Facebook 360 Blog HeaderWe don’t have to sell you on the importance of adding strong visuals to your real estate listings. As real estate professionals, you know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and directly contributes to the emotional decision making process of making a home purchase. Many of us spend hundreds of dollars on companies that can produce virtual tours, or empty our budgets on expensive professional equipment so we can showcase our listings. Not every home we list requires that kind of technological investment, but all of them will require engaging, attractive visuals. The technology landscape has changed, and people no longer want to jump in the car and drive to see 10 random homes in a day. (Neither do we.) The modern consumer relies on the convenience of viewing homes online at their leisure. Your challenge as a real estate professional is to make your listings stand out from the rest without breaking the bank. Well, thanks to Facebook’s new 360 feature, you can do that for free from your mobile device. You can give tours of exquisite home features, neighborhoods, yards, and so much more. And you can do it in minutes from your mobile device. With Facebook 360 you can now place your perspective clients in the center of the action, ensuring there's something to see and experience at every angle. Create a story with your photo that encourages your followers to explore your property the full 360 degrees. See our Live Facebook Example (You may have to be logged into Facebook to view it properly) Facebook 360 Blog ABC Realty Image If you need further convincing on how cool this feature is, check out the Facebook 360 post of Manhattan from Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook.  Facebook 360 Blog Mark Zuckerburg Image

How to Create a Facebook 360 Image

There are several ways to create an effective Facebook 360 photo. You don’t even have to buy elaborate photography equipment. You can simply start shooting with the panoramic mode on your compatible mobile device. However, we found that this option could be glitchy. Sometimes the photo would be recognized as a 360 image, and sometimes it would upload as flat, panoramic photo. To avoid this glitch on both Android and iPhone platforms, we recommend the following process: Step 1 Download the Google Street View app from Google play or the App Store. Step 2 Open the app on your mobile device and click the camera icon found in the bottom right corner.   Facebook 360 Blog Point Camera at Dot Image   Step 3 Stand in the middle of the area that you want to capture. Point the camera at the center of the dot and pivot in a 360-degree circle. Step 4 Save the photo to your device by clicking the orange checkmark. Your image will be saved on your mobile device.

How to Upload Your Photo to Facebook

Now that you’ve captured the perfect image that will show off your latest listing, it’s time to make sure it is properly uploaded and displayed on your Facebook account. Step 1 Open Facebook (log into your administrator account) Step 2 Within the Facebook app, decide where you want to share your Facebook 360 photo. Will you share this tour on your personal page, agency page, or in a Facebook group? The good news is that Facebook will allow you do all the above. Share away! This is your chance to really showcase your property. Step 3 Go to the section to create a post as you would any other status update. Step 4 Upload your photo to Facebook. If Facebook recognizes the image as a 360-compatible image, it will display a globe symbol on the photo like the one below. Facebook 360 Blog Panorama Image   Step 5 Tell your audience all about your photo tour, and voilà: you’ve created your first 360 image on Facebook.  

Property Shooting Techniques

 Anyone with a smartphone can start taking and promoting 360 photos on their Facebook account. You can make sure that your images stand out from the rest by using some of the following techniques:
  • Start the shoot at the least eye-catching point – It’s possible that the first and last images won’t stitch up 100% correctly, which can be very noticeable. Make sure the high points of the picture come out perfectly by starting and stopping on less important points in the room.
  • Move the camera slowly –Avoid blurry images at all costs. Take your time. I can’t stress this enough. Slow down. If you move too fast, your photos will not turn out right.
On a related note, if you’re in a place with a lot of high contrast, wait a few seconds for the brightness/contrast to auto adjusted before you move to the next orange circle.
  • Pivot around the lens of the cameraYou should not be the pivot point for this picture. The lens of the camera should be the center point and you should rotate the camera around that fixed point. It usually helps to put a mental marker on the ground and make sure that the lens always stays directly above it.
Also, note that your lens is not the center of the camera as the application might make you to think. The lens is usually located at top of your phone, so keep that in mind as you rotate around the pivot point.
  • Use the undo feature when necessary – You can retake a shot that is not turning correctly or doesn’t look right. (You can only undo the last picture, though, so, if I haven’t said it enough: go slow!)
You’ve learned how to use  to show off your new home listings. Sharing flat photos with your Facebook audience is a thing of the past -- the future revolves around interactive pics. Think beyond the photos typically used in your marketing and make your listings stand out from the competition.   Do you have questions about using this feature? Have you used this feature before? Show us your work! You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter or comment below and tell us all about it!
iHome Finder - Image - Tech Savvy Real Estate Agent Blog - 20161123 Real estate agents are no longer the single, solitary gatekeepers of real estate information. Technological developments that empower buyers and sellers have forced significant changes on the industry. The agents and brokerages who adapt to this new, technology-rich paradigm will thrive and continue to continue to see success.

