to help trigger some ideas. Here’s how it works: Use 5 location based hashtags based on where you are when you post (i.e. #newyorkcity, #vegas #houston #houstontx #grandcanyon), then use 5 activity based hashtags to describe what you are doing when you post (i.e. #familytrip #realestateconference #teammeeting #businesstrip #settlement) and lastly, 5 fun/expressive hashtags to further describe what you are doing and reinforce your branding: (i.e. #bestclientsever #realtorintraining, #hustlehard #springmarket #workinghardforyou #lovemyjob). This last one is where your tagline or a custom hashtag would go. I use #CloseWithPruitt on almost every post related to a settlement.

If you are really struggling with coming up with hashtags on your own, there are plenty of free apps that will generate hashtags based on other hashtags. My favorite is HASHME.

BORROW AN AUDIENCE

This is probably my favorite thing to do on social media. It can be done on Twitter and Facebook, too, but it works best on Instagram. The trick is to tie in your real estate activities to a local business and/or local people by mentions (Instagram’s word for “tagging”). Whenever you mention another account, Instagram sends that account a notification. I don’t know about you but when someone tags or mentions me, I usually go to that post and like it or comment on it (unless it’s a spammer). Likes and comments equal engagement and engagement equals brand visibility. If you are strategic and consistent with this method, you will see a spike in your local followers which means more local visibility in the are(s) you sell real estate. DING DING DING!!!

Here is one scenario:

After a long morning of showings, you take your clients, Joe and Rachel, to Duck Donuts in Arlington for some coffee and a snack.

Picture: If Joe & Rachel are cool with it, snap a selfie of the three of you enjoying your sweet treats and upload it to Instagram.

What To Type: Joe & Rachel found “THE HOUSE” this morning. Celebrating at Duck Donuts in Arlington then off to write their offer. Wish us luck!!

What Hashtags To Use: #ArlingtonVA #ArlingtonCounty #DuckDonuts #NorthArlington #NorthernVA #HouseHunting #ArlingtonRealEstate #CelebrationTime #ForeverHome #SaturdayShowings #BuyWithKara #ABCRealEstate #KaraCanHelp #IloveMyClients #FingersCrossed←← #SweetTreats

How To Properly MENTION or TAG Duck Donuts. Type the “@” symbol and begin typing a name or a business name and Instagram will provide you with a list of possible matches. Choose the right one (remember not everyone/every business is on Instagram so you may not see what you are looking for) and you’re done. See two pictures below. In the first one, I typed “@Duck “ and Duck Donuts appeared. In the second picture, you can see the finished post. Notice @duckdonutsnova is in light blue. That means I tagged them properly.

caption

SHOW YOU CARE!

Be sure you are checking your notifications regularly and responding when someone mentions YOU. I recommend checking your notifications twice a day (minimum) and ALWAYS responding in some way even if it’s just a “LIKE”. It shows you care about your audience.

Scroll through your feed a couple of times a day and comment on other people’s posts. Offer advice if someone asks, give recommendations when appropriate and comment often. The more peopleyou’re your name in the comments, the better.
Send a personal message to your new followers, ESPECIALLY local ones. No one does this on Instagram and I think it is a huge opportunity missed. Whenever you have a chance to be different, you have a chance of being remembered when your services are needed.

About The Author

Kara Macdonald is the Owner of Your Favorite Title Lady, LLC and the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. Her mission is to inspire real estate agents by teaching them how to market themselves better online and offline through blogs, vlogs, webinars and in person consultations. She can be reached by email at kara@yourfavoritetitlelady and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

6 Ways Realtors Can Implement Video In Their Marketing

March 14, 2017

By: Kara Macdonald

About Video Marketing

 

Video is the most untapped method of content marketing by real estate agents. It’s the most effective way to connect with consumers and create brand awareness. So stop worrying about what you look like or whether or not you have recorded the perfect video. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. A smartphone and a simple tripod will do just fine. Below are five ways you can start using video right away.

An Introduction Video

Create a video introducing yourself as a real estate agent and a human being to the world.  The video should be no more than four minutes in length. Let your audience know who you are, why you became a Realtor and what your mission is. Remember to be specific. The more vague you are, the less people you will appeal to. Include a few personal facts about your family and what you enjoy doing in your spare time. Imbed the video on the first page of your website, add it as the featured video on your YouTube channel and to your Facebook Business Page.

Testimonials

When you first start working with new clients, let them know you hope to earn a testimonial at the end of the process. Preparing them ahead of time will make the next step very easy . . . After your closings, ask your clients if they will record a quick video testimonial for you. Offer to leave the room so they feel more comfortable. I would ask them to use your phone so you don’t have to worry about getting the video from them later. Ask their permission to post the testimonial on your website.

Highlight Local Businesses

In my last video blog, I talked about doing videos highlighting local businesses. Watch that video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf98FHvDCFI) . Teaching people about the community in which you sell is SO IMPORTANT and hardly any agents are doing it. This means you have a very unique opportunity to STAND OUT NOW before everyone starts listening to me.  Shoot a video in front of a new restaurant and tell your audience where it is and what kind of food they serve, a little about the ambiance and price range. Are there new construction homes being built near you? Shoot a video in front of the homes being built or in front of the sales office and tell your audience where you are, what is being built and what the homes will be in close proximity to in terms of amenities and shopping. Take a trip to the movie theatre on a Friday morning and tell your audience what movies are opening that day. The possibilities are endless. And remember to ALWAYS mention your name, company name and tagline.

