Social Media

Improve your LinkedIn engagement by following these steps

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More than 500 million people use LinkedIn every single day. On average, two professionals join the platform every second. Two-fifths of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. And 91 percent of executives rate it as their first choice for professionally relevant insights. 

What does all that mean? It means that there are a whole lot of people and organizations who are thirsty for your content and ready to connect.

But too often, LinkedIn users prioritize quantity over quality. Here’s one common misconception:

More posts = more visibility = more leads.

 Wrong. 

Your mindset should alwaysbe quality over quantity. After all, you’d rather have one post a week that generates 15 leads than seven a week that return nothing, right?

Here are some pointers to help you create lead-winning LinkedIn posts.

Tip 1: Don’t always include links

They take people away from the platform and LinkedIn doesn’t like that, and if LinkedIn doesn’t like something their algorithm is more likely to penalize your post. 

Remember, this also applies to videos. Instead of pointing people to your YouTube page upload it as a native video to please the platform you’re publishing on. 

New to videos? Here’s how to get started on your smartphone.

 

Tip 2: Focus on your length

The general consensus among users and LinkedIn professionals is that longer posts tend to perform better, so don’t be afraid of using your full 1,300 character limit. 

Not sure what to talk about? Steal some ideas here.

 

Improve your LinkedIn engagement by following these steps  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Tip 3: Use emojis

They stand out from the rest of your text and catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling down. But remember, moderation is key. Going emoji crazy every other word will just a) make your post hard to read, b) turn people off, and c) look a little childish.

 

Tip 4: Like what you post 

Of course you like it, that’s why you published it! But that’s not the reason. Liking your own comments and posts can help spread your content further around the platform.

 

Tip 5: Give a little, get a lot

Don’t expect an encore of engagement if you don’t ever do the same to others. Like and comment on other people’s posts and they’ll be more likely to return the favor.

 

Tip 6: Stick to text-only

Keep it simple with text-only posts. On average, they earn more comments and views than their image and video counterparts. 

 

Tip 7: Speak directly to your audience

Refrain from starting your post with words like “we” and “I”. Some better alternatives include:

  • You

  • Your

  • How to

They put the focus onto the reader and show it’s all about helping them.

 

Tip 8: People do business with people

Give your audience a bit of insight into who you are and what you’re about - just be careful not to let these posts overpower your lead-generating ones.

 

Tip 9: Pick the right time

Sprout Social says the best time to post on LinkedIn is either between 9-10am or at 12pm on Wednesday...but don’t get too derailed by that. Different audiences have different behaviors, so before you get too stuck in a routine that may or may not be working do a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you.


 Hue & Tone: Social Media and Graphic Design

Whatever stage of social experience you have, whichever platform’s you are on and no matter what your goals may be, we’ve got the ingredients you need for social media success. Drop us a line on hannah@hueandtonecreative.com or give us a call on (336) 365-8559 to start improving your engagement today.

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising

You’ve likely seen and heard about Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ ad. This ad reignited the debate on whether or not there’s a place for advertisers to take a moral, ethical, or political stance in their marketing. While the Gillette ad is the latest ad to provoke this debate, it certainly isn’t the first of its kind. Cause marketing ads have been around for some time – for example, Procter & Gamble’s ‘The Talk ’and Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier' promos.

 

What is woke advertising?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

The slang term ‘woke’ refers to awareness around “important facts and issues - especially issues of racial and social justice.” Woke advertising doesn’t promote a product, instead, it focuses on real-life, political or moral topics.

Historically, brands have avoided contentious topics for fear of upsetting, disgruntling, or outright alienating their audience. But, in an increasingly polarized political climate, playing on identity and political belief can lead to a big buy-in. 

And, as a rule, we’ve seen it works. 

After Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in their ‘Just Do It’ ad, the company reported a 6.25 per cent increase in their stock post-campaign, which equated to a healthy $6.38 billion boost to the business’ overall value. 

It’s not always rosy though. Let’s take a look at Pepsi’s attempt to get in on the social justice action with their 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner, which took place against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement. The soda company was criticized for trivializing such a sensitive subject, and they received some very frank feedback on social media as a result. 


Is there a place for it? 

When it comes to whether or not there’s a place for woke advertising, opinions are split. Personally, we see brands taking a stand on something as a positive step… but only if they back up their words and advertisements with their actions.

While consumers are practically demanding companies believe in something other than boosting their sales, promoting a political agenda in a country that thrives on call out culture is risky business. While relating to your consumers on a value level is a great way to stand out, if you don’t back your beliefs up with brand culture and moral business activity, you risk consumers writing you off forever. 

To us, successful woke advertising means aligning your beliefs to your brand’s culture and ethos, and going out of your way to support the cause you’re rallying around. It’s not enough to take an empty stand on a talked-about political topic for the sole purpose of boosting brand awareness. It’s transparent and empty. Most customers are attuned to the fact that woke advertising is a strategic plan to support sales, and it’s unlikely they’ll be easily fooled by hollow words.

Here’s a few examples of companies that put their money where their mouth is --

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising  |  Hue & Tone Creative
  • TOMS: One for one. For every TOMS product that’s purchased, the company helps a person in need. You can find out more about their model here.

