YouTube for Real Estate

videoGfx-youtube1Some industries are more visual than others. A basic word description is not enough to get that WOW factor. Real estate is one of those industries. Although pictures have been the standard for selling houses in the past videos have become more popular. And social media networking sites like YouTube are being used more for real estate sales. Video allows you too look at many properties without having to leave your home. You get to see what you like, what you would change, and envision yourself living there. Buying a house is about the interest rate, mortgages, home inspection, points, and renovations. It is the biggest purchase most people make in there lifetime. But it is also a very personal and emotional decision because you are buying more than just property—you are buying a home. And video gives you more of a feel if the property feels like a home. Video gives the potential buyer a bird’s eye view of your home that can only be achieved with video. It also gives you the opportunity to get more views by posting the video on YouTube. A fully animated tour of a house will give you better results than pictures. You can increase your Google rankings therefore getting more viewers by putting YouTube video on your website. More than 80 percent of all buyers now find their home online. Of those, 21 percent said they use or look for online videos. Having a video on your website (YouTube) is important to those 80 percent that are shopping for real estate on-line. But surprisingly in this the age of YouTube and video not as many realtors take advantage of it. Only 4 percent of real estate agents post videos on hosting sites such as YouTube, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are some statistics why you should use YouTube to post real estate videos.

  • Largest viewership of any video site, and one of the largest viewership’s on the Web.
  • Search – YouTube is 2nd largest search engine next to Google, YouTube is owned by Google, and all YouTube videos can be indexed by Google’s own search engine Owned by Google, so all of its videos are indexed into Google’s own search engine.
  • SEO features and opportunities for every video you have, and your video channel. Conversions – you can add a link back to your site in the description section around a video.
  • Social Nature – YouTube is a social giant and makes it easy for sharing, both on all the major social networks and for easy embedding into Websites and blogs.
  • Keyword research – you can do real-time searches for popular keywords to optimize your videos for.
  • Some customization of your video channel design and player.

Here is a link to a excellent example of a real estate video tour. This gives you an idea of the power of video over pictures or just listings. A picture may be worth a thousand words but a video on YouTube is worth a thousand potential customers. – See more at:

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Viral Marketing Initiatives

oreo 10

One of my favorite marketing campaigns was The Daily Twist. For 100 days,which marked Oreo cookies 100th birthday, you could see clever, creative and sometimes serious images of oreo cookies. The brand shared an image of an Oreo every day for 100 days on its Facebook page, a  Tumblr account, and a page on the Nabisco website. The Nabisco-owned Oreo launched  the campaign June 25 2012 to mark the cookie’s 100th birthday. As the campaign kicked off  in June, Oreo posted colors of  the rainbow creme filling. It was to symbolize rainbow flag in recognition of LGBT Pride Month. The image, included   the phrase “Proudly Support Love!” causing some controversy and going viral with 200,000 “likes” on Facebook.       Nichols_m


Pride was not the biggest reach of one single post but instead it was the panda Daily Twist in honor of the birth of the Chinese panda Shin Shin’s baby. The post’s reach was 4,409,344 because of a large global engagement. It received more than 21,000 higher than Pride. Some pretty good numbers for a cookie. We also saw a Shark Week,     Mars Rover and Elvis week Oreo.

Why was this campaign so successful that it went viral? This campaign used many best practices of a viral campaign. First of all using milestones, trending topics and current events was a great way of creating engaging customers. Customer engagement is important to viral marketing. But Oreo brought engaging fans to a new level. The “Daily Twist” campaign had 100  days of milestone celebrations. This made people curious and they wanted to see everyday what creative and unusual ways Oreo had decided to celebrate an event. Fans were also encouraged to share their versions of the Daily Twist. Yet more engagement.

Oreo was able to develop great content using current trends and popular culture. This was a big factor in making it go viral. Good content is an important factor in making any campaign go viral.  The Oreo Twist content was funny, simple, timely and shareable.


So exactly how successful was the campaign?

The “Daily Twist” campaign has had an enormous reach and led to thousands of user-generated Oreo twists and cookie talk which built a strong brand and fan relationship. According to Socialbakers the Facebook shares on Oreo’s brand page has increased by over  4400% from the previous three months before the “Daily Twist” campaign began.  It also won the Facebook Studio Awards for creative work done by agencies and brands on Facebook. Oreo won the blue award for its Daily Twist campaign.


