The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags for 2018

This is very informative information.

Did you know an Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtags?

Hashtags are powerful. They can help your posts reach a target audience, attract followers in your niche, increase engagement, and develop a more positive and recognizable brand image.

Here’s the thing, though: with great power comes great responsibility (#spiderman).

Click here to learn how to use Instagram Stories, Carousels, Influencers, and more. 

Hashtags can skyrocket your business to new heights, but if used too frequently or without a clear strategy in mind, they become pointless and inefficient, e.g.: #happy #superhappy #ecstatic #jumpingforjoy #whatsanothersynonym.

We want your business’s Instagram posts to receive optimal engagement, so we’ve put together an ultimate guide for using Instagram hashtags in 2018. With this guide, you won’t just attract followers — you’ll attract the right followers.

Why Hashtags Are Important

Hashtags are essentially Instagram’s sorting process. With around 95 million photos posted on Instagram every day, it’s difficult for Instagram to efficiently deliver the right content to the right people. Hashtags help your post get discovered by viewers most interested in seeing it.

Krystal Gillespie, HubSpot’s Social Media Community Manager, explains the importance of hashtags this way: “Hashtags are like a funnel. For instance, #marketing is incredibly broad and attracts all types of posts. We’ve found #digitalmarketing or #marketingmotivation gives us a more specific, targeted reach. The audience searching for these hashtags are also trying to narrow their search to what we offer related to Marketing, so we’re actually reaching more of the right people.”

Essentially, hashtags are a better way to categorize your posts. They help you reach a target audience, and more importantly, they help your target audience find you. These users are more likely to engage with your post because your post is exactly what they wanted.

Adding one of the most popular Instagram hashtags to your post doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see more interaction. Since the hashtags above are so popular, they are being used by millions of people, so your post will most likely be obscured by the competition. Narrowing your hashtag topic is important, but we’ll get to that next.

How to Use Hashtags for Your Business

1. Keep Your Hashtags Organized

To create an efficient hashtag system, you can use Excel or an Instagram analytics tool. If you choose an excel sheet, you’ll need to manually keep track of which hashtags you use, how often, and which ones correlate to your most popular posts. Over time, you’ll see relationships between certain hashtags and your most popular posts, and this can help you decide which hashtags work best for your brand.

If you have a more advanced social media team, you might want to consider a tool like Iconosquare, which automatically stores top hashtags and provides reports on which hashtags reach the most people.

For smaller businesses with limited budgets, Krystal Gillespie says that, “an excel sheet is the best way to start. Once you get more advanced I would highly recommend using a tool to track the data. A manual system can get overwhelming when you’re posting three times a day and using about 20 hashtags per post.”

2. Figure Out Your Magic Number

Most top brands — 91% of them, to be exact — use seven or fewer hashtags per post, so it’s easy to assume that’s the magic number for everyone … right? Krystal explains that this isn’t always the case: She told me HubSpot has been more successful with hashtags ranging in the low 20s.

The point is, you can’t know how many hashtags work best for you until you test it. For HubSpot, it took the team several months to find a number that worked best, and during our trial period, we ranged from seven to 30. Give yourself the same flexibility for trial and error.

3. Narrow Your Hashtags

There are two big reasons more specific, smaller-volume hashtags are better for your brand: first, you can compete in a smaller pool. HubSpot, for example, doesn’t typically use the hashtag #marketing because it’s too broad. If you search #marketing, you’ll find pictures of restaurants, inspirational quotes, before-and-after hair style pictures, and memes.

The randomness of #marketing leads me to the second reason specific hashtags are a good idea: as a user, I’m more likely to find what I need if I search for something specific, and when your business comes up for my specific search request, I’m more likely to be happy with what I found.

Krystal explains: “Keeping a hashtag close to the interests of your brand really helps. We try to use hashtags tailored for a specific topic and then narrow it down further — for instance, we’d use #SEOTips if our marketing post was mostly about SEO.”

