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How to make your listings stand out with Facebook 360

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!

Service Available for Sedona Verde Valley Association of REALTORS®

iHomefinder IDX is now available for Sedona Verde Valley Association of REALTORS® in Arizona. Photo by Tomas Castelazo Members of the Sedona Verde Valley Association of REALTORS®  in Arizona can now benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps. Members can get started today with Optima OmniPress (Complete WordPress Sites with IDX), Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or Optima Mobile (MLS Search for Mobile). Sedona Verde Valley Association of REALTORS® is based out of Sedona, Arizona and has approximately 540 members. The city of Sedona straddles the Coconino and Yavapai county line in northern Verde Valley of Arizona. As of 2010, Sedona's population was 10,031. The core industry and economic generator in Sedona is tourism. Tourism has a strong direct and indirect effects on businesses and residents in Sedona. The Sedona Visitors Center serves more than 400,000 visitors per year. The largest employers in Sedona include Enchantment Resort, ILX Resorts, Inc., Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa, Amara Resort and Spa, Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District and the City of Sedona. 2012 showed a significant decrease in Sedona foreclosures and short sales in Sedona, and the market has certainly ramped up in recent months. The Sedona real estate market has transitioned from the Buyer's market it has been for the last several years to a new Seller's market. Prices are continuing to trend upwards. Read more about the changing real estate market in the Sedona at RealtyTimes. For more information, resellers can find information about this MLS in their Partner Portal. Click here to go directly to the Sedona Verde Valley Association of REALTORS®  section of the Partner Portal. Members can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

Service Available for Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service

iHomefinder IDX is now available for members of the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) in Utah. Important Note: It will take approximately four weeks from the time MLS paperwork is submitted until the data will be active on the website. By mid-May 2013, the time frame for processing should be reduced significantly Members of the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) can now benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps. Members can get started today with Optima OmniPress (Complete WordPress Sites with IDX) Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or Optima Mobile (MLS Search for Mobile) WFMLS is based out of Sandy, Utah and has approximately 8,600 members and 10,500 listings (as of April 2013). This MLS is comprised of six member Realtor Associations: Brigham Tremonton Board of REALTORS®, Cache-Rich Association of REALTORS®, Northern Wasatch Association of REALTORS®, Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®, Utah County Association of REALTORS®, and Wasatch County Association of REALTORS®.  WFMLS covers property listings in Utah and Southeastern Idaho. Wasatch Front is the large urban area surrounding Salt Lake City. As of the 2011 Census, Wasatch Front had a population of 2,328,299, the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,145,905, and Salt Lake City itself had a population of 189,899. The Salt Lake City economy is predominantly service-oriented.  The city's major industries are government, trade, transportation, utilities, and professional and business services. Major employers in the area include: Delta Air Lines,  Intermountain Health Care, University of Utah, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The real estate market in Salt Lake City is hot right now. Multiple offers have become commonplace at well priced homes in every price range. Listing inventory throughout the Wasatch Front area were at a 15-year low at the end of 2012, according to February 2013 article in The Salt Lake Tribune. This limited inventory has continued through the first several months of 2013 and has made bidding wars commonplace in the today's Salt Lake City and surrounding area real estate market. There is a strong demand for housing in this area which is keeping the inventory low. Salt Lake City has been identified as one of the 10 major housing markets with the shortest supply of homes by MSN Real Estate. For more information, resellers can find information about this MLS in their Partner Portal. Click here to go directly to Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service (WFMLS) in the Partner Portal. Important Note: It will take approximately four weeks from the time MLS paperwork is submitted until the data will be active on the website. By mid-May 2013, the time frame for processing should be reduced significantly. Members can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

Service Available for Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS®

iHomefinder IDX is now available for members of the Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® in Florida.

Image provided by Gamweb.

