Are you standing out for the right reasons?

  
Homeowners have more options than ever when it comes to choosing an agency to sell or manage their property – and with choice comes a new level of expectations. No longer are homeowners, and consumers in general content to simply go with faceless companies that promise ‘results’. In this day and age, people connect with people, not brands which is why it’s more imperative than ever to ensure your agency is standing out for the right reasons to be considered by those in your marketplace who are making the decisions.

All too often we see agencies and agents marketing the same expected benefits, such as ‘low days on market’ or ‘high clearance rates’ which leave homeowners ripe for the picking by real estate agencies who know their strengths, strengths that people are able to ‘connect’ with and this is what it means to stand out for the right reasons.

If you can identify the key strength that differentiates you from a sea of diluted messages shouting almost identical claims then you’re laying the groundwork for a smooth transaction with clients. Not only will your marketplace look to you because of your identifiable difference that resonates with them, they will also come to know the type of service you deliver through your identifiable difference.

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of finding an identifiable strength that connects you with your marketplace and makes you stand out for the right reasons, that’s perfectly fine. Finding something so vital takes time, requires strategic thought and research. To get you started, remember this: “It’s not about doing what no one else is, it’s about marketing it in a way no one else is”
To summarise, what makes you stand out and connects your real estate brand with people on a personable level will be a combination of finding something that feels uniquely you and then effectively marketing it to your marketplace through the right platforms and mediums.

If you’re looking for assistance in defining your key strength or setting up the right marketing to match your identified strength – get in contact with us to discuss your options.

Steve Osborn
Co-Founder and Sales Director
Identity Marketing

November Social Media Update

  
This month saw some unusual changes in the social media world, most hilariously an update that encourages you to get your feline friends in your social selfies.

Updates across platforms continue 2018’s theme of ‘cleaning up the internet’ with features that look to promote authentic communication, ensure account security and improve social advertisements.

Let’s jump in and see what November has in store:

There is no denying that live video is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, the amount of less-than-high-quality live video on social media is prolific – in fact, it’s of apocalyptic proportions. We’re not here to judge, as the quality of video that comes from planning and preparation often isn’t an option with live video. This brings us to Facebook’s new feature – ‘Facebook Premiere’. The thought powerhouses at Facebook HQ clearly understand the predicament of live video popularity but the attention spans of viewers requiring quality looking content in order to engage with it. Facebook Premiere looks and feels like live video to viewers and has a limited time to actually view it, similar to live video in that it can be viewed ‘in the moment’. The main difference between Facebook Live and Facebook Premiere is that the content is pre-recorded, allowing for all the editing, preparation and planning to provide polished video content that engages – but this time, people jump on to watch because of the limited time. This could be the incentive users need to get on and watch videos, however the inability to ask questions/reply in live time may mean that Facebook Live maintains its popularity.

Facebook has another update this month, and this time they’re focusing on advertisers. 2018 could be described as the year that social media cleaned up its act, starting in February with one of the biggest algorithm changes we have seen in Facebook’s history (link: https://identity.marketing/2018/02/02/the-sky-isnt-falling/).

Facebook is now targeting advertisers who mislead or generally ‘annoy’ their users. They have categorised this into three easy to remember no-no’s:

  1. Advertisements that use engagement bait tactics. As a refresher, engagement bait is generally classified as content that asks users to ‘like and share’ such as ‘share if you love real estate! Ignore if you want bad house karma’. The reason these types of ads are getting the tough treatment is they are seen as an annoying ‘hack’ to the current Facebook algorithm, which favours posts that have authentic engagement.
  2. Advertisements that withhold information – Facebook is (finally) cracking down on click-bait. ads that lure clicks by alluding to more information within the link but are not clear on exactly what the link contains. An example of this is “you’ll never believe what this man did to his neighbour’s house!” without alluding to any other information. It essentially gets the better of people and they click on the link only to be left unsatisfied by the link’s content.
  3. Advertisements that use sensationalised language – the third and last of the targeted no-no ads is all about the misuse of sensationalist language. You’ll notice that we’ve emphasised the word misuse – why? Sensationalised language is a great marketing technique, it gets people excited and connects to the emotional part of their brain. What Facebook doesn’t want you doing is creating a post that says ‘MIND-BLOWING ways to use paint that YOU NEVER KNEW!!’ and then having it link to a post that talks about painting each room of a house. Essentially, Facebook is cutting the crap.

