Let’s Talk Real Estate – Terminology For The Consumer

In the middle of a discussion with a client, have you ever said a term that is common within the industry and could immediately tell that your clients thought, “Huh”?

Regardless if your clients are first time home buyers or seasoned movers, it’s likely they will ask you to clarify a term once or twice throughout the transaction.

Be proactive by downloading and sharing this document with them which highlights the most commonly used, client facing real estate terms from A-Z. Your clients will appreciate the effort and you will be able to speak freely about all things real estate!

Real Estate Terminology  

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) — The interest rate is tied to a financial index making themonthly mortgage payment go up or down over time
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — The percent of interest that will be charged on a homeloan.
  • Appraisal — A report highlighting the estimated value of the property completed by a quali-fied 3rd party. This is typically done for the benefit of the buyer to ensure the property isworth what they are paying.
  • Association Fee/HOA Fee — In addition to a mortgage, certain housing communities such astownhomes have a monthly fee associated with maintaining the common areas and ameni-ties.
  • Balloon Mortgage — A long-term mortgage loan that starts small but has a large paymentdue at maturity.
  • Closing — This is the final meeting where the buyer and seller sign the necessary paper-work, complete the transaction, and release/take possession of the property. Usually therepresenting agents and attorneys attend.
  • Closing Costs — The buyer and seller have expenses associated with the transaction otherthan that of the actual cost of the home. For example, the buyer has a variety of fees duefor obtaining a new loan and the seller must pay commission to both agents.
  • Closing Disclosure — A form that provides the final details about the mortgage loan. It in-cludes loan terms, projected monthly payments, and how much the extra fees will be.
  • Collateral — Something of value (in this case your home) that is held to ensure repaymentof a mortgage or loan.
  • Commission — A percent of the sale price of the home that is paid to agents. The seller payscommission to both the buyer and listing agent.
  • Comparables — Homes in the area of interest that have recently sold that have similar fea-tures.
  • Contingencies — Conditions which must be met in order to close. Contingencies are typicallytied to a date, referred to as a deadline. If the contingency is not satisfied the contract maybe canceled.
  • Counteroffer — The response from the seller in regard to an offer.
  • Debt to Income Ratio — A lender will look at a borrowers debt versus income to determinethe amount of loan they are eligible for and if they can repay their debt plus the home loan.
  • Down payment — A percent of the cost of the property that is paid up front as a part of themortgage.
  • Earnest Money — The deposit made from the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer.This deposit is typically held in trust by a third party. Upon closing the money will generallybe applied to the down payment or closing cost.
  • Escrow — This term has multiple meanings; earnest money is typical held by a third partyuntil closing in “escrow”. It can also be referred to as the time period from when the con-tract is written and accepted by the seller to when the home sale actually closes.
  • Equity — The difference in the market value of a home versus what is owed on the home.
  • FHA — A mortgage that is financed through a private lender and insured by the FederalHousing Administration, often requiring a lower down payment and income to qualify.
  • Fixed Rate — The interest rate will remain the same for the entire life of the mortgage.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit — A loan or line of credit that is determined based on the equityor homes value after subtracting the loans owed.
  • Home Inspection — The process in which a professional inspects the seller’s home for issuesthat are not openly apparent, then creates a report for the buyer to review.
  • Home Protection Plan — An annual service that covers the cost of repairs or replacementsto items covered in the plan; items like stoves, washer/dryers, etc.
  • Hybrid — A loan that starts with a fixed rate period, then converts to an adjustable rate.
  • Mortgage Insurance — Insurance written in connection with a mortgage loan that protectsthe lender in the event the borrower cannot repay their loan. This is usually not required ifthe borrower has 20% or more for the down payment.
  • Mortgage Note — A promise to pay a sum of money at a standard interest rate during a spe-cific term that is secured by a mortgage
  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — The national list of real estate properties that are availablefor sale. These are the most reliable sources to receive up-to-date listing information.
  • Pre-Approval — The process in which a buyer must provide a mortgage professional the ap-propriate information on income, debts, and assets that will be used to make the initialcredit only loan decision.
  • Pre-Qualification — Once approved for a loan, this is the process in which the maximum saleprice, loan amount, and month payments are calculated for the borrow. This not a loan ap-proval however, it useful to know prior to searching for a home.
  • Principal — The underlying amount of the loan which is actually borrowed.
  • Property Taxes — These are the taxes that are enforced by the city, town, county, and stategovernment entities. These taxes are included in the total monthly mortgage payment andare held in escrow by the lender.
  • REO — Real estate owned properties or foreclosed properties currently owned by a financialinstitution such as the bank that made the loan to the previous owner
  • Reverse Mortgage — This is specifically for seniors and it allows them to convert the equityin their home to cash.
  • Short Sale — A situation when the seller’s lender is willing to accept an offer and allows thesale to be completed for an amount less than the mortgage amount owed by the seller.
  • Title — A legal document proving current and proper ownership of the property. Also re-ferred to as a Title Deed, this document highlights the history of property ownership andtransfers.
  • Underwriting — The process in which the potential home buyer is evaluated for their finan-cial ability to obtain and repay a loan. This normally consist of a credit check and appraisalof the property.
  • VA Loan — Loans that are given to Americans who have served in the armed forces. Theyare administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Click to download a printable PDF version

