7 Online Listing Tips for Real Estate Agents

We’ve been in the process of buying a house and over the past few months I’ve realized that many agents don’t really know how to use MLS (Canadian home listings) to it’s best. When your target buyers are becoming more computer and tech savvy, you must make sure the listings are up to par.

 

So here is a list of a few tips that I came up with while browsing the listings:

1. Communication is key. If your phone number and email are on the listing, then answer your phone and respond to emails fast! And better yet, make sure those emails/numbers actually work!
(True story: I once had to do some googling to find the owner of a house we wanted to see and contacted them directly after numerous attempts
to call the agent failed because they didn’t respond to emails and the phone number listed was actually a fax number.)

2. If you’re listing a house online, include photos! And I don’t mean just the outside shot, but every room. And get all those images before it goes online otherwise it looks like you’re hiding something. It’s not that hard to delay a day or two to just get a photographer there!

3. Find and invest in a good photographer. With the amount of quality media available to people online, and the very high definition screens, we expect photos to look good.

4. Don’t BS the listing description. We know that ‘cozy’ means small, ‘unique’ means odd layout, etc. I know it has to sound good, but keep it honest.

5. LEARN WHAT CAPS MEAN TO COMPUTER USERS!

6. List all the rooms and proper dimensions. We can’t always visualize the size of rooms from photos and we can’t read your mind about what rooms exist but aren’t listed.

7. Realize that automated mapping systems are not perfect. Check your map placement after adding. I’ve found homes that were a good kilometer off of where they actually were.

Have you had your own thoughts on listings? I’d love to hear them!

Search Engine Marketing Tip: Addresses

When was the last time you tried to find a business online that you knew the location but not the business name? Or maybe you saw an address in an email signature that you wanted to check out.

Chances are, you’ve looked up an address in Google, typed in “111 Main St. City” and seen businesses listed who are at that address.

If you’ve done a good job with SEO, they will see what your business/site is about in the search results. That is if there are no other companies with better ranking for that address.

But there is a way around this. If you add your address into your search engine ad’s keywords, there’s a good chance you’ll be one of the only ones coming up, and it will be above the organic listings. You can also use this space to promote monthly products or services, or something new that you now have.

Keep in mind using variations of how people could search the address. Ie: 111 main st. OR 111 main street, etc.

It’s a simple trick, but one that may get you that lead you need.

 

Restaurant Branding Tip: Kleenex

Here’s a quick thought for restaurants that I find incredibly simple yet it’s hard to find one that actually does it: provide kleenex in bathrooms. Now I know this sounds simple, and potentially pointless, but it’s something people will notice.

Have you ever had to blow your nose or sneeze in a restaurant bathroom? You start fumbling for toilet paper, which is more annoying than anything.

I’m a fan of hot food, including chicken wings, and one thing that normally happens with spicy food is a runny nose. Restaurants who serve wings or other spicy food could build a better brand, even if just subconsciously by providing this simple convenience to it’s patrons. I can name local restaurants that have gone that extra step.

So why don’t more restaurants do this? Cost? Added chore in bathroom cleaning?

Branding happens in the restaurant as well as outside it. Extra steps can matter to your customers. Even these little ones.

The use of social media in strike situations

The title should actually be the MIS-use of social media, but that sounds too negative.

Right now the Ontario College Support Staff are on strike across the province. I’ve seen strikes happen throughout my school experience, both in highschool and college, but never have had the chance to see it from the striker’s point of view. I myself am not involved but Danielle unfortunately is. She just started the college job in May, then this happened.

From what she tells me about it, from the side of the support staff, the best I can do to help is keep informed with what the strike is about, and how both sides are feeling the pressure. Being the social media guy, I went to Twitter to keep up on the news and browse what people were saying about the strike.