No one quite knows the exact penalties that will be inflicted upon these kinds of ads, but we suspect it will involve the ad being deleted, your other ads (even if they are within Facebook’s new guidelines) will get less reach and the cost of performance will increase – so best to avoid being on Facebook’s naughty list.

Next up, Instagram is cracking down on hackers by introducing optional two factor authentication. Two factor authentication which is sometimes known as 2FA is described as an additional ‘check’ to your account so you can be sure you’re the only one logging in. Previously, Instagram offered text message two factor authentication, however in some cases this can be subject to sim-jacking and is not the most robust form of account security. The new option requires an external authentication app. When possible, using two factor authentication is up there as one of the simplest, toughest basic security precautions you can take to protect any kind of account. Will you be using this function? Let us know in the comments.

LinkedIn is the latest in a line of popular social media platforms to alter their feed algorithm. However, it’s kind of gone in the opposite direction of the other platforms, by encouraging everything to be seen, rather than just what’s trending. Previously, LinkedIn’s algorithm had put the focus on ‘big players’ such as large companies and top content creators, leading to everyday users posting less updates as they were not being seen or engaged with. Users who see less and less engagement on their posts are inclined to post less, leading to a 1% situation within the platform. LinkedIn has solved this problem by updating its feed algorithm to generate more engagement on each users post. Since putting these algorithm changes into effect, LinkedIn reports that there is now a multifarious assortment of content being posted in feeds, and users are returning to regular posting. Try posting something on LinkedIn and see if your engagement has improved! Make sure you tag us for a follow – >link< (https://www.linkedin.com/company/identity-marketing/?originalSubdomain=au)

In more light-hearted, ever relevant, cat related news, Snapchat, or ‘SNAPCAT’ (yes, we went there) has updated their range of filters and now caters (pun totally intended) to its users’ love of their furry best pals – you can now stick a pair of glasses on your cat, or show off its pedigree by placing it in a virtual slice of bread. The lenses have been specifically created to work on feline features, so now not only can you be a cat on the internet, your cat can be a person. You can now selfie your rager of a Saturday night away, with matching cat-human lenses. Snapchat is onto something – people love their pets more than just about anything. We have many questions – will this update bring the crazy cat people to Snapchat, or will they stick to the ever popular, semi-plagiarised version of the app over on Instagram stories? More importantly – where’s the beautiful filter for our dogs?

That’s all for this month, let us know what updates you’ll be trying!

Up and Coming Agent – Lachlan Goddard

Each month we interview a real estate agent that we consider to be an expert in the real estate industry, whether that be determined through impeccable sales results or taking an innovative approach to the industry.

This month, we wanted to expand on the strong foundation of our Expert Series and shine a light on agents who are ‘up and coming’ – the type of agents that you’ll want to keep an eye on.

To kick us off we have Lachlan Goddard, an up-and-coming agent operating out of Jellis Craig in Northcote. In this interview Lachlan shares insight on coming from a real estate family, finding success in choosing the right real estate niche and advice to those in the industry on how to make the most of their social media marketing.

Does your agency’s style guide have a plan for digital assets?

  
Style guides are exciting, especially when starting a new real estate agency or rebranding. Naturally, people are very visual and style guides show a glimpse into how people will see us and our brand.

However, once the business is up and running the style guide is often forgotten. Copies of the style guide are generally passed on to external contractors offering marketing services and these people will remember to use the basics such as fonts and colours. The style guide has then served its purpose and will sit alone on the server or in a drawer gathering dust. As with most forgotten things, they don’t keep up with the times and this is something that we’re increasingly noticing here at Identity Marketing.

Technology has wildly advanced in the past decade, and considerably so in the last couple of years. Video content has become the new normal on websites and social media but many real estate agencies don’t have style guides that include parameters around how their brand is to look on video and other digital assets – and this is where things get problematic. When real estate branding is left open to interpretation, brand cohesiveness goes out the window and in the past few months we have witnessed content from the same office, and even the same agent that look wildly different because they don’t use digital asset parameters.

