1 Simple Step to Have A Huge Impact in Your Social Media Interactions

If you imagine having an offline conversation online each time you post on social, your engagement rate will undoubtedly increase.

A really easy way to do this is by using this simple way to personalize your responses or mentions of people in your posts.  The video above shows how easy this really is but has an. enormous impact!

It’s a known fact that the one thing that people love to hear more than anything else is their name.  This goes back to where Dale Carnegie mentions it in his world renowned book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Doing this when responding someone on social is so easy but you must take one extra step.

When you start typing somone’s name in a post, or reply to their comment, their name will show – but it’s both their first and last names that you will see.

By simply backspacing or deleting their last name, you will leave their first name in place, with the tag remaining, and they will still receive a notification that they have been tagged or mentioned in a  comment!

It may seem somewhat insignificant, but it truly does make a big difference and has a subconscious impact on the recipient of the mention.

Facebook Lead Results

The One Magic Word To Facebook Ad Success

By now you have probably taken a stab at creating some Facebook Ads to get your content in front of more of your target audience(s) eyes, since we are all know that any significant organic reach is something long gone (unless you are a household name like Wendys and having public fist fights on Twitter with Burger King…).

Yes, organic reach is a thing of the past for the vast majority of small to medium sized business owners but all is not lost!  There is still lots that can be accomplished with very little investment through advertising on Facebook.

We’ve been running Facebook ads for our clients for close to ten years now and still, to this day, we are learning how to achieve the absolute best results.  We do this for two reasons.  First because we love continually refining our work – it’s kinda a turn on 😈– and second because we consider your advertising money OUR advertising money.  We hate wasting our own money and will do whatever it takes to make it go as far as we can make it go – and we do the exact same thing for each and every one of our clients.  We think they like that about us. 🤗. Which brings us to the point of this post.

There is one magic word to Facebook Ad success

One word that we say three times, like you say “Location, Location, Location” in real estate to emphasize it’s importance…  




Creating Facebook Ads which gets amazing return on investment is absolutely a science.  And we’re not just saying that to make it sound hard.  Oh, it’s hard, don’t get us wrong!  But just like science, there’s a whole bunch of testing going on!  And we never stop testing, and nor should you.


Play Video

To us, it’s a competition.  Like limbo dancing!  How low can you go?!

And now that we’ve been testing for some time (almost 10 years) we’ve got some pretty impressive cost per results to share…

Facebook Ads Under $0.10 CPLP

This is our latest Facebook Ads results from one of our clients.  As you can see from the far right column, our cost per landing page view (those who stay on the landing page for longer than 3 seconds) are all under $0.09/CPLP.  In addition, the second from left column shows the CTR (click through rate) on the Facebook Ad link are all above 11% – up to almost 35%!!  That’s 35% of people that saw the ad, clicked through to the landing page!!  

Not impressed yet?

Facebook Leads Under $1.00

YES!!  We are seeing CPL (cost per lead) running at UNDER $1.00 with over 10% click through rates!

If you’d like to have us run your Facebook (and Instagram) Ads for your business, please click the yellow  chat icon on the bottom of your screen.  This is our passion.  Let us bring our passion (and the results) to you!  

2020: What Are Your Customers Seeing?

2020: What Are Your Customers Seeing?


When Did You Last Post To Your Facebook Page or Website Blog?

It’s still considered a New Year (I think we can get away with saying that until at least the third week of January, don’t you?!), which means we should all be thinking about cleaning up and starting fresh, right?

Well, while that’s true for many people when it comes to healthy living resolutions, it should also be for when you’re thinking about your social and online footprint.  

Remember last year (or maybe the year before) when you decided to create a new blog… and then after four or five posts you kinda lost interest or got busy with other things?  Or maybe you created a niche Facebook Group or Page for your target market but then didn’t maintain it with consistent content and it’s now been sitting idly for 8 or 9 months?

Imagine if you went to a website blog, Facebook Group or Page of a company you were interested in conducting business with – whether it was for a mortgage, a car,  restaurant or anything – and they didn’t show any signs of activity on these platforms, you may ask yourself, “Are they still in business?”

If you have dormant social platforms or website blogs, you may want to think about deleting them (or at least archiving them) so that you don’t have people asking this of you. 

Another option is to have someone take care of these really worthy efforts of keeping you top of mind with prospective buyers and sellers – shoot us a message by clicking on the orange icon on the bottom right of your screen if you’d like to know more about what we can do for you and keep you alive, online!

