Posts by : Geneva Ives

Author / 173 Posts
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back-to-school marketing ideas real estate Point2 Agent

Ahhh, do you smell that? The scent of freshly sharpened pencils and crisp notebooks can only mean one thing… it’s back-to-school time!

Any change in season is a good time to take a closer look at your real estate marketing efforts. Are you still seeing results? Are there campaigns you can freshen up? Opportunities you can take to reach new prospects?

This time of year is especially great for reinvigorating your referral network and connecting with people who are new to the area.

Here are four back-to-school marketing ideas that you can put to work for your real estate business in the coming weeks:

1. Host a Back-to-School Party

It’s back-to-school season and parents are in a celebratory mood. Why not throw a back-to-school party as a client appreciation event? You can organize a family-friendly picnic on a weekend that takes advantage of the last of the warm weather. Or you can host an adult-only cocktail event where everyone lets their hair down and has fun.

(One tip: don’t force the conversation to real estate too often, but be ready and willing to answer any questions that come up!)

You can also make it a school supply drive to benefit the community. You cover the cost of the event, and ask guests to bring a donation as their admission ticket. This pairs extra well with idea #4.

2. Write a Back-to-School Blog Post

Now that you have a WordPress blog associated with your Point2 Agent website, it’s time to create a back-to-school blog post and put that SEO power to good use!

Here are some back-to-school blog post topic ideas:

  • Write a post that explains how home values are affected by school districts
  • Highlight local businesses offering back-to-school specials
  • Create a directory of your favorite after school programs in your area
  • Share easy back-to-school lunch recipes

When you are done, be sure to share your post on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you mention/link to other businesses in your post, be sure to let them know. Those businesses will be likely to share your post, too, driving even more traffic to your website!

3. Deliver Back-to-School Pop-By Gifts

Pop-by gifts with a note and your business card attached will remind your past clients and neighbors that you are actively thinking about them and their needs. When they’re ready to buy or sell or even just talk about their options, they’ll think of you first.

Here are two fun and inexpensive back-to-school pop-by gifts. Click on the photos for details. You can find other fun pop-by ideas for any season here.

Back to School Pop By Real Estate Marketing Point2

Add a personalized message or sticker with a note and your contact information on the back!

 

Back-to-School Marketing Pop By Point2

Bag up some school supplies and lifesavers then deliver them to houses in your selling area. Don’t forget to add your business card!

4. Support Your Local PTA

Smart agents recognize the value of building strong relationships with the parents, educators and administrators in their local school systems. Build your sphere of influence and become a trusted real estate advisor in the community by actively engaging with the parent-teacher association(s) in your farm area.

You can buy advertising space in their newsletter or on their website, sponsor (and possibly attend) a teacher function and/or volunteer to help with a fundraiser. You might also consider offering a special discount or premium service to members of the PTA. And don’t forget to buy tickets to their annual spaghetti dinner!

What kind of marketing are you doing for back-to-school season this year?

Need a strong website presence with blogging capabilities? Try Point2 Agent free for 30 days (no credit card required).

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Real Estate Headshot Agent Headshot

If you’ve read our DO’s & DON’Ts of Real Estate Headshots, you know that your agent photo is a critical component of your marketing. In this very personal business, your face is your brand more often than not.

(And if you haven’t read that article yet, you seriously should. It’s one of our most repinned pins on Pinterest!)

But no matter how confident you are in real life, stepping in front of the camera can be unnerving and even intimidating. To help you keep your cool—and avoid looking like one of these agents—we’ve put together this list of headshot no-no’s that you can refer to on picture day.

What NOT to Do in Your Agent Headshot

DON’T take a selfie

Some things you can DIY. This is not one of them. For the best results, you should hire a professional photographer. The advice and trained eye of a pro during the shoot is invaluable.

DON’T distract from your face

The focus should be on you, so clients and prospects can instantly recognize you. That means no loud patterns, no crazy background, no props, no pets and no other people. The exception might be including your partner if you are part of a real estate team, but you should still have a solo photo taken too.

DON’T pose stiffly

Use open and relaxed body language to make your headshot more appealing. Stiffly crossed arms or an unnatural position will look uncomfortable. If you look uncomfortable at first glance, viewers may think working with you will be uncomfortable and call the next agent.

DON’T forget to smile

A serious scowl might be appropriate for some professions, but it’s certainly not right for real estate. So much in this business hinges on personality and service. Smile in a friendly and welcoming way.

DON’T add special effects in post

There’s software for everything these days. You can add horses to your photos, blur out your freckles and place yourself in front of Niagara falls if you want to. But that doesn’t mean you should. Keep it simple and avoid over editing. Again, this is where a pro comes in handy.

DON’T neglect to update your photo

If your photo looks like it could be a throwback Thursday post, it’s time to throw it out! We recommend updating your headshot every 5 years or so (or after every massive change in hairstyle).

TBT real estate agent headshot

That’s great! But once you have your headshot, then what?

As we mentioned earlier, your headshot is a crucial part of your marketing. Here are some places you should be sure to use it:

Where else do you use your agent headshot for advertising? What is one of your biggest DON’Ts?

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7 funny things real estate agents do

Real estate agents mean serious business… most of the time. But every now and again we have to take a minute to laugh at ourselves. Probably no other job can be as stressful, as rewarding and, happily, as humorous.

And now, as the joke goes, you might be a real estate agent if…

1. You’re powered by coffee

funny real estate agent coffee dog

Can you relate? We can. More coffee please!

2. You steal furniture (from yourself)

A staged home is a sold home, right? And if your clients don’t have exactly the right pieces or budget to stage their home to sell, you may have been known to “borrow” things from your own house. And from your friend’s and family’s homes too. After all, when your listings sell quickly, everyone benefits!

3. You (accidentally) send hilarious text messages

text messaging for real estate agents

Oops! Autocorrect can really get you when you’re multitasking. And we’re always multitasking, aren’t we? Here are some texting do’s and don’ts to help prevent future embarrassing mishaps.

4. Your photography skills could use some work

bad photo 1

Some agents take amazing listing photos. Some agents hire professional photographers to really give their properties an advantage. And then there are these agents.

5. Your Photoshop skills could too

real estate agent problems insta2

Sometimes it pays to be resourceful. And sometimes, well, we should really pay someone else to do it. Oh well, it’s a learning experience, right?