How To Effectively Use Social Media Grow your Sphere and Build Referrals

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From time to time I get asked about all the various platforms agents can conduct business on and build their sphere. Social Media has quickly become “A Must Use” in real estate if agents are to remain successful and wish to grow their business. The challenge is where to start? which platforms should you use? How often should you post, share, comment, like, wink, send, receive, upload, pass, create, play, email etc… The list is endless when it comes to the many different ways you can engage. The key word here is “Engage”!

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Remember, as I have said in previous MEC events. Using Social Media as a way to mine for engagement is the key to success. Finding ways on social platforms to engage is how you should be using social media at all times. It’s important you balance work and play. Sharing your personal information is far more engaging than sharing your work related stuff. Your sphere is more excited about the day your having with friends, sharing food, playing a game, visiting a city etc.,  than they are about your new listing. Go with the 75/25 Rule. 75% of everything you post should be about you, your life, the things you enjoy, your hobbies, special interests, etc. Mix in inspiring quotes, funny posts, a cat or two and BAM! You are going to find people liking your posts over and over. (I am kidding about the alltwitter-social-media-signpost cat or two part). 25% should be about your business. Do not post things like “Just listed, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in the Roaring Springs subdivision, if you know of someone interested in buying call me” This is boring and will illicit ZERO engagement. Instead post things like ” New listing, Roaring Springs, you have to see this kitchen.. Simply amazing. (Then attach a spectacular photo of the kitchen and link it to the homes single page website). Now you have a strong call to action that will not only find a buyer, but get you noticed since more people are interested in seeing this “Amazing Kitchen” than just buyers looking for homes. Those in your sphere that are not in the market will still click the link and want to see what it is you are so excited about. This drives traffic and when you print your analytical report for the home owners you look like a ROCK STAR!

Finding Ways To Engage: What you should be spending most of your time on Social Media doing is looking for ways to build relationships and get referrals.  You do this by scanning your wall for reasons to reach out to your sphere. Let’s say Janice is in your sphere and you sold her and John a house three years ago. It’s Saturday and Janice just posted a picture of her daughter Alyssa kicking in a field goal for her soccer team. Janice is excited and posts the picture to Facebook with the description “Woot, woot, Alyssa’s first field goal for her soccer team… Go Alyssa” You see this post and like most in Social-Media-EngagementJanice’s sphere you like it, you might even be savvy enough to comment on the post.  However, the real ROCK STAR Agent goes one step further. You pull out a note card, you write a hand written message that reads “Congrats on your first field goal Alyssa, we at RE/MAX are all super proud of your accomplishments” The  you mail it to Janice and Alyssa. Now who do you think Janice cares more, those who liked an commented or the one person who just took time to recognize a special moment in her life? This is what I talk about all the time. You have to spend time finding ways to connect, not just like, share or comment but a reason to send a note, pop by, Buffini them!

Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s talk Best Practices. Below is a one sheet you can use as a reference tool for setting up any social media platform as well as a mini guide an how to best use the particular social platform for success. If you have suggestion bring them on. Leave them in the comments box below and happy mining…

Social One Sheets. Right Click and save or print.

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Here’s a special one-sheet on Best Practices when it comes to posting.

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Scheduling Posts Through Pagemodo

Here are basic instructions that will help kick start your postings. Follw these steps to post to pages you manage.

Step 1: Connect Pagemodo through Facebook

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Step 2: In the left side box search for the Business Page you wish to post on behalf. Use the search box to enter the page name.

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Step 3: Once you find the page, select it.

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Step 4: Once the page opens look to the left on the Dashboard and select “Posts”

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Step 5: Once in the posting page, select the “Create Post” button

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Step 6: You have opened the page to post your link into.

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Step 7: Paste your link in the box and wait for the story and images to populate.

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Step 8: Once you see the pictures, select the one you want to share with the story.

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Step 9: Now click the “Post Now” or the “Add To Queue” Button.

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Step 10: Verify the post.

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Step 11: Use the top navigation to see how many scheduled posts remain as well as to click on see them or edit them.

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That’s it!  I Hope you enjoyed this quick reference to posting through Pagemodo

Spring Into Action MEC Powerpoint Presentation

Here is the entire Powerpoint Presentation from our 2016 Spring Into Action MEC Events. In this presentation you will find 7 Tips To Winning The Listings Every Time, a 19 Point Marketing Plan, Four For Four – Generating Four Deals a Month, The 2016 Revised RE/MAX Gold Listing Presentation, EDDM Every Door Direct Mailing Tips and more.  Right Click to download and get started building your business.