Ready To Hand Over The Keys?

Click the button below to determine the current availability in your City and State.

You may also reach us direct at 941-720-4707

bye bye instagram likes

Bye, Bye Instagram Likes…

The Tides are Turning.

Nothing stays the same.  Every day, everything around us is different than the day before.  And, some things are good, while others aren’t so good.  Like, when the sun comes out after a day of snow.  That’s good.  But, I didn’t remember to eat that ripe avocado yesterday, and today, well, you get the idea…

instagram likes have been removed from posts
Today changes came with Instagram, a change that we knew was coming but what many (read: most) Instagrammers were hoping would never come. Likes have been a staple metric to show just how great your photography skills (or that of your professional photographer, like those at Gold Lens Media) are or how amazing your food is… the more the likes, the better you feel about yourself, right? Well, I know it’s not just about self-gratification, it’s also about how much more attractive your Instagram posts seem to be when they have 100 likes versus 10.  And, it is believed that the more likes a post has, the more attention it will get. But, Instagram, in their ongoing research, found that there were some negatives around this too.

You see, it’s become a competition.  And as Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, states, there needed to be some de-pressurization to make it a safer environment for the generation that uses it the most: Gen Z (those aged 24 and under).

Side Note:  Per research compiled by Marketing Charts, while Instagram is very much a youth-oriented platform, it’s worth noting that more 30-49-year-olds say they use Instagram more than they use Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter.  Interesting!

The Silver Lining

So, here’s the good news. You will still see how many likes you have received on a post (they are only hidden from the public) and from those numbers you will be able to determine, just as you are now,  which posts are the top performers and which you could benefit from boosting or using in a seperate ad.

What this also means, is that incorporating Instagram (and Facebook) Stories into your social media mix is even more imperative to your success on social media. And, it’s also worth noting that Stories don’t have public facing metrics either (and they are going gangbusters!).

What do you think of this change?  Has it hit your city yet?  Let me know in the comment below.

Gold Lens Media Review

Biz Shout Out!

If you are in the Atlanta, GA area, check out Gold Lens Media for your real estate photography and video tour needs. They are, hands down, the best of the best. We get amazing engagement when we use their images and videos on our client's Instagram posts (and Stories).

Visit Gold Lens Media on Instagram to see their latest real estate photography or visit www.goldlensmedia.

what's allowed in real estate target facebook ads?

What Targeting is Still Allowed for Real Estate Facebook Ads?

** Quick Facebook Ad Targeting Update **

Just a quick update today pertaining to the new rules and regulations around what detailed targeting is still available for real estate agents, mortgage brokers, title and insurance agents to use in their Facebook Ads.

(Mostly) discriminatory targeting options have been removed

Facebook has been a staple platform for real estate advertising for many years now and continues to grow.  So, it’s super important to make sure you are getting the most up-to-date information surrounding what you can and cannot do on Facebook when it comes to any that could be construed as discrimination.  In my research I found even some of the most highly regarded social media focused websites and services still providing incorrect information as recent as August 2019 (such as being able to advertise to people based on their age and income).

What real estate targeting is allowed in Facebook Ads


These new rules all started due to a legal battle between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Facebook, for violating the Fair Housing Act which Facebook lost, Facebook now must comply with not allowing its advertisers to create ads that could discriminate.

There’s some items that have been omitted (I don’t have the official list) but things like: 

– engaged
– newly married and
– married

are not included, but targeting such as:

– gated community condominium (broad not a single condo)
– single family house
– luxury real estate
– mansion
– townhouse
– starter home and first time buyer

are all still included. 

Those are all the main detailed targeting that are included in real estate (there are a few focused on rentals too).

Other restriction include:

– age (18-65+ only)
– no gender specification
– no zip code focus

What does this mean for you?

I see the zip code restriction being quite detrimental to real estate agents who like to focus on a particular community or condo. Now, the smallest geographical location you can center in on is at least a 15 mile radius.  The good news is that you can at least focus on just targeting those who are interested in condos and not all residential properties.  

I also see that there is going to need to be some new strategies building built around how you market to a large number of generations – creating ads that are compelling to twenty-something’s AND sixty-something is near impossible.  

I would highly suggest that you sit down with your marketing person and discuss new strategies and ensuring that those in place are removed or redesigned and retargeted now – all cities across the U.S. will have these restrictions in place in January 2020 (if they haven’t been already).