  • Cora: Cora’s an organic tampon company, and they put aside a percentage of their monthly revenue to provide people in India with sustainable period management solutions.

  • Patagonia: One of the first defenders of environmental ethics, Patagonia uses recycled materials and organic cotton, and, working with Fair Trade Certified factories in India, Sri Lanka and Los Angeles, is an advocate of labor ethics too. 

  • IKEA: For starters, IKEA sources 50% of their wood from sustainable foresters and 100% of their cotton from farms that meet Better Cotton standards. Secondly, they use hundreds and thousands of solar panels to power their stores, and strive to be powered by 100% renewables by 2020.

It’s not for the faint hearted

Keep in mind it’s impossible to please everyone - even the woke ads that positively boosted business revenue received negative backlash. 

They used to say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – but in the age of social media, that’s obviously not true. If you’re thinking about taking a bold political stance, make sure you’re fully educated on the issue and that you actually consult with the group or cause you’re talking about.

Don’t assume you know how others will feel or react – and don’t make your marketing choices in an echo chamber of homogenous decision makers. If you look around the room, and you’re staring at all white men, you probably shouldn’t put out an ad about the black community. If you do, we would suggest brushing up your crisis communication plan.  

Speaking of crisis communication plans, let’s see what happened when Pepsi decided to release their ad with Kendall Jenner… 

“Lmao Pepsi’s new ad Kendall Jenner ‘end racism’ by handing police men a Pepsi - way to degrade 50 yrs of black/minority struggle” @HanorahHardy tweeted.

And another Twitter user posted:

Once Pepsi realized the errors of their ways, they soon pulled the ad and released a statement explaining their intentions and apologizing for the damage done: 

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” they commented to the Associated Press. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.” 

There was nothing published to suggest the soda company suffered long-term financial repercussions, but there’s also good chance that kind of intel would be kept behind closed doors. 

Big brand names like Nike, Gillette and Pepsi can afford to take a gamble. If things don’t go as planned and their sales take a hit, they won’t go out of business. But is this true for you? Before you make a bold proclamation about the beliefs of your business, make sure you have a solid fall back strategy in place. 

What’s your opinion when it comes to woke advertising? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook and  Twitter pages!


Hue & Tone: Your Marketing Partners

Whether you’re looking to make a big splash or just build your online community, we would love to help you fine tune your digital presence. If you need a fresh set of social templates, help with your general messaging, or a full-time community manager, we believe Hue & Tone Creative might be a good fit for you.

Real Estate: How to effectively use social media to market your listings

How to Effectively Use Social Media to Market Your Listings  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Most real estate agents have a social media presence – but having an account and using it effectively are two totally different things. 

If used properly, social media can help you create connections with potential buyers or sellers, help you share your expertise, and let people get a sense of your personality. It’s also a great way for new realtors to let buyers, sellers, renters, and other realtors know you’re joining in the game. 

Whether you specialize in working with first time buyers or seasoned investors, defining and refining your social media strategy will always benefit your business. From stories to geo-targeting and anti-spamming, we’ve got five on-trend tactics to help you give your presence a boost.

 

Use pictures to pique interest

Our pet peeve? Realtors who put the property listing link in their Instagram caption! That link isn’t clickable – and including it there not only annoys your followers, it makes it obvious you don’t know best social media practices. Need to include a lot of links? Check out Linktree 

Golden rule number one: don’t just post the link to your listing and expect people to click it. But equally, don’t forget to include the link altogether! If there’s one way to irritate your followers, it’s to post an awesome looking property, without a link, and expect them to trawl through your site to find it themselves.

To really catch peoples’ eye, get creative with your photography and consider venturing into the realm of videos. Instead of just sharing the property’s location and price, share your personality, throw in fun community facts, and highlight what’s unique about the house. 

 

Start sharing social stories 

Social stories are big no matter what business sector you’re in -- but in real estate, they provide the perfect platform to bring your properties and brand to life, give exclusive behind the scenes insights, and drive both engagement and authenticity with real-time content. 

The beauty of social stories is that they needn’t require cutting edge technology or editing skills, either. Raw footage can often be more relatable, so next time you’re checking out a property, why not grab some footage on-the-go and give your followers a bit of a teaser?

 

Don’t be a social spammer

This might seem contradictory given this article is all about marketing your listings, but don’t justpost about your listings on social media. If you do, you run the risk of overbearing your followers with relentless sales-lead content, which could result in them hitting that dreaded unfollow button.

Instead, mix up your feeds with a blend of listings, blogs, tips, advice, guidance, fun facts, ideas, and testimonials. It’ll ensure your feed doesn’t start looking stale, and will allow you to provide your audience with a variety of genuinely useful content.

 

Don’t forget to be…social

Social engagement is a two-way street. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest - and every other platform in between, if someone’s made the effort to comment on one of your posts or send you a message, always reply - promptly.

Replying is especially important if you’ve received a negative comment – instead of ignoring the question, engage and stop a negative interaction in it’s tracks. Thoughtful feedback can often clear up a misunderstanding – and if nothing else, it will show that you’re responsive and reasonable. 