Real Estate Technology for Homebuyers and Agents

15 years ago, the real estate market was a different place. If a homebuyer wanted information on a home, an agent would have to dig it out of their files and walk them through the listing. Now, things have changed. Buyers can find detailed real estate information with a quick search on their smartphones. Large, consumer portals like Zillow opened this door. They provided information and data comparisons for anyone to see, empowering consumers and changing the way real estate transactions happened. The simple ability to search for homes at their leisure gave homebuyers more freedom and control than they’d previously had. And with that newfound freedom, buyers and sellers developed an expectation for this level of convenience and independence. Technology has changed for agents and brokers, too. Now that homebuyers do much of the early explorations on their own, modern agents have found other ways to provide value. It involves using technology to connect with potential buyers, automatically nurture their leads, and build effective relationships.

It Starts on The Website

Even individual agents and smaller brokerages can offer the detailed MLS information through their websites to provide the experience that homebuyers expect. An IDX website allows agents to offer:
  • A user-friendly property search with multiple search options
  • Interactive map searches for those who prefer a visual approach to home discovery
  • Property galleries where agents can feature new listings or recent price drops
  • Automated systems to feature active listings through the MLS
These tools help agents and brokerages keep potential homebuyers on the website and interacting with the listings. But it can go even further, and you can more easily turn those visitors into valuable leads with proven lead capture features. These real estate websites can make it easy for potential clients to save listings and searches and then sign up to receive email alerts when new listings match their criteria. MarketBoost, then, allows agents to keep in touch with all these new contacts by sending automated listings content, starting drip email campaigns, and otherwise making sure they know about new open homes, new listings, prices changes, and other important market reports. As the agent continues to update the website with the newest, most current information on the area, it will help establish them as the undisputed local expert. In the modern market, the most successful agents are those who can use these types of website tools to turn real estate information into practical and actionable advice.

Investing in an Edge

As more brokerages start to adapt to this evolving marketplace, they have started investing more of their resources into the technology their agents use throughout the buying and selling process. This has, in fact, become one way that brokerages are recruiting and retaining more agents. When it’s clear that they will have a range of tools for lead nurturing at their fingertips, they’ll know that they have the support of the brokerage. Tools like MarketBoost and OmniPress give agents an edge over the competition. They make it easy to capture more leads and get detailed reports on what those potential homebuyers searched for, what they viewed, and what actions they took on your website. This kind of technology can help save time and money while keeping in touch with all their leads and highlighting their expertise in the local markets.

Full Integration

Many brokerages immediately jumped on the technology bandwagon, but soon found that some of their tools and apps didn’t mesh with others. The most effective tools in this tech-rich market should easily integrate with the systems already in place at the brokerage. iHomefinder’s solutions were designed to work effectively with a variety of third-party apps, from Top Producer and IXACT Contact to Follow Up Boss and FiveStreet. This way an agent can forward leads from the website to other systems the brokerage is using without any problems. This kind of integration also gives agents the ability to add their leads’ IDX website activity to the CRM. They can then automatically add the leads in the CRM to the MarketBoost report subscriptions. Agents will have the ability to manage lead aggregation and routing while automating email and web content for lead nurturing.