Think of it this way: #dogs is more popular, but it has a wide demographic. If I search #goldenretrieverpuppies and I find your post, I’m more likely to engage with it because it’s exactly what I wanted.

4. Research What Other People are Hashtagging

An easy way to generate hashtag ideas is to make a list of your followers or competitors and research what they’re hashtagging on their own photos. It can also be particularly helpful to research what influencers in your industry are hashtagging — by definition, influencers are people with a large social media following, so they must be doing something right.

5. Test Out Related Hashtags

When you type a hashtag into Instagram’s search bar, Instagram shows you related hashtags in the scroll-down menu. Instagram also delivers related hashtags on the next page after you click on a hashtag. This is a simple way to create a longer list of hashtags to try out.

6. Follow Your Own Hashtag

Another way to use Instagram hashtags for your marketing purposes is to follow your own hashtag. Krystal explains, “On Instagram I actually follow the hashtag #hubspot so I can find anyone who talks about us and connect with them. As long as your account isn’t private, people will be able to find you via the hashtag.”

Following your own hashtag is an effective way to engage with other people talking about your brand and develop better relationships with them.

7. Create a Brand Campaign Hashtag

This is the trickiest item on the list, but if done successfully, it can pay off big time. Some businesses have successfully attracted followers by creating their own campaign hashtag. A campaign hashtag needs to be funny, clever, or at least memorable in order to work.

Campaign hashtags are particularly useful for promoting a new product or upcoming event, or even just inspiring people. Red Bull, for example, encouraged followers to post Red Bull pictures with a #putacanonit hashtag (see what I mean about clever?). LuLuLemon, rather than running a more traditional ad campaign, developed a positive connotation for their brand by asking followers to post real, active pictures of themselves with a #sweatlife hashtag.

How to Use Instagram Search Within the App

Now that we’ve covered the importance of using Instagram hashtags for your business, you might be wondering how to search for Instagram hashtags within the app, or how to use the search function to find related ideas. If you’re unsure of the technical process for hashtag searching, here’s how:

Original full article is here

Will the home appraisal industry be replaced by technology?

Automation haunts many discussions about the future of work, employment, and the economy. But technological advances may soon hit homes in an unexpected way: could real estate appraisers be replaced by robots?

That’s the conclusion of a recent article in Bloomberg, which discusses how advances in big data and computing are helping automate this knowledge-based job, perhaps a harbinger of how advances in machine learning mean an ever-widening circle of professions are at risk.

The future of the profession has become a topic due to a recent decision by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two institutions that facilitate the flow of funding for home loans nationwide. In the past, both of these entities have occasionally allowed appraisal waivers when evaluating low-cost loans. But recently, they’ve changed their stance, starting up a program earlier this year that would waive the new appraisal requirement for homes where the loan-to-value ratio is low. Instead, they’ll accept any appraisals on file from the last five years. In June, Freddie Mac said it would start accepting automated valuations for some refinancing loans.

This decision will reduce the number of appraisals being requested, says Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin, and implicitly suggests that a model with less human participation is just as good.

 

“There’s no replacement for an appraisal in most cases,” Amorin tells Curbed. “Many of the computer models use public information that hasn’t been verified. Even Zillow will tell you it’s an estimate, not an appraisal.”

A profession already feeling pressure

These policy shifts come during an unfortunate time for a profession watching its workforce slowly shrink. Today, there are currently 78,000 licensed appraisers in the U.S., says Amorin, whose organization represents roughly 20,000 of them. That is a steep drop from the 120,000 that performed the job five years ago.

Part of the decline is due to appraisers requiring extensive training and apprenticeships to become licensed, and part is due to diminishing fees, a result of the growth of appraisal management companies that work with lenders and take a portion of the final fee. The median age of an appraiser is roughly 52-55, says Amorin, suggesting the workforce is aging, retiring, and not being replenished.