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Leads, Leads, Leads, MEC Event for 1st Quarter – Region Three

Here is the Powerpoint presentation used at the first quarter MEC Event for 2016 Region Three Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Yolo County RE/MAX Gold Agents. Click to download.

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How to Set up Facebook, Twitter and Every Other Major Social Media Profile

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Setting up social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook or any other social network can be a lot of work. And if you’re starting from scratch, it feels like a big impediment to overcome before using a new tool. We need to choose a photo or fill out a bio when all we want to do is start sharing content and engaging with friends.

Your social media profile is a window into your personality, your job, your interests—sure, but, if done correctly, it can be so much more than that. It can drive people to your website or other online assets; it can promote some of your best content; and it can lead to new clients and sales. When you reach out to a new contact or prospect, the first thing they’re going to do is look you up online. Your profile needs to be both impressive and discoverable.

With so much potential value in each social media profile, it’s worth investing the time and effort required to set them up properly. (Or, if you’ve neglected yours for an extended period of time, it can be just as important to give it a complete overhaul.) Here’s our complete guide on how to social media profiles.

Featured Social Media Platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn Profiles
  • LinkedIn Company Pages
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

General Rules

Bio/Description

Why is your bio so important? In addition to sharing basic information about yourself, adding your website and email address turns any social network bio into a potential source of referral traffic. Especially on company pages, the opportunity to describe your products and link out to an external website makes bios a powerful marketing and sales tool. Plus, including your Twitter handle or Google+ page in the personal information section of another social network is a simple form of cross-promotion that could help grow your social following across the board.

Social media bios should always be catered to the social network and the audienceof that particular profile. Your personal Facebook bio can be more fun and interesting than your LinkedIn bio, which should be very focused on professional skills and job history.

Though each profile bio will differ, your name or handle should be consistent across all networks. This allows people to find you more easily. If they see your Twitter handle, they can then enter that into Instagram and immediately find your personal or branded account. Online service know’em allows you to quickly check if a desired handle is available on almost every social network.

Finally, if you’re curious about which of your social networks need work, there’s any easy way to check: Google yourself.

Images

You should always strive to have photos fall within the dimensions recommendedfor a certain network. Why? A square is a square, right? Well, you never know when profile images will be reused elsewhere on a social network. Even though your giant headshot might look nice in the profile picture, it might look weird when appearing on a mobile device or in a home feed.

With profile images, simple is usually better. Don’t try and fit tons of information about your business or product into a cover photo. The cover photo’s job is to be eye-catching and reflect who you are, so focus on that. The profile picture should be of you, or of your logo, so people know who they’re following or talking to.

Finally, image consistency across social networks will help people connect with and trust you. If someone follows you on Twitter and seeks you out on Instagram, using the same profile photo will increase your chances of them finding the right account, and following you. Much like with account names, consistent imagery results in better discoverability and more immediate trust. It’s a very easy way to cross-promote your social accounts.

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Like the rest of your social media presence, your profiles should be regularly updated. Bios should be updated with the latest information or the latest content to ensure everything is accurate and fresh. Set yourself a reminder to check your profile information every couple of weeks, and don’t ignore it.

In the same vein, regularly changing cover photos keeps your profile interesting to existing followers and gives you an opportunity to re-engage people who weren’t impressed the first time. Meanwhile your static profile picture will help you maintain brand recognition and consistency across networks.

Facebook

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Your Facebook profile is one of the largest social media profiles on the web. Since Facebook is also the biggest social network on the planet, with 1.3 billion users, it’s important that people are able to quickly find you and connect.

Bio

Both your personal information or company information will fall under the “About” tab on your Facebook profile or page. For personal profiles, the About tab contains an overview on which you can update the following fields:

  • Job
  • Education
  • Location
  • Contact information
  • Website
  • And relationship status

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Each of these sections can be further expanded on in addition tabs within the About page. If you’re using your Facebook profile for public or professional purposes, we recommend keeping the relationship status out of your bio. People want to know where you work and how to contact you. That being said, you can change the reach of each piece of information in your bio by editing the audience setting so certain information can only be viewed by friends.

For Company Pages your about section offers the opportunity to include the following information:

  • Location
  • Products
  • Founding date
  • Release date
  • And contact information

Take the time to fill out these sections with care, as customers and prospects will turn to them frequently. You also have the opportunity to write a lengthy “About” description of your company. Use this space to show visitors who you are, what you do and why they should care.

Follow Facebook’s directions on how to update your bio info.

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  • Facebook profile picture: 180×180 pixels
  • Facebook cover photo: 851×315 pixels 

Your Facebook profile picture is the square photo on the left side of your profile. It’s the same photo that shows up on other people’s walls or homepages when you post. For that reason, your profile picture should be a headshot. If you’re creating a business page your profile image should be your logo. The image you choose for your profile picture should be square and should also be clear in small and large sizes.

Your Facebook cover photo is the large image that appears behind your profile picture. The larger size of this image offers opportunities for your to make an impression, sell your business or get creative.

