Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#Hashtags





















Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Dial Tones and Fax Machines, a lowly telephone button dreamed of a life beyond automatic voice messaging systems.

"Illusions of grandeur," said that weird little Star button.

"You'll never make it!" said the Press Zero for Operator guy.

But this only fueled its determination and hardened its resolve. The lowly telephone button soon packed its bags and braved the journey to where all the cool kids are. At long last, despite its advancing age and increasing irrelevance, it found the promised land, proving all the doubters wrong. The old dog had learned new tricks.

Pound Sign became Hashtag.


Against all odds, that random number symbol has somehow transformed into one of the most important characters on your keyboard. The hashtag can open up worlds of communication, unleash a flood of engagement, and thrust you into social media super-stardom.

However, many are frightened.

What is Hashtag? they ask. And what have you done with my beloved Pound Sign?



Fret not! Change need not be so scary. You too can learn new tricks, just as Pound Sign did. All it takes is a little spirit of adventure.

So, let's get started...

What is a hashtag? 

A hashtag is when a "#" sign is placed in front of a word or phrase to signify that it is part of a larger conversation (eg. #RealEstate). That whole thing is called a hashtag. They can range from the generic (#RealEstate) to the creative (#throwbackthursday) to the downright obscure (#geekpickuplines).

Hashtags are most commonly found on Twitter and Instagram, though Hashtag Fever has since spread to other social networks like Facebook, Google+, Flickr and Pinterest as well.

Heck, even RESAAS joined the fun!

One or more hashtags are then placed at the end of a tweet or in the description of a post. And voila! A hashtag is born.

For example:

"Wow, learned so much about hashtags in the latest Know It Now article! #blog #socialmediatips #hashtagsaresuperfun"

Why do hashtags matter?

Put bluntly, a hashtag is how you get discovered by new people. After all, this is pretty much the entire point of using social media. (From a business perspective, at least.) If you can learn to use them properly, then a well-placed hashtag can open you up to previously unseen audiences.

Let's break down the above example:

"Wow, learned so much about hashtags in the latest Know It Now article! #blog #socialmediatips #hashtagsaresuperfun"

While the first hashtag (#blog) is fairly general and will likely be searched by lots of people, the second hashtag (#socialmediatips) will probably give you a higher-quality and more targeted audience, assuming that you want to appeal to those looking for social media tips, of course.

The third hashtag (#hashtagsaresuperfun) likely won't be of any use at all.

Jimmy Fallon and JT did a great job of both hilariously mocking hashtags, while also effectively displaying how they are used:



How do people find hashtags?

Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks use hashtags to organize their search results.

Hashtags also allow social networks to show you what's trending. That is, it will recognize when a hashtag is being used frequently and then publicize it, encouraging other users to use that hashtag as well, thus creating a conversation.

So, basically, if you can hop on a hashtag while it's trending, then you can put yourself in front of a bunch of active eyeballs and potentially gain loads of new followers. The trick, however, is to use a popular hashtag that will gain you quality followers. From a real estate professional's perspective, this means home shoppers and other real estate professionals who might be willing to hook you up with referrals.

Can hashtags possibly get more exciting?

Why, yes!

As mentioned above, RESAAS recently unveiled hashtags on The Real Estate Social Network™. This means you can take all the awesome new hashtag knowledge you just learned and immediately apply it to your business.

Want to find out if there are anybody looking for referrals in Vancouver? Hashtag it!

#Vancouver #referrals

You can even start your own conversation if you want:

#openhouseideas

#clientproblems

#whyiloverealestate

There is really no way you can go wrong, all you have to do is use a little creativity.

So go forth and hashtag to your heart's delight.

The world is your oyster.

#shuckit


By the way, if you want the real non-fairy tale version of how the hashtag was born, then read this article. It's actually quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Feature: Hashtags!

You may have noticed something a little different about RESAAS lately...something in the form of...

#Hashtags!

That's right, we've officially launched the ability to #hashtag your reblast® post on RESAAS.

What, you might ask, is so exciting about this?

Well, with #hashtags you can now form group discussions that revolve around a common topic. If anybody wants to join in on the discussion, they can simply add the same hashtag to their own reblast.   

For example, you might have something exciting to say about Vancouver, such as "what a gorgeous day in #Vancouver!" Then, in order to view all the other discussions going on about #Vancouver, all you need to do is click on the hyper-linked hashtag to see them. 





