This might not seem like the end of the world, and depending on your perspective it might not be, however when your branding is inconsistent that’s when your marketplace starts to make assumptions about the services you provide. You could be a great agent who knows their stuff, but if your brand is all over the place, people will start to assume that you too are ‘all over the place’ and not in the positive sense. Agents often focus on giving their audience every option to use them but forget to think about removing every objection to choosing them and their service.

So it’s time to dig up the style guide and see what’s missing in this new and exciting technological age. But before you do that have a think about the type of digital marketing you do now and what you may be doing in future. For example, you may not be doing a whole heap of video now but what kind of digital marketing will you be doing this time next year?

To get you started, and at the very least your style guide should include the following:

Lower thirds

To recap, a lower third is a graphic that is placed in the ‘title-safe’ lower area of the video. Lower thirds are key for introductions such as who is speaking and/or what the video is about. Lower thirds help to save time and allow you to jump right into the thick of your topic without having to worry about verbal introductions.

How text appears on screen

How your text appears on screen details much more than fonts and colours. Your style guide should cover the approved text transitions, whether you will include solid background boxes for visibility and how information of key importance will be highlighted.

Logos

Your style guide should cover approved logo placements, size, style and transitions.

Statistics style

Statistics are key in real estate, especially when communicating to the local property market. Your video statistics should have a set style to ensure easy readability between your statistic videos and to create a style that becomes known for valuable knowledge and insight.

  
Additionally, When creating these guides for our clients, we like to include a segment about song choices as music can determine the tone of your videos. We also recommend presenting your digital style guide elements in video format to ensure there is no room for interpretation, which will keep your brand consistent across all platforms.

If you’re unsure of what your style guide needs to meet today’s standards – contact us to start a conversation.

How To Know It’s Time For A Rebrand

 
 
Deciding to rebrand is a big step, one that often comes after a lengthy deliberation process.
If you’re still in the decision process, or you’re unsure if you are in need of a rebrand, continue reading to see the 6 reasons for a rebrand.

Marketing pieces are no longer in alignment:
The most obvious reason is having marketing pieces that are no longer in alignment.
Are your print, email, and social pieces matching and looking cohesive? If not, it’s time for a brand refresh.
When looking at your marketing and communication materials look for variations in colours, fonts, logos and design aspects.

The current brand doesn’t represent the business:
As businesses evolve, they can often outgrow their original image – as was the case with a recent rebrand client. They had a very serious looking brand that was dry and formal. This is all fine and dandy, except this client’s main audience was young people and first home owners and so we worked with our client to develop a fun and informative brand that could really connect with their audience and win them over.

Expanding and recruiting:
If you’re expanding or looking to expand, it’s time to assess what your brand looks like from an outside perspective. If you want promising talent to join your agency or team, you need to be able to accurately portray why you’re the right choice and that starts with your brand. Does your brand accurately portray the values and the type of people who work within your agency? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your brand guide and then rebrand.

Shaking off an old image:
Similarly to outgrowing original branding, shaking off an image is about ensuring your brand reflects who you are now. Shaking off focuses on distancing a brand from negative connotations or prominent people who are no longer within the agency.

Losing market share:
As people are very visual, they often flock to the brand that visually and simply portrays their values – this is great, unless your brand isn’t the one they’re flocking to. If you have experienced a downturn in customers while another local agency has experienced an increase, it’s time to reassess your branding.

Tapping into a new demographic:
If you’re wanting to tap into a new demographic, it’s time to understand whether your brand will align with their wants and expectations. People judge a book by it’s cover, so you need to ensure that your brand’s ‘cover’ covers what a prospective vendor wants to know from the outset.
Then the flip side, you need to ensure that any new branding isn’t going to alienate your current clients.

If you’re experiencing one of more of these – it’s time to get serious about your rebranding discussion. We’re experts in real estate rebrands and we recognise that no one experience fits all – so give us a call to discuss what options are right for you.

October Social Media Update 2018

  
This month’s Top 5 Social Media Updates revolve around mobile devices and how they are becoming the new norm for consumers. This is leading social media platforms to better understand how users prefer to use social media and it’s evident that they want to use it on their phones. This month we have updates from Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, so read on to find out more and specifically what it means for your mobile experience.