Think Outside the Advertising Box

There are many new ways to advertise on Facebook, and there will be many more to come.  But one of my absolute favorites is Facebook Messenger.  It’s safe to say that a large portion of 18-45 year olds prefer to communicate via text messaging and, within the next two years, I predict that it will be the preferred method above any other mode of communication. 

Facebook Messenger Repeat Clickthrough Rates

In fact, research has already shown that most millennials prefer to use social media and chat options than the (old fashioned) phone. 

As you can see from an example above, open rates from Facebook Messenger on a client’s Facebook Page are at 100% and clickthrough rates at an outstanding 77.5%.  If you want to have a great comparison as to how astronomical these numbers are, the average open rate on an email is 20% and clickthrough rates range between 3%-5%.

Would love to chat with you about how you can utilize Messenger marketing in your real estate business and start thinking about how you can attract more buyers and sellers outside of the Facebook Advertising Box.  Click the yellow icon on the bottom right of this screen or reach me via Facebook Messenger here.

Not every instagram image is created equal

Everything You Need To Know About What Makes (or Breaks) an Instagram Image

Not Every Image Is Created Equal

Over the course of my 10+ years  working exclusively within social media marketing, I have gained a lot (read: A LOT) of experience.  Experience, however, doesn’t mean all good outcomes, all the time; it means I had to go through many iterations, many losses and just as many misbeliefs to finally reach a true understanding of what causes an image to be a winner versus a flop.  But I was on a mission to win.

Experience [verb] : to learn by experience - "I have experienced that a landscape and the sky unfold the deepest beauty>"

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

You see, in 2016, when I led the social media team of ten marketers at, the then CEO, Ryan O’Hara, approached me and informed me that the CEO of Newscorp (Robert Thomson) wanted me to take our Instagram account and absolutely dominate it in the real estate industry.  At the time, we had approximately 60,000 followers, while our number one competitor, Zillow, had over 150,000.  We had some work to do, but I was willing to do what it took to crush it.

From 2016 through 2019 we learned everything we could about Instagram, testing, tweaking, studying our results, refining and perfecting, studying some more.., with the support and help of my amazing team and CMO, we didn’t just surpass our competitors, we obliterated them!  When I left, in September 2019, we had not only surpassed Zillow’s follower count, but we were now beating theirs by over 150,000 followers – the numbers had reversed – and we had 470,000 followers and counting!

beating your competition on instagram

Remember: Follower Count isn't Everything

When it came to real estate images, through all of this experience, we discovered what consumers were really attracted to and honed in on this to keep growing our followers, and also our engagement rates. Which brings me to a really important point.  

It was important to not just be obsessed with our follower growth.

Ensuring that our increased number of followers were not just lookers, but also engagers was (and still is) critical to the health of our (and any) Instagram account. We knew we needed to consider not only our image but also the descriptions that accompanied them.

In fact, for most social media platforms (I think Snapchat and TikTok are the exceptions here) it’s the context of the post and not the image that will attract engagement.  So we also focused on working diligently on how we constructed the context of our feed posts too – and, again, through many iterations and testing, we discovered how to best interact with our audience and get them to engage with our content.  And through this discovery, we were able to take our engagement rate to under 1% to consistently over 5%.  When the average brand has an engagement rate of less than 1%, that’s a pretty big deal!

What to look for in a winning Instagram image

Example 1

(Slide finger or mouse on arrow button to see both images)

what to look for in a good instagram imagewhat to look for in a good instagram image

Top Image:  4,033 likes | Bottom Image:  1,925 likes

Images courtesy of @GrandfatherHomes
  1. Ok, first of all… What a house!
    This first image was taken at a fairly good time of day at a great elevation, to capture each level of the property plus the home in its entirety.  I would say, however, that it may have been a touch better if the sun was shining at the time the image was taken. As you can see in the second image, the image was taken at a sub-optimal time of day which produced strange lighting effects and was not shot head on or at a high resolution.
  2. When taking images of the front elevation of a home, you want to ensure that you get the entire home in the picture when the image is cropped down to 1:1 ratio.  Images that are either vertical (or portrait) or square are always best on Instagram – horizontal (or landscape) images take up less ‘real estate’ on the Instagram feed, and are harder to see in general.  
  3.  Because the first image was taken with a drone, it allows your eyes to go straight ahead and you take in the entire picture from the center and then out.  This is what you want your audience to do – have a definitive focal point (in this case the front door) and then look around.  Kind of like a heat map on a webpage – visitors normally focus their attention to the top 1/3 of the page and then travel down on the left hand side.  
what to look for in a good instagram image
Click image to view on Instagram
what to look for in a good instagram image
Click image to view on Instagram