“If numbers continue the way they are, there may not be enough appraisers to meet the needs of the marketplace,” says Amorin. “We worry about how the automated models will serve the needs of consumers.”

Computer estimates are closing the gap

At the same time, the technology now being cast as competition for appraisers is getting better and better. According to a Zillow engineer, the company’s Zestimate tool uses algorothms, machine learning, public records, MLS data, and information from brokers and users to create increasingly accurate value estimates. The models are continuously being trained on a daily basis to become more sophisticated; some are examining external imagesto better determine the “curb appeal” of a home Zillow even launched a $1 million Zillow Prize in May, similar to the Netflix Prize, to entice data scientists and researchers to improve the company’s algorithm and devise a more accurate method of estimating home values.

Zillow representatives noted multiple times they believe appraisals are valuable and in no way seek to replace the need for an appraisal.

Amorin believes that automated appraisals still focus too heavily on public data and often miss the little details and true picture of a property that creates an accurate value estimate. He believes you get what you pay for with automated models, and the work of an impartial appraiser is key to a functioning, transparent market.

But that doesn’t make him anti-technology. Amorin believes the future is in a marriage of man and machine, where humans and computer models combine for more accurate estimates. Appraisers get data that saves them time, while their estimates can be fed back into the algorithms and machine learning systems to make the estimates more accurate.

“If appraisers believe they can move forward doing what they’ve always done, they’ll go the way of the one-hour photo shop,” he says. “We have to adapt.”

By Patrick Sisson

Original article is here

Top Ten Reasons Why It Is Great To Be an Appraiser

appraisal, appraiser, stamford, ct
Top ten reasons why it is great to be an appraiser:
1. Dazzle your friends with your knowledge of external obsolescence.
2. Enjoy the wonderful world of rats, bats, and spiders.
3. Join the profession blamed for the collapse of the financial world.
4. See places in people’s houses that usually require a search warrant to access.
5. Arouse the suspicion of an entire neighborhood when inspecting comparable sales.
6. Get a chance to irritate annoying real estate salespeople.
7. Walk around holding a clipboard just like “Skipper” at the Jiffy Lube.
8. Spend hours researching comps to justify the market value of a property you decided on when you pulled into the driveway.
9. Find out that some people really do hang black velveteen pictures of Elvis in their living room.
10. Be one of a handful of people who know that USPAP is not a medical term.”

By Kimberly Tanzer-Schneider‎
Chino Hills, CA •

 

Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

nana smith, stamford selling agent

According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.

The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:

“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AR
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received“just slightly negative performance rankings”.

David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line:

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.

Industry Experts Agree: Housing Supply Too Low

Compete REA, Nana Smith selling agent, Nana Smith Stamford real estate

Last week, we reported on the lack of housing supply and how that was impacting the real estate market. Today, we want to let you know what other industry experts are saying.

Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac Vice President:

“It’s kind of a seesaw right now between supply and demand. One of the reasons for fewer sales is not so much a lack of demand but a lack of supply, especially in the price range the majority of buyers were looking for.”

Diana Olick, CNBC’s Realty Check:

“Total sales are still running below expectations for the year. Don’t blame winter weather, though. Blame the lack of supply.”

Bill McBride, Founder of Calculated Risk:

“Inventory is still very low (down 0.5% year-over-year in February). This will be important to watch over the next month at the start of the spring buying season.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors:

“Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels. Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity.”

Realtor.com

“The National Housing Trend Report shows that inventory has decreased 10.9 percent year over year.”

And some experts are actually calling it a “seller’s market”

Forbes.com

“Tight inventory is a main reason the ball is still in the sellers’ court.”

Bill Banfield, VP of Quicken Loans:

“We’re a bit low on the supply-side which could force prices up for buyers, further hammering home that we’re in a seller’s market.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact a local professional in your area to get the process started.