So cool - just think of all the possibilities!

You could...

...take a quick look at all the latest #properties, or

...see if there are any useful #tips to help you out on RESAAS, or 

...anything you want!

(And yes, you can view those hashtag groups by clicking on the links.)

This is just another exciting way that RESAAS makes it easier to communicate and engage with other real estate professionals in your area and around the world. 

So try it out today!

#Hashtag it up. 



Friday, April 11, 2014

iPhone App Update

We have new updates to announce!!

If you're an iPhone user, then don't forget to update your RESAAS App to the latest version (1.6.0).

  • You can now change your profile picture, update your personal information, and reset your password through the app. Just click on your profile in the sidebar menu to get started.

                                               
  • Here you can make changes to your profile but don't forget to click on 'Update' to save your changes.
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  • If you scroll down to the bottom you will see where you can change your password. 

Additional updates to the RESAAS App include:
  • The auto sign-in flow has been redesigned to be more convenient and secure.
  • Pre-load all previously browsed reblast feed, resulting in a smoother and more efficient experience.
To Learn more check it out here

- Love RESAAS :) 


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Tips to Save Battery Life
























Battery life.

There are fewer things that consume more of your daily attention.

Tonight's dinner, the weather outside, your children...all of these take a back seat to the BL.

Hey! Don't get mad at me. It's science.


A low battery causes stress. Stress is a leading cause of shortened life. A shortened life leads to your children being stuck out in the rain without tonight's dinner.

...maybe that's a little over dramatic.

But the fact remains that battery life has become an obsession among today's modern workforce. Everybody expects the ability to communicate with you no matter where you are or what time it is. And you expect the same of them.

In order to alleviate some of that unnecessary stress, this week's Know It Now article has brought together some of the simplest and most effective ways to prolong your battery life, specifically your iPhone. 

    1. External Devices

This one is no secret.

External devices are probably the most obvious way to extend the life of your iPhone battery. However, they still serve as the most effective method, if not the most not the most optimal. There are an array of products out there that you can buy, such as car phone chargers, portable batteries, and iPhone cases with batteries built into them.

The best ones we have found are the protective cases with batteries built in.


Mophie's Space Pack protects your iPhone, has a battery built in, and adds extra storage. It's priced at $149.                                                                    

2. Battery Optimizing Apps

There's an app for pretty much anything, so of course there are apps to help extend the life of your iPhone battery. Here are two popular free apps that have been developed to help you monitor and optimize your battery life.


The downside? These apps are more to help you monitor and break down the usage of your battery, rather than to actively save your battery life.

But I wonder...will running these apps drain your battery as well? 

Hmm...

     3. Disable Locations

Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services (Swipe the button to the left to turn off. You will see green when its turned on.)
From here, you can turn off the location settings for specific apps that you don’t necessarily need to have tracking your location, such as your camera. It's amazing how many apps have location tracking enabled. Kind of scary, too. 

         Reportedly, Facebook is a big one for putting strain on your battery. As a real estate agent, having the location on specific posts on Facebook may be important, but so is your ability to use your phone throughout the day. Try turning on location for Facebook only when you need it. 

    4. Background App Refresh

Settings > General > Background App Refresh
What is Background App Refresh?  Background App Refresh, or BAR as some refer to it, is a  fairly new feature introduced with iOS7. It enables apps to “refresh themselves in the background” on their own when you're not using them. This way, you'll have the most up-to-date content and updates when you open them back up.

-         Background App Refresh does its job in a smart way. That is, in a way that won't drain your battery. It learns from you when the best time is to refresh your apps, and then afterwards the apps go back to being inactive.

-         However, this is not necessary for every app you have. I suggest turning it off for non-essential apps that do not need to stay up to date on consistent basis.

            5. Quitting Apps or forcing Apps to Close

-         It’s a common misconception that having your apps open in the background would slow your phone and drain your battery.

      The apps that appear open when you double-click the main button on your iPhone are actually not running at all.

      Forcing apps to close when you swipe up and then having to reload them again actually takes more of your phone's energy than simply leaving them run in the background.

iOS knows you are not using it. It's smart enough to freeze the app so as not to use up any energy. Except for apps that Background App Refresh enabled, iPhone apps do not actively run in the background.

And that's it!