 

Tap into geo-targeting

If you’re looking to promote posts and you operate across a wide geographic area, be sure to utilize geotargeting with your ads. Instead of bombarding your entire base with listings that aren’t in the same city, take a strategic approach and target your audience based on their location. 

 It’ll increase your engagement ratio on the posts, and ensure you don’t become a nuisance by sharing irrelevant content. If you’re new to the world of geo targetinghere is a simple guide talking you through how to do the doing.


Hue & Tone Creative: Serving Greensboro and beyond

If you’re not sure where to start or simply don’t have the time to execute your business’ social media strategy, then we’re here to help. Contact us today at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see where we can fit into your business strategy.

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Here at Hue & Tone Creative, we love working on projects that contribute to a sense of place – especially if that place is our hometown of Greensboro, NC. 

Throughout our work with spaces like Revolution Mill, we’ve developed an interest in all things placemaking, economic development, and real estate related. Whether you’re a marketing generalist or, like us, you strive to take on more economic development projects, we believe placemaking is a concept every marketer should be familiar with. The methods used in effective placemaking can be applied to a number of campaigns across a wide range of industries. 

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) defines placemaking as “a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.” 

Placemaking is all about creating spaces and places that people want to be – places where citizens feel comfortable living, learning, working, and playing. These places are people friendly, visually interesting, accessible, and memorable. 

Robert Steuteville, editor of Public Square: A CNU Journalargues that a Quality Place possesses the following features: 

  •  A mix of uses

  • Effective public spaces

  • Broadband capability

  • Multiple transportation options

  • Multiple housing options

  • Preservation of historic structure

  • Respect community heritage

  • Arts, culture, and creativity

  • Recreation

  • Green space

  • Quiet, unless they are designed to be otherwise

Now that you know what placemaking is, it’s time to figure out how to marry your social media strategy with more traditional placemaking efforts. That’s called Digital Placemaking – and PPS defines it as “the integration of social media into Placemaking practices, which are community-centered, encouraging public participation, collaboration, and transparency.”

As you start to incorporate social media into your placemaking efforts, here’s 5 ideas you can use as a springboard for your brainstorming: 

  

1. Use social to amplify temporary placemaking efforts

Temporary placemaking is the bootstrap version of true placemaking – and it’s perfect for activating areas people perceive as unsafe. It allows you to experiment with a variety of ideas on a smaller scale, and then grow what worked.  

Good examples of this are an interactive art project, an activity or game, or an event. Even something small like an Instagram-able mural or photo background can help transform an otherwise unused wall. 

 Once you have your project in place, set up a hashtag and a sign or photobooth that will encourage people to use and share their experience. 

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking | Hue & Tone Creative

2. Use social media to establish your city/space as a tastemaker

Instead of hiring influencers, it’s time to set your own trends -- start utilizing your social accounts to amplify your subject matter expertise. That means using your accounts to show off your expert knowledge about a place – Where do you get the best Pho? What boutique do visitors need to check out? What downtown city corner has an incredible history?  

Answer those questions for your followers and you won’t have to hire someone to show off what’s cool about your city or space.

Hashtagging properly and regularly interacting with followers will help activate people who already live in your city -- and long term you’ll be enticing new people to visit your neck of the woods.

 

3. Establish transparency using open source data

Did you know City of Greensboro does a good job of making public data available? Their open data program, “Open Gate City” was launched in 2016 to facilitate transparency, promote community engagement, and stimulate innovation. Open Gate City is a collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies' "What Works Cities Initiative."

Check it out here.

The idea behind open data is that data should be readily and freely available to the general public to use and republish as they wish. Additionally, the idea of open government means that access to government documents and proceedings allows for effective public oversight and protects against extensive state secrecy.  

City governments and public agencies can leverage open data to help build positive relationships with the public. In addition to building general good will, these open data efforts are a treasure trove of potential content for municipal marketing efforts. 

4. Create a hashtag campaign that encourages citizens to share their views  

Create a unique hashtag and use it as the central sharing point of your campaign. Embed the hashtag across all your touchpoints – social, web copy, print collateral, direct mail, email advertising, and online ads -- and encourage people to use it when they’re talking about your campaign (or your city).  

Don’t just sit behind your screen though! Hit the streets with merchandise, handouts, spray paint, or banners, and get to know the people you’re targeting. In-person marketing efforts are sure to connect with a new group, not just the same old group of active users that are constantly retweeting you. 

 

5. Use social media channels as a tool for crowdsourcing data 

With its exponential reach, social media is an incredibly powerful - and free - tool for crowdsourcing. If you’re stumped on what the public wants to see in a space, use social media to start running polls, start discussions, or gather feedback. 

The insights you gain can then be built into future stages of your placemaking campaign! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Your placemaking partner

Ready to brainstorm some fresh ideas? Or, maybe you just need the creative muscle to execute your ideas? Let’s talk and see if we make a good fit: 336-365-8559.

How to do a social media audit

Managing your businesses social media channels is a daily, if not hourly, endeavor. You get into the groove of posting regularly, and it makes it easy to forget about the big picture: your overall social media strategy.

If you’re finding it hard to remember the last time you reviewed your overarching social media strategy, it’s probably time to step back and do a social media audit.