Learn how to add or update your profile or cover photo here.

As Facebook image sizes will change with redesigns, you can stay up to date with their recommended image sizes here.

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Facebook photos you’ve added or have been tagged in will also figure prominently on your profile. Make sure you keep a close eye on photos you’re being tagged in so you can untag anything you don’t want others seeing on your page. To avoid this process you can also turn on Timeline review, which allows you to approve tags before they appear on your profile. 

Interest categories, from sports to music, can also appear on your profile if you so choose. If you’re using a profile for professional purposes, you may want to avoid these sections unless they are industry-relevant or they offer relevant insight to connections.

Twitter

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Whether it’s a personal or branded account, Twitter profiles are exactly the same for everyone. This should be an advantage, since you don’t need to learn different processes if you’re building a profile for you or your business. That isn’t to say these profiles don’t require effort. Just like the network’s approach to social media as a whole, Twitter profiles are a test in brevity. Have a look: 

Bio

Your Twitter bio is very minimal in comparison to networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. There are only five fields you can update:

  • name
  • bio
  • location
  • website
  • and theme color

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Each of these sections should be filled out but, with so little opportunity for customization, special attention should be paid to the bio field. In true Twitter fashion, your bio is limited to 160 characters, so you can’t go into much detail. Instead, focus on sharing insight into what you’ll be talking about on Twitter. This saves visitors the trouble of scrolling through your Tweets to see what they can expect from you. Your Twitter account is most likely about Real Estate, so you might want to state in your bio “Tweets about home improvements, home buying, market statistics, home values, how to sell a home in 21 days etc..” No gimmicks, but a strong incentive to follow for people who are after that information. 

To guide new followers effectively, your bio could cross-promote other relevant branded accounts as well. A agent might include in their bio,for example, “For immediate loan approval @lenderjoe.”

The bio writing process will be a test of your editing skills. If you’re having trouble, ask yourself ‘does this really need to be in here?’ for each section and work to trim the fat. Take your time and do it right. And if you’re stuck, look to the accounts of other industry leaders for inspiration.

Follow Twitter’s steps to update your bio information here.

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Suggested Twitter image dimensions
  • Twitter profile photo: 400×400 pixels
  • Twitter header image: 1,500×500 pixels

Your Twitter profile photo is the smaller, square image that appears on the top-left side your profile. Your photo should be clear and recognizable whether small or large, since the same photo you choose for your profile image will be used within other people’s streams, and in Twitter’s “Who to Follow” section on the right side of your feed.

Just like on Facebook, your Twitter header image is the much larger, rectangular photo that appears behind your profile photo and across the top of your profile page. This large photo is a great asset. It’s the first thing most people will notice when they visit your profile, and should therefore serve the purpose of piquing their interest right from the get-go.

Learn how to add or update your Twitter profile or header image here

Twitter profile image sizes may change with a redesign, so stay up to date on recommended image sizes here. 

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Earlier this year Twitter added the ability to pin a Tweet to your profile. This Tweet is one of the first things someone who lands on your profile will see. It’s is also an amazing opportunity to promote your content to new contacts. Choose a Tweet that promotes a strong piece of content you or your brand has created, and includes an image or video. Discover how to pin a Tweet here.

Google+

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Bio

Google+ offers several choices to customize what information appears in your profile bio. Make sure you go through every part to see what you want made public and what is better off private. g+PROFILE

The bio section of your Google+ profile can really be split into two parts. First, there is a small section under your profile picture containing some info about you. On personal profiles your work, school and location will appear in that position, while on business pages your website will appear there. While you may not want your school or workplace to appear on your profile, you should always have your website in that position if you run a business page. Users are drawn to your profile picture, so having your website right there is a great way to point followers back to your other online properties. 

Second, every profile has an About tab containing much more information about you or your brand. This tab can contain simple details like your job and education history as well as contact information. However, there are 3 sections worth focusing your attention on: 

  • People: This section shows how many people you’ve circled, and how many people have you in circles. People are more likely to follow you if they know you will probably follow them back. They’re also more likely to follow you if they see that lots of others do, since it adds credibility. As a result, you may want to keep this information private until these numbers are impressive to profile viewers.

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  • Links: Google+ has done us a favour by including cross-promotional opportunities from the get-go. Use this section to point to other social network profiles, all of your websites as well as blogs you’ve contributed to. The value of this section can’t be understated.

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  • Story: This section is where you have lots of flexibility to get creative. It is comprised of three different categories. Tagline is where you should offer people a quick sell of yourself. Who you are, what you do and why they should follow. Make sure it includes keywords you want associated with you in search. Introduction is where you can delve into a little more detail. If you’ve lured them in with your tagline, this section will be the next information they’re after. The Introduction could also include a call to action, like “Add us to your circles today!” The third section of your story is “bragging rights.” This is a section for awards and accomplishments. If you don’t have anything relevant, don’t force it.

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Follow Google’s instructions on how to edit your Google+ profile bio here. 