6. Your headshot could double as a #tbt post

Funny Bad Agent Headshot

Are you rocking a hairstyle from 10 years ago in your real estate agent headshot? Puffy sleeves? Holding a phone with a cord attached to it? A cellphone with an antenna?

These are some of the funniest agent headshots we’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for inspiration to update your photo, click here to see headshot do’s and don’ts. Then you can save that old one for an Instagram post on #tbt.

7. You do this, frequently

funny things real estate agents do

(We’ve all been there.)

What’s another funny thing real estate agents do? We’re all ears.

All jokes aside, there’s nothing funny about having a real estate website that doesn’t get you leads. Try our mobile-friendly lead capture sites completely free for 30 days (no credit card required).

Do you want a successful real estate career?
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drip email campaigns Point2 Agent

Drip email campaigns are just one of the many marketing tools included in our Point2 Agent Pro and Elite memberships. Here’s what they are and how you can use them to convert more leads into clients.

What is a drip email campaign?

Drip email campaigns are automated emails sent to prospects that you’ve captured through your website, based on specific actions they take. Setting up drip email campaigns is a great way to keep in touch with leads that might not be quite ready to take the next step. The emails are branded with your name, company name, logo and a link back to your website, keeping you at the forefront of their minds.

How does it work?

Prospects visit your site and perform actions that trigger a specific drip email campaign. For example, John Smith visits your site and fills out a home evaluation form. That then triggers the buyer drip email campaign to start.

Once triggered, the prospect is automatically added to that drip email campaign and will begin receiving emails at predetermined intervals. These emails contain helpful information and targeted marketing tailored to the prospect group.

The emails generate return visits to your site, greatly increasing the odds that your prospect will contact you when they are ready to buy or sell.  Drip emails are an easy way to make your site do some follow up work once you have generated a new lead.

Once the campaign is completed, the prospect will automatically be removed from the campaign.

What do I do?

We have created a number of default campaigns for you already. All you need to do is activate them! There are 15 default campaigns that each contain between four and 14 emails.

Can I customize the emails?

Yes! You can customize all features of the emails including the salutation and closing, the content for each email, as well as the interval between sending each email. In addition, you can add or remove emails from a particular campaign. Here’s how to edit campaigns.

Not finding what you need in the ones we’ve created? No problem! You can create your own campaigns from scratch to fit any marketing needs you have. Learn how to do that here.

Is there anything else I should know?

In order to receive emails from your Point2 Agent account, your leads must first opt-in to receive email communications. This includes email campaigns, as well as listing notifiers and home evaluations.

Prospects that are created through the forms on your agent website will be able to automatically opt in to email correspondence, but you can manually opt-in prospects too. Read more about consumer opt-ins here.

Don’t have a Point2 Agent membership? Start your 30-day free trial and get access to drip emails right away!

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How about you? Do you have any drip email questions for us?

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how to make better social media graphics Point2 Agent

We all know that eye-catching graphics are an important part of capturing the attention of today’s digital audience. They might even be THE most important part!

But how do you know what makes an image work? Here are some pointers that will help you out:

Size

First things first, your image has to be easy to look at. That means it should be big enough to see and shouldn’t be a pixelated mess. You can’t take a small image and blow it up to a large size; it just won’t look good.

At the very least, we recommend you use an image at least 400 pixels wide. That should work for a lot of things. If you want to get specific, the optimal image sizes that different social media channels use for posts, profile photos and more change often. This list of always up-to-date social media image sizes will help you out.

License

You want to make absolutely sure you’re not violating anyone’s copyright when you’re using an image. No picture is worth dealing with a potential lawsuit! Err on the side of caution by taking your own photos, doing your own graphic design, paying for images from a service like Shutterstock or using one of these free photo resources.

Text

Graphics with text on them are great to pair with blog posts or share on Pinterest. If people see a picture paired with a great title, they will be more likely to click it! You can add copy to your images using any number of apps and programs. We like PicMonkey or Canva for quick, free editing.

Social Media Graphics: Tips by Platform

Of course, one image doesn’t work perfectly for all platforms. That would be too easy wouldn’t it? Twitter likes horizontal images, Pinterest likes vertical ones, and Facebook seems to change its preferences every 3 months or so (we might be exaggerating). Here are a few of the best social media graphics tips we could round up for each of the leading platforms.

Facebook

  • If you’re sharing a link on Facebook, you can upload any photo you want instead of using the image they automatically important (here’s how). Use whatever picture is most compelling!

Twitter

  • A size ratio of 2 to 1 (an image that’s twice as long as it is tall) will display fully intact in Twitter streams, meaning users will be able to see the whole thing.

Pinterest

  • Tall images are shared 67% more often than short images.
  • Medium to light coloured images are repinned 20X more than dark images.

Instagram

  • As discussed in this article, images with a lot of background space generate 29% more likes than those with very limited space.
  • Photos that use blue as a dominant colour get 24% more like than images that are predominately red.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn also allows you to upload the image of your choice when you share an article link. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Google+

  • When you share a link on Google+, the featured photo appears at a max width of 426 pixels. The height scales accordingly.

Blog

  • You should always add at least one photo to your blog to capture your audience’s attention. Since real estate is so visual, more is really better.
  • Most blogging platforms (including WordPress) allow you to set a features image for your blog post. This is a good idea, especially if you have multiple images. Your featured image is the one that will appear on your blog home page and the one that will (usually) pull in as a thumbnail image when a link to the post is shared on social media.

Remember: adding carefully selected, engaging images to your Point2 Agent website is easy to do. It will help attract site visitors and keep prospects interested in your site. If you need assistance with this, don’t hesitate to contact our free and friendly Customer Care team.

Do you have any questions about social media graphics that we didn’t address here? Leave a comment, and we’ll help you find the answer!

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summer real estate marketing ideas

At last, summer is officially here!

With nice weather and longer days come plenty of new opportunities to meet more customers in your area. It’s also the perfect time of year to reconnect with past clients and pump up your referral business.

Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Organize a Community Service Day

One way to cement your role in your community is to give back! Summer is a wonderful time of year to plan group volunteering activities. Set up a food drive, beach clean up or fundraising effort and get the word out.

We like to work with Habitat for Humanity (because we like helping people find homes!), but you should choose a cause that you’re passionate about. Your clients will remember it, and you, better than way.