In fact, routine audits should be an important element of your social media strategy. Regular audits will help you identify any weak points in your approach, give you more detailed information about your audience, and help you retool your strategy to match current trends. 

We would suggest doing an in-depth audit at least once a year in addition to a monthly or quarterly mini-audit. Doing a monthly check-in will give you a real-time idea of where you’re at with your goals, making it easier to pivot and adapt as you go. 

How to do a social media audit |  Hue & Tone Creative


Set goals for yourself

If you don’t have a set of measurements to grade yourself against, how will you know if your social media has been successful? 

Before you jump into your first social media audit, set some guidelines for what success looks like. There are many third party templates available – like this one from Sprout Social– or you can set your own goals. 

You’ll want to review the following for each profile: 

  • Engagement numbers

  • Publishing frequency

  • Consistency

  • Audience demographics

  • Referral sources

  • Social media budget/ROI

  • Channel specific metrics 

  

Delve into the numbers

Whether you use built in analytics or an outside platform, you’ll want to make sure you’re checking in regularly to gauge the health of your social media channels. Analytics are invaluable in terms of steering your future strategy and ensuring you are tailoring your content to what works best for each platform.

A few basic things to be looking for:

  • Are you on the right platforms? There’s little value in investing time into daily Facebook posts if the majority of your audience uses LinkedIn. Even if you’ve already done this in the past, behaviors change, so make sure you’re up-to-date with current trends. Do some digging to find out where your audience actually is and refocus your efforts accordingly. 

  • Who is on your page? Thought you were marketing to young women, but most of your traffic is middle aged men? That’s good information to have so you can tailor your strategy accordingly. 

  • What content is most popular? What content is really connecting with you audience – and what isn’t? Consider cutting what isn’t connecting – especially if it’s content that’s taking up the bulk of your content creation time. 

  • When is your audience online? Built in analytics make it so you no longer have to guess about peak posting times. 

  • Don’t forget to track these stats all the way through to your web traffic. When people come over to your site from social media, how long are they staying? Are they happy with the links you’re serving them?

other MAINTENANCE steps

Once you’ve outlined the metrics you’ll use, there’s a few more things we suggest you do:

Need to display more than one link in your Instagram bio? LinkTree is the solution! Check it out here

1.    Go back to your bios

If you don’t regularly check in on your social media bios, you’ll probably be surprised how much has changed since you last updated it. Business objectives change, taglines get updated, and advertising campaigns shift focus – and your social media bios should reflect every one of these significant changes.

Your bio should be tailored to each platform, and no matter where it’s displayed your social bios should be short, snappy, and on-brand. You’ll want to make sure you’ve included an overview of your services, your location, and who you work with/for.

 

A great example of an Instagram bio

Trendy and affordable clothing boutique for professional women of all ages. Charlotte and Greensboro locations open M-F, 7a-5p. #BoutiqueName

Why it’s good: This bio tells you who this boutique is for, where they’re located and when they’re open. Chances are, that info covers most of the questions first time visitors would ask. Hashtags in Instagram bios are live links, making #BoutiqueName is a valuable use of space. 

 

A bad example of an Instagram bio

Great clothes, great prices. Founded in 2002, open daily. Visit www.URL.com for more. 

Why it’s bad: When you were founded is pretty much irrelevant information. And, this bio isn’t properly tailored for Instagram – that hyperlink should only be listed in the website field, because that’s the only place a URL is clickable.

How to do a social media audit |  Hue & Tone Creative

2. Refresh your imagery

Visual branding evolves over time – and your cover photos should evolve as well. Bonus points if you update them to fit the seasons, your most current advertising campaign, or special events. 

When it comes to cover photo quality, make sure you’re up to date with the latest trends. For example, most major brands have swapped out a high res image in favor of a video cover photo. If you opt to make the switch, you’ll want to make sure your video looks clear and loads quickly. 

 

3. Scan the web

Do a quick Google search and make sure there aren’t any profiles out there claiming to be you -- or that you don’t have any old profiles of your own lingering around. If there are, you could be losing out on some business-winning followers.  

If you do come across your own old profile, delete it. And if it’s someone else impersonating you, ask them to remove the page - if they don’t, report it.

 

4. Create new goals

Now that you’ve tracked and measured your goals, how are you going to improve and change them? Once you’ve concluded your social media audit be sure to set new goals that you hope to achieve in the next month, quarter, or year.  


Hue & Tone: Social Media Solutions for every business

If you need help refining or maintaining your social media strategy, you’ve made it to the right place! No matter what state your social media plan is in, we can help you get your profiles back on track. We can even do the posting for you! To learn more, get in touch with us.

When + why + how to create a new hashtag

Hashtags are everywhere on social media. You’ll see them tacked on to the end of Instagram posts, incorporated into the body of a tweet, and sparingly used on Facebook. They’re key for discovering and organizing social media posts – they make it easy for you to find additional posts on a related topic so that you can more easily contribute to the conversation on a topic.

 But, why should you start your own hashtag(s)? The easy answer is to group your posts together so that people can find more of your content. However, you don’t want to start randomly making hashtags with no rhyme or reason – that will only confuse people and further bury your content.  

