One of the best things about technology is that it’s always changing and there’s always something new to try. This also happens to be one of the worst things about technology, as it seems as though once you’ve gotten the hang of one platform or device, it’s already outdated. Improvements in technology have paved the way for a lot of creative, interesting, and relatively easy ways to make your listings and yourself stand out from the crowd. If you’ve already covered the basics, you have social media profiles, your website is up-to-date, and you’re comfortable using smartphone apps, here are a couple of tricks to try using technology to take your business to the next level in 2018.
360° photos and video
Arguably one of the best new technologies, at least for real estate, is 360° photos and videos. Using the camera on your phone, you are able to create photos and video that allow the viewer to “move” through your picture. The photo at the top of this page is an example. If you scroll, swipe, or rotate your whole body, you can explore the room as if you were there. While this technology came about a few years ago, it is now about to hit critical mass as it is supported by streaming services, such as Youtube, as well as social media such as Facebook.
How to Use: While all smartphones have the ability to shoot 360° photos and videos, not all phones have the technology built in. The Facebook app recently unveiled this ability with a built-in feature. To do this, open the Facebook app and click on the status update area (where it says “What’s on your mind?” ) This will unfurl a variety of options from posting a status or picture, check-ins, and at the very bottom, 360 photos. Click the “360 photos” option and hold down the photo button while slowing rotating. You’ll be able to see your progress. When you have made a full 360 rotation, the app will then stitch the photo together and show you the final product. You are able to exit out of the Facebook app without posting and the photo will have saved to your phone as a 360 photo. If you’re not a Facebook user, the “Panorama 360 Camera+ Photosphere support+ VR video” app is a free alternative, and is available on iTunes and Google Play. You can use this photo in social media posts, upload onto your website, or have it hosted on an outside website and use their services to show it off.
Did you know Facebook has more than 2 billion worldwide users? If you’re looking to show your properties to a wider audience, you must consider Facebook as an essential advertising tool. Facebook’s ad creation platform is relatively easy to use and the ability to target specific audiences is invaluable. For example, if you have a home on a lake in northern Minnesota, you could target broadly to anyone who lives or is visiting within a certain mile radius of that property, or you could get specific down to boat owners with a net worth of $150,000 who are likely to move. This ability to target means your marketing dollars will go farther and the analytics provided will show you how to get the most for your money.
How to Use: Facebook ads can be taken out by an individual or business page. You’ll start by logging into your Facebook account on a computer (not the mobile app) and clicking on the inverted triangle in the upper right corner. Under this tab, you’ll see the “Create Ads” tab. Click on that and Facebook will guide you through the process. For each property you purchase an ad for, you are able to upload information, photos or videos, and a link to contact you or direct to a website. Once you’ve placed an ad, you’ll be able to monitor the performance and make adjustments via the Facebook Ad Manager.
Mobile Signature Apps
If you’re face-to-face with a client having them sign on the dotted line is no issue, but if you’re making deal remotely you don’t want to have to play the email-and-wait game. What if the contract goes to their spam folder? What if they don’t have the right programs to open it and then forget to take action? We live in a world of immediacy and waiting for the mail or printing an email just won’t cut it anymore. When you make a deal you want to get it signed and continue on, which is why mobile signature apps are so great. With these apps your contracts and agreements can be signed on a mobile device almost immediately, moving you into action.
How to Use: There are a variety of different apps that can help you capture mobile signatures. Docusign is one example and their app is available for free on the iTunes and Google Play stores, but there are many. The best way to find out which will work for you is to try out a few services and enlist a friend or colleague to test it out so you can see how it looks on both ends. One non-negotiable feature you should look for is the ability for a person to sign documents without needing to install or download anything, as needing to do so will drastically cut your response rates.
It used to be that when you had property to sell, you put a sign in the yard and waited for a buyer to call. Buyers tended to live near or had a connection to the place they were buying land or property. Not today. In the globalized world of 2017, buyers can come from anywhere in the world. According to CNBC, foreign buyers closed on $153 billion worth of US residential properties between April 2016 – March 2017 and this trend shows no signs of stopping. Whether from China, the UK, Canada or beyond, these buyers are serious and motivated and online-only auction events are a great way to reach them.
How to Use: There are a variety of platforms that allow you to host an online-only event. RealtyHive is a great option as it increases global exposure of your listing, without costing you, the agent, anything. With this platform, your listing continues to be your listing and all leads are your leads. For more information on how online-only events would work for you, contact RealtyHive directly.
As technology changes, so do the possibilities for marketing your properties and your brand. With just a little bit of tech savvy and a willingness to try something new, you will see great results in 2018!