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Suggested Google+ image dimensions
  • Google+ profile picture: 120×120 pixels minimum
  • Google+ cover photo: 1080×608 pixels

Your Google+ profile picture, unlike Facebook and Twitter, will appear as a circle rather than a square. That being said, you still upload that picture as a square; you just need to be aware of what will be cut off when Google crops that photo.

Learn how to add or update your profile or cover photos, and stay up to date on Google+ recommended profile image sizes here.

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Google+ also offers a variety of options to customize what information publically appears on your profile. You get to chose if photos, YouTube or other videos, +1s and reviews by you can be seen by profile visitors. When it comes to photos and videos you’ve produced, you likely want your audience to see them. They show off your content marketing efforts and offer a bigger picture of who you are and what you do. Public +1s and reviews may not be the best fit for professional profiles however. Consider each field carefully before deciding which to make public. 

LinkedIn

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LinkedIn’s personal and business pages are so different that each one needs its own section. We’ve broken them down separately below.

LinkedIn Personal Profile

Bio 

On LinkedIn, your bio is at the core of effectively using the social network. LinkedIn is a professional social network where you list your experience and expertise in order to attract potential employers, clients or connections. Being that your profile is so essential for this purpose, LinkedIn has made their profiles very substantive. In fact, there are no fewer than 21 sections to your LinkedIn profile. While almost all of these should be filled out, we’ve ranked them roughly in their order of importance and added a line about each one:

  • Name – First and last
  • Headline – Will default to your current job title, but you can customize for more punch and to include key terms for search
  • Summary – LinkedIn describes it as info “about your mission, accomplishments, and goals.”
  • Contact Info – Email, phone, IM, address, Twitter handle and websites.
  • Experience – Professional positions and experience, both jobs and volunteer work.
  • Recommendations – Professional recommendations displayed on your profile are a major asset while on the job hunt.
  • Skills & Endorsements – The skills you list should represent your real strengths, since your contacts will ideally be endorsing you for them. Spend time to make this section very representative of you and your abilities.
  • Industry – Choose from their drop-down menu
  • Location – Important to let people know where you work
  • Education – Where you went to school and what you studied
  • Certifications – Do you have a specific certification that would benefit your job?
  • Publications – Specifically relevant for marketers, writers and researchers
  • Projects – Have you worked on a noteworthy project that would impress connections or employers?
  • Languages – Being bilingual or trilingual can be a major career asset. Share your language skills.
  • Volunteer Experience & Causes – Organizations you support, causes you care about, and the types of volunteer opportunities you’re looking for.
  • Additional Information – If it isn’t professional, keep it out of this section. Your marital status isn’t particularly relevant on LinkedIn.
  • Honors & Awards – Keep these to large, noteworthy awards. Not your ‘most improved softball player’ trophy.
  • Organizations – Be careful of noting political organizations. They could influence hiring.
  • Courses – Only fill this out if your school courses are very relevant to your desired field.
  • Patents – Not very relevant for most of us, but a select few can benefit from this section
  • Test Scores – Generally, skip this. Unless you got a perfect score on the bar exam.

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As a general rule, your LinkedIn profile should be strictly professional. Avoid the humorous or quirky in favor of the straightforward. LinkedIn also favors profiles that are 100% complete, so put in the effort to check off all the boxes in the creation of your profile.

Follow LinkedIn’s instructions on how to update any of your profile sections here.

Gain insight on how to be found on LinkedIn.

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uggested LinkedIn profile image dimensions
  • LinkedIn profile photo: 200×200 pixels minimum
  • LinkedIn custom background: 1400×425

LinkedIn profile photos should be square headshots. This is a standard that exists for a reason. You can also choose a custom background photo for your profile. Since it is LinkedIn, we recommend choosing a photo with some professional context, or something that speaks to your career.

Extras 

Last year LinkedIn made its publishing platform open to all users, a move that turned the social network into a veritable blogging platform. When you publish a post on LinkedIn, it will appear high up on your profile. This important real estate is a major incentive to start writing posts for your LinkedIn audience. It’s an easy way to extend your reach and impress profile visitors. Think of it like your own mini thought leadership program.

LinkedIn Company Page

Bio

LinkedIn Company Pages require a much smaller set of information than LinkedIn profiles.

  • Company name
  • Company size
  • Type
  • Website
  • Main industry
  • Operating status
  • Year founded
  • And location

These fields are all either self-explanatory or are chosen from a dropdown menu. This leaves only three sections that require effort to fill out.

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First, your company description should describe who you are and what you do, and appeal to both prospects and prospective hires. Include links to your website and careers page in this section. 

Next is your company specialties. In this section list key terms that someone who uses your product or service might search for. There are several slots open, so you can get very specific with these specialties. 

Finally, there is a featured groups section which is meant for LinkedIn groups that you participate actively in or are an administrator for. LinkedIn groups are a great way to make connections on the social network, so we recommend actively participating in them. If you see a void on a particular topic, starting a group is a great way for your company to be perceived as an authority or leader on that subject.