On the day of, make it fun! Have snacks on hand for volunteers and keep the energy up. Giving out branded custom hats, t-shirts or water bottles during the event can be a nice extra touch.

Tip: Be sure to take plenty of photos that you can share on your website, via social media and in future client communications.

2. Create a Summer Fun Newsletter

Not every newsletter, postcard or email needs to be 100% about real estate. Show that you’re both a local expert and a helpful resource by putting something together that tells your readers where the fun is happening in your town this summer.

Here are some things you might want to include:

  • Local parade dates, themes and times
  • Concerts or movies in the park
  • Seasonal festivals or fairs
  • Live music events
  • Area summer camp recommendations

If you’re looking for some real estate newsletter tips, we’ve got you covered, but this kind of content would also be well suited to a designated web page, blog post or even mailer! And of course, this info is great to share on your social channels.

3. Host a Free Home Staging Seminar

This is the time of year that homeowners like to tackle both indoor and outdoor home improvements. Pair up with a local expert in your neck of the woods and host a free seminar with summer home staging tips that will help a home sell more quickly. Market it as open to all comers (not just existing clients) and create Facebook ads to target your local audience.

On the day of the event, be on hand to meet and greet attendees. And be sure you have some swag and information on hand to go home with them! A print out with home staging tips that’s branded with your contact information is a good start.

Don’t know any home staging specialists? Now might be a good time to reach out to a pro and partner up for referral business. Or you might be able to lead it yourself. As an agent, we’re pretty sure you have more than a few good ideas about what sells… and what doesn’t!

If you don’t have the time to coordinate a larger marketing initiative, don’t worry! These easy and inexpensive summer pop-bys might be just the ticket to keep you (and your real estate services) top of mind. Whatever you choose to do this summer, take the time to update your real estate agent website with the details. Your visitors will be glad you did, and search engines will like the fresh content. 

Do you have any special marketing activities planned for this summer?

Related Article

75 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents

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8 listing presentation tipsDo you want to win your next listing presentation? Of course you do!

To convince potential home sellers that you’re the real estate agent that will sell their home the fastest and for the highest price, you need to be prepared. Your listing presentation should highlight both your experience and your advanced marketing strategies.

With that goal in mind, here are eight listing presentation tips that will help you WOW your prospects and win more listings:

1. Be on Time

So simple, yet so important. Being on time for a listing appointment shows the client that you value and respect their schedule. If you arrive late, they will start the meeting feeling miffed and may wonder where else you will disappoint them. If you arrive too early, they may not be ready for you and feel rushed or uncomfortable.

2. Describe Your Go-to-Market Process

Tell them how you will help them prepare their home to sell for the highest dollar amount in the shortest time. Will you help them stage their home? Do you offer educational seller resources that tell them what to expect and how to prep for showings? If something should be fixed or painted, do you work with any referral partners who can get the job done quickly for a good price?

3. Highlight Your Photo Strategy

You know that good listing photos will help showcase the property online and get interested buyers in the door. Tell sellers how many photos you plan to take and if you will use a professional photographer or camera. This is a good time to show photos from other listings you have recently sold in the past.

4. Showcase a Single Property Site

Single property websites are a major differentiation. Every seller wants to have a website dedicated to their listing! If you use Point2 Agent, it’s easy to show your buyers what you can do in a snap to create a mobile-friendly website that’s optimized for social sharing.

5. Demonstrate Your Social Media Savvy

Speaking of social sharing, if you have an engaged social network on any of the main platforms, use your computer, tablet or smartphone to show your sellers. When people like you on social media, it is an instant implied endorsement. If you’ve used Facebook ads or Twitter ads to market homes before, pull up an example.

6. Sell Your Brand

Your brand should inspire trust in your abilities. Speak to the unique reputation and abilities of your brokerage. What sets your brand apart from others? What kind of assurances can your brand provide to sellers?

7. Prepare some Impressive Numbers

Present your sales history in a pdf or document that is easy to review. Do you have a high list price to sell price ratio? Impressive recent sales? Use this data as a leave behind or email it to clients in advance of your meeting to drive excitement and stimulate questions.

8. Be Straightforward about Pricing

Aside from marketing strategies, pricing is often the biggest topic of interest during a listing presentation. Don’t skirt the issue or instantly agree if the seller wants to overprice. Use comparables to walk sellers through pricing options and come to a number that makes sense to all parties. Transparency and expertise are two things clients look for in an agent.

One additional tip that should guide all of your client interactions—not just listing presentations—is to be a careful listener. You can learn a lot and better position yourself to help both buyers and sellers if you listen to their specific needs.

What is your #1 listing presentation tip? Or is it too top secret to share? 😉

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Just because you have decided to sell a home, that doesn’t mean it’s ready to hit the market quite yet. To sell for the highest dollar amount in the shortest amount of time, it’ll have to impress buyers and—in most cases—that means the home will need to show well.

Home showings are a critical part of the home selling process. A showing invites buyers inside and lets them imagine living in the home. Usually after touring a few homes, buyers will be ready to place an offer. Shouldn’t your listing be the one that shows best?

how to prepare for a home showingWhen you’re getting a home ready to sell, whether you’re the home owner or the real estate working in your clients’ best interests, here is how to prepare for a home showing as efficiently as possible:

Clean

First things first, hire professionals to deep clean the home. Baseboards, cabinet shelves, switchplates… all of these things should be sparkling and spotless before any potential buyers set foot inside.

Assess

Sellers and their agent should walk through the home together. Real estate agents will be able to identify anything that might be a red flag to buyers, so you can put it on a fix-it list to tackle later.

Repair

What’s broken in the home? If it’s relatively easy to fix (meaning you don’t have to remodel), do it! Spending a few hundred dollars now could save you thousands in time on the market and contract negotiations later.

Declutter

Homes that look roomy and spacious—rather than small and cluttered—show best. To get this look, the current owners may need to remove some clutter and store it offsite in a storage unit or elsewhere. Make sure closets aren’t overflowing, and counters are clear!

Stage

Staging goes above and beyond cleaning and decluttering, using interior design tips and tricks to make a home more inviting to a range of personality types and tastes. Some agents have home staging expertise and others may work with stagers in your area. Here are 8 DIY home staging tips, 5 Feng Shui home staging tips and 5 funny staging fails to get you started.