Technology and Accessibility

Agents who have fully adapted to the modern real estate market do more than make real estate data available to homebuyers. While real estate information is readily available, the most successful agents are those who can use it to address the concerns of their clients. Homebuyers are more empowered than ever before. New technologies have opened the world of real estate to them, but not completely. The door may stand open, but it’s the modern real estate agent who will show them in and help them understand the potential of what they’ve discovered. Technology isn’t just about gathering new leads and correlating data. It’s about finding new ways to become the trusted advisor on the important real estate decisions.
 Brian Barry Blog Post Image In 2005, Brian Barry, began working with Jason Crouch at All East Bay Properties. The company was just opening in Emeryville, California, right across the Bay from San Francisco, and Brian had the opportunity to work with them from the start, serving as the marketing and technology manager. Now, with a team of only five, they are one of the top real estate offices in town, specializing in condominiums and rental properties. In a typical year, they sell roughly 30 properties with a topline revenue of $20 million. They attribute their success to consistently drawing in new website visitors and repeat clients with their extensive local knowledge of the East Bay real estate market.

The Evolution of Brian’s Website Promotion

Brian’s team started by investing in social media marketing to complement their regular marketing techniques (such as sending postcards every 2-3 months and regular email marketing). Then, with his background in web design and some search engine optimization (SEO), Brian was able to help the agency rank first in the search results for the search query: “Emeryville real estate.” Later, Google’s algorithm changed and their page dropped a few spots, so Brian began looking more into social media marketing. Brian was fairly new to social media, but he saw how it could add value to his real estate business. Over the past few years, they have maintained a blog that is rich with infographics sourced, in part, from their local MLS. Each of these blog posts are heavily promoted on their social media channels. Brian also created and launched a Facebook ad campaign. As a result, they have received more online exposure, facilitated online interactions, and further established themselves as a local real estate market leader. In fact, over the last few years, their Facebook followers have grown to 5,500. Now, with solid website and social media traffic, he just needed something that would enhance his website with the same functionality as larger brokerages and destination sites. He chose iHomefinder and MarketBoost to provide these tools for his website.

Making the Move to iHomeFinder IDX’s MarketBoost

Brian and his team immediately improved their ability to manage their listings with iHomefinder’s responsive IDX. MarketBoost gave him an advantage in the area because it provided visitors with a wide range of information about sold and open property listings as well as price changes. They couldn’t provide visitors these services in the past, but this gave them a chance to develop deeper online engagement with their potential leads. These tools turned his website into a significant source of leads, and the team capitalized on it by using the lead setting that requires registration after conducting two property searches. Brian can then offer those leads Market Reports via iHomefinder’s MarketBoost, which includes detailed information about the local market. The All East Bay Properties’ team employs a unique method of reaching out to these potential clients by creating markets defined by the specific building rather than a geographic area. Clients love the hyper-local marketing and return to Brian’s website again and again as the detailed market reports provide insights not available from other brokerages. Brian and his team created 12 markets, which will increase in the future. The current markets are all condominium complexes or rental properties where they have amassed a significant amount of local knowledge over the years.

Initial Results

With iHomefinder’s IDX on his website, Brian’s team was able to get more traffic to their site and generate more leads and repeat visitors. Adding iHomefinder’s MarketBoost to their website provided significant value to the brokerage:
  1. Solidify their reputation and image as local real estate experts. Brian and his team have gained the trust of sellers, buyers, and landlords who turn to them to rent and manage their properties. With MarketBoost, they are well-positioned to build upon this trust by providing relevant content to their new and past clients.
  2. Provide a means to nurture leads. For years, sellers and buyers have leveraged the internet to gain market knowledge prior to engaging with real estate agents. Brian and his team leveraged the power of MarketBoost to ensure clients always received the desired information directly from them (instead of the big portals). This keeps them ‘Top-of-Mind’ when the client is ready to transact.
  3. Save valuable agent time. By providing insights from the local market to their potential clients, his agents can free up more of their time to interact with clients much closer to transacting.
Brian is very pleased with the detailed local market information available through MarketBoost. He has established All East Bay Properties as the local real estate experts, and this had led to their growth in both first-time clients and repeat customers.
If you want to achieve online success with your real estate website, then creating engaging and well-optimized content is a key consideration.  Otherwise, the chances of your real estate website or blog being found by potential customers via search engines is next to none. Search Engine Optimization helps you to improve your brand’s visibility thereby, making it easier for both search engines and potential customers to find you online, helping to bring more traffic and leads to your site. Follow these simple steps, and you’re on the way to creating content better than your competitors.   Real Estate Content