Facebook – Instant Experience Ads

In early 2016 Facebook launched a feature for brands and businesses called Facebook Canvas. The idea behind it was simple – people were increasingly spending more time on mobile devices and only switching between a small number of apps. Businesses and brands needed access to a fully customizable digital space that was optimised for mobile viewing. This is where Facebook Canvas comes in.

The feature experienced success, especially with advertisers who knew how to make the most out of the Canvas experience. Now Facebook is back to make a good thing even better, this month they have announced that Facebook canvas will ge getting a bit of a makeover, which includes a name change and the addition of Facebook Pixel functionality. The feature will now be referred to as ‘Instant Experience Ads’ and we think that name is very fitting. A main drawcard of this advertising feature is that creators can produce experiences that felt like websites but loaded 15 times faster than conventional websites on mobile devices, so you can see where the ‘instant’ part of the name comes from. As for the ‘experience’ part of the name, this really depends on how well users are able to use the ad feature, with some brands going above and beyond by making visually stunning, interactive and immersive ‘experiences’ for viewers. Have you used Facebook Canvas or Instant Experience Ads before? Let us know your experiences!

Instagram – Video Tag Testing

Video is becoming the new normal on social media and Instagram is no exception. We have been seeing a massive increase in the amount of video being shared on Instagram Stories, as well as the original Instagram feed.

In the next 12 months we anticipate many updates to videos features on all social media platforms and it looks as though Instagram is leading the charge with their newest feature trial.
Instagram has begun testing a way for users to be able to tag their friends in their videos. Previously, users could only be tagged within static images on Instagram – a feature that was introduced in 2013 and to tag a friend in a video, users would have to settle with mentioning their friend in the comment section.

We look forward to Instagram rolling this feature out globally for all users in the coming months should Instagram’s testing yield positive results.

Instagram – ‘Superzoom’ Feature Expansion

Instagram may get a bit of slack for essentially stealing the Stories idea from Snapchat, but you have to hand it to them for making it their own. It seems each month they are bringing new additions to Stories that make them more engaging and enjoyable for the creators and viewers. The newest update that fits into this category is an expansion on a well known and loved feature: Super Zoom.

If you’re new to the Super Zoom feature, allow us to enlighten you. Launching in October last year the original feature included only one option and it took the web by storm. It was a simple filter – dramatic music and dramatic camera close ups of a face or object almost as if you were in a movie. Naturally, Instagram built on this success and made more edits to the Super Zoom feature.

Fast-forward to now – Instagram Stories has brought in six new effects for you to play and engage with, including ‘Bummer’ which features sad music and falling leaves and ‘Paparazzi’ which features camera flashes and increasing close ups.
We had a whole lot of fun in our office testing these new additions which you can see a glimpse of in the Top 5 Social Media Updates Video.

Snapchat – ‘Bounce’ Feature

Now that we have discussed Instagram taking something of Snapchat’s and making it arguably better – Is Snapchat doing the same thing to Instagram’s Boomerang?
This month, Snapchat announced that they would be adding a feature called ‘Bounce’ to their repertoire. To shed light on Snapchat’s Bounce feature, we’ll first explain Instagram’s Boomerang feature.
Instagram launched Boomerang in 2015. Described as short, action-packed video loops, Boomerang edits video to create an a video that loops in a back and forth motion.
Although incredibly popular, Boomerangs had 2 issues: firstly, you can’t control how the video is looped. Secondly, the feature required a stand-alone app which linked with Instagram, however recently Boomerang has been built into the Stories options.
Snapchat has seemingly understood these issues and built their Bounce feature around it. Snapchat doesn’t require any external apps and when you have filmed your video, you have the option to make it into a creative looped video. Best yet, you can then control where exactly you want the looping to focus.

If you’re an avid user of Instagram’s Boomerang – Give Snapchat’s new feature a try and let us know what you think.

YouTube – Vertical Ads

Mobile is force to be reckoned with – and YouTube knows that very well, especially considering their data shows that 70% of YouTube content is viewed on mobile devices. So it’s no surprise that YouTube has implemented support for vertical ads. The social media giant’s vertical ads are optimised for mobile and take up the full space of the screen to ensure that advertisers can make the most of the space.
Recently, YouTube also implemented support for vertical video uploads from users, meaning that the dreaded black bars would no longer appear beside the video and when viewed on mobile, the video would once again take up the full screen, just as it did when it was created.