Polish

Now that you’ve done what you can inside the home, polish the outside for instant curb appeal. Clean the windows, repaint the front door and freshen the flower beds. Here are some quick changes you can make in just one weekend!

A note about pets:

Lots of people have pets, but unfortunately not everyone likes them. If there are pets in your home, try to minimize their impact so they (and their fur and their scents) are not top-of-mind when buyers come to visit. Keep pet beds clean and out of sight, the yard picked up and toys stashed in cute baskets or containers in closets. If you think steam cleaning the couch or curtains will freshen things up, go for it!

What’s your #1 home showing tip for home sellers?

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first time home buyersBuying a home is a monumental purchase. It might seem intimidating to take the first step, but these easy DO’s and DON’Ts will make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re a real estate agent, be sure to add this list (or one like it) to the list of buyer resources on your agent website. Online prospects will appreciate the free advice!

DO’s

Know your credit score.

Check your credit score before beginning the home buying process so you know where you stand. The better your credit, the better the terms of your loan. If your score is looking a little low, you might want to spend some time trying to raise your number before meeting with a mortgage specialist.

Investigate programs for buyers in your area.

Many cities and workplaces offer programs to build their communities by helping first-time buyers. Check with your employer or local real estate association. They can point you in the right direction!

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Get preapproved for a loan.

Make an appointment with a mortgage specialist to get preapproved for a home loan. Preapproval is a written guarantee by a lender or mortgage broker to grant you a loan up to a specified amount. Being preapproved also means that you will have more pull than a competing buyer who is only prequalified.

Learn more about local neighbourhoods.

Explore the neighbourhoods in your city in person and online. A lot of online real estate search websites, like Point2 Homes, will have information about the demographics and walkability about different communities in your area.

Interview real estate agents to find the right fit.

Ask your friends and family and search online to find your real estate agent. You may end up interviewing several before you find one with the expertise and communication style you’re looking for. A good agent will also be interviewing you, so keep your ears out for questions like these.

Identify your wants vs your needs.

Knowing the difference between what you really need and what you actually just want will help you compromise and stay on budget. You may need a certain number of bedrooms, but you want an open plan kitchen.

DON’Ts

Change jobs.

If you’re hoping to secure a mortgage in the next 6-12 months, job stability is key! Stay in your present position until your purchase is closed, if possible. If you do get offered a job that pays more, you can probably still get your loan approved, but be warned that you will have to jump through more hoops!

Make large purchases.

Large purchases – like buying a new car or lots of furniture – can affect your credit and set off red flags for lenders who worry you won’t have money left when you need it. We advise you to wait to make substantial buys until after you move into your new home.

Get attached to the first house you see.

It’s easy to do. You fall in love with the first house you place an offer on, and then are heartbroken when someone else gets it. So many factors are involved in a successful real estate contract. Talk to your agent about your local market so you have realistic expectations from the get go.

Miss an opportunity to negotiate.

First-time buyers don’t usually know the many different kinds of negotiation that can take place before escrow closes. In addition to price, you may be able to negotiate for repairs, a new paint job or an extended move-in/out window. The agent you choose will go to bat for you, so be sure to pick a good one!

Skip a home inspection.

Never skip a home inspection on your first home. You want to know exactly what your hard-earned cash is buying before you buy it, after all! Learn more about home inspections and read about 14 common home problems to be on the lookout for.

Give up.

Buying a home can be a long process, but it is rewarding in the end! Don’t give up if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away. New houses come on the market all the time.

Have more questions about the home buying process? Don’t miss our Top Home Buyer FAQs. Great for both buyers and agents (to share with buyers, of course)!

Showcase your profile in front of motivated home buyers and sellers on Point2 Homes.
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Social Media Bio Tips for Real Estate Professionals

How to Write a Social Media Bio for Real EstateNo one likes writing social media bios. Summing up the wonderful, complex human being that you are in just a few strategically selected words? That sounds fun… NOT!

That said, in today’s socially savvy real estate marketplace, it can’t be avoided. You’re going to need at least one social media bio (or 2! or 3!) if you plan on connecting with colleagues, influencers and prospects online.

In an effort to make this intimidating task just a little bit easier, here are our top social media bio tips:

Make sure your full name (or full business name) is written somewhere.

This seems obvious but if your handle is @BestAgentEver, be sure to put your actual, full name somewhere so people know who they’re talking to. If you’re using your personal account to post real estate information and listings, put the name of your brokerage somewhere in your bio so people know why!

Say something special about what you do.

Why do you like being a real estate agent? Who do you help? Do you have a niche? Show everyone that you are an expert at what you do by mentioning something specific to your business in your bio.

Share something personal.

People want to connect with other people online, so add something that humanizes you. Do you like a certain animal, food or sports team? Add a quick note about something you’re passionate about. It might help you strike up a conversation!

Add something funny.

Approach this with caution. We can’t all be funny, and we don’t all share the same sense of humor. But if you’re genuinely a crack up, adding something harmless (like a pun) can’t hurt!

Don’t forget your URL!

This is the most important tip of all. If people are interested in you and your business, they will want to learn more. Add your real estate website address, so they can click—and hopefully convert!

And, since every platform is a little different, here are a few pointers for some of the biggies:

Twitter

You only have 160 characters to fit everything in, so make them count! Fortunately, your URL doesn’t factor into the character count. But you can add a second URL into your bio, if you really want to.

(This isn’t really a pointer, but here are 38 amusing Twitter bios if you’re looking to procrastinate on writing your own social media bio just a little bit longer.)

Facebook

On Facebook, you can have a Short Description and a Long Description for your business. The Short Description is the one people see when they visit your page. You have just 155 characters for this, so focus on what’s special about what you do.

The Long Description has almost endless space for characters and links, so you can go on and on and on, but people will only see it if they click on your ‘About’ tab.

Pinterest

On Pinterest, you have 160 characters to tell other Pinners who you are in the “About You” section of your profile. Don’t skip it!

What does your go-to social media bio say?

Related: How to Write a Great ‘About Me’ Page

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What online prospects wantMore and more people are looking for both real estate listings and real estate agents online these days.

When prospects come to your website—whether they found you via an Internet search, a well-placed classified ad or a boosted Facebook post—you have less than 3 seconds to make a good first impression.