Open Houses

Shoot a video in front of the house the day before inviting people to attend. Describe the property in detail along with community info (close to Great Falls Park or Town of Clifton, four dog parks within 5 miles, a new Wegman’s is being built less than one mile away, etc.). Post the video on your Facebook Business Page the day before and run a boosted/targeted ad for everyone within 20 miles of the home. If you do this consistently, people will start to feel like they know you which will lead to trust which leads to them reaching out. Be strategic with where you do open houses. Try to do them in the same county or city as much as possible.

Vendor Highlights

Schedule a time to sit down with your go to lender and title company to “interview” them. Be sure you choose someone who is as engaging as you are. Prepare five or six questions ahead of time for he/she to answer. If you are really bold, you could plan a Facebook Live event a few days ahead of time and then take questions from your audience after you are done with your questions. Your future clients will remember you as the go to person for all of their needs if you do this consistently.

EMAIL

We have all heard of BombBomb. I’ll admit, I do not know a ton about BombBomb but I do know that when someone sends me a video message via any method, I am impressed. And it takes a lot to impress me. According to BombBomb’s homepage, 81% of BombBomb users get more replies, 68& convert more leads and 56% get more referrals. It is definitely worth checking into. Their site offers a 14 day free trial (no credit card required).

Consistency and patience goes a long way! If you need any help “doing” any of the tips I have suggested here, I am just a text away. Thanks for reading this!

About the author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. She can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.

 

Inman Connect New York 2017 Takeaways

This was my second Inman Connect, my first in New York and WOW, WHAT A WEEK! I met so many new friends, reconnected with old ones and paved the way for new opportunities. In case you have never been to Inman Connect, I will tell you what it is like . . . It’s a four day conference held twice a year: once in New York City and once in San Francisco. Everything from how to run a successful team to what tech will be like in real estate in five years is covered. Each day, there is a general session in the morning, breakout sessions and learning labs in the afternoon and happy hours, dinners and cocktail parties in the evening. IT IS NON STOP. The name of the conference truly reflects what it’s about. The connections you make are priceless. Everyone is eager and willing to help you meet who you want to meet or if you aren’t sure, they will help you figure it out. Now that I am home and able to review my notes, I wanted to share what stuck out the most.

Video was mentioned a LOT, especially Facebook Live. Videos, live or not, have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. And if it is LIVE, people spend three times longer watching video live versus when it’s not live. Steve Pacinelli, Chief Marketing Officer at BombBomb, did an excellent learning lab on video marketing. He spoke about sending a quick video to a lead instead of a text or an email. If you have access to who has visited your website, record a 20 second video thanking them for visiting and letting them know that you’re here if they need anything but if they don’t need anything, feel free to visit the site anytime. The more “off the cuff”, the better. It makes you relatable and approachable. Do not worry about being perfect!

Virtual Reality was another thing that was talked about. I will admit, I was totally lost during the first talk. I do not understand VR and when I do not understand something, I tend to zone out. But when it came up again, I forced myself to pay attention because I started to see how VR could be a tool that has the potential to make an agent stand out. And, when you can stand out, you WILL win more clients. That’s a fact. Picture this, if your clients are going out of town or do not live here, you could give them your VR headset and show property to them, in a much more unique way than Facetime, while they are out of town. All you need to make VR “happen” is a VR headset, which you can get for as little as $79.00, and a smartphone. Talk about standing out from the competition. My marketing wheels are turning big time with all the possibilities of advertising to and attracting overseas buyers just because you have a $79.00 VR headset. I know, I know, this is too much. But honestly, the more AHEAD of the tech game you are, the MORE clients you will attract. So WHY NOT give it a try? I think it’s a game changer.

Next up is retargeting. Retargeting is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous internet actions. Do you ever wonder how the boots you looked at online show up on the right side of your Facebook feed? That is retargeting. How can YOU use this to attract clients? It starts with having killer content on your website. Whether that is videos about the DC area or a blog post about family friendly events in Alexandria or Gaithersburg, it has to be compelling content. You can push that content out to social media and then retarget the people that click on your post. Another thing you could do is do a post for homes for sale in Fairfax County within $400,000 and $500,000 and retarget an ad to the people that click on that. If someone click on a post about homes for sale in a certain area in a certain price range, chances are they are (or will be very soon) interested in making a move. By taking that data and using it to advertise YOUR SERVICES in a subtle way, you will convert more people from Facebook to clients. This is a little above my head but I am committed to figuring it out and doing it. That is how I have done everything else so I am up for the challenge! Who’s with me?

Another takeaway has to do with the handy dandy database. We all have one. We all need to clean it up and we ALL should be utilizing it MUCH BETTER, right? Rivers Pearce from BoomTown gave an amazing talk at a Learning Lab sponsored by DotLoop about the rebirth of the database in an audience centric world. He said you need three basic categories: people you’ve done business with, people you are currently working with and people you want to work with. He said the way we contact people in our database is CHANGING BIG TIME. The days of direct mail and geofarming are over. Your focus should be on SMART digital marketing, creating hyper local content, having a mobile friendly website and engaging social media posts. Many people are still responding to texts and emails but that will change soon as well.

Last but not least, I was inspired. Kala Lous and Valerie Garcia both gave fantastic talks. Kala is the Founder and CEO of JK Realty in Arizona. She is a visionary and a forward thinker. Her hard work and positivity has led to a very successful brokerage. Valerie Garcia is the Director of Training for the North American operations of RE/MAX Integra. She encouraged us to choose to give up what you know (because it’s comfortable and safe), be a disrupter (you can do it!), be willing to be seen (don’t deprive the world of your awesomeness!), be willing to ask for help (no one knows everything), overcome fear with practice and make bravery an employee benefit. WOW!

I hope you will consider attending the next Inman Connect Conference. Here is a link to get your tickets. The sooner you buy them, the cheaper they are: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inman-connect-san-francisco-2017-tickets-26669241419

About the author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. She can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.