Mobile is evidently taking over and social media platforms are making the most of this trend- are you making the most of it in your marketing?

That’s it from us for the Top 5 Social Media Updates for October – let us know your thoughts!

Reflecting on these experts this long weekend

Great real estate agents know what they want and go after it. If you’re seeking inspiration this long weekend, here is some advice from a few of the great real estate agents we’ve had the pleasure to work with.

 

 

 

After this weekend, it’s a sprint for real estate agents to finish off a great year, so it’s important your marketing is backing you up while you kick goals.

Contact us if your marketing isn’t where it should be and we’ll fix that for you.

Kind regards,

Steve Osborn
1300 590 494

Brand Principles and Why They’re Essential

 

It’s no surprise that real estate agents and many real estate agencies are new to the term ‘brand principles’.
It’s something that is overlooked or ignored when starting a real estate brand or revitalising a brand through a rebranding journey. People are naturally very visual and priority gets placed upon the visual aspects of a brand before anything else; but how well can the visuals of a brand or the culture of a workplace reflect the actual brand if they don’t know ‘who’ they are at their core?

Brand principles are at the very core of your brand. I often see agencies without them and they’re easy to spot – how? Copy on their website, print marketing and social media all look like they’re written by very different people and this is because they’re not writing from the perspective of a single source, or rather the brand’s principles.

Principles are the foundation behind how your brand looks, how it communicates, and where it will go in future.
For example, think of brand principles as personality traits in a person – a person’s personality will dictate what they wear, how they speak and their goals in life.

A refined personality type that values pleasing people would look and act differently from someone who is loud, eccentric and values timeliness above all else.

To put it simply, people connect better with people rather than brands. But by having a personable brand, you’re making the connection process easier. Brand principles are also vital to help people understand exactly who your agency is, where you fit in the marketplace, what makes you different from other agencies and paves the way for the uniqueness that will win new customers.

Real estate brands that have well defined brand principles and use them to establish their brand are easily identifiable by their brand image that represents who they are and what they do, cohesive copy that matches across all marketing deliverables and the employment of great talent that fit their workplace culture.

If you’re curious to learn more about brand principles or want to know if your brand principles stack up, give me a call.

So You’ve Made Videos – Now what?

Here at Identity Marketing we deliver new tips every month on how you can improve the quality of your real estate marketing videos. We do this because we recognise that videos should match the quality of the agent. What we haven’t explicitly covered is what to do after you make your digital real estate content.

Firstly, let’s talk about Facebook. It’s arguably the most well known social media platform and a staple in most real estate marketing plans. To maximise the success and really ensure your efforts are worth it, I recommend putting money behind content that you want people to see. Facebook works on a ‘pay to play model’, mainly due to an endless number of people wanting to advertise and a finite number of people to advertise to. Without spend behind your content and videos, you’re at the mercy of the algorithm gods and they may not be so merciful.

If you’re well versed with putting spend behind your content, it’s time to take the next step and promote your content to the right people. At Identity Marketing we do this by creating custom audiences that Facebook can target on your behalf. These custom audiences include using email database contacts, similar audiences and promoting to those in certain areas. This ensures that the people seeing your content are already more inclined to respond positively to your content.

Next, it’s time to look at email. You should be delivering your video directly to your database through email. It’s always a nice addition to add a short summary about the video too.

Finally, let’s move onto Instagram. Instagram offers multiple ways to include video into your profile, however there are some limitations. If your video is over 60 seconds you won’t be able to post this to your profile feed- you do however have the option to cut the footage into consecutive 15 second segments and post it to your Instagram Story, or you can add the full footage to Instagram’s newest feature, IGTV. The great thing about IGTV, otherwise known as Instagram TV is that you can link your IGTV videos to your story to direct your audience to view the full video. Instagram thrives on creative ways to implement video, so the sky’s the limit.

My last recommendation is to remember the optimal dimensions for your video content –  for a refresher in what the best dimensions and sizes are, you can find our handy guide here

If you have any questions regarding this blog or if you would like to know more about how to best reach your audiences with valuable content – contact me on 1300 590 494.

Ben
Senior Digital Designer
Identity Marketing