Let’s dive into the why – and when – you start your own hashtag. 

When + why + how to create a new hashtag  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The why

Some hashtags are overused -- meaning they get a lot of reach – but after a while the content associated with them may turn into spam. Piggybacking off already popular hashtags can help get you a lot of reach, but your posts may also get lost in the shuffle. 


By creating your own, you can help convert a follower of a more general topic (for example, #marketing), into someone that follows you (#hueandtone). When people discover your content using a general hashtag, the theory is that they’ll want to see more, leading them click on your branded hashtag to see what else you have to offer.  

By creating your own hashtag, you’ll be able to: 

  • Stand out from the crowd

  • Cement credibility and establish authority

  • Increase your engagement and reach

  • Create cross-channel awareness (if you use it consistently) 

  • Be able to track posts other people make about your brand

The when

While there should be a solid reason beyond creating a new hashtag, we also suggest you have fun and play around with them. See what sticks before making it part of your brand identity. As an example, #ShareACoke, has become a staple part of Coca Cola’s social strategy. It works well, because it encourages recurring interaction and tagging. 

That said, some popular reasons for creating custom hashtags include:

  • Launching a new product, service, or campaign

  • Posting live updates from an event

  • Hosting a live chat or Q&A session

  • Running a competition

  • Establishing a general hashtag for your brand 

In each of the above instances, using previously and frequently used hashtags can cause havoc. Not only do they make it difficult for you to monitor, but it can confuse your audience. You don’t want to put your followers in the position of having to scroll through irrelevant content just to find what they’re looking for. 

 

How to create a hashtag in 5 simple steps 

When + why + how to create a new hashtag  |  Hue & Tone Creative

1.  First things first, define your goals. Some fairly common ones include increasing:

  • Brand conversations

  • Visibility

  • Total link clicks

  • Total reach

  • Mentions

  • Followers

  • Likes

Behavioral patterns vary on different networks, so if you’re using your new hashtag across multiple social channels, you should set goals specific for each one.

 

2.  The fun part - get creative! But make sure your hashtag’s the right balance between engaging and easily understandable -- if people don’t instantly grasp it, the effect’s kind of lost.

Here are some simple tips to start you off: 

  • Keep it short and snappy

  • Make it easy to remember

  • Ensure it’s relevant to your brand

  • Don’t make it too generic

  • Check it doesn’t have any obscure double meanings -- let’s not forget the #susanalbumparty fail!

3. Do your research. Make sure it’s not already in use on anysocial media networks, and double-check it doesn’t, for whatever reason, have any potentially offensive roots or connotations. 

 

4.  Make it actionable. At the end of the day, every marketer’s end goal is to drive revenue. Even if your hashtag’s goal is to increase social follows, the bigger picture is more sales. So, if you can, put an actionable spin on your new hashtag -- ask a question, play on an emotion, encourage engagement, or incite urgency, for example.

 

5.  Last but certainly not least, triple check your hashtag for typos and post it! See what kind of reaction you get, and if you feel like the tag falls flat after a handful of posts, then don’t be afraid to try out a new one. 


Hue & Tone Creative: SOCIAL MEDIA Services for Greensboro and beyond

Struggling to keep up with the comments, likes, and mentions on your posts? Can’t come up with a creative hashtag? Stumped for original content ideas? We can handle all of that for you. From multi-channel audits to content generation and social media monitoring, Hue & Tone is the solution for all your social media woes.

13 marketing tips for real estate agents

Real estate can be a lucrative industry, but if you’re marketing your services in a fiercely competitive market, you’re going to have to do some serious work to stand out. 

While there’s no one magic ingredient that will guarantee success, there are a number of tactics you can employ to help gain more exposure and to create long term success. Investing in quality marketing, means creating quality content that gets your name out there and keeps it top of mind. Quality content is about playing the long game and building a solid foundation for your brand. 

13 Marketing tips for real estate agents  |  Hue & Tone Creative

To make sure you’re maximizing your market’s potential, here are 12 tips to help give your sales momentum a boost:
 

1. Be active on social

From renting tips and mortgage advice to home decor trends and how-to-sell guides, real estate agents have endless potential content to work with. Widen up the scope of your content from just current listings and make sure what you’re posting is beneficial to home owners during every step of the buying journey (including those who have already completed the buying process!). 

Build your presence by filling your feeds with genuinely useful information – and, as always, remember to interact with other users to gain exposure.

 

2. Don’t play hard to get

Don’t make people have to work to find your contact details. Whether it’s on your website, social bio or sales collateral, your contact details should be everywhere! Make sure your info is clear and easy to find to up your chances of an inbound inquiry. 



3. Branch out from stock photography

People can sniff stock images from a mile off. Give your brand an authentic feel by using real images of real houses and real homebuyers. Your smart phone has a great camera for snapping photos out in the field, but when it comes to photos of listings we suggest hiring a specialized real estate photographer. 

 

4. Hire a wordsmith

Your pictures are just one part of the pitch. Your words are the other. Do your listings justice and pique people’s interest by retaining a copywriter who can help bring your properties to life. 
 