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Broker Retention

Retention Strategies for 2016



The longer a sales agents remain with a brokerage, the less that brokerage has to spend on recruitment and training. Longevity also contributes to higher rates of homebuyer satisfaction, which leads to a higher rate of referrals. Retaining your agents is a strategy for growth, and it help will build a better environment for mentorship, learning, and better referrals. Finding the right talent that fits well with the company culture can be a huge investment of time and money, which makes retention all the more important. When you do it right, you can keep your top talent and see even better returns.

Retention Starts When You’re Recruiting

You will have a much better shot at keeping your talent when you know what kind of talent you are bringing in. Recruiting sales agents is a careful process that should take some thought, planning, and strategizing. You don’t want to take everyone who submits a resume. You don’t even want to take everyone with a massive track record of sales. You need someone who fits with your company culture, who is looking for opportunities to grow in their profession, and who will take ownership of their role within the brokerage. As you start the recruiting process, focus on those who you know will positively impact your business.

Culture is the Foundation of Retention

Can you define your company culture? If you can’t sum it up in just a few words, then chances are your agents aren’t going to recognize (or relate to) the culture either. Agents need to feel like they are part of the big picture. They need to see that big picture, too and understand how they fit in. This is your company culture. It maybe be one of education and growth. It could be one of  the regular challenges and friendly competition. It could be a lot of things… But what it always needs to be is honest and fair. When your agents feel like you’re treating them with respect and that they’re contributing to the success of the brokerage, they’ll be more likely to stick around. Define your culture and then strive to help everyone understand it.

Provide the Tools for Success

You can boost retention by providing the tools that help close business. As consumers continue to demand more and their expectations continue to rise, brokerages are under continual pressure to lower real estate commissions. This, of course, makes it difficult to hang on to your top performers if they’re not making as much as they expected. The most effective tradeoff, then, is to provide the tools and technology that will help them close more business. Most of your agents will realize that there is a cost for adding technology to the brokerage, but done right, they will be willing to trade commission split percentage for a system that actually works for them. Embrace the new opportunities that technology provides. This kind of investment can pay you back in many ways, including all the potential changes in how you charge clients for services and how you compensate agents. MarketBoost, for example, is specifically designed to attract new leads and increase the amount of engagement with homebuyers. This will allow your agents to easily keep in touch with contacts and provided automated listings content. It will even help them highlight their expertise in the local market. The franchise or large brokerage that first maximizes the technology currently available, will be a major force in the future of real estate. When you can provide a turnkey and technologically advanced office and marketing environment to agents, retention and production will be much higher.

Ongoing Training and Development

There’s always something to learn. Always something to improve. The minute your top agent thinks he or she has seen and learned it all is the minute they make room for someone else to take their place. The best agents understand this and always look for ways to improve their game. This means providing programs and processes that help agents identify the areas where they can make the most improvements, and then challenge them to develop their professional abilities. Training can be one-on-one, mentorship programs, offsite seminars, on-site training specialists, or even just teaming your junior agents with senior staff. All of these are great ways to build a culture of learning. Just remember, along with the training should be the expectations for agents to improve. Otherwise, you’re just bouncing words off a brick wall. Track their improvements, congratulate them on successes, and question if they understand and are incorporating the new strategies and techniques with each new lead.

Make the Time for Agents

If you don’t take the time to see your people face to face on a regular basis, chances are they won’t take the time to really be dedicated to helping the company grow. Talk to your people. Do it face to face on a regular basis (which is far more effective than an email or, perish the thought, a text). At the same time, you’ll know more about your company and what’s happening with it. You’ll have a better sense for how your agents are feeling – their general moods and impressions – and what they need in order to be more successful.