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Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts


Starbucks-Logo      dunkin-donuts-logo1

Dunkin’ Donuts challenged Starbucks to a taste-test Smackdown in 2008. The Smackdown winner was  announced at the website  The results showed more “hard working Americans” prefer Dunkin’ Donuts coffee over Starbucks. Not exactly partial–the survey was conducted by A&G Research for Dunkin’ Donuts.

 But in terms of using social media which one would win? Let the Smackdown begin!!!  

Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts have a sort of Pepsi vs Coke rivalry going on. But unlike Coke and Pepsi Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have more than just a single beverage to compete against. Not all customers are looking for just coffee. For instance, Starbucks customers are typically looking for a certain ambiance which includes pricey gourmet specialty drinks and coffee, specialized customer service, wifi, a place to work or place to hang out with friends. They are willing to pay a higher price for the Starbucks “experience” And its not unusual for Starbucks to become an extended offices for some people. In contrast, Dunkin donuts is more like a snack bar. People go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee simple and quick. It serves gourmet coffee but people tend to go there more for the breakfast and lunch menu more than the ambiance. Hence there different social media marketing strategies.   

Dunkin Donuts 

1364047339074Dunkin’ Donuts has a very strong following on Facebook with 6.6-plus million likes, 150K-plus followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google. They also have the free Dunkin’ Donuts app gives customers the option to purchase items via their DD Card or through the Passbook app. Both work through a barcode system and are usable at any of Dunkin’ Donuts’ 7,000 U.S. locations.

Their philosophy end marketing strategy is to have fun. Starbucks is a bit more serious offering causes and donations. We serve coffee but lets also help save the world one cause at a time. They have a resopnsibility page on their website  bringing awareness to causes such as the environment and global issues.                                                                      

                                                        On Twitter      BHv0_5nCUAEBziP
 Starbucks Coffee @Starbucks 20h Join your neighbors and volunteer for Global Month of Service! #extrashotofgood   Promoted by Starbucks Coffee  View photo Reply Retweet Favorite More 


images Donuts social media strategy is aimed growing and engaging fans. Starbucks is more interested in cultivating there fans rather than adding more. Dunkin Donuts fun social media philosophy is done through through status updates with pictures or questions or with fun challenges and sweepstakes.  Dunkin’ Donuts also had a  “What Are You Drinkin’?” Facebook campaign, which allowed fans to visit  “What Are You Drinkin’?”  on Facebook every day to share what and  where they were drinkin’ Dunkin’. Winners receieved a $100 Dunkin’ Donuts Card.  Each winner was entered into a grand prize their picture featured on Dunkin’ Donuts’ new digital billboard in Times Square, a weekend in New York City with three friends, and free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for a year. Keeping with the fun theme a Holiday Sweater Contest on Twitter with fun sweepstakes and promotions. this was a great way to  engage with fans and followers. Dunkin Donuts has  had many other fun campaigns and promotions similar to these.   


          ce2143932d924e1cadb5d25edcecb524 Starbucks is near the top of nearly every major brand ranking in social media. It has many users on many social networks. Its brand has set a  bar for other businesses when it comes to Social media. It content and engagement are by far the best. In the Istagram category  Starbucks is definitely the winner. Starbucks has the most-Instagrammed brand/logo. Of the 25 brands GazeMetrix tracks, Starbucks is first in terms of the volume of photos featuring its logo. Some other runners-up are Coca-Cola, BMW, and Corona. And Starbucks number of Fans on Facebook is 34,239,539

Starbucks, unlike Dunkin donuts, is more interested in cultivating it present customers rather than try to recruit more thus creating more customer loyalty. Starbucks also cross-promotes its media.When it takes a picture it shares it on Instagram, posts it to Facebook, tweets it on Twitter, pins it on Pinterest. It covers all social media bases simultaneously.

 I think what makes Starbucks stand out is that it customizes the customer experience. It My Starbucks Idea its website lets customer not only make suggestions but it also uses them. It also does this through Starbucks programs such as My Starbucks Rewards, personalized “signature” drinks, and localized store experiences. These programs bring customers to the social media sites with plenty of engagement. Starbucks mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” 

So who is the Smackdown winner?? I will let you decide…..              

              gangnam-style-photo-coffee-sandbox-370012                  ________________________________________________________________________________

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Blogs vs Facebook

                                         Blogs vs Facebookwordpress_vs_facebook

Blogs were being used more before the explosion of social networking tools Facebook and Twitter. They were popular and used as a standard networking tool. But social media tool Facebook became so popular it began slowly replacing the blog. A survey released by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth says the percentage of companies that maintain blogs fell to 37% in 2011 from 50% in 2010.