Follow LinkedIn’s instructions on how to edit your LinkedIn Company Page. 

Images

Your LinkedIn Business Page has three main images you should take time to optimize.

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Suggested LinkedIn Company Page image dimensions
  • LinkedIn standard logo: 100×60 pixels
  • LinkedIn banner image: 646×220
  • LinkedIn square logo: 50×50 

The first is your standard logo, the small icon that appears in a box on the top right of your page. This image will be reused in LinkedIn’s “Companies You Want to Follow” section, which is a great reason to make this image stand out. Make it clear and appealing, since it will be the first impression many LinkedIn users have of your brand. 

Next is your banner image. This appears on your business page under your logo and is the LinkedIn equivalent of a cover image. It’s a bigger, landscape image and should be used to capture people’s attention, while telling your company’s story.

Finally, your business page will need a square logo. It will be used when you post updates and when users search for you, so make it clickable.

Extras

LinkedIn is now an incredibly important part of hiring for many businesses. With that in mind, the social network offers an opportunity to highlight career opportunities on a separate tab within your Company Page. While not immediately visible, this tab would appear on your profile and is worth completing. 

 

Instagram

Bio

Instagram is likely the simplest social network you will deal with when it comes to your bio. Aside from your username and real name, the only information that appears on your public profile is your website and a short (maximum 150 characters) bio. For your bio, since you’re limited in terms of length, keep things straightforward, but not serious. Say who you are and what you will be sharing photos of, but don’t make it dry.

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For business accounts, (Real Estate) always include any branded hashtags you use. (#RealEstate, #Homes, #BuyAHouse, etc)This allows people to browse the hashtag and see what kind of content you produce and promote before they follow you. 

Follow Instagram’s instructions on how to edit your Instagram bio.

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Suggested Instagram image dimensions
  • Instagram profile picture: 180×180 

Instagram is unique in the sense that you’ll likely be setting up your profile on mobile first, with only secondary considerations about the web version. Most people use Instagram on mobile, but you can’t ignore the fact that some people will view your profile on their desktop browser. As a result, with Instagram it’s always a good idea touse higher resolution images with greater resolution than required for mobile. 

Your Instagram profile picture will be cropped into a circle on the app, so make sure you choose an image that will look good in that shape. Though the profile picture will be 110 pixels in diameter on the mobile app, it is recommended that you choose a larger square image since it will appear larger on the web.

Learn how to change your Instagram profile photo.

Extras 

It’s worth noting that your Instagram profile will showcase your latest Instagram photos. As a result, every photo you take will potentially take a prominent place on your profile and be the first thing a visitor sees. This is a big reason to take time and share only the best photos, especially if the profile is a professional or branded one. You may be tempted to share a mediocre or low-quality photo because it was taken in a specific context, or features people you want to recognize. However, visitors to your profile won’t understand the context. All they’ll see is a bad photo, and they almost surely won’t follow you.

Consider sticking to a certain style of image, keeping to a specific set of filters or one style of cropping. Doing so will give your Instagram feed a specific brand, making it more recognizable to followers and more consistent to new profile visitors.

YouTube

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In 2014 YouTube became known as the second largest search engine on the planet. With 6 billion hours of video viewed every month and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with. All the evidence suggests that video is becoming the medium of choice for those seeking both entertainment and information on the web, with statistics and studies consistently pointing towards higher click through rates, engagement and sales leads as a result of video marketing drives.

Hosting videos on your website is all very well and good, but leveraging YouTube is essential if you really want to get your content noticed. Creating a YouTube channel is an essential part of this process as it allows you to put all your content in one place, so people can browse it. Think of it as a website within a website. In that sense, the same rules apply when it comes to getting people to stay and browse your content.

Below are my tips on optimising your videos for YouTube, as well as Google’s search engine, and how to go about creating the perfect YouTube channel.

Video SEO

It’s important to remember that YouTube is a search engine just like Google, and as such, your channel and the content that sits on it should be fully optimised to make it as discoverable as it can be. What’s more, Google’s integration with YouTube means that well- optimised video content is far more likely to show up in the search results pages of Google, as well as on YouTube searches. Beyond the address of the property and beyond videos of properties for sale are hundreds of other ideas and opportunities for videos. Homes values, neighborhood, events, market statistics, how-to’s etc. Be the expert guide in all things real estate. Find stories to tell and share the stuff your posting as articles should be turned into videos.  For those of you brave enough to tackle this media below are some pointers.

Here are a few quick pointers to get you starting to think about optimisation:

  • Be sure to conduct thorough keyword research before you begin this process. Tools like Google’s keyword planner tool are as useful to the process of video SEO as they are to website SEO. The process is essentially the same.
  • Always use your keywords in your video’s title, as this won’t only help users work out what your videos are about, but will help YouTube’s algorithm rank them properly as well.
  • Write a clear and detailed video description and use your keywords throughout, but avoid keyword stuffing (aim to get the keyword in about 3 to 4 times and at least once in the first 25 words).
  • Use words and phrases that accurately describe the video, but which are also popular Google search terms. These include terms like ‘how-to’, ‘review’ and ‘setting up’, which tend to well in search results pages.
  • Make sure you use your chosen keyword in the filename when uploading your video.