Example 2

(Slide finger or mouse on arrow button to see both images)

what to look for in a good instagram imagewhat to look for in a good instagram image

Top Image:  3,541 likes | Bottom Image:  2,105 likes

Images courtesy of @McCleanDesign
  1.  Can I live here – right in that pool?!
    The essence of these images are extremely simple – luxury life.  There’s no denying what they convey or what they invoke – a sense of awe and desire.  Knowing what your audience is attracted to is probably your number one goal.  Delivering it is number two.  The sun is shining, the pool is gleaming…  
  2. If you are reading this on your desktop, you probably are noticing how the first image is much larger and easier to digest than the second.  This brings us back to the orientation of the image again.  The first is a square image while the second is horizontal (landscape).  I believe these two examples shows the magnitude of how orientation can really affect the viewers enjoyment.
  3.  While the first image is a close up and has a definitive focal point (the chairs in the pool is where my eyes lead me), the second image is another drone shot, but this time has no focal point and your eyes travel all over the place.  While it’s a gorgeous view, it’s hard to really decipher anything in particular other than it has a pool.
what to look for in a good instagram image
Click image to view on Instagram
what to look for in a good instagram image
Click image to view on Instagram

So, to break these examples down, the three things we would take into consideration in choosing which image to use are as follows:

  • Optimal Lighting 
  • Orientation of image
  • Focal Point

Here’s some more examples of excellent images that meet all the requirements to make a great Instagram post:

Likes: 23k

Beautiful sunset

Great angle showcasing the entire home within the image. Image courtesy of @groveparkconstruction

View on Instagram
Likes: 26k

Excellent Lighting

Dream kitchen with interesting features, lit perfectly to embrace all the beauty.
Image courtesy of @stallonemedia

View on Instagram
Likes: 24k

Playfully Alluring

Perfect lighting within the room capture an emotional reaction. Image courtesy of @decor_for_kids

View on Instagram
Likes: 27k

Great Focal Point

Very unique image of a fireplace within a shower, draws your eyes in. Image credit unknown.

View on. Instagram
Likes: 27k

Exceptional Detail

This shower has it all, with the dramatic skylight to the wood and planters. Image courtesy of @mantisdesignbuild

View on Instagram
Likes: 14k

The Essence of the Holidays

Dusk lighting, Christmas lights adorned, this image captures your attention. Image courtesy of @atlanta_photographer

View on Insatagram

Have additional questions about how to dominate Instagram with the most captivating images for your specific audiences?  Send us a message below, or click the yellow chat button on the bottom right of this page to contact us right now.

hashtag apps are useless

Why Hashtag Apps and Tools are Useless

Popular Hashtags Don't Equate to the Best Hashtags

Lately, I’ve been listening to a podcast by Buffer called The Science of Social Media.   They’re great short podcasts which provide weekly updates around social media insights, learnings, experimentation and stories. 

The latest one I listened to was surrounding the best Instagram apps, including apps to use for determining the best hashtags to accompany your feed images.  This is where this article comes in. 

There’s so much misinformation surrounding what hashtags to use and why that I felt it was important to share it with you. Yes, even from renowned sources like Buffer. This is because, choosing the right mix of hashtags can make or break how well your instagram posts perform – you have the power to make all of them perform really well.

Let’s start off by looking at what the mass majority of hashtag apps and websites provide when searching for the best hashtags.  

I’m going to use three commonly used hashtag services to emphasize the points I am about to make – not so much as to call them out, but to show just how prolific the misguided information being provided truly is.

1. Ritetag

Ritetag absolutely has some great features (which are offered for free for 7 days).  These include the ability to upload an image and write a caption and through it’s photo recognition, can suggest hashtags based on what’s included in the image.  It also provides a legend of what the color coding of their hashtags mean – green means they are hot now, red means they are overused, etc.,  

Ritetag hashtag tool

This highlighted text (“Do not use these hashtags, very few people are following them”) from Ritetag is actually really bad advise!  While you may want to use the hashtags that are ‘hot now’, you actually probably don’t.  We will explain why a little later.  But for now, let’s look at the next hashtag tool…

Ritetag hashtag tool

2. All-Hashtag

This is probably one of the worst hashtag tools out there.  The hashtags which All-Hashtag suggest are not only highly generic, but many don’t have any relation to the searched hashtag at all.  

all-hashtag hashtag tool

#fakeit, #telegram, #app… these are all terrible hashtags to suggest, let alone the best 30!  And, unfortunately, this is what people are using determine the best hashtags to use on their Instagram posts.  I truly cannot come up with what #fakeit has to do with Facebook Messenger, nor #telegram.  And, while Facebook Messenger is indeed an #app, as of September 9th, 2019, there are over 2 million apps in the Apple Store that people are probably also talking about on Instagram…

Ok, on to the last ‘best’ hashtag tool.