3 seconds?!?

Yep, that’s right, and that already-short amount of time decreases every day as attention spans shorten and the digital marketplace speeds up! If you’re going to have an impact, you better have what online prospects want, and they better be able to find it… fast!

What Online Prospects Want

Mobile-Friendliness

With more than half of real estate search traffic coming from mobile devices, it just makes sense that your website should work on computers, tablets and smartphones. If someone is searching for agents in your area using their phone, you risk losing their business before you even have a chance to win it if your website won’t load or isn’t user friendly.

Contact Information

Make sure your contact information is easy to find at a glance! Once a prospect lands on your website and sees that you have what they need, don’t make them hunt for a way to get in touch with you. More than likely, they will just move on to the next agent. Put your contact info somewhere near the top on every page.

Great Photos

Do not underestimate the power of great photos! Good photos make you look like a true marketing professional and can help sell a listing. We recommend taking professional photos of your listings and selling areas to use on your website and social media channels. When that isn’t possible, check out these great resources for free images.

Other Ways to Connect

Not every potential buyer or seller is going to want to call you. Many Millennials may want to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook first. If you’re active on social media, include links to your profiles. And if you’re ok being contacted by text, be sure to say so on your website. One recent study showed that 29% of clients prefer communicating by text, but only 5% said their agents actually texted with them.

Testimonials

Ratings and reviews have a strong influence in today’s digital marketplace. Feature testimonials and reviews from your clients on your website. And be sure to manage your online reputation on other websites, too! When you find a nice review, reply and share it! And if you find a bad review, here’s what to do.

Near-Instant Responses

Once a potential buyer finds your website, likes it and decides to get in touch with you, that’s only half the battle! Now it’s up to you to respond in a timely fashion. Everyone’s preferred response time varies, with some clients expecting to hear back within 5 minutes! Respond as quickly as works for your schedule. You can help set realistic expectations by listing your preferred contact times (if you have any) on your website.

Does your real estate agent website have all of these features? How about your single property websites?

All of these elements are easy to include when you use Point2 Agent.

Spending just an hour or so updating your website this week can help you reduce your bounce rate and capture and convert more prospects. If you need help make any of these changes to your Point2 Agent sites, our friendly Customer Care team is just a call or email away! And if you don’t use Point2, but you want to give us a try, you can start your free 30-day trial right now.

What do you think is the most important feature to have on your real estate website?

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What makes one real estate agent a better fit for your family or property than another? With so many agents and brokers out there, it can be hard to decide whom to work with. Today we’ve put together some tips that will help buyers and sellers find their perfect match.

We always recommend that consumers interview prospective agents. This gives both the agent and the client a chance to get acquainted and address specific needs. During your initial How to choose a real estate agentcontact or at your interview, here are some things to consider:

Your agent should be:

  • Licensed
  • Punctual
  • Experienced
  • Highly recommended
  • Well connected

If you are buying a house, look for an agent who…

  • Enjoys a good online reputation
  • Asks you questions during the interview to understand your needs
  • Is available to show homes during times that work for you
  • Can recommend a mortgage broker, home inspector and other professionals
  • Will negotiate in your best interests

If you are selling a house, look for an agent who…

  • Has a solid marketing plan
  • Uses great photography
  • Has current listings online you can view for reference
  • Will discuss and suggest different pricing strategies
  • Can think like a buyer and share tips that will help your home show to its best advantage
  • Will list your home on popular real estate search portals (like Point2 Homes)

And no matter what, choose an agent who…

  • Specializes in your neighborhood/type of property
  • Responds in a timeline you are comfortable with
  • Will use your preferred method of communication
  • Is organized—there’s a lot of paperwork involved in selling a house

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest transactions of your life. Don’t just choose the agent who has the lowest commission or suggests the highest sale price to get your business. These agents are likely to overpromise and underdeliver. The smart choice is always an experienced real estate professional that knows their market, is successful at closing sales and has the references to prove it.

What other tips would you give to buyers or sellers looking for an agent?

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If you’re a real estate agent, chances are that you have probably had to defend your commission once or twice.

Maybe you’ve had a client who thinks “you just put a sign in the ground and collect the money.” Or that all you do is drive people around in your car.

Here at Point2, we know that you do a heck of a whole lot more than that! In an effort to dispel any real estate myths that agents don’t have to work hard to earn a living, we’ve put together a list of some of the many tasks agents perform for every transaction. Talk about being multi-talented.

Next time a buyer or seller wants to know more about what you do all day, just show them this list!

What Real Estate Agents Dowhat do real estate agents do

When you’re selling a house…

Coordinate listing presentation
Research comparable properties
Offer pricing strategy assistance
Review closing costs
Verify property details: lot size, utilities etc…
Verify current loan information
Complete seller’s disclosure form
Enter the listing into the MLS
Add property to brokerage/agent website
Create single property website
Install yard sign and lockbox
Communicate with HOA manager (as applicable)
Help stage for showing and photos
Suggest curb appeal enhancements
Hire and coordinate with a photographer
Orchestrate online and print marketing
Schedule open houses
Request feedback from buyer’s agents
Coordinate price changes
Receive and deliver offers
Evaluate offers with sellers
Confirm buyer’s pre-approval
Negotiate counteroffers
Communicate with buyer’s agent/broker
Change listing status to pending
Obtain copies of repair bills as needed
Arrange appraisal

When you’re buying a house…

Coordinate buyer interviews
Recommend mortgage specialists
Confirm pre-approval
Schedule home tours
Draft and submit offers
Deliver earnest money to escrow account
Get and explain disclosures
Meet with the home inspector
Order septic and mold inspections as needed
Review inspection results with buyers
Negotiate repairs
Negotiate contract terms
Negotiate counteroffers
Track the loan process
Relay approval to seller’s agent
Schedule appraisal

When you’re closing a sale…

Schedule and attend the final walkthrough
Compile and review closing documents
Verify title insurance
Verify home warranty
Move earnest money from escrow account to closing agent
Verify transfer of keys
Close out the listing on the MLS
Take listing off broker/agent website

In general…

Keep up with changing laws
Meet continued education requirements
Maintain your website
Answer online inquiries
Engage on social media
Return missed phone calls
Prospect for new clients
Write blog posts

Here’s a great infographic by REALTOR® Andrew Fortune that really shows the variety of tasks agents manage every day:

day in the life of a realtor

We’re sure there are plenty of other real estate agent tasks we haven’t thought of. What’s one thing you do all the time that didn’t make this list?

