The Resource: November’s Social Media Guide

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

The Holiday Season

5 Decluttering Projects To Help You Get Ready for the Holidays (Houzz)
15 Simple Thanksgiving Centerpieces (Shelterness)
Bring Farmhouse Touches Into Your Home for Thanksgiving (The Spruce)
Thanksgiving Hosting Hacks (Better Homes and Gardens)

Texas Living

Meanwhile In Texas (Texas Monthly)
How the World Series Finally Vindicated Astros Fans (Texas Monthly)
15 Songs That Embody the Texas Spirit (Wide Open Country)
Texas Meals You Have To See (and Taste) to Believe (Texas Hill Country)

Just For Fun

DIY: Make a Fresh Magnolia Wreath (Houzz)
The Top Travel Destinations of 2018 (Elle Decor)
Peek Inside the Homes of 23 Classic Hollywood Stars (Veranda)
Home Decor Ideas for People Who Love Their Dogs A Little Too Much (Realtor.com)

Around The House

What To Store in the Laundry Room, And What You Shouldn’t (The Spruce)
Composting How-Tos (Better Homes and Gardens)
The Ultimate Stain Removing Guide (Better Homes and Gardens)
Garden Trends for 2018 (HGTV)
Garage Organization Ideas That Will Give You Your Parking Space Back (House Beautiful)
A Tightwad’s Guide to Getting Organized (Organized Home)

Decor Inspiration

15 Cool Shared Spaces Where Kids Can Study (Shelterness)
Stunning Ways to Redecorate the Dining Room (Good Housekeeping)
Natural Fall Decorating Ideas (Real Simple)
Unexpected Patterns that are Perfect for Fall (HGTV)
Luxurious Headboards for a Dreamy Slumber (Luxe Daily)

Buying And Selling

The Problem with Tiny Houses That No One Talks About (Elle Decor)
10 Home Maintenance Myths Costing You Time and Money (HouseLogic)
Should I Bail After A Bad Home Inspection? (The Mortgage Reports)

 

Boost Your Business By Tapping Into Your Creative Side

There’s so much more to success than having a strong sense for business. When you’re running a business, either large or small, creativity is a crucial skill. By honing your creative skills, you’re allowing yourself the freedom to find inspiration more easily, adapt to new environments, and think outside the norm to find good solutions to common problems.

But listen – if the idea of getting more creative in your business scares you off, you’re not alone. Not everyone feels naturally inclined toward artistic pursuits. The good news is, you don’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to use that right side of your brain that aren’t as scary as you think.

Start With A “Brain Dump”

A brain dump is a great way to get started, especially if you don’t describe yourself as a creative person. Think of a problem you need to solve in your business. Grab some paper and pens (or your laptop) and just write out every single thing that comes to your mind in association with the problem at hand. Write, draw, or type your flow of thought for as long as you can handle it. A good brain dump will get out all your ideas – good and bad – and help clear your mind for finding a solution. Along the way, you might find some inspiration for other areas of your business and life.

Take A Walk And Pay Attention

Creative thinking doesn’t have to involve paintbrushes and crayons. Take a 20 minute walk around your office or home and pay attention to spaces, patterns, and textures. Consider why certain things capture your eye. Do you tend to appreciate symmetry or things that or off balance? Do you like vibrant colors or muted tones? If there’s something on your walk that you find visually off-putting, what would you change?  Another great benefit of a walk is that it gives your mind a chance to wander. On idle, your brain may be able to find solutions or ideas that phones and computers and other distractions can prevent.

Take A Class

If you’re feeling a little gutsier about creativity, consider signing up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to do. Cooking, painting, dancing – there are so many opportunities to try something new. Think of it as exercising a new muscle and see where your new activity can take your mind.

Just Go For It

Creativity isn’t about being perfect. It’s about trying something new, opening up your mind in a different way, and personal growth. If you’re looking for some more creative inspiration, take a look at this great list.

 

More Reading:

Creativity in Business: 4 Tips to Tap Into Inspiration and Innovation

 

How To Create A Solid Social Media Strategy

Frontier Title Texas | Real Estate Advice

With social media being so available, so affordable, so omnipresent in our society, it makes sense that most businesses and entrepreneurs – not to mention consumers – are turning to social media. So you need a social media marketing plan? It’s hard enough to form a solid plan, let alone build one from scratch.