A Strategy for Growth

It is always far more effective to retain the agents who are the most productive than it is to constantly recruit and train new people. While there will always be a need to add new agents to the roster, the ones who can contribute to the long-term future of the brokerage are the ones that will also help attract the best referrals and help create a culture of success.
Twitter for Real Estate agents Twitter is an important platform for sales and brand building in today’s real estate market. More millennials are becoming homeowners and involve social media in almost 90 percent of all purchases.  So, how does twitter use for real estate increase sales and branding?
  • Ability to engage with clients in real time
  • Post relevant information that would be helpful to your clients/potential clients. People love to be helped and if you create content that helps the person, they will trust you more.
  • Create brand awareness and loyalty
  • Increase SEO by using keywords, and relevant links
  • Understand what others are saying about you
  • Inform followers of open houses and other listings
Now with all the things you can do with twitter there are tactics you can use to optimize your use of twitter. Here are just four suggestions:
  • Provide links to website, blog or relevant information-- therefore providing a user-friendly experience
  • Use hashtags on trending topics and so people can find you
  • Share relatable, interesting and valuable information for your followers
  • Optimize each post with keywords focused on getting audience to act
As you optimize your twitter use you will see an improvement of sales. This process may take some time, but keep at it and listen to what others are saying about you and how you can improve. Real estate Twitter
To be successful, there are many things you can do in your real estate market. We recommend doing six things to create your brand and make your mark in the world. Personalize your website Having a web presence is imperative for any real estate agent in the world today. Ninety-two percent of buyers use the internet in some way in their home search process and 50 percent of buyers use a mobile website or application in their home search. So what will make them pick you? Creating an interactive website with information potential home buyers want is an important key for success in attracting potential home buyers. Be interactive on social media Having a presence in social media is a must, especially if you are marketing to first-time home buyers. Millennials (ages 18-34) are a social generation and get most of their information on social media. In fact, the Deloitte report found that 47 percent of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, compared to 19 percent for all other age groups. Generate leads With so many potential ways to generate leads, how you can you know what the best bang is for your buck? Trusting professionals who know how to drive traffic to your website can be an effective outsourcing tool for generating leads. Other tools include PPC campaigns, Google AdWords, and Event Tracking tools to monitor site traffic. Be the answer Quality content on your social media and website outlets is a must. According to Lee Odden, CEO TopRank Marketing, “Effective digital marketing means being the best answer wherever your customers are looking.” That means learning where your demographics discover, consume and act on information. Ask the question, “What questions do my customers need answered and in what channels in order to buy?” Then inform them in an entertaining and engaging way. Create a media kit A media kit can be anything you about your brand that would identify you. A backgrounder, brochure and business card are great tools to start with. A media kit can be used to get a story in the news or as a pass along. Create different ways you can get your brand in the news, it’s free advertising and thousands of eyes can see you and your brand. Start a blog Blogging has grown tremendously the past 10 years, but why? People enjoy information that helps them make a decision or find value in an idea or product. If you can provide valuable insight on a specific trend, product, you can gain a loyal following. This does not mean only talking about your products or ideas, but really giving a person a way to make an informed decision. This following can be a great strength for your business and will grow as you make it relatable for others.   Brand yourself as Real Estate Agent
You may have noticed your iHomefinder account is now sending you email reports with information about your site activity. If you have not received these new emails yet, you will receive them soon! The following activity information is provided in the reports, dependent upon the lead activity on your site. Most Active Leads Properties Saved Email Update Click-Thrus Saved Searches Total Searches  Total Properties Viewed Emails are sent daily by default as long as there is new data to show. You'll find options at the bottom of each email to change your delivery preference to weekly or monthly, or you can unsubscribe to stop receiving these emails. You can view these emails on all devices, and links are provided that login to your mobile-friendly account Control Panel, where you can access all lead information in your account. You can also email your most active leads right from the report, without having to login to your Control Panel.   siteactivity_post2 sample1   sample2a