Building Your Brand through Instagram: An Introduction

By Jaime Westman

How can Instagram benefit you and your business? Well coming from personal experience, a lot. Like a lot of businesses and new users, we weren’t sure if we were utilizing Instagram to its fullest potential, but learning is all about trial and error before succeeding. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk, and you have to learn to walk before you can run right?

If you’re thinking about using Instagram for your real estate business, do it. This series will give you some tips that will help you get started so that you can fully utilize this wonderful platform to your advantage.


If you’re not familiar with Instagram, it’s a free photo app that can be downloaded onto your Android or iPhone. Once you’ve downloaded the app the next thing to do is to create an account (again it’s free and you can cancel your account at any time).

Open up the app and take a look around at different photos so you have a general idea what types of photos other Instagram users are posting. These usually range from nature shots, sunsets and city landscapes, to personal self portrait photos, family events and concerts. You can do a search of photos by clicking on the “explore” icon and typing in the keyword of your interest. To “explore,” tap the second button in the menu ribbon at the bottom of your screen (iPhone/iPad).

After you tapped the explore icon, you can start exploring some of Instagram’s popular photos of the day. The search bar at the top allows you to filter through photos that pertain to your interests. You can even search for other Instagram users here.

You’re probably wondering “What’s a hashtag?” A hashtag defined by as “a ‘symbol’ (or code) that allows web search engines to find and categorize messages, keywords and in the case of Instagram, pictures. For instance, if you type #cat or #cats in one of your pictures, any user anywhere in the world looking for ‘cat’ or ‘cats’ will easily find your picture and others users’ pictures using the same #keyword.”
Huh? Simply put, a hashtag is just a fancy term for “keyword” and it’ll greatly help your photos get noticed by other users. We’ll get into that in more detail in the future.

So let’s take a step back for a minute. If you were to put in the words “real estate” in the search bar, you have the option of searching for any users with the words “real estate” in their name, or for any photos that have used those words as a hashtag (or keyword) in their photos. Go ahead and try it out, you’ll see there are a lot of photos.

Here’s your homework assignment for tonight: explore the app. Look at photos posted by other Instagram that are relevant to your interests. Be sure to keep an eye out for style (interesting angles, colors and lighting), explore other users’ profiles, and if their photos tickle your fancy, add the user. There’s no harm in befriending another Instagram user, especially if you enjoy looking at the photos they take. Oh and of course, since it is a photo app, take some pictures. Have fun with it, but be sure to post appropriate photos. You work in real estate, you are a brand, and this app is an extension of your brand.

Next up: taking the right photos so that your page will get noticed.

Are you just discovering Instagram? So are we and we love exchanging ideas on how to make it work whether for business or personal use. If you have any tips that you’d like to share with us, don’t be shy and let us know.

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Closing Gifts: Do You Remember Why They Are Worth Their Weight in Gold?

By Jim Droz

The importance of a closing gift

Once upon a time, you worked with a couple who was looking for their first home. You spent most of your evenings and weekends with them, sometimes sacrificing lunches and soccer games, to help them find their dream home. Months later, they found the one—the missing mate to the glass slipper they had been carrying in their hearts forever, the perfect home. And so you squared away the paperwork, negotiated any last standing details, and closed the sale. You gave them the key, received your commission check, they lived happily ever after, the end.

Or is it?
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5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity in 2013

By Jim Droz

Productivity for Real Estate Agents
Setting up long-term goals is a great way to start off 2013, especially if it’s a goal that you can keep up on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. One resolution we like to make year after year is figuring out different ways to increase our productivity. Everyone has a different idea, but these are the ones we found were most helpful to us. Perhaps as Realtors you’ll feel the same. Share with us how you intend to make 2013 the most productive and successful year in real estate.

1. Make a list and prioritize. Before you head out from work, spend a few minutes making a list of projects and goals that you would like to accomplish the following day. Larger projects should take precedence and should go to the top of the list, unless you’re the type who works well under pressure and can focus better during the second half of the work day.

2. Learn to delegate. Are you working on a project or lead that you feel would be better suited with another team member? Are you running out of hours in the day? Consider delegating certain tasks to other team members who you feel can get the job done. Have one agent follow up with leads, another agent to handle listings, etc. If you can assign different tasks to your fellow agents, you can focus on the bigger picture.

3. Realize that rejection is just a part of life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We know it’s easier said than done, but if you spend too much time focusing on your failures instead of learning from them and moving on, your day will be spent and nothing else will get accomplished. Remember that it’s okay and life goes on.

4. Take a break. If you’re feeling overworked and are starting to go cross-eyed after looking over so many numbers and contracts, it may be time to take a short break. Take a brisk walk outside the office for about 15 minutes. Stretch your legs, grab another cup of coffee, read a book. Taking breaks is good for your health and will help you focus on the task at hand when you’re ready to come back.

5. Give yourself a pat on the back. After the work day is over, remember to thank yourself for a job well done. Didn’t accomplish that goal or complete that project? It’s okay, you did the best that you could today and you’ll come back tomorrow and do an even better job.

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Engaging Conversations Start with Good First Impressions

By Jim Droz

We often think of first impressions as physical, such as what a person is wearing or what he or she looks like. But we’re way beyond that these days as first impressions have taken on a whole new meaning. Today, particularly when it comes to consumers, a good first impression involves what’s available on your website and how the information is presented. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so keep these things in mind when it comes to your website and initial contacts with leads.
Lead generation for Realtors
Different strokes for different folks
Some agents use similar first-contact approaches for every lead. That’s not a good strategy because each lead has differing motivations in searching for a home. Rather than sending the same form e-mail or using the same phone script, evaluate the information you have about the lead and adapt your strategy from there. What you discover from the lead source or the search data they’ve provided is crucial to the success of your initial contact. Use the information to create talking points; otherwise you’re basically making a cold call, which nobody likes to get or make.
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