If none of the above tips seem to work for you, well....you could always try this:

























    (Image via weknowmemes.com)

To read more on what you can do to help extend the life of your battery, check out this awesome article:

"The Ultimate Guide To IOS Battery Drain"  by Scotty Loveless, a former ‘Genius' who worked in the Apple Store.






Monday, April 7, 2014

User of The Week!

Congratulations to Rod and Rhea Hayes for winning this weeks's RESAAS User of the Week!

Rod and Rhea consistently keep us up-to-date with their listings. Check out their profile here:

                                                      www.resaas.com/rodandrhea

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Harlem Shake

So I was looking for today's Friday Fun video post, and came across an old Estately Blog article from February 2013.

It was titled, "Real Estate Industry Kills Harlem Shake."

Yes! This has to be good.

I was among those who had dismissed the Harlem Shake fad from the outset, and to hear that the Real Estate industry had killed it...well, you can imagine my excitement.

These must be some horribly awesome videos.

This one is my personal favourite. The two little kids in the trailer clearly have no desire to shake it Harlem style.


Here are a few more noteworthy attempts:




You get the point.

And if you want to know what started the whole thing off...you can thank Norway.

(WARNING: This won't help explain anything at all.)


Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stop The Random Acts of Social Media!





March was a good month for webinars.


A few weeks ago, Nobu Hata amazed us all with a breakdown of all the most important tech trends impacting today’s real estate industry.


Soon after, our pals at Keeping Current Matters followed up with a great explanation on what it takes to be seen as an industry expert and why this is crucial.


Then just recently, Katie Lance taught us how to be just like her - a social media megastar. The webinar was co-hosted by Brian Pesin, Marketing Manager of Contactually, a popular CRM tool, and was titled “Intentional Relationship Building with Social Media.”


The key word there is intentional.


As Katie Lance explained, most real estate professionals who use social media aren’t able to connect with people beyond the status update, and tend to commit “random acts of social media”. You can’t just “like” everything you see and “friend” everyone you’ve met. This is poor social behavior.


There needs to be a purpose behind your interactions. It needs to be genuine. This is how meaningful relationships are built, through “small interactions over time.”


Thankfully, Katie Lance was nice enough to show us the way.

(If you don't want to watch the hour-long webinar, then read our extensive summary below.)



There are 3 things to keep in mind when organizing your social media strategy:


1)    Be intentional
   2) Be integrated
     3) Be strategic


Be Intentional


Facebook is cluttered and busy.


Katie Lance suggested organizing your contacts into lists. (More information on how to do so can be found here.) Start by splitting them into two categories: clients and potential clients. Take the time to interact with each person on this list, gain a basic understanding of their interests, if there are any major events in their lives coming up, etc.


Facebook also has a great app called Facebook Pages. It’s a free app that notifies you whenever there’s activity from people who have liked your page. For example, when someone leaves a comment, you’ll be notified right away and can respond to it quickly.


This is important because, after all, relationships are built through comments.


It may seem simple, but a small response like “Congrats!” or “Wow! Your dog’s new sweater looks so adorable!” can make a difference to someone. These small, simple and genuine interactions are how you build a positive rapport with people.


Make sure you don’t stray into the dark side of creepy though, because this would be bad for business. “Liking” anything and everything they post would be an example. Instead, keep your “likes” reserved for authentic, intentional interactions.


Also, don’t be so gung-ho when firing off friend requests on Facebook. It is one of the more personal social networks out there, and receiving an unexpected friend request may leave someone scared and confused.


Instead, leave this sort of behaviour for LinkedIn!

It’s a more business-like social network than Facebook, and is perfect for reaching out and connecting with potential clients. However, Katie Lance emphasizes that you should take the time and fill out your profile properly. Potential clients will often Google search your name before deciding to work with you, and LinkedIn is often found at the top of these searches. So make sure that there is enough information on there to provide a good idea of who you are.
A great app for LinkedIn that Katie suggests is LinkedIn Contacts.

Twitter lies somewhere in between the two social networks. It’s not as personal as Facebook, but is still great for making those small, genuine interactions that are the foundation of a healthy relationship. Katie’s motto is “no tweet left behind.” If anybody mentions you on twitter, make sure to pay it back with a comment, retweet, favourite, or mention of your own. Twitter also has the ability to organize your contacts into lists, much like Facebook.

Be Integrated

An integrated approach means to not limiting yourself and your business to just one social media network. Although it may be useful to concentrate on one at a time while while starting out, the next step is to establish a solid presence across multiple channels.