Members of Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® in Florida can now benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps. Members can get started today with Optima OmniPress (Complete WordPress Sites with IDX) Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or Optima Mobile (MLS Search for Mobile). Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® is based out of Holly Hill, Florida, just north of Daytona Beach and located in Volusia County.  This Association has approximately 1300 members. As of the 2010 Census, Daytona Beach had a population of 61,005. It is a principal city of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area,which had a population of 494,593 people in 2010. Daytona Beach is well known for its beach where hard packed sand allows motorized vehicles to drive on the beach in certain areas. Its special sand and raceway facilities have made it a destination for motorsport racing. The city is also the headquarters for NASCAR and the Grand American Road Racing Association. Large groups of visitors descend upon Daytona Beach for events like the Speedweeks in early February. At this time of year, 200,000 NASCAR enthusiasts come to attend the Daytona 500. Some of the best markets for buying Single-Family rentals are located in Florida. The Daytona Beach area (Volusia County) is ranked ninth in the top 20 markets for investors buying homes, according to RealtyTrac. Learn more about the hot investor market in Daytona Beach in the April 4th, 2013 article in The Daytona Beach News Journal. For more information, resellers can find information about this MLS in their Partner Portal. Click here to go directly to Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® in the Partner Portal. Members can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

Service Available for Central Penn Multi-List, Inc.

iHomefinder IDX is now available for members of Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. in Pennsylvania. Members of Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. in Pennsylvania can now benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps. Members can get started today with Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress, Optima Social (IDX for Facebook Pages) or Optima Mobile (MLS Search for Mobile). Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. covers the Harrisburg and the surrounding area. Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania and had a population of 49,673 as of 2011 census. In 2010, Forbes rated Harrisburg as the second best place in the U.S. to raise a family. A high concentration of state and federal government agencies contributes to the financial stability of the region. The Central Pennsylvania real estate market has shown a solid year of positive momentum. In 2012, home sales accelerated and prices increased throughout the year. Read more about the recovering Central Pennsylvania real estate market in the January 17th 2013 article on Penn Live powered by The Patriot News. For more information, resellers can find information about this MLS in their Partner Portal. Click here to go directly to the Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. in the Partner Portal. Members can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

Optima Social Price drop! Facebook IDX for $9.95/month

We're excited to announce that iHomefinder's IDX for Facebook - Optima Social- is now only $9.95 a month! For this new low price, add MLS Search & Featured Properties to your Facebook page. Generate leads from Facebook - no website required. Sign up before November 1 and the $49 setup fee is waived!

Service Available for Central New York Information Service, Inc.

iHomefinder IDX is now available for Central New York Information Services (CNYIS) Inc. CNYIS is a privately held multiple listing service company.  iHomefinder IDX service for this area is available for members of these three associations: Greater Syracuse Association of REALTORS®, Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® and Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®. Syracuse is located Onondaga County and is the fifth most populous city in New York state. As of the 2010 census, Syracuse's population was 145,170 and its metropolitan area had a population of 662,577.  It's the economic and educational hub of Central New York, a region with over a million people. CNYIS members can benefit from iHomefinder enhancements like the new Interactive Map Search and Facebook Apps.  Members can get started today with Optima IDX for Custom Sites, Optima Express IDX for WordPress or Optima Social. For more information, resellers can click here to view CNYIS MLS paperwork instructions or email us at resellers@ihomefinder.com with additional questions. Members of this Association can email info@ihomefinder.com or contact your iHomefinder reseller.

iHomefinder Helps Agents Get Leads from Facebook

Real estate agents are told to use social media to reach out to prospects and connections, but converting those prospects into clients can be difficult. iHomefinder's Optima Social - IDX for Facebook - makes it easy for visitors and fans of your Facebook page to become leads, by adding full IDX search with lead capture to your Facebook page. A simple installation process adds Property Search and Featured Listings tabs to your Facebook Business Page. Any Facebook visitor can view your listings or search the MLS right from Facebook. If they see a property that interests them, they can schedule a showing or request more information instantly. You'll receive their contact information via email, but you can also track leads and other activity in your Control Panel. Optima Social brings iHomefinder's leading MLS search and proven lead generation technology to Facebook - and now, to real estate agents without a personal website. Sign up for Optima Social and get IDX for your Facebook page! Facebook Apps are also included with all iHomefinder iSite, Optima IDX and Optima Express packages.