5. Don’t over exaggerate

While you want to make your listings appear appealing, don’t get carried away and over sell your properties. If you build a reputation for wasting people’s time, you’ll only tarnish your reputation -- which is not easy to undo!

 

6. Consider the UX of your listings

Not sure what to display? Take a look at how Zillow and Redfin display their info to get an idea of what might matter to prospective buyers! 

User experience (UX) testing helps you understand how real people navigate their way around your website so that you can identify areas in need of improvement. 

You’ll want to consider what potential homebuyers are looking for when they come to your site. Information like square footage, location, price, and features should be readily available and easy to read. Photos should be easy to flip through and maps should be easy to explore. 

 

7. Watch out for stale listings 

You fall in love with a house. You make an inquiry. You’re told it’s already off the market. At best, it’s just inconvenient and irritating. Make sure you put a process in place to ensure properties that are no longer available are swiftly removed from your site.

 

8. Keep people in the loop

Buying a house can be a long process – and some people might start the process only to realize they’re not quite prepared to buy. Don’t lose that relationship! Be sure to collect prospective buyers email addresses and point them to your social media, so that you can engage with them until it’s time to buy.
 

13 Marketing tips for real estate agents  |  Hue & Tone Creative

9. Don’t forget about millennials

It feels like every day there’s another headline about millennials and how few of them are buying homes, but it’s important not to discount them as potential buyers. Homeownership is starting to increase among this generation, and it’s important to start engaging this demographic because of their future purchasing power. Social media is a great way to do this because it shows you can speak their language! 

 

10. Get offline with a broker event 

While maintaining your social media is important, don’t be afraid to pull things offline and connect in person. A broker event could be anything from a traditional open house to a first time home buyers class. 



11. Become an authority

Creating quality content like webinars, videos, white papers, and blogs will help you increase your search engine optimization while also building your brand awareness. We suggest writing and accepting guest blogs to help you cross promote with other realtors and reach new people.

Valuable content -- like neighborhood profiles -- can help drive massive amounts of traffic to your site, making your name recognizable to potential homebuyers now and in the future. 

 

12. Get real feedback to share

Customer testimonials give insight into what it’s like to work with you. They’re a great way to give potential buyers some insight as they try to decide if they want to sign an engagement letter with you. 

When collecting testimonials, it’s often best to engage with home buyers as they near closing – your experience is fresh on their mind and there’s a chance you might lose contact with them after closing. 

 

13. Print isn’t dead

When you’re doing the rounds at open houses it’s easy to get confused about what house offered what. Don’t let prospective buyers leave a tour empty handed! Create handouts that recap all the important specs of the house, photos, and location information. 

We also suggest putting together a special packet for first time home buyers that covers every step from getting approved for a mortgage to what to expect at closing. Empowering first time buyers with their own information will eliminate confusion and cut down on the time you spend answering easy questions.  


Hue & Tone: Your Real Estate Marketing Partner

If you’re a real estate agent and you’re looking to ramp up your online presence, you’ve landed on the right site. From complete brand overhauls to social media management, we’re your one-stop-shop for all things web and design. 

The essentials: must have marketing assets for new businesses

Get your new business of to the best start possible with the right marketing materials! 

Get your new business of to the best start possible with the right marketing materials! 

So, you’ve decided to start a business. You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority?

Marketing materials can encompass everything from websites and letterheads to social media graphics and promotional videos. If you’re just starting out in the small business world, chances are your budget is probably a little tight – but skimping when you start up can mean unnecessary spending down the road.

Think about it: you pick the first business name you think up and print up a bunch of business cards, letterheads, and pens. A few weeks later, you’re hearing from your customers that they can’t remember your business name. Now you’ve confused people, still have to pay for proper branding, and you’ve got to pay to reprint materials you could have gotten right from the start. 

The good news is that we’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it. We hope this run down of essential marketing materials helps empower you when you’re hiring a graphic designer or marketing agency.

Here’s what you need to successfully get your business off the ground:
 

1. Brand Values

Because no physical products come out of this stage of the branding process, it’s often rushed or disregarded – but this is one of the most important stages, and it will influence everything you do from here on out. Your brand values are the set of principles that will dictate every aspect of your business, including the look, messaging, and customer service approach.

Here’s what you’ll want to define:

  • Values: what does your business stand for?
  • Objectives: where do you want to be in 1, 5, or 10 year’s time?
  • Customer personas: who are your talking to and what do they care about?
  • Tone of voice: how will you talk to your customers? And why?
  • Proposition: what will you do for your customers? And how will you benefit them?
  • Tagline/mission statement: how can your brand’s essence be summed up into as few words as possible?

Taking the time to properly develop your brand values will allow you to properly train your workforce and will help you communicate your brand to third parties. We suggest asking your marketing team for a brand book or set of written guidelines that you could hand off to an outside team.

The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses  |  Hue & Tone Creative


2. Brand Identity

Now it’s time to develop the look and feel of your brand. This is where you’ll work with a designer to create a logo and everything that goes with it. You’ll want to come out of this stage with:

  • Primary logo: as well as any alternative logo formats you might need for packaging, online use, or small sizes
  • Logo usage guidelines: what is the smallest size your primary logo should be printed? What do you do when you can only print your color in one logo? Make sure your designer provides you with guidelines for every situation you might encounter.
  • Font palette: what fonts are you going to use on print, web, and in Microsoft Office?
  • Color Palette: what primary and secondary colors will complement your look, logo ad tone?
  • Graphic elements: anything needed to complete your print and web designs.
  • Sample usage: make sure your designer provides examples of how all these elements will come together to create your signature look. 