An empty profile on Facebook or Twitter will make you look bad when a potential client goes to search for you. Instead make sure that you remain active wherever you are.
RESAAS provides agents with the ability to integrate Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. This means that each time you post on RESAAS it will get posted on those other social networks as well.
Content Strategy

Next you need to think beyond what you post and how you interact. You need to think about when you’re posting, and make sure that you provide the right content to the right people at the right times.



As Katie explains, this should be a large part of your content strategy. Try to schedule your post two to three days in advance, or at several times throughout the day. (Click here to learn how this is done on Facebook.) A post a day is what you should be aiming for.

Also, keep in mind that Images make a huge difference. The eye is attracted to visuals, and the best images are the ones you take yourself. This will help you seem authentic and genuine in your content.

For example, a real estate agent is an expert on what each area or neighbourhood has to offer, right? So take the time to know the best coffee shops and restaurants in the areas you specialize in. Show off this knowledge with a picture from your smartphone. You’ll be amazed at the amount of engagement a cup of coffee will create, especially with some simple text on top.
Finally, the Insights Tab on your Facebook Business page is in an incredibly useful tool. It can show you when exactly your fans are active and engaging. This way you can strategize your content, see when the best times to schedule posts are and what content stirs up the most activity. (Click here to learn more about Facebook Insights.)

So now that you've been armed this arsenal of knowledge, you can go ahead and be the social media megastar that you've always dreamed of.

Thanks Katie!

Monday, March 31, 2014

User of The Week!

Congratulations to Larry Ault for winning this week's RESAAS User of the Week!

Larry consistently keeps us up-to-date with his listings with his 'Sneak Peaks' and 'Refresh Your Memory' reblasts. 

Check out his profile here:    
                                                    www.resaas.com/larryault

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NAR Existing-Home Sales Report






















Last Friday, the National Association of REALTORS® released their Existing-Homes Sales report for February 2014, which provides a great vantage point on how the U.S. Housing market has developed over the past year.

At first glance, things look bleak.

While total existing-home sales saw only a marginal decline from January to February (0.4%), they were fully 7.1% below this time last year, and the lowest since July 2012.  


Another major factor that’s been put forth is the simple lack of inventory. Less homes equals less sales. However, perhaps the situation isn’t quite as straight-forward as this. A second look at the report reveals a much more optimist trend.

While total inventory in February 2014 currently stands at a 5.2-month supply (2 million homes), and is less than the ideal 6-month supply, it has increased 5.3% since a year ago. What’s more, the median existing-home price has also increased since February 2013, up 9.1% to $189,000.

OK.

So the U.S. housing market now has more homes worth more money up for sale since a year ago, and yet the total amount of houses sold has decreased.

Are buyers wary of spending their money?

After all, first-time home buyers represented only 28% of purchases in February 2014, down slightly from 30% in 2013. Higher prices coupled with large debt, from student loans or otherwise, aren’t exactly the most encouraging conditions for an initial foray into the housing market.



However, as the Chief Economist for NAR, Laurence Yun, explains in the report, “with an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.”

Also, arguably the largest reason for optimism extending from this report are the numbers of distressed and non-distressed home sales. Back in February 2013, one in every four existing-home sales were either a foreclosure of a short sale. But a year later, distressed homes accounted for only 16% of total existing-home sales.

As this shadow inventory continues to burn off, a higher volume of quality inventory will fill up the U.S. housing market, resulting in a more confident base of homeowners. Furthermore, the brutal weather that’s plagued the Northeast region over the winter season seemed to have largely impacted the low amount of existing-home sales in February 2014, having declined 11.3% over the past month alone.

Here’s the regional breakdown of existing-home sales:

Northeast
·         Total sales down 12.7% since 2013
·         Median price up 1.5% to $237,000

Midwest
·         Total sales down 12.3% since 2013
·         Median price up 8.6% to $140,900

South
·         Total sales down 0.5% since 2013
·         Median price up 8.3% to $163, 400

West
·         Total sales down 10.1% since 2013
            ·         Median price up 18% to $279,400 

So cheer up! There's lots to like about where the housing market is headed. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

User of The Week!

Congratulations to Dano Sales for winning this week's RESAAS User of the Week!

Check out his profile and beautiful Maui listings here:  http://resa.as/mptonux

Maui - It's All About Lifestyle 

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