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real estate adsDo you ever place classified ads for your listings in print or online? Classified ads can help you target a specific audience (readers of your local paper, for instance). Another benefit is that people who take the time to read the ads are usually actually looking for something, so you know you’re reaching interested prospects.

Here are 4 tips to help you create real estate ads that get results:

1. Put Your Best Photo Forward

When you have the opportunity to include a photo, make sure to use the one that triggers the strongest response from prospects. This is almost always a shot of the exterior front of the house. One study found that 95% of viewers viewed the photo of the exterior of the home for a total of 20 seconds, more than double the time spent viewing any other photo. 

If you have the budget, this is a great time to use a professional photographer—or to brush up on your photo skills. Of course we recommend using a fancy camera, but if you want to use your smartphone, we have some iPhone real estate photo tips for you.

2. Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline

No one’s going to read the fine print if they don’t like the headline! Appeal to the right buyers and stand out from the rest of the ads by writing a strong headline. You might want to create a few options that fit in the space allowed, and then run them by your friends and family to see what works best.

If you’re selling an expensive condo, you could try:

Lux Condo – View Today!
New Listing: 2/2 in Gated Community
Remodeled 2/2 End Unit, Peabody School District
Move In Ready: Remodeled 2/2 w Mountain Views

3. Use Real Estate Abbreviations Wisely

Real estate abbreviations save space, which is great considering that you are usually working with a pretty strict character count. But not everyone can read real estate-ese, so be sure to use throw in some real words, too. We recommend pairing specificities, like top materials and brand names, with words that will drive an emotional response, like “views” and “luxury.”

4. Always Include Your URL

In addition to a phone number, in today’s digital world you should always include a URL for people who want to learn more online before making contact. Include a link to the listing’s designated single property website if you have one (Point2 Agent users definitely do!). If not, include the web address of your real estate agent website. You can even use this to see how many leads you are getting from your ad, if you use domains for lead tracking.

We’re sure there are lots of other ways to create a strong real estate ad. What are your top tips?

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how to hire a real estate assistantIt’s no secret that real estate agents are busy people! From meeting with clients and conducting home tours to coordinating home inspections and making sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed on legal documents, it can be hard to find enough hours in the day to do all that other administrative work you are supposed to do. You know, stuff like updating your website, coordinating events and scheduling social media posts.

When you start to get overwhelmed, it makes sense to consider hiring a real estate assistant. Even a part-time assistant can help you organize your schedule and take care of admin duties so you can spend more time focusing on your buyers and sellers.

If you’re thinking about hiring a real estate assistant, here are some DO’s and DON’Ts to help you pick the right person:

DO’s

Do create a job description.

Before you begin the hiring process, create a job description a list of all the things you want an assistant to do for you. This way you will both know what to expect and there is no gray area. It’s also important to know what an unlicensed assistant can and can’t do before you hire.

Do advertise the position on your social media channels.

There’s a good chance the right assistant for you could already be within your sphere of influence. Post your job search on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels so it has the best chance of reaching the most people. As a happy side effect, your followers will see that you are busy and looking to grow your client services by adding to your team.

Do embrace ambition.

When interviewing applicants, be open to assistants who say that they want to become an agent one day. Of course, that means that they can’t be your assistant forever, but it also means that they will work hard to learn the business and could become a valued referral source or partner in the future.

DON’Ts

Don’t hire without working out your budget.

How many hours a week do you want help? How many hours a week can you afford help? Your assistant’s schedule will likely fall somewhere in between. Determine how much you are comfortable paying to start and what kind of raises or bonuses you anticipate over the next 12 months.

Don’t be unprepared.

Be ready when you find the right candidate. Have a list of job duties typed up, as well as a code of conduct, that you can both sign on their first day. Make sure you each get a copy!

Don’t expect your new assistant to read your mind.

Plan to devote some time to training if you want things to run smoothly behind the scenes. You may choose to set up a training schedule with different topics on different weeks. Training categories might include paperwork systems, listing entry, CRM, website maintenance, marketing duties and event planning. It may take a while, but it will be worth it in the long run!

Remember: you can’t do it all! Hiring an assistant will allow you to focus on the tasks that really count.

Do you currently have or have you had a real estate assistant in the past? What’s your top hiring tip?

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Client appreciation events are a great way for agents, brokers and offices to show clients and referral partners that you appreciate their business and referrals. Nothing beats a great event for establishing rapport, building your business and getting tongues wagging about how great your brand and services are!Real Estate Client Appreciation Events

Hosting a successful event requires planning and preparation, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We recommend giving yourself a month to organize. That will give you time to sort out details, create invitations as needed and promote your event on your social media channels.

Here are three ideas for fun real estate client appreciation events that can work for different sized business and budgets.

In The Field

Host an Outdoor BBQ

A BBQ at a beach or park in your selling area is a wonderful way to thank clients and reinforce your role in the community. Cook up some hot dogs, burgers and veggies and provide drinks and chips for a relaxed chance to mix and mingle with your current and former customers.

Be sure to take some photos of the event (don’t forget to ask for permission before posting them online). You can also bring some branded swag to give away or even host a prize drawing!

Try this: If you sell new builds, you could see about throwing a backyard BBQ at one of the model or available homes. Many of the neighbors would be able to walk on over, and you might attract other interested prospects.

At Your Office

Throw an Ice Cream Social

Causal parties based on a treat or activity (and without a tricky theme) make it easier for clients with families and hectic schedules to attend. An afternoon or evening ice cream social or rootbeer float party is a fun event that you can easily host at your office!

Just pick up some ice cream, frozen yogurt and toppings and arrange them buffet style for self-service. Don’t forget to have some beverages on hand. You can decorate using napkins, tablecloths and balloons in your brand colors.

If you’re looking for new business, when you create invitations (whether in print or online) you can suggest that your clients bring their friends. Also be sure to invite any coworkers or business partners that you have a good relationship with. It will only strengthen that tie, and they are likely to have nothing but nice things to say about you when mingling with your clients.

Bonus: Have reusable plastic cups, bowls or spoons printed with your logo or website for a promotional take home item.

