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real estate tools

September 16, 2014

Photo Content is King Now

camera1 300x199 Photo Content is King NowPhotos are the kings of web content now.  I’m not just talking about the importance of having photos on your listings. I am talking about the skyrocketing popularity of visual based social networks like Pinterest and Instagram and how much more attention getting and engaging images are.

There has been an explosion of photo sharing on the web. You may have heard , “Facebook is the Photo Economy“.  More than 90 billion photos have been uploaded since Facebook launched. 6 billion pictures  are being uploaded monthly. I am sure that you have noticed in your news feeds that a large chunk of the content you see are images now. So it may come to you as no surprise that photos tend to grab more attention in your news feeds. The engagement rate on photos versus status updates is about 2:1. What does that mean? People are more likely to “like” and comment on photos as opposed to status updates.

But it is not just Facebook where images are important. The visually based social network, Pinterest (which I’ve talked a lot about recently) continues to soar in popularity. People are using it to curate information they like, that inspire them, and brands have found a way connect with customers in an authentic way. In the first quarter of 2012, Pinterest had 11.7 unique visitors. This image reliant social network is a force not to be ignored. And of course, there are some great ways to make good use of it and apply to your business.

Now is a good time to seriously consider infusing your marketing with more visual content. This is especially great if you struggle with coming up with new thing to write about for your real estate blog. These images can then be easily be shared across social networks and can be a potential traffic driver.

Images have a way of communicating ideas, emotions and more, in ways that words sometimes cannot. They capture more attention and have a higher engagement factor on your social networks. Examine ways to improve your use of images on your website and social media. Then get involved with visually based social networks like Pinterest and Instagram. This “photo economy” is about more than just your listing photos.

What are your favorite ways to use images in your marketing? Are you an avid Pinterest or Instagram user?  Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear about it.

 Photo Content is King Now

 Photo Content is King NowMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Infographic Fun: The Real Estate Commission Explained

Why do real estate agents make so much when they sell my  house?

I found this this genius infographic that explains just how much a real estate agents makes when selling a home. The designer of this infographic lays it out perfectly.

WhyDoRealEstateAgentsGetPaidSoMuchMoneytoSellMyHouse 4fb28488c6769 w587 Infographic Fun: The Real Estate Commission Explained

Browse more infographics.

 


 Infographic Fun: The Real Estate Commission ExplainedMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Importance of REALTOR Safety

self defense 300x199 Importance of REALTOR Safety Being a real estate agent can definitely be a difficult job at times. From managing several buyer and seller clients at once, to tracking paperwork and juggling upcoming closings. But he thought that your real estate career can present you with some dangerous situations, hardly ever enters your mind. Some scary stuff in the news lately is driving home the fact that Realtor safety should become a priority.

Realtor safety concerns are nothing new. Several years ago, when I worked in the front office for a major real estate company, the company had decided to offer self defense classes to their agents which some thought was silly. Since the subject came up, my broker then told me this story:

She was working with these first-time buyers, showing them several properties on the weekends over a few weeks. One Saturday morning, she was setting up a few showing appointments for the day, and called one particular owner-occupied home where a pleasant gentleman answered. He said it was the requested appointment was fine and he would make sure to be out of the home.  

Since this was the first appointment of the day, she decided to get to the property ahead of her clients to preview it herself, open up curtains, turn on lights, etc. When she unlocked and opened the door, about 10 feet in front of her was a man sitting in a chair with a shotgun in his lap, starting straight at her. She quickly apologized for disturbing him, backed away, closed the door, and got in her car. She had her clients meet her at the next property instead.

Now that scary situation turned out to be ok for my former boss, as she was unharmed. But it has stuck in her memory and has always taken extra safety measures ever since.

The news tell us that some agents have not been so lucky.

Last year, two Realtors were found murdered in separate incidents, one found shot in a vacant home he was showing, and one found in burning home.

Back in April, an Iowa Realtor was found murdered at an at a model home open house.

In July, a Tennessee agent was attacked and robbed during a showing appointment.