This is only a very brief introduction to YouTube SEO, but it will get you thinking in the right way. For more comprehensive information on YouTube SEO tactics, I’ve found Brian Dean’s in-depth guide on Search Engine Watch to be one of the best out there (it also contains a fantastic infographic on YouTube ranking factors).

Channel structure

The beauty of YouTube is that anyone can put together a do-it-yourself video marketing campaign by creating a channel, and then hosting all their videos on it under individual sections. One of the first mistakes people make on this front, though, is in failing to give their channel any structure at all. Many people simply don’t appreciate the huge importance channel structure can have to viewer retention and ultimately how you project your brand.

Below are some DOs and DON’Ts of YouTube channel structuring:

  • When users come to your channel, you want them to be able to find the best content you have, and easily. Don’t, therefore, feel like you have to put every piece of video content you’ve ever created on your channel. Chances are, a lot of it won’t be of interest to your average YouTube user. If it’s low quality or outdated, then leave it out. Your channel needs to showcase the best about your business.
  • Don’t mix your consumer content with your corporate content. This is another classic mistake and presupposes that people can tell the difference. You have to think of your audience at all times, and make sure that your videos are grouped together thematically in a logical manner. If you have homes for sale videos that follow through each room and showcase the home, don’t mix them with the market update videos. Keep separate categories for each grouping of videos
  • Don’t order your content by popularity. Your YouTube channel is a marketing tool, and as such, you need to use it to push the kind of content that is currently most relevant to your business. That hugely popular video you made three years ago might have got a lot of views, but it doesn’t make it relevant today (as tempting as it is to show it off).
  • Don’t order your channel by recent content either. Your latest in-depth video might be relevant to people visiting your website but that does not make it relevant to the kind of people visiting your YouTube channel. Learn to tell the difference and give people what they want.
  • Keep it up to date. This might seem like one of the oldest gripes out there, but people really do pick up on this kind of thing. If your content is old and your channel isn’t updated regularly, then people won’t want to come back to it. If you are constantly creating and uploading new and exciting content, then people will be more likely to come back to see what’s new.

YouTube attracts a phenomenal amount of visitors every day, but it also hosts a phenomenal amount of content. With very low click rates (less than 1%) from video to websites, it’s better to see YouTube as a final destination and not a driver of traffic to your business. That is why it’s not good enough just to create excellent videos and host them on YouTube. Optimising each video for maximum discoverability in conjunction with creating a well- structured and easily navigable YouTube channel is essential if you want to project your brand effectively and to as many relevant people as possible.

 

If you have a Social Outlet we didn’t feature here and what some insights on it. Shoot us a text, email or leave it in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slides from Business Growth and Development Presentation MEC Events

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This is the Powerpoint presentation used for the regional MEC Events for Business Growth and Planning. Please note you will need to have Powerpoint Viewer installed to view this presentation. Simply click the image above to start the download.

Breakthrough Broker’s Awesome Breakthrough Success Plan

For those of you looking for a dynamic way to asses your expenses and to figure out jusy how much you need to make in real estate to actually bring home the wage you hope for. this workbook walks you through it all. Simple step by step instructions walk you through the entire process. Once completed you will be on your way to achieving your next years goals!

business-success

BreakthroughSuccessPlan

 

4 Easy Steps to Convert Online Leads

Don’t get confused between being a salesperson and a customer service rep. Here’s how to give the client what they want while getting something in return

generate-real-estate-leads2As the real estate world changes and more and more potential buyers and sellers are spending their time online, the need for the practitioner to know how to convert leads is more important than ever. As the head of a company that has thousands of coaching students and a marketing wing that does nothing but create leads for people, I get inundated with questions on a regular basis about the best way to convert these leads.

What’s interesting is that as the industry as a whole evolves, the more it actually stays the same. We are still a people business that thrives on relationships — and that will never change. This is evidenced by the fact that, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 68 percent of people work with the first pro they have an actual conversation with in person.

Knowing this, the real question is: How do we get consumers to reply to us so we can create a conversation? Here are four easy steps to do that:

Leave Something Out

One of the biggest mistakes I see so many agents make is to fully answer the questions that leads send them. Yes, I know that sounds counterproductive, and you think you should always give them what they asked for so that you provide the best customer service that you possibly can. But if you do that off the bat, do they have any other reason to reply to you and get you one step closer to that conversation you’re after?

Here’s how this works. If they ask about the yard and the kitchen, then tell them everything there is to know about the kitchen. But end with something like, “Oh my God! There is something about the yard that you have to know about! What’s the best way to reach you right now?” Don’t be afraid to use a cliffhanger in your response, but make sure to actually have something cool to tell them.