On The Go

Coordinate a Donut Delivery

What is inexpensive, delicious and a surefire way to improve any workday morning? Donuts! This is a great way to thank your referral partners, allied vendors and other busy professionals who might just be too busy to come to a separate event.

Arrange to pick up and deliver dozens of donuts with a warm thank you note letting the recipient know how much you appreciate their business and support. You can handwrite it or print out something like this tag that we found on Pinterest (click through for a free printable):

Donut client appreciation event

Don’t forget to snap a few pics while you’re making your rounds!

Go the extra mile: A lot of bakeries offer vegan or gluten-free options these days. Throw in one or two to make sure everyone gets a treat they can enjoy!

What’s the most fun client appreciation event you’ve ever hosted or been to?

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how to use domains for lead trackingToday we have a fun online marketing tip for all the agents and brokers with websites out there. (Hopefully, that means you!)

We’re going to teach you how you can use domains to track the success of your various advertising sources, like newspaper ads, billboards, bus benches, pens etc. And it’s so easy, you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Set up Google Analytics for your agent website.
  2. Purchase multiple domain names.
  3. Have all of them forwarded to your primary domain for your agent website.
  4. Use a different domain in each type of advertisement. (For example, you might put your url as XYZSellsHomes.com in a newspaper ad and XYZSellsRealEstate.com on a pen or flyer.)
  5. Log into your Google Analytics account to see which of those domains is sending the most traffic to your website.

Ta-da, it’s as simple as that! It’s a lot like tracking your advertising using multiple phone numbers, but it’s less expensive and much easier to do if you’re a Point2 Agent user. If you need any help buying domains or directing them to your primary agent site, just contact our friendly Customer Care team. You can email them here or call them at 877-320-9954 (toll free).

Have you tried this? If so, did you find the results surprising?

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Best Home Improvements for Resale ValueHere’s some interesting information to share with your sphere of influence – particularly any potential sellers! This list of the best home improvements for resale can help people make smarter choices when it comes to updating their homes. It can also help buyers identify improvements that will make them happier in their new homes.

Kitchen Upgrades

An updated kitchen, whether subtly modernized or massively overhauled, can help sell a home. In one study of prospective buyers, an updated kitchen ranked as the second most important home improvement, second only to open plan living. When choosing upgrades that suit your budget, remember that spacious, light-colored kitchens with white cabinets, built-in appliances and lots of storage will appeal to the majority of buyers.

Bathroom Remodels

The quality of a home’s bathrooms can have a big impact on resale, often marking the difference between a turnkey property and a fixer upper. If things are looking old, dirty, dingy and leaky, it’s time to make some changes! Fresh tile, more storage, nice showerheads and larger vanities can make a world of difference. Don’t forget to update the lighting while you’re at it.

Flooring Improvements

Nobody wants to move into a home that has dirty, worn carpets. Hardwood flooring will almost always significantly add to resale value. If hardwood is out of your price range, consider a convenient and easy-to-maintain laminate option. Or, if you’re moving out before you sell, install new, neutral carpet after you pack up.

Add a Deck

Outdoor living space can make a home feel bigger. Adding a wooden deck isn’t cheap, but it is less expensive than adding a composite one and has a higher resale value, too. Once the deck is built, use easy curb appeal tips to showcase this addition in the best light.

A New Front Door

NAR’s 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report found that replacing a wooden or fiberglass front door with one made of steel will give homeowners the biggest bang for their buck! Although it will cost around $1,230 to make the switch, a new steel door can add about $1,252 to a home’s value. That’s a 101.8% return!

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Painting a house, inside and/or out, is one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to make a big impact. A fresh coat of paint makes spaces feel cleaner and ready to welcome new inhabitants. And did you know that the colors you choose can affect how potential buyers see your home? Consult this article to make sure you choose a paint color that sells!

Use the social sharing buttons below to pass this information on to your clients!

Different upgrades sell better in different areas! Is there anything you would add to this list based on your experience?

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Pop quiz! Do you know what this says?

3/2 RENO UNO 33 w/ BALC, CVAC & ASRSV

Sometimes real estate listings look like they are written in secret code, right? Even you veteran agents who are familiar with real estate shorthand can probably remember when you were just starting out and wondering what the heck an EIK is and why anyone would want an INLW.

In the spirit of being helpful to young agents and real estate buyers alike, we have put together this list of 116 common real estate abbreviations. Even for agents fluent in acronyms, this is good content to share on your website and on your social media platforms to help your prospects and clients.

As we like to say, a helpful agent is a busy agent!

Common Real Estate Acronyms (and Their Meanings)

common real estate abbreviationsReal Estate Listing Abbreviations

AC – Air Conditioning
APPL – Appliances
APPT – Apartment
ASRSV – Assigned Parking
AVAIL – Available
BA – Bathroom or Bath
BALC – Balcony
BCHFRNT – Beachfront
BLDG – Building
BSMT – Basement
BTH – Bathroom
CAC – Central Air Conditioning
CBL – Cable
CEIL – Ceiling
CEN – Central Air Conditioning
CFAN – Ceiling Fan
CONC – Concierge
COND – Condition
CONT – Contemporary
CRPT – Carpet
CTY – City
CVAC – Central Vacuum
DEC – Decorative
DEP – Deposit
DCK – Deck
DK – Deck
DPLX – Duplex
DR – Dining Room
DRY – Dryer
DSP – Garbage Disposal
DW – Dishwasher
EIK – Eat-in Kitchen
ELEV – Elevator
FDR – Formal Dining Room
FIX – Fixtures
FOYR – Foyer
FRPLC – Fireplace
FSBO – For Sale By Owner
FT CTR – Fitness Center
FURN – Furnished
GAR – Garage
GDN – Garden
GRNT – Granite
HB – Half bath
HDWD – Hardwood (floors)
HRWD – Hardwood (floors)
HSE – House
HW – Hot Water
HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning
INCL – Included
INLW – In-law unit
LFT – Loft
LNDRY – Laundry
LOC – Location
LSE – Lease
LUX – Luxury
MRBL – Marble
MINT – Mint Condition
MIN – Minimum
MOD – Modern
MICRO – Microwave
NBHD – Neighborhood
NGS – Natural Gas
NR – Near
OFC – Office
PAN – Pantry
PAT – Patio
PKG – Parking
PRIV – Private
PRTL – Partial
REC – Recreation Room or Center
REFRG – Refrigerator
RENO – Renovated
REQ – Required
RM – Room
RNGE – Range
RTO – Rent to Own
SAT – Satellite
SF – Square Feet
SHWR – Shower
SKY – Skylight
SPAC – Spacious
SQFT – Square Feet
S/S – Stainless Steel
STU – Studio
TERR – Terrace
TOWN – Town House
TRAD – Traditional
TRPLX – Triplex
UNO – Unit Number
UPSTRS – Upstairs
UTILS – Utilities
VU – View
VW – View
WAT – Water
W/D – Washer/Dryer
W/I – Walk-in
WIC – Walk-in Closet
WIND – Window
WLKP – Walkup
YD – Yard