Companies often underestimate the amount of work a blog requires. Blogging requires more time and work than a Facebook page. You need change your content on a regular basis. You also need to be aware of the risks. If your blog accept comments—particularly negative comments can hurt your image. Then there are legal issues such as liability and, defamation.

OkCupid,’s blog was rated in the top 25 best by Time magazine in 2010. They stopped updating their blog in April 2011. Bank of America also dropped its blog because they want to be on the same page as their customers, which is Facebook.

But blogging is still being used by businesses. It just that we are seeing an evolution in social media namely Facebook and Twitter. A blogs purpose is different than Facebooks. Blogging, unlike Facebook is used to build in depth relationships with customers. It can be used to connect with customers on a deeper level. They can provide more in-depth business information than Facebook.

More companies are using Facebook as a way to reach their consumers because it is free easy to use and easy to maintain. Many people have Facebook accounts for personal social networking already. Studies have shown that consumers don’t usually go back to a website. But they do go back to a Facebook page. More companies are replacing blogs with social media tools that take less time and resources, such as Facebook.

Companies want to be where their customers are and they are on Facebook. Facebook also is more like a community with followers. By liking a page and can sharing interests. There users can engage more actively than with a blog. And finally, Facebook currently has more people using it. It has a larger market of people.

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Pinerest Goes Mobile


The old adage a picture is worth a thousand words may be true but it also may be worth a thousand customers. A description of furniture, fashion, interior design or landscape design only gives you a basic idea but not the WOW factor.  Some industries, more than others, need to use visual advertising and marketing.  Thats where Pinerest comes in.  Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests and hobbies. It is also used for businesses and marketing as well. It is the perfect solution for for businesses in the design field.  Pinerest mobile apps are compatible with most iPhones and iPod touch, android devices and iPad.

  One advantage of Pinerest is that if your pins are noticed and liked they can be repined by other pinners or even embedded on other sites or blogs.  Any repin on Pinterest will give you opportunities to drive traffic.  Making comments is a great Pinterest marketing strategy that can drive traffic too. Pinerest, like most social media platforms, lets you be social and engage with consumers.

Two companies, Guess and Peugeo, ran contests on Pinerest.  Guess challenged people to create boards based on four spring colors: “Noir Teal,” “Hot House Orange,” “Red Hot Overdue” and “New Plum Light.” Participants were told to title their boards “Guess My Color Inspiration” and pin at least five images. The four winners were chosen by famous fashion bloggers in which the winners got a new pair of jeans. The contest ran for one week and received lot of inexpensive publicity and social sharing for their new collection. The pins with the new jean collection remains on Pinerest even though the contest is long over.

French car maker Peugeot’s Panama unit also ran a contest. It gave prizes to fans who completed a Pinterest puzzle. The brand’s Pinterest profile featured images of cars running over two or more boards. In each case, a board was missing. To get the missing pieces, fans had to go to Peugeot Panama’s Facebook Page or website. I think this is a great idea!! You had to go to 2 social media sites to complete the puzzle. Talk about driving traffic.

  Hilary Mason of did research on the half-life of social media platforms.  She evaluated the persistence of the link by calculating what is called the half life: the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak. Here is what she found:

  •   Tweet has a half life-2.8 hrs of engagement
  •     Facebook has a 3.1 hrs half life
  •    7 hrs Youtube has a 7 hour half-life.
  •  Research is not in yet on Pinerest but some business claim up its not unusual to have 20 weeks half-life since it was pinned.

Pinterest offers a different kind of social media experience especially to those in design industries.

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Caution-Social Media Ahead

 Caution-Social Media Ahead SM_Caution_for_Invite_flat                  

Social media can be risky for any industry. Facebook, for example, can be risky because anyone can start an Unofficial page which is a page not created by the official representatives of a company. They can also start a Community page in which information pages are about a topic, cause or experience. Official pages used to be called Fan Pages can only be created to represent a real organization, business, celebrity, or band, and may only be created and maintained by an official representative.

The unofficial pages do not always reflect the values and opinions of a company. It can also be confusing for fans when they search for your company’s official page and find community or unofficial page instead. This can sometimes lead to a person “liking” just the unofficial page instead of the company’s official page. Trying to protect your trademark and brand can involve some risk when using Facebook.