Negotiation leaders not using the tools

What struck me as odd and sad at the same time was the lack of presence of both sides on Twitter, and the overwhelming number of conversations happening about without the negotiators knowing. The college ‘Council’ has zero presence that I could find on Twitter or Facebook, which leads me to believe that they have no interest in the public’s thoughts or opinions. OPESU has a Twitter account (@OPSEU ), which is only updated a few times a day, and a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since August 26.

I see these two networks as such a powerful tool both sides could use, but it’s sadly being disregarded.

The public wants to be heard

A quick search of just the terms “college” and “strike” on Twitter show a barrage of posts from students and staff, both wondering what the status is. Students are asking because they’re not getting the needed funding to continue their education:

“College strike making osap payments delayed is pissing me off. They better not make me get kicked out of the program cause I haven’t payed” – @JordanCoulsonnn

And other people are just letting their followers know how they feel:

Both parties in a labour dispute should have an obligation to at least be at the table. This is ridiculous. #OPSEU #college #strike – @LizScanlon

So the question is how hard is it to use a network that already exists, where people are obviously talking, and where you can easily post real-time messages about what is going on?

College’s lack of transparency online

To even more decrease the transparency of the colleges is the lack of ‘real’ messages from the people in charge, mainly the presidents. For example, Fanshawe College in London posts a ‘President’s Message’ in a blog format (without comments allowed) every few days during the strike. That sounds great until you read it and realize it is the same post with 75% of it’s content reused from the previous post (Sept 12, Sept 13).
There is no way to communicate online with the heads of the schools. I have not seen a Twitter account for Fanshawe’s president Howard Rundle. So why are they not using the tool that 90% of their students use in a time when a simple message could calm student’s questions?

Easy Solution

So seriously there is an easy solution here: USE THE TOOLS. If you’re not where people are talking, then messages will be skewed, people with questions will be left unanswered and blame will be put on the wrong people. Education about the strike, why no talks are being scheduled and what people can be doing to deal with the strike are great topics to talk about if you actually are there to do the talking. It’s not hard. 5 year olds have better online conversations than some of the people involved in this strike. Get educated on the tools, then jump in, because people are talking with or without you there.

When the leaders of this strike realize that real people are involved and are being hurt by this, as evident in social media conversations, then maybe it can be over with sooner rather than later.

 

 

Update Junkie

Hello everyone. My name is Aaron and I’m an update junkie.

Wow that feels better.

Have you ever turned on your Mac* or i-device and seen that red number appear on the app store icon, or had the software update box come up, and got excited wondering what was new? Yah that’s me. I have a craving for updates to the point where I’ll manually check for software updates if I haven’t seen one come up recently.

I love the fact that the App Store tells you when your programs are out of date. I wish it would connect to all my programs. I also love finding new apps and trying them out. ‘Free’ is a keyword that is the icing on a new app cake.

That being said, I thought I’d list a few resources I use to keep up on tech and apps for other closet update junkies.

 

1. Mac App Store

The ‘Featured’ and ‘Top Charts’ are a great way to find new apps, tho it is becoming more and more targeted towards paid apps and not free. This is still a great place to check out what’s new and hot and many do have a free ‘Lite’ version.

2. Free App a Day

For a daily new app that you can grab for free, check out this site. Targeted towards iPhones, iPads and now Androids. Some days the app isn’t the best, other days it’s a well-selling app. It’s just by luck and constant checking that you’ll get the jewels.

3. iusethis.com

i use this is a interesting resource for new programs for Mac, PC and iPhone. It shows new apps by date, allows for ‘Opinions’ and lets you click on ‘i use this’ to show how many people this app hits (based on websites viewers of course). Kind of gives you a good idea of how new and good an app is as you can sort by ‘at least 10 users’.

 

Of course websites like Techcrunch or Mashable are great sources of info on all things tech as well.

I’d be interested to know how other update junkies get their fixes as well. Let me know what other sites/resources you use!

 

 

*I’m assuming if you see something pop up on a PC you have a bone-crunching cringe…I could be wrong