Path to Success

nana smith, nana smith listing agent, stamford ct real estate

Yes, the real estate industry is changing dramatically. It’s no longer about information; it’s about your ability to analyze that information so well that you can teach it to others. That’s your job now. That’s what the real estate industry is about now. The agents that embrace this New Market Reality are going to be the dominant agents moving forward. They are ones who will win the race! As you move forward into your real estate career, remember to plot out these three steps along the way:

• Step 1 – Continually educate yourself. Whether you use the KCM membership or some other educational means, know what’s going on and why it’s happening. As Albert Einstein said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it.”

• Step 2 – Be able to communicate what you learn. Think of it as the ability to sing versus being on iTunes. If you can sing, but deliver your message on the equivalent of 8-track tapes, no one will listen to you. If, however, you can sing and you publish your music digitally (the modern format), you’ll have a much higher likelihood of reaching your audience. In real estate, this means making sure your client presentations are filled with impactful, relevant information that will help them gain clarity from the confusion in the market. Make your presentations overly visual and so simple that anyone—even a child—can understand what is happening in the current market. Graphs, charts, and infographics are great formats to use.

• Step 3 – Keeping current matters! You can have a tremendous understanding of key factors and wonderful visual materials to help make it easy for your clients, but if you’re not updating these things on a constant basis, you’re lost. How valuable would a physician be if she didn’t update her advice and recommendations based on the newest medical research? Don’t be caught with outdated information in your presentations and conversations. Do your homework and be on top of all the major news that will impact the current real estate market. For most families, buying or selling a home is the most important personal decision and possibly the largest financial decision they’ll ever make. They are looking for a true professional to help them through this process. Make sure they get one when you walk into their lives.

 

The Difference A Year Can Make

Payment-Difference-KCM

Some Important Points To Consider:

  • The latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reports the 30-year fixed rate at 3.7%.
  • Freddie Mac’s projection for Q2 2016 is that the rate will be 4.7% (a full percentage point higher)
  • The Home Price Expectation Survey predicts that home prices will appreciate by 4.4% during this same time

The impact waiting a year to purchase your dream home can make on your monthly payment is significant. Contact a local real estate professional today to discuss your options before the experts’ predictions become reality!

Selling Your House? Price it Right Up Front

Price-It-Right (1)

In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.

John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered the their price. In his article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Pricepublished in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.

Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!

A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.

Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Look for an agent that will take the time to simply and effectively explain what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home. You need an agent that will tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. This will put you in the best possible position.

Invest your Money: The Smart Way

nana smith sells real estate in stamford ct

So you have decided to invest your hard earned money into real estate – smart move! Thousands of people are doing it and it is working! Buying a property and renting it out can take work but it can also have many benefits. Before you start investing your money there are a few things that you should know.

What are you looking for?

Every single house is not a good investment. In fact, many properties could actually lose you money. Find out approximate mortgage payment amounts and comparable rents in the same area before you make your final decision on any property.

 Is it a Good Deal?

Unfortunately, the perfect property to invest in will not fall into your lap. Find out what type of property you are looking for and start doing your research. Once you know what type of property you are looking for as well as the price, you are now able to start your search!

 Can A Realtor Help?

Being in touch with a realtor that knows what you are looking for can also help! The realtor will know exactly what you are looking for and can forward you over any properties in these criteria.

exp, exprealty, crea, completreREA, Nana Smith listing agent

Are they a Good Tenant?

What is the point in renting out the home if the tenants increase your amount of grey hair? Your goal is to make money, so make sure that your tenants are trustworthy. Call their references and make sure that everything is in writing. A little bit of extra work here can save you a lot of time in the future!

 Can it Save Me Money in Other Ways?