What is a social media marketing plan?

A social media marketing plan is a road map of everything you plan (and hope) to accomplish for your business by using social media as a platform. Your plan should include where you are today, where you want to be, and how you hope to get there. Be both specific and reasonable with your goals. Additionally, your social media marketing plan is a piece of the bigger puzzle – your entire marketing plan.

Objectives and Goals

First, determine why you want to use social media and what using it will achieve. Do you want to strengthen exposure for your business? Are you looking to attract more followers? Do you want to generate leads? Your goals should align with your broader marketing strategy. Wanting more likes or retweets is one thing, but let yourself go beyond these simple answers and strive for more leads, referrals, and client conversions.

Goals should follow the SMART framework. Meaning, all objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Conduct an Audit

An audit will give you a good idea of where you are right now. Ask yourself these questions to start:

  • How many social media platforms am I using?
  • Are my usernames/profile information/photos relatively consistent?
  • How many followers do I have on each platform?
  • What is my mission for each social media platform? (Example: We use Instagram to show followers a more personal side of our business.”
  • Who is my target audience for each platform? Are my current posts relevant for that demographic?

Determine the purpose and function of each social profile you’re using. If you can’t determine the purpose, it’s probably time to delete the profile.

Improve Your Existing Profiles

After your audit is complete, you’ll have a good idea of what’s working and what needs improvement. Choose which networks meet your objectives and focus on these. Build them up or improve them from where they are, keeping your audience and your broader marketing plan in mind.

Find Inspiration

If you’re feeling a little stuck on how to start and what kind of information to share, look around at what others in your industry are doing. Chances are, there’s a pattern that you can follow to increase your engagement and interest. Of course, you still want to differentiate your brand and your services, but use your competitors and industry leaders as a source of inspiration. How often are they sharing? What is their response style?

Create A Plan

A strong plan includes a content schedule, visual strategy, and a plan for evaluation. Determine what types of content you will post, how often you’ll post, and how you’ll promote the content. Decide on a look for your social media, and stick with it to establish a recognizable and trusted presence. As time goes on, pay attention to your social media insights and adjust your plan accordingly.

Why Do Some Agents Seem to Sell, Sell, Sell?

Frontier Title Texas | Real Estate Advice

Do you ever feel like you’re working hours on end without making the progress you’d like? Additionally, do you feel like some agents seem to have all the luck, selling homes quickly and ganging new clients left and right? If you’re struggling to make the sale, take a look at the top three things that make a property sell. It may be time to strengthen your skills.

Price

A great agent has the ability to set a fair and correct price for a property, so that buyers are enticed and sellers are happy. This requires a strong personality. It’s important to stand your ground when setting a price with your sellers and letting them know what they need to accomplish for the home to earn that price.

Aggressive Marketing

Strong agents will have an aggressive and consistent way to advertise and promote the property. A flyer and Facebook ad may not cut it for every home. If you’re struggling for more ideas, take a look at what your successful competitors are doing for inspiration. You can also check out this list of 50 Creative Ideas to Sell Your Property. A strong marketing plan is two-fold. One, it obviously tells more people about the home. Two, it lets your sellers know how hard you’re working for them, leading to strong referrals down the road.

Strong Negotiating Skills

Successful agents require strong negotiating skills to sit down with the buyer, the seller, and perhaps another agent, to come to an agreement to sell. Again, this is a necessary skill, but one that will also lead to referrals when your seller knows you’ll go to bat for them.

A newer, or weaker agent will probably be lacking in one of these three skills. That agent may not have the courage to speak up and tell a seller when a house is over-priced. A weaker agent may think that listing a house on the MLS is enough, with no real effort on to market it. Or he or she may lack the diplomatic skills to negotiate with buyer and seller for compromise. There’s always room for improvement, and knowing your weaknesses in the first step to solving the problem.

 

Marketing Your Business In March

Spring is here! While some are getting the itch to declutter and clean, it’s a great time to declutter what isn’t working in your business and make some new marketing plans!

 

Start (or beef up) your Instagram account

Here’s some big news – Instagram is now featured and shared on more websites than Twitter. While Twitter still has more account holders, this news means that Instagram is still growing steadily and more and more businesses and blogs are turning toward this trend. If you haven’t already set up an Instagram account, now is the time to do it! With a visual business like real estate, you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

What’s Coming Up?