 

3. Build a winning website

We talk a lot about the importance of a well designed and properly optimized website, so we won’t waste a lot of space here talking through why you need one. Instead, we’ll run through a few key considerations when it comes to building it:

  • Get to the point: you’ve got a limited time to capture visitors’ attention, so get your message across clearly and effectively on every page.
  • Contemporary: outdated websites make your brand look instantly aged and untrustworthy. Take the time to get your website looking slick, and outsource it to a specialist if you need to.
  • Architecture: once you start adding menus and pages, they can be a right pain to change down the line. To make sure you’ve got a great user experience from the outset, map out your site’s architecture before you start building it.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): with a reputation for being the cheapest marketing method around, it’s crucial that you build and write your website with SEO at the forefront of your mind.
  • Contact: make your call to actions and contact information crystal clear.
  • Host: choose a content management system that’s reliable. Personally, we would recommend Squarespace – here’s why.
  • Domain: be sure to match your domain name to your business’ name.
     

4. Social media

Did you know, 70% of the US population have at least one social media profile? That’s a whole lot of potential customers to capture.

We suggest selecting just 2-3 platforms to get started on – especially if you’re handling your social media in house. To effectively leverage social media, there’s a few things you’ll need to do:

  • Only use high resolution profile and background images (pixilated pictures make you look untrustworthy and out of touch)
  • Write a succinct and enticing bio
  • Link back to your website
  • Include contact details
  • Keep an eye on your inbox/direct messages
  • Commit to regularly posting
  • Reply to those who engage with you
  • Interact with relevant people and/or profiles

Maintaining social media should be a daily job – if it’s not, you’re not doing it right. We suggest creating a content calendar to stay organized. And, make sure you have a set of templates on hand to save time when you need to create a quick Facebook graphic. 

5. Blogs

Investing in content marketing comes with endless benefits. A well maintained blog boosts your SEO efforts, helps you build backlinks and brand awareness, generates leads, adds brand value, and ups engagement.

Just remember the golden rule: the content you’re publishing must be quality. Churning out subpar articles won’t get you far -- if it even gets you anywhere. Here are a few general post types to get you going:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Tutorials
  • Whitepapers
  • Presentations
  • ‘How to’ guides
  • Buzzfeed-style listicles

With good content, you need good images. If you’re not in the position to fork out money for sites like iStock and Shutterstock, consider Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels for good, free alternatives. 
 

The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses  |  Hue & Tone Creative

6. Templates

Next up is templates. The extent of this list will vary depending on the nature of your business, but below is an idea of the types of templates we suggest you think about:

  • Email campaigns - sales, welcome, thank you, updates, or otherwise
  • Newsletters
  • Direct mail
  • Job descriptions
  • Email signatures
  • Powerpoint presentations 
  • Social media graphics
  • Letterhead/memos

Your logo should feature on each and every one of them -- which is why it’s important to have a logo that sits well in different settings, and your brand’s look, feel and tone should be encapsulated too. Remember though, your templates don’t need to be uniform to be consistent.

7. Print collateral

We’ve been carrying on about online a lot -- and rightly so! -- but don’t forget about good old offline advertising. Depending on your industry, things like physical brochures and business cards can be an important asset.

If you’re investing in printed materials, remember to:

  • Do your research: spending a bit of time selecting a quality printer.
  • Don’t compromise: poor quality paper reflects badly on your business.
  • Don’t rush: if there’s a proofreading mistake that’s your fault there’s no going back -- without throwing money down the drain.
  • Keep it consistent: print materials still needs to mirror your online presence.
  • Think of the bigger picture: think about how you can make print materials evergreen so that you don’t have to reprint regularly. Consider what really needs a date and what could go without one.
  • Get the right amount of copies: you can easily order more, so don’t go print crazy and order 1000s of copies unless you’re absolutely certain they’ll be used. But, you usually get a discount the more you order, so don’t be afraid to print some extras.

Need a little help?

Getting all your marketing assets together can feel really daunting -- I know, I’ve been there! But here at Hue & Tone Creative, there’s a lot we can help you with. From logo design and letterhead to web design and social media management, get in touch to see how we can support your business’ success. 

6 ingredients for a successful social media post

6 ingredients for a successful social media post  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Creating a social media post that connects with your audience can feel like a tough equation to crack. It’s not about creating a viral post or achieving international attention, it’s about getting a return on the time you invest in social media. 

Instead of constantly guessing what's going to bring you success, we’ve pulled together six key ingredients to help you build a strong social media post and get your audience socializing with you! 

 

1.  Know when to stop

Whatever platform you’re publishing on, keep your social media posts short and snappy. You don’t have an infinite amount of time to draw peoples’ attention, so curate something concise and eye catching. 