Real Estate Agent Abbreviations

ABR – Accredited Buyer’s Representative
ALC – Accredited Land Consultant
CCIM – Certified Commercial Investment Member
CIPS – Certified International Property Specialist
CPM – Certified Property Manager
CRB – Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
CRS – Certified Residential Specialist
GAA – General Accredited Appraiser
GREEN – NAR Green Home Specialist
GRI – Graduate of REALTOR® Institute
MRP – Military Relocation Professional
RAA – Residential Accredited Appraiser
RSPS – Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist
SRS – Seller Representative Specialist
SRES – Seniors Real Estate Specialist

And now you can answer the pop quiz! What that line of confusing capital letters really says is:

Three bedroom, two bathroom renovated unit (number 33) with balcony, central vacuum and assigned parking.

That sounds pretty good, right?

What abbreviations or acronyms do you see often that we didn’t include here?

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5FacebookAdTips_03-25_blogDo you create Facebook ads to promote your brand, your listings and your real estate services?

With Facebook pages continuing to see a decrease in organic reach, Facebook ads are an easy way to target your market and get your content in front of the right audience. Facebook ads are also a great way to drive traffic to your Point2 Agent website.

If you haven’t used Facebook’s Ad Manager before, it’s really easy to get started. Check out the Facebook Ads Help Center for a quick rundown of the basics.

If you’re already familiar with how creating and running a single ad or ad campaign works, here are our 5 best tips for Facebook Ads to help you create advertising that gets results and delivers more leads:

Do you want targeted real estate leads? Save time when all your real estate tools are in one place. Try Point2 Agent for free. Start My FREE Trial

1. Define your goal before creating your ad.

What do want to achieve with your advertising? Are you trying to get people to visit your real estate website? Like your Facebook page? Get users to claim a special offer? Facebook ads can help you do all that and measure your results, you just have to be sure to choose an objective. Learn more about ad objectives here.

If your goal is to send people to your website, be sure you choose the landing page that will have the most value to them, so you have the best chance of keeping and converting your new visitor. No one likes a high bounce rate!

2. Create a Custom Audience to target your existing prospects.

Do you have a list of prospect and/or former client emails or phone numbers? Advertise to this already-warm group of leads by creating a Custom Audience. Just upload your contact list to create a campaign that only people who already know, like and trust you will see. (Handy tip: your Custom Audience list needs to have at least 100 people on it to work.)

Even if you don’t have an email list you want to target, you can use Custom Audiences to target people who have visited your website. This is called remarketing. It’s a little more complicated and does involve adding some code to your website, but people who have visited your site will suddenly see your ads in their feed. How neat is that?

3. Highlight a single listing with quality photos.

You can advertise a single listing (or single property site) to a local audience. Everyone likes to see what is for sale in their neighborhood, whether they are on the market or not. Use location-specific but amenity-vague copy to intrigue your audience into clicking (like “Peek Inside This Brand New Highland Park Listing While It Lasts!”) and then, here’s the key:

You should always upload two or more high quality photos to pair with your ad. Facebook will automatically create multiple ads, and you’ll be able to see which images perform best. You can use this information to help you choose more engaging photos for Facebook ads and posts going forward.

4. Use a call to action and lead with a question.

If your advertising objective is clicks to a website, be sure to include a Call-to-Action Button under your ad that tells viewers what action you want them to take. You will choose from a predefined list that includes options like “Learn More” and “Sign Up.” Including a question in your ad copy is another good way to engage readers and get them to click your call-to-action button.

Don’t forget to strategize when it comes to character counts. If you are creating an ad that is a link type post, in most cases you have 90 characters for the message in your ad, 25 characters for the title and 200 characters for the link synopsis that appears under the title.

5. Skip the ad – and boost your post!

If you have a post that is performing well, even a fairly old one, and it aligns with your goals, try spending a little money to boost its reach. If that post was getting good engagement before, or seeing a high rate of click throughs, it can be just as cost effective and more time efficient than creating a new ad.

To do this, simply find the post you want to boost, and click the Boost Post button in the bottom right corner. Facebook will help you by providing you with some audience, budget and duration options, as well as reach estimates. You can even do this on Facebook’s mobile app or Page Manager app when you’re on the go and out of the office.

Facebook Ads for Real Estate

This is what it looks like when you boost a post.

Bonus advice, updated January 25th, 2017:

Since the time of writing of this original list, Facebook has implemented another very useful feature for boosting your business in your social media circle: the new sign-up forms that are displayed directly on the platform. People really dislike being made to go through a lot of clicks before they are taken to the sign-up form, or generally to the information they’re interested in. This new Facebook feature cuts down on the clicks significantly, as your potential leads can sign up for open houses directly from your Facebook page.

How to use a Facebook Form in three easy steps. Click the image for an explanation by Facebook Business.

How to use a Facebook Form in three easy steps. Click the image for an explanation by Facebook Business.

This feature works exactly like a standard Ad, as described above, except for the fact that the call to action button is replaced by a short form for your target audience to fill in. The easier and more straightforward the process, the more people it will attract, and it doesn’t get much easier than this. Take full advantage of this feature in your campaigns: it not only adds to your database, but also gives you a good way of gauging how many guests you should expect at an open house event.

These tips should help you focus your advertising efforts on Facebook so you can reach your goals. Of course, creating Facebook ads is just the start. Once they are running, you should continually monitor your ads to see how they are performing. When a campaign is finished, compare it to your previous campaigns to see what worked and what didn’t. Then you will be able to optimize your ads going forward.

Have you used Facebook Ads yet? If so, have you gotten any prospects from it?

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