April has some fun you can feature on social media and other marketing. April Fools Day, is of course, a lot of fun. Passover and Easter fall on April 10 and 16, respectively. But don’t miss out on sending your clients and followers tips on green home living and recycling as Earth Day approaches on April 20.

Social Media Focus: Green Living

As we mentioned above, Earth Day on April 20 will have a lot of minds turning toward recycling and green living options. Highlight your local recycling center, tips on conserving water and energy at home, and growing your own vegetables. The spring season will have your followers craving this info.

Social Media Challenge: Make a Plan

Some entrepreneurs may like to “wing it” in their social media marketing. But in this day and age, social media provides the most affordable way to reach your followers. You can get in on their everyday conversations and promote your business, free of cost (unless you choose to run an ad). Your social media marketing should receive just as much attention, if not more, than your other forms of marketing. Sit down and ask yourself what you want to accomplish on social media? More followers? More leads? More visibility? How will you get there…by posting more regularly, by running occasional ads, and by developing a strong and consistent presence online.

6 Online Courses That Will Help You Grow Your Business

In the busy world of real estate, there is no such thing as “free time” or “extra time.” Many agents live in a constant struggle between wanting to grow their business and finding the time to do so. With the growing world of online education, the time is yours. You can take an online class to grow your business at little to no cost and with the little time you do have – 15 minutes in the morning? 20 minutes at lunch? Right before bed?

We’ve collected a sampling of 10 Online Courses that cost next to nothing (and sometimes nothing at all) to help you gain new skills and boost your biz!

Sales

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania: Identifying Your Sales Strategy: This free course includes client needs, service differentiation, targeting and sales talent acquisition. A slide presentation with audio guides the student through sales forecasting, budgeting and presentation skills. They also address challenges to an effective sales strategy.

UDemy: Get Clients and Results at Networking Events: For $15 and 2.5 hours of your time, you will learn how to meet and create business relationships, with the right people that can help you, at any networking event or gathering. You’ll learn how to feel confident and authentic at any event and how to spread the word about your business through those meaningful friendships you form.

Social Media

Alison: Diploma in Social Media Marketing: Alison’s free course covers “the concepts and application of social media marketing and will equip you with the skills to plan and implement a successful social media marketing strategy while offering you social media certification.” Whether you run a business Facebook page, want to find more followers on Twitter, or just want a better understanding of social media principles and concepts, this is your course. You can start at any time. Expect to put 15-20 hours into it overall, and when you’re done, you can even test for a certification.

DS106: Digital Storytelling Course: Digital Storytelling is an emerging term meaning to tell your story in your own words using technology. In the world of real estate, this skill is especially important. Clients want to know the “real you” and getting a handle on Digital Storytelling will allow you to get more personal in your social media pursuits. The free course is offered throughout the year through the University of Mary Washington. You can start or stop the course whenever you’d like.

CopyBlogger: Internet Marketing for Smart People: You don’t have to be a genius to get a grasp on Internet Marketing. CopyBlogger offers an email course to help you master it all. The course is an ongoing email newsletter in 20 parts so you can move ahead at your own pace.

Personal Growth

UDemy: Social Success – Natural Confidence!: We all know that the secret to sales, networking, and likability is confidence. However, social stressors, anxiety, past rejection, and more can make feeling and acting confidently seem like an impossible task. This affordable ($15) course will walk you through 6 steps to more natural confidence. They promise to help you let go of anxiety, discover more about yourself, and find new opportunities.

UDemy: Postivity Camp: In 12 free lectures, UDemy promises to give you a more optimistic outlook on life. As they say, “The ability to think positively can make or break your career. We’ll look into strategies that help manifest optimism so you can overcome challenges that come your way.”

 

Business Resolutions for 2017

Frontier Title Texas | Real Estate Advice

This is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the last year in business and make some business resolutions to bring more success in the coming year. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Did your business grow and flourish? What’s left undone? What can you do to increase success in 2017? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Create a Marketing Calendar – And Stick To It!

In a time when calendars and alerts are at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for missing another holiday, special event, or other marketing opportunity. Make a realistic plan for what you can accomplish to market your business this year. Schedule automated alerts to remind you when it’s time to design holiday cards, send birthday cards to former clients, or promote a Christmas toy drive.