Every once in a while you can publish a meatier post -- but for the most part it’s important to bear in mind the medium you’re writing for. Social media is all about quick, consumable content, so try to keep it quick as often as you can.

 

2. Take the test

When you’re putting your post together, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself “would I really stop scrolling for this?” - and answer honestly!

It’s easy to slip into the habit of posting every piece of content you’ve got out on social, but if it doesn’t sit right, don’t hit send for the sake of posting. Incorporate social media into your content strategy, and consider producing pieces for the sole purpose of social engagement.

 

3. Keep it clean

It sounds super simple, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses fill their posts with a line of clunky URL. Keep your posts nice and clean by shortening your links to something succinct and tidy - a tool like bit.lywill do the trick.

 

4. Don’t hide away

Make the most of hashtags to increase your post’s exposure and open yourself up to new audiences. While you’re at it, mention relevantpages or people to benefit from their bandwidth too.

As with everything in life though, remember, it’s all about balance. Going over the top with hashtags or tagging can easily start looking spammy.

 

5. Impactful imagery

Your words are one half of the battle. Your images are the other. People can sniff overly staged imagery from a mile off, so try to mix your pictures up a bit to keep your feeds looking human. 

Play around with styles to see what gets most traction. Cartoon figures or real-life people? Plain images or a text overlay? Something subjective or objective? If it’s feasible, the odd video would be a great addition to experiment with as well.

 

6. Ask away

People aren’t mind readers. If you want to spark a discussion, make it clear that you’re asking a question, looking for feedback, or welcoming their thoughts. 

If you wanted to be slightly sneaky, you could always ask a colleague to get the ball rolling by posting the first comment...
 

So, there are our six tips to start your journey to social media success – now, go get posting!


SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT IN GREENSBORO, NC

Does posting on social media slip your mind on a daily basis? Or, maybe you're overcome with panic every time you're about to hit "post"? Well, we're ready to get social on your behalf. At Hue & Tone Creative, social media is a part of our daily routine. Let us take social media off your to do list -- we'll handle everything from the planning to the posting. 

5 signs you need help with your content

5 signs you need help with your content  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Your content is at the core of everything you do. Every part of your business relies on strongly written content – everything from your website and welcome emails to business cards and online ads. 

But how do you know if your content is connecting with potential and future customers? We’ve put together a list of 5 key signs that you need to revamp your content or bring in some outside help to revive it. 

 

1.  Your traffic isn’t converting

Plenty of people are landing on your website, but your conversion rates are way below what you’d expect them to be. There are a whole load of factors that could be contributing to this, but content tends to be one of them – along with page design, graphics, and mobile compatibility. 

Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher. 

Ask yourself -- does your content do your product or service justice? Does it clearly explain what you’re about? Does it speak to your audience in a way they want to be spoken to? Is it accurate and engaging? Does it give people a reason to choose you over your competitors? If you just answered with a stream of no’s, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

If you’re not sure how your content is being received, consider sending out a survey or asking a few key customers for their thoughts. Sometimes an outside perspective is needed!

 

2.  Your website it stale

When’s the last time you added a piece of content to your site? So long ago you can’t remember? Well, therein lies your problem.

Google likes to see fresh content, and places greater value on up-to-date, newsworthy articles. In a nutshell, if you don’t have fresh content, this means you could be impeding your efforts to gain organic traffic. A simple way to overcome this is by adding a blog section (and actually posting on it!) which will help improve your SEO (find out more about that here).

In addition to a blog, consider setting a calendar reminder that goes off every 6 months to prompt you to review and update the content on your static web pages.

 

3.  Social media struggles

If you’re constantly grasping for ideas of what to post on social media, it’s probably because you don’t have anything to shout about, and the reason you don’t have anything to shout about is probably because you haven’t published anything new – or, worse, you’re out of touch with your audience.

Regular, relevant content will bring your social media streams to life, give you something to talk about, get your audience engaging with you, and drive traffic to your website.

 

4.  People aren’t talking about you

If you want people to talk about you, you need to give them something to talk about. Producing great content will get people sharing it on social media, encourage other websites to link to your material, and can help get your audience engaged in new ways. 

The end result? Brand awareness, word of mouth advertising, more inbound links (which will benefit your SEO efforts) and inevitably more leads.

 

5.  No internal linking opportunities

Internal linking aids your website’s navigation, help you define the architecture and hierarchy of your site, and plays a part in building your website authority. 

When it comes down to it, the more relevant content you have, the more opportunities you have to add internal links. For example, we sent you to this article about SEO earlier in our blog post – but because we have so much relevant content we also could have linked you to this article or this article… or even this one! See? Relevant content builds linking opportunities. 


When it comes down to it, having a bank of relevant content not only makes your marketing more effective – it also makes things easier on you in the long run. Having a deep well of articles and posts to send people to gives you more to promote – as well as the behind-the-scenes SEO benefits of establishing authority. 

If you’re stuck on what to post about, we’ll leave you with this blog series for a little further reading. 


HUE & TONE: TRIAD BASED MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Completely stumped on what kind of content to post? Not even sure who your customers are? Or maybe you're just not sure how to reach them? We can help you answer all these questions -- and help you plan and enact solutions for all your marketing woes. Shoot us an email or give us a call.