Keep Your Signature Brief and Add ‘Sent from iPhone’

I know it sounds crazy, but believe it or not, some people don’t want to talk to an agent. It doesn’t make much sense, since they inquired about a house or something similar, but it’s true. That’s why it’s not always a great idea to have on every one of your e-mails a signature that’s long or longer than the actual e-mail itself. Instead, try responding to potential buyers and sellers with an e-mail that has just your name at the end of it — at least until you have built some trust with them.

If you really want to take it to the next level, have a line below your name that says “sent from iPhone” or whatever device you use. It will make them think that you actually just took the time to respond from wherever you are, even if you didn’t.

Respond Within Five Minutes

I don’t think we have to spend a lot of time on this one, as it’s pretty well understood that if you want to have a better chance at converting leads, you need to get back to them as soon as they reach out for info. In fact, according to InsideSales.com, you are nine times more likely to convert an Internet lead when you respond within five minutes. Enough said. If you aren’t able to do this yourself, you may want to consider hiring someone who can dedicate all of their time to this important job.

Don’t Forget to Close!

Too many salespeople in our field are starting to confuse the difference between a salesperson and a customer service representative. Customer service is a part of your job, but it is not what your job is. You are in real estate sales, not real estate customer service, and that means that you need to close the lead conversion.

You don’t have to close by being slimy or disrespectful. If you believe in what you do and that you are the customer’s best option, then this shouldn’t be such an issue. But you can’t close with lingo that consumers don’t even understand, such as: “When could I come by for a comparative market analysis?” What does that even mean and how long is that going to take?!?!

If someone contacts you inquiring about the value of their home, ask them if they wouldn’t mind you coming by for a quick five-minute price consultation to make sure that you get them the most accurate value possible. You’ll be amazed how much more willing people are to give you five minutes to get what they want than they are to let you come through for a comparative market analysis for an hour.

 

 

Found this article from: Jared James is the CEO and founder of Jared James Enterprises (JJE) and travels around North America speaking to and coaching REALTORS®. Connect with Jared at www.jaredjamestoday.com, on facebook.com/jaredjamestoday, or follow him on Twitter @jaredjamestoday.

12 Action Items to Boost Productivity, Results in 2015

Make these commitments to yourself and your business in 2015 and set yourself up for success.

1. Update your RE/MAX profile. This is critical! Make sure remax.com users and your colleagues sending referrals through RE/MAX Mainstreet are seeing your most current information. You can update both profiles in one spot on Mainstreet. Click the “Your Account” link that appears at the very top of any Mainstreet page, and then click “Profile.”

2. Update your business plan. If you don’t already have a business plan, make it a top priority. If you do have one, schedule now the dates and times when you’ll review and update it throughout the year.Productivity - Button on White Modern Computer Keyboard.

3. Register for R4 in Las Vegas. It’s the best bang for your buck of any convention you can attend. March 2-5, 2015, thousands of RE/MAX Affiliates will get together to share ideas, referrals and fun. And there are dozens of educational sessions to choose from.Register today!

4. Plan your day, every day. Be sure from day to day you know exactly what you’re going to do the moment your workday starts. Having a set daily schedule keeps you from wasting time on unproductive activities.

5. Revisit your website. Is it in need of an overhaul or maybe just some updates? Make sure content is current, including your contact information. Click through every link on the site (or better yet, delegate this to someone) to make sure visitors aren’t encountering any dead links or obsolete information. If you have a contact form, test it to make sure it’s still working as it should be.

6. Restock your promotional materials. Make sure you have plenty of business cards, yard signs, sign riders and any other personalized and branded items you use regularly. Visit Shop RE/MAX at shop.remax.net to browse Approved Suppliers who offer trademark-compliant products.

7. Take time for yourself and your family. Schedule your vacations, and family and personal commitments first, whenever possible. If you’ve given due time and attention to these areas of your life, you’ll be able to focus more on your business when it’s time to work.

8. Take a designation course. Either finish up a designation you’ve started or think about a new direction you might like to take your expertise – new construction, working with seniors, serving military members, specializing in buyer agency. RE/MAX University offers you convenient, 24/7 access to a multitude of designation courses at exclusive pricing.

9. Expand your business. Perhaps it’s the right time to explore opportunities in luxury and commercial real estate. Take time to learn more about The RE/MAX Collection and RE/MAX Commercial.

10. Follow a new source of real estate news. Real estate headlines change rapidly and frequently – just like the real estate industry itself. Staying on top of the latest news can help you get ahead of trends and be a resource for your clients. The RE/MAX Update email you receive Wednesdays is a great start.

11. Read a business book. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues or check the bestseller lists. The right business books can help you stay motivated and give you a new outlook on your business.

12. Consider cause marketing. Consumers continue to prefer brands that support a charity they care about. Make a commitment to a cause you care about and make it part of your business. The Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs for RE/MAX Affiliates, which benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, are fantastic and meaningful turnkey options.

RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.