First Thing’s First

Too often, entrepreneurs sacrifice their own promotions to take care of business as usual. While putting the client first is great, if you don’t make growing your business a priority, it will never happen. Make a resolution to start every Monday morning with an hour just for you. Schedule a week of social media, line up a meeting with a business coach, update your website. When your business is your priority, your clients will notice.

Delegate

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to successful business management. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you are the best person to do it, or that your time won’t be better spent elsewhere. You can find contractors and freelancers for a lot of small business tasks, like data entry, design, website maintenance, and social media.

Learn Something New

From being more adept at Microsoft Office Suite to taking a karate class, new skills will help you in business and beyond. Obviously, learning more about office skills or social media will enhance your business, but picking up a new “fun” skill will increase your confidence and your social circle as well.

Set Networking Goals

Networking is important, but can fall to the bottom of a list of business chores. Set a reasonable goal for 2017. Maybe you’ll make a point to attend at least 2 networking events each month. Or maybe this year will be the year that you join (or start!) a networking group. Networking can include social media as well…will 2017 be the year you start posting and interacting  regularly on sites like LinkedIn?

Let Go Of What Isn’t Working

Sometimes we commit hard and fast to an idea or an expectation that doesn’t work that we fail to see the time, effort, and money we could be using elsewhere. Take a hard look at your business expenses (both time and money) and ask yourself what’s bringing you gain. If you’ve been after something for 3-6 months or more without progress, it’s time to reevaluate.

 

Here at Frontier Title, we are committed to helping your 2017 be your best year in business ever. We know that real estate isn’t usually an 8-5 job, and we are truly here to assist you along the way. Best wishes for a happy, successful, and joy-filled New Year. 

 

 

Avoid These Social Media Mistakes

It’s no secret that social media is the most affordable and most effective form of marketing, when used correctly. But making mistakes on social media is easier than you think. Small missteps won’t always lead to disaster, but may make customers shake their heads and take their business elsewhere without saying anything.

It may be a good time to do a quick survey of your social media and see if you’re making any of the following mistakes.

 

Getting into Social Media without a plan

It’s easy to get excited about social media at first. Many people will join a network, load their profiles with great information, generate some buzz, then disappear when keeping up with it gets time consuming. The first step is to have a social media marketing plan. A good plan will include the time investment, goals and strategy, and plan for interaction. Create a calendar and fill it with articles, information, marketing opportunities and more, then use a scheduler to set up your posts weeks or months in advance. Once your initial time investment is taken care of with planning and scheduling, you can maintain your work, posting periodically if you come across useful information and interacting with your audience.

Not Posting Regularly

You’ll be surprised to know that you don’t necessarily need to post every day to be considered “active”, but you do need to post on a regular schedule. You’d hate for a potential client to find your page through a great post, only to see that it was your first one in six months! For Facebook, 1-2 posts per day is ideal. For Twitter, the number is 3-5 tweets. If those numbers sound outrageous, start with posting two or three times each week, and working your way up.

Overposting

While you want to post regularly (see above), inundating your followers with more information than they need is a quick way to lose their attention. Every couple of weeks, take a look at your progress and see which posts are getting the most or least interaction, check if there’s been a significant rise or fall in your audience numbers, and adjust your posts accordingly.

Very Little Interaction

In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases value of your social presence and you don’t build on valuable relationships. Social Media should be treated like a live event. You would never go to a party and wait for everyone to speak to you – you reach out, you engage, and conversations thrive. Social platforms work the same way. Follow sites you find interesting, comment and converse as your page.

No Real Followers

Are you posting information to the same 50 or so followers every month? Your page could offer the best information, but a small following won’t get you anywhere. To avoid this, interact on social media, tag other businesses and colleagues, and give people a reason to follow your page. If you’ve invited all of your friends to like your page and the number is still stagnant, it may be time to run a promotion or pay for sponsored post to reach new people in your target demographic.

Not Spending Wisely

Speaking of ads… Social media advertising can be very affordable, especially as your following is just getting started. However, if you’re spending money on ads and not seeing results, you may want to do a quick search on how to create a more effective ad, utilizing Search Engine Optimization and current trends.

Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Just like in any other form of marketing, it’s crucial to know who you are trying to reach so that your efforts aren’t wasted. Trying to reach millennial? The way you speak and act online will make a huge difference, as you want to stay ahead of trends. Trying to reach the elderly? Though many older people are using social media, your target may actually be their middle-aged children who are more likely to use the internet.

 

Is It Time To Rebrand?

Is it time to rebrand?

Rebranding is something that needs to happen every so often. It keeps your business – and your own mindset – fresh and open to change. And of course, it’s a great idea to do a regular internal audit of your business, your mission, and your brand to make sure that you’re still where you want to be and headed in the right direction. Now more than ever, businesses need to be able to adapt to a changing world.

However, rebranding is a big step to take. It’s not something you should do unless you absolutely have to. So how do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

When All You Have Is A Name

Many of us make the mistake of equating “brand” with “logo”. It’s true that branding often starts with a good logo, but the logo is merely a representation of the brand itself. Think about well-known brands like Apple, Target, Starbucks, etc. Apple’s logo is a simple, clean apple, but it represents innovation, passion, power through technology, and imagination. Anything your business stands for, anything people have come to expect from you – that’s your brand. When many small business owners begin their career, they have an idea and a name, but don’t often take the opportunity to think through how their name, their logo, their mission, and their ideas all fit together. If you haven’t taken this step – it’s time to REBRAND.

When Your Message or Strategy Has Changed

Have you been operating independently, but now you’re growing your team? Are you trying to reach a new demographic? Over time, markets change, industries change, and our own personalities change.  Branding is all about building a reputation around your message. And the reality is that your message is going to evolve as your business grows and evolves. If your message isn’t evolving, then chances are you’re not evolving and that’s not a good thing.

Your Current Brand Limits Your Growth

While it’s important to find a focus for your business, you also want to make sure that your brand gives you room to grow. How do you know if your focus is too narrow? Take a look at your customer base – do most of your customers come from similar backgrounds or demographics? If your brand is becoming known for serving only one kind of customer, you’ll have to do some work to let others know you’re willing to serve them as well.

 

Things Have Gone Stale

If you are feeling bored with your business, it’s definitely time to reexamine what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. If your customer base has dried up, it’s time to reflect on your brand. You should be the most passionate and most excited about what you offer. If you aren’t, set aside a day (or a weekend if you can!) to brainstorm, redefine, and rejuvenate your brand.

Remember: If you aren’t deliberate with your branding, others will define it for you. Take control!

 

Win A Client For Life

Loyalty is a hard thing to manufacture. And sometimes it isn’t enough to create and promote outstanding service. Clients are finicky and one false step can cost you a customer or a harsh review. There are no guarantees, but you can certainly increase your chances for loyal customers by building strong relationships.

Ask Questions First

Before you rattle of your resume and spill all about your business acumen, truly focus on getting to know your customer. Psychologically, we like people who like us and your interest in who the client is and what they are looking for will help build this bond. Business is becoming more personal every day. Clients want to work with people they like and can relate to. As you learn about your client, you’ll discover that your commonalities create an organic and natural relationship.

Reveal Something About Yourself

After you learn about your prospect and it’s your chance to have the floor, talk about yourself in a comfortable and relaxed way, as you would speak to a friend. Without revealing something too personal or embarrassing, share an anecdote that shows your human side. According to a study the Journal of Consumer Research, if a salesperson shares something persona, even something as simple as a birthday or a birthplace with a client, the client is more likely to not only do business, but to feel good about their decision to do business.

Be Clear, Be Predictable

Take a good look at your branding, your print materials, your website, and the statements you make about yourself online. Do they match your “real life” service? If they don’t, it’s time to adjust either your brand persona or your service! Customers like predictability and when you match their expectations, their loyalty will be secure.

Speak Their Language

The average customer doesn’t understand industry jargon. Make the process simple for them by using language they’ll understand and explaining what they don’t. Be careful not to patronize, but to focus instead on helping them have the best experience.

Take A Break From Texting

Unless your customer has specifically stated they’d like to be reached by text or email, make the effort to call them on the phone and speak to them directly. Things get lost in translation with the written word, and a phone call ensures that your meaning is clear, your explanations are sure, and you and your client are on the same page.

Be A Client

Notice what you love and what you don’t. Make mental notes about what bothers you and what experiences leave you smiling and change your own habits.