Just last month, an Oregon broker was targeted in his office and shot by a revenge seeking gunman.

A few weeks ago, northern Ohio agents were warned that a man was calling female agents for evening showing appointments, to possibly lure them into vacant homes and sexually assault them.

The sad list goes on.

Real estate can be a risky industry. Agents can often find themselves traveling alone, meeting with and showing properties to people that they don’t really know well or at all. There’s worries that violence against Realtors is on the rise. And it is not just women that are victimized. (check out his report)

What can you do to keep yourself safe? Though past violent incidents don’t always have a common thread, and there is no way to prevent every crime, agents should certainly take any step necessary to protect themselves.

  • Take a self defense or martial arts class.
  • Google new prospects prior to initial meetings to sniff out anything fishy if you can.
  • Meet them for the first time in a public place, such as your office during business hours.
  • Call or text  someone to let them know where you’ll be and who you’ll be with showing properties.
  • Use a tool such as Moby, which is a mobile app  for your smartphone that can alert chosen contacts with a need for assistance and also tracks your location. And it’s FREE!

Do what you can to increase your awareness and fine tune your gut instincts. Please stay safe out there!

 Importance of REALTOR Safety

 Importance of REALTOR Safety Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Recommended Reading {6.13.11}

reading3 Recommended Reading {6.13.11}There have been some great articles out there lately touching on subjects closely related to real estate, social media, and marketing. So here is my latest edition of recommended reading, things I think you should know. Enjoy!

5 Secrets to Being Successful on Twitter – This one of the best articles I’ve found explaining the nuances of Twitter and how to use it correctly for your real estate business.

5 Common Real Estate Website Myths – Debunked – A fantastic article from Geek Estate Blog. Still believe your Broker’s site is good enough?

Your Facebook Business Page is Worthless – The Future of Real Estate Marketing- Your Facebook page not living up to your expectations? You’re probably doing it wrong.

4 Tips To Maximize Your Twitter Marketing – Social Media Examiner – It is all about planning organizing and expanding.

5 Ways iCloud Will Change How Real Estate Teams Run Their Businesses – Apple’s new iCloud service will be a game changer on the consumer market. This article highlights the practical uses for your real estate business. Great news for Mac users (of which I will soon join the club), but also PC users will not be left out.

Want More Sales? Pump Up The Experience – Amp up the consumer experience for your buyers and sellers. Make sure to wow them with these tips.

 Recommended Reading {6.13.11}

 Recommended Reading {6.13.11}Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Happy 5th Birthday Twitter – 5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

5candles1 300x261 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on TwitterToday is Twitter’s 5th birthday! I am an obvious lover of Twitter. I have been using it for over 3 years , or 3 years, 120 days and some change to be exact. It’s been fascinating to watch over these years how it has transformed the cultural landscape and how it has become the major source for breaking news on events and disaster updates.

I love it and have found it to be a source for business and a great place to market to potential clients. But I do see that Twitter is not for everyone. Many real estate pros still ask, why should they bother with Twitter.  Well in the spirit of Twitter’s 5th Birthday, here are 5 ways you should use twitter.

5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

  1. Use Twitter to listen and interact to your clients and your sphere of influence. You can monitor what is going on in their lives, see what anyone is saying about you, and help them get to know the real you.
  2. Make sure your tweets are something relevant and newsworthy. Nobody much cares about what you’re having for breakfast. So tell them about a deal you just closed, a fabulous new home that listed, or breaking news in your neighborhood.
  3. Drive traffic to your blog and website with Twitter. Just wrote a great post about a hot button real estate issue or new listing? Post the link on Twitter, or better yet, have your most recent blog post get populated on your Twitter feed automatically through apps suck as HootSuite and TwitterFeed.
    80px Twitschervogel01 derived from twitter t.svg Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

    Image via Wikipedia

  4. Make good use of Twitter lists, to help segment and organize those you are following on Twitter.
  5. Use an app that will make your tweeting life easier. My all-time favorite that I use is HootSuite. You can schedule tweets, organize your twitter streams by lists into different columns, as well as analytics and tracking of links you broadcast. Not only that but you can use HootSuite to manage multiple networks. TweetDeck is another app that has similar capabilites, but not browser based.
 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on TwitterMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Getting Down to Basics

teaching 300x199 Getting Down to BasicsNow that we have launched into 2011, I am starting a new regular series here at the BVAS Connection called “Getting Down to Basics”. In this series, I intend to explain the basics on using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, various platforms such as HootSuite, Google, or any other technology plaform.

