I attended my first Agent Reboot event in Boston last week and was impressed with the amount of content packed into one day. The workshop had some real take-home value for real estate pros, and I’d like to share some of the key takeaways.
Mobile Internet usage will surpass desktop Internet usage by 2014. One of my favorite things about attending a conference is discovering new apps, and Chris Smith, chief evangelist for Inman News, covered a bunch of them in his presentation, "20 Mobile Tools That Will Make You Stand Out."
I put these apps and others mentioned at Agent Reboot to the test and here are five of my favorites that can be extremely helpful to real estate pros:
1. Expensify: Expensify is a useful service that allows you to track your expenses and quickly generate reports. One of the most valuable features of the application for real estate agents is the ability to track mileage and map your travels, which is so important in sales. The service is free for individuals, and apps are available for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm.
2. Houzz: Houzz is a very cool app and website that showcases inspiring photography of home design. As stated on the site, "Houzz is the leading destination site for home design enthusiasts — professionals and homeowners" — and with more than 200,000 images, the app is certain to spark the creative juices. I couldn’t find the app in the Android Market; however, the iPad app is extra slick.
3. Card Munch: Card Munch is an iPhone app powered by LinkedIn that transcribes business cards. The process is simple: Take a photo of a business card, which is then sent to Card Munch; a real human (not a computer) transcribes the card and sends it back. Once the transcription arrives, you can easily add it to your contacts with one touch. Card Munch guarantees 100 percent accuracy, and the service works as advertised.
4. Local Mind: Local Mind is an intriguing app that allows you to send questions and answers to people checked in at places utilizing location-based services. For example, you could ping the local coffee shop and ask a user who is currently checked in using Foursquare or Facebook how long the line at the counter is! Local Mind is a new service and it should be interesting to see how the service develops.
5. Zite: Zite is an iPad magazine app, similar to Flipboard, that you can completely personalize. You can integrate all of the standard social network outlets as well as Google Reader, which is one of my favorite features. You can even add content such as architecture and interior design. As with most iPad apps, the interface is elegant and the user experience is fantastic!
Katie Lance, social media director for Inman News, presented data from the Content Marketing Institute stating that 93 percent of marketing professionals plan to create content marketing as a part of their overall strategy in 2012. Creating great content and distributing it is crucial for real estate marketing.
Content can be text, photography or video that is published on your website, blog and social networks. Lance recommended creating an editorial calendar to help you stay organized. I thought this was ingenious and could easily be accomplished using Google Docs and Google Calendar. Looking for some tips on creating engaging content? Here a few from the conference:
1. Write a review.
2. Tell a success or failure story.
3. Tell a local story.
Jimmy Mackin, co-founder of the MLS App and Inman Next contributor, debunked the myth that real estate professionals shouldn’t discuss real estate on Facebook. However, the conversation needs to be engaging, he said. Facebook is not Craigslist! Zillow executes this effectively with its "Tuesday Taste Test" where it compares two properties and asks fans to vote for which property they like better.
Matthew Shadbolt, director of interactive product and marketing at Corcoran and Inman Next contributor, gave an in-depth look at Corcoran’s very successful Foursquare strategy. Shadbolt hinted that Foursquare chose Corcoran when exploring platforms to contribute content.
Foursquare was created in New York City, and many locals utilize the service. It’s crucial to know where your audience is and invest your time accordingly. Corcoran also views Foursquare as more than just "check-ins." In fact, the company’s strategy is in leaving venue tips. This is a wonderful example of extending a platforms service to connect with your audience.
Darin Persinger, founder of Productivity Junkies and an Inman Next contributor, gave a presentation entitled, "Dollars and Sense: Knowing where to spend and when to save." With so much focus on social media and mobile at real estate conferences and events, it was refreshing to learn about best practices for developing your business.
I would like to see more of this type of content at workshops. Persinger discussed tools such as Mint to help manage your business and gave tips on prioritizing content creation, business development and face-to-face quality time.
Max Pigman of Realtor.com gave a sneak peek of the website’s new program, "Connection for Co-Brokerage." Essentially, the program is selling lead forms on listings and is giving the listing broker the option to opt in or out. The lead form is not applicable on enhanced listings, and if a listing broker decides not to participate in the program, the lead form will be available to be purchased by co-brokerages.
I have a hunch that this new initiative will be met with mixed reactions. You can read the official announcement here.