A Facebook unofficial page calling for a Nike boycott shows how sponsorships and social media can backfire.  When Lance Armstrong recently came out for cheating a Facebook page called for people to boycott Nike for being his sponsor.  Starbucks also had problems with Twitter backfiring. They asked customers to tweet out some holiday cheer, using the hashtag “#SpreadTheCheer.” Instead of holiday cheer Starbucks received tweets using the hashtag to criticize Starbucks’ low tax rates and labor policies in the United Kingdom.

According to a report by Altimeter Group 60% of companies either never train their employees about their social media policies or only do so upon hiring. To protect your brand, information and intellectual property companies need to be proactive in managing social media risk.

On the other hand not using social media has its risks.  For one thing customers expect you to use it. Almost every business these days are pinning, posting, blogging and tweeting. Social media has become a main focus between businesses and  customers. There were more than a billion users on Facebook, 500 million on Twitter, 400 million on Google+, and 100 million on Instagram. You’re missing out on a big audience if you don’t take the plunge. What could be a better way to gain FREE brand awareness. Brand awareness is a huge influence on sales because people like familiar brands they trust. And if they trust a brand  they will likely come back. But keep in mind it is important to run a well-managed social media campaign to decreases risks of something going wrong.

 I think that one of the most important things that social media does and is overlooked is that it gives every business the chance to become less formal and more social. It humanizes the business and the people who run the business.


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Best Practices

Best Practices

checklistThere are many best practices for business blogging and tweeting. Depending on what author you read you will find suggestions for simple common sense practices to more complicated ones. Trust me—there is NO shortage of advice for best blogging practices for businesses. The best practices are somewhat different depending on what type of blog it is. There 2 different kinds of blogs which are business to customer (B2C) blogs and business to business(B2B) blogs. They have the same best practices but different strategies because they are targeting different groups. That is,  a B2B blog is targeting groups of people and a different blogging strategy is used.

Keep in mind that a blog is not about selling your products to people. You have a website and product pages to do that. Someone who is reading your blog is probably not there to make a sale rather something of interest brought them to the blog.  So your blog needs to be written as to  peak their interest to see what you are all about.  It is also about keeping them coming back.

B2C bloggers generally write about their company’s products. Reading about products is just that, reading about products. Your blog needs to be interesting enough to engage customers. If you write about events within the company, success stories and maybe even have contests you will encourage readers to join in. Its all about engagement!! Some of the basic suggestions (laundry list style) for best practices are keeping your blog between 400- 600 words, using a great headline to attract attention your blog, solving customers problem, promoting your blog, introducing new products and events. The main goal is customer engagement. Engage, engage and engage!!! And always respond to every comment that’s posted.

With B2C consumer products are only sold to an individuals whereas B2B usually demands interacting with buying groups. In B2B, you have to keep in mind not only the decision-makers to whom you are selling but also the wide variety of factors influencing those decisions. Factors to take into account include industry trends, forecasts, budgets and longer sales cycles. A business blog needs to begin with a strategy aimed at a target audience. The strategy may include building your brand or connecting with vendors or other companies. Some helpful best practices are using interesting headlines, creating interesting content, use key words that are search-able, have links to your website and engage with readers because this is the goal a your blog.

                           TWITTER  BEST PRACTICES                                                                                                                        twitter-101-guide                      

“The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time” recommends best practices for Tweeting.  They include:

  • Use Twitter to monitor real time conversations about your brand.
  • Use links that can drive traffic to your website, blog and other landing pages.
  • Improve customer service by picking up conversations about your company you are not aware of. Shut down any impending PR disasters.
  • Run special deals or promotions on Twitter to drive traffic.
  • And Use Tweet-up to meet people in person and introduce them to your organization.

From the Twitter website “Best practices, Be the best at what, when and how you tweet.” for business they recommend:

  • Create Tweets that resonate.
  • Engage with links pictures and video.
  • Tweets short and sweet. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they can be consumed easily anywhere, even via mobile text messages. a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.
  • Make it real-time. Timing matters, especially for breaking news or live Tweets
  • Tweet often. A good basic rule is between three to five Tweets per day. You may want to try tweeting a couple times a day to see how your audience reacts, then adjust as needed.
  • Simply @reply. Engage other Twitter users in conversation using @replies and mentions. The @reply feature is intended to make communication between users easy and seamless.
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