On this blog, as well as many other real estate marketing and real estate technology blogs, we review and talk about various technologies and platforms meant to improve your real estate business. For the tech-savvy among us who work in these platforms all the time, they are like second nature to us. But over the years of working with clients for whom technology may not always come easy, I realized that quite a few people didn’t really know how to actually create an Facebook page  (or the difference between a profile and an official page), how to sign up for Twitter, how use HootSuite, or other tasks. So I saw a need for some easy to understand tutorials to bring agents into the tech savvy arena.

I’m creating this series of based on the frequently asked questions I have run into on various things from Facebook to Google. It will include some instructional blog postings, as well as video demonstrating exactly how to do various tasks.  Now, of course I am not an expert in everything (shocking, isn’t it?), so I will occasionally be inviting other experts to guest post on the BVAS Connections with their tutorials.

Have a question about how to use Facebook, your CRM, or any other technology that has you stumped? I want to hear from you! I invite you to please leave me a comment below with any questions or requests for basic how-to’s for anything social media related,  technology tools, what have you. And if I don’t have the answer, my team of experts will!

First up, Facebook pages and more, so stay tuned!

 Getting Down to Basics

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Market Your Real Estate Listings QR Codes

In this previous post, Technology Fun for Real Estate – QR Codes , I gave an introduction into the world of QR codes, what they are, how to get them, and what you can do with them. Today I want to dig into them a little more and talk about some ways to spice up your listing marketing by using QR codes and using them effectively.

Don’t know what they are yet? Check out my previous post

So you have a new listing, and want to enlist the technology of these curious looking codes to promote to mobile users. how do you do it? First of all, you will need decide on the destination you want to direct your mobile users to. It helps to have a mobile friendly page to direct them to that can convey all the listing info easily. Here are my 3 favorite uses:

  1. vyoo logo2 Market Your Real Estate Listings QR CodesMost single property websites are also mobile ready. Simply use a generator like Goo.gl (which I love for it’s tracking ability) to turn your single property site url into a QR code.  Some single property website providers,  like Real Bird, have even added the ability to generate QR codes for you to use in their services.
  2. If you are not a user of single property websites, another option you can use something called vyoo.it. From the samepeople that brought you Postlets, vyoo.it allows you to create a fabulous looking mobile ready page, packed with all the details of your listing including pictures and your contact info. And if you are a current Postlet user, you can save yourself a step since you can automatically import the Postlet url to populate the vyoo.it page for you. Super simple!
  3. Another great destination to direct your QR code to is to a video or virtual our. YouTube, for example, is already
    youtube qr Market Your Real Estate Listings QR Codes

    goo.gl/Qt0qI

    optimized for mobile viewing, so sending your mobile visitors right to the video tour on YouTube is a perfect match. Imagine a potential buyer standing outside your listing and scanning the code off the sign to be taken to the virtual tour instantly. And if they’re holding a flyer in their hands with a majority of the property information, it makes little sense to direct them to a site that rehashes the same information. So why not send them to the video tour? Just use a generator like Goo.gl to make the QR code.

Now where should you put these codes to market your listing? Naturally, some of the best palces to put these codes are on your property flyers, “Just Listed” card, or on signs and sign riders. Anywhere that you can reach potential buyers that would be interested in your property.

A couple more quick tips before I go: I recommend when using QR codes in your marketing, is to add in small print instructing users to scan the code with their phone’s reader. And just so you don’t completely alienate non-smartphone users (or those that still can’t figure out this scanning thing), provide the short url that can take mobile and non-mobile users to the same destination.