Did you know that your cash flow should be tax-free? That’s right! Rarely will an investor pay taxes on this! On top of that, owning property is a tax deduction. This can help you when filing taxes once a year against your other income.

nana smith, listing agent, stamford CT listing agent

 

Did you know that your cash flow should be tax-free? That’s right! Rarely will an investor pay taxes on this! On top of that, owning property is a tax deduction. This can help you when filing taxes once a year against your other income.

Great article on The Cash Flow Statement

Agent Can & Should Avoid

real-estate-email-marketing-600wMore and more real estate marketing activities are rightly focused on the most important aspect of the agent-client relationship: effective communication. As a result, email continues to be an extremely important tool in every agent’s arsenal. After all, there’s really no other method for efficientlycommunicating with so many leads and clients at such a low cost. As the real estate email marketing landscape continues to expand, it becomes that much more important to focus on differentiating yourself as a top-tier agent. Part of that process is to ensure that you’re not making any ‘rookie’ mistakes that are sure to paint you as a ‘rookie agent’.

At Zurple, we encourage our agents to get the most out of their email strategy. Still, there are a number of mistakes that are both avoidable yet stubbornly persistent across the industry. So, the next time you compose an email to your prospective or current client, be cognizant to avoid the all-too-common mistakes below.

1. Typos -It’s funny how some would suggest purposely sending typos in an email to make it seem less robotic or automated. A better way to avoid coming across like a robot is to make your emails personal with relevant information your recipient would appreciate. Take the 30 seconds to review an important email before it’s sent!

2. Poor grammar – Make sure your sentences are coherent and in the proper tense. Although not everyone notices grammatical errors, glaring issues with your grammar may put off a prospective client – calling into question your professionalism in the process.

3. Wrong property link – When sending out a link, make sure you send the right link. Sending clients, whose price range is $500k – $700k, a link to a $1.5 million home may be enough to have your future emails flagged as spam.

4. Links don’t work – If you send an email with a link, make sure it works. Sometimes email editors will do some funky things with your URL – like add in an extra ‘http://’ so always be wary. Take the 10 seconds to click on your own link – there’s no excuse not to!

5. Wrong property address – This is another easy one, but a big one. Always double-check addresses in emails targeting a specific property.

6. Personalization is incorrect – Email tags can be dangerous, because they can be wrong. Go the extra mile by keeping your data clean to ensure that personalization tags are accurate (and don’t contain typos). After all, “Dear Johhn” doesn’t look so good…

dear_johhn,

7. Date and/or time mix up – When sending out emails with dates and times, such as an open house announcement, be sure to triple check this information. A mistake here can result in some very frustrated people or even a loss of business. Remember, there’s no guarantee that someone will read your follow-up email correcting your prior mistake.

                           8.Misleading ‘from name’ – If you’re using an email service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, take extra care to ensure that the ‘from’ field uses a description that would be recognized by your audience (like, your name!). Otherwise, you can really hurt your open rates because people don’t know that it’s you who is sending the emails. Your personal brand is being used whenever people see the ‘from-name’ so make sure to get it right every time.

9.Sending to the wrong recipients – Sending information to the wrong person or group of people is a great way to ask people to unsubscribe from your list. So, it goes without saying that your recipient list needs to be accurate, every time.

10.Incomplete text – There are going to be instances when you’re writing an email, are interrupted, then finish composing that email at some later time. Except, you sent the email without realizing that you had a sentence that was just hanging or disjointed. As with typo avoidance, take an extra 30 seconds for a re-read, especially after an interruption.

11.Correct pronouns based on context – If you’re sending an email blast – aimed at the individual – make sure your email references the individual as an individual. The same rule applies if you’re writing to a plural audience. Here’s an example:
‘I was thinking you might really like this property’…
instead of ‘I was thinking you all might like this property…’

12.Missing intro – This may depend on your style & relationship with the recipient, but typically a greeting like hello, hey, or hi {first_name} is a nice thing to have at the very beginning of an email. While not a hard-and-fast rule, a missing intro can decrease the personal feel of an email.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE IS HERE:

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