If you know of some creative spots to add your QR codes for marketing your listings, I would love to hear them in my comments down below. and coming up soon, I tell you how to utilize these things on your signs, business cards, and more. Plus I’ll include various QR code vendors who provide great products and solutions using QR codes. Stay tuned!

 Market Your Real Estate Listings QR Codes

 Market Your Real Estate Listings QR CodesMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Video Blogging Makes Us Cool

What do you see here? I’m using video now? That is right, I have started some video blogging. Right now I’m playing around with video and incorporating it into my business.  I’ve decided to use every tool I can in my social media marketing arsenal, and video was next on my list. So here it is, my first video.

Video blogging, or vlogging, is a fantastic tool that real estate pros should seriously consider incorporating into their real estate marketing plans. They are super simple to make with a webcam, or small camcorder (My favorite is the Flip), and can be uploaded numerous places like YouTube, Facebook, etc., to gain you more online exposure.  

From being a "talking head" giving informative advice, to showing off your newest listings or favorite local businesses, incorporating real estate video on your websites or real estate blogs is a great real estate business tool. And of course, video a task your Real Estate Virtual Assistant can help you get started with and maintain.

More tips and tricks are to come in the future. For now, I invite you to come along on this video blogging journey with me. I want to see YOUR videos too!


Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC,  and runs blogs, The BVAS Connection and The Virtual Perception. Megan has been in a Virtual Assistant for nearly 5 years and has spent 10+ years doing the “behind-the-scenes” work in the real estate industry assisting agents with their real estate marketing and transaction needs.

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Great post on Active Rain – Time To Dump The Desk??

media httpactiveraincomimagestoreuploads93838ar125372746883839JPG ulIjbBmpiDddDzF.JPG.scaled500 Great post on Active Rain   Time To Dump The Desk??

If you want to ditch the desk and go completely mobile, here are the necessary tools to do so. This is a great post from Clint Miller on Active Rain. Follow him on Twitter too – http://twitter.com/therealclint

Posted via web from megbarberva’s posterous

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My Favorite Real Estate Print Newsletters

To make their marketing efforts successful, agents want a well rounded marketing program that includes internet marketing avenues as well good offline marketing tactics. One essential piece of an offline marketing plan is a good print newsletter sent to the agent’s sphere of influence or farm.

Newsletters are a fantastic way to put yourself in front of your contacts and provides them with great information. The problem that many agents run into is writing the articles or finding good content to put into the newsletter. Some agents are just not natural writers, and need a little extra help. The other problem is getting the newsletters them printed and mailed, or finding time to do it yourself.

The following are some of my favorite print newsletter resources that provide the content for you, and allow you customize to your branding, etc. Also many of these will not only print them for you, but can mail them to your list for you, or ship them to you to mail yourself.

  • The Personal Marketing Company – They have fantastic looking print newsletters to choose from with different themes. They also give you the option to have them mail to your list for you each month, or deliver for you to mail on your own.
  • Rainmaker Newsletters from Gooder Group -  This happens to be one of my own clients favorites. They provide great content to different kinds of market segments you wish to target. They can mail it for you, or send it to you to mail yourself.
  • In Touch Today – Another company that does fantastic looking newsletters, with great content, and options for customization. They also have the 12 month mailing options, or will ship the printed pieces to you.
  • Sharper Agent – Sharper agent has newsletters that can be sent in an email version or in print. They provide great content, look pretty snappy and you can have them print, or you can arrange the printing on your own (take file to local printer or otherwise). They do not handle the mailing of the newsletters for you though, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  • REA Mark or Sparrow and Jacobs – These two companies are pretty similar and also do some great newsletters. They do not handle the mailing for you, but do do up a nice newsletter for great prices.

Of course, you can have your Real Estate Virtual Assistant help you handle all aspects of your print newsletters, from providing the content, manage your newsletter campaigns with companies like the above, or even handle the mailing services.


Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC,  and runs blogs, The BVAS Connection and The Virtual Perception. Megan has been in a Virtual Assistant for 4+ years and has spent 10+ years doing the “behind-the-scenes” work in the real estate industry assisting agents with their real estate marketing and transaction needs.

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