3. Webstagram is another hashtag tool that provides more of the ill-advised ‘best’ hashtags to use, however, they also provide some good insight into those that actually would generate some eyeballs to your Instagram posts…

webstagram hashtag tool

 So, here’s why:

There’s a strategy around pulling the (actual) best hashtags based on the number of your followers and how often the hashtags have been used.   Here’s how it works:  Let’s say you have less than 1,000 followers.  Then you should be focusing at least half of your hashtags that have less than 1,000 posts. 

This is because if you try to compete with what the big brands, with millions (or even tens of thousands) of followers, are using for their hashtags, your content will never be seen.  Webstagram doesn’t just haphazardly provide hashtags to use, they provide hashtags that are related to your suggested hashtag plus how many times it has been used.  And, that’s the key.

Even with the ever-changing analytics on Instagram and what causes which images to show first, people still search for images on Instagram through the use of hashtags.  So ensuring that you use hashtags that are not as widely used will help ensure that your images get seen more frequently in the search results. 

Great! So How Do You Find Them?

Alright, let’s get into the details of how to find the ACTUAL best hashtags to use for your Instagram images.

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What is the #1 aspect of your image?

Consider what the most important part of your image is portraying.  Is it a brand new meatless hamburger that your organic vegan restaurant is now offering?  Or maybe it is a new ranch style home you have for sale in Modesto, CA. Whatever word or few words best conveys what your picture is, hone in on that.

For this example, I am going to use the words Facebook Marketing Strategies.

UpRight Avenue just launched in September 2019, so we do not have a very large following yet.  So, to use a more popular hashtag, such as #facebook (>20M uses) or even #facebookmarketing (>284k) would provide us with very little in return.  Instead we determined that adding another word to the hashtag provided options that had less uses and would help us get to either the Top Instagram hashtags tab or the Recent Instagram hashtags tab (see example below).

Now by using the native search tool within Instagram, we have seven options provided to us, which are going to give us more opportunities to not only be seen in these hashtag search results, but because they are much less popular, we will be found for a much longer timeframe.  Win-win, right!?

how to find the actual best hashtags to use on instagram
top hashtags on instagram
recent instagram hashtag search results

As seen above, the left image shows the top images for the hashtag #facebookmarketingstrategies and the right image shows the most recent images.  If you can imagine how hard it would be to get in the top nine images for a popular hashtag like #facebook or #facebookmarketing, and then how long your image would last in the most recent, you should understand that taking advantage of less popular hashtags is definitely the way to go.

The purpose of using a hashtag, after all, is to make your images accessible to those who may not be following you yet, but have an interest in your post’s focal point (such as facebook marketing strategies).

You can read more about how to use Instagram or you can contact us directly to chat more about Instagram by using the orange chat icon in the bottom right of your screen. 


Instagram Direct Is About To Get A Lot Better

Facebook Messenger has been getting a lot of love and attention over the past few years. But, now it looks as though Zuckerberg is being more attentive to Instagram’s Direct messaging.

Per Adweek, the social network will be adding some new features to Instagram Direct messages, making using the Facebook family of apps easier for small businesses to better manage their customer communications.

New features will include labels, search, and folders to help businesses stay organized.  However, my favorite additions will be the ability to implement instant replies, away messages and the simplicity of using saved replies of frequently asked questions.


This is in addition to some upcoming features being added to Instagram‘s desktop experience, including the ability to use Instagram Direct.  But, after conducting a little research, it seems that either people don’t ever use the desktop version of Instagram, or didn’t even know it existed!  So, I’m not seeing how this is a very big deal, but hey, what do I know? 😉

Personally, I’m really looking forward to when Instagram Direct is given even more love… like incorporating the ability to activate a chatbot like we can over on Facebook Messenger.  And integrate/link together Instagram Direct with Facebook Messenger so that they (and even Whatsapp) can be used as a single platform.  Or at least that they speak with one another so that what is typed on one platform is automatically pulled into the others. I’m sure these features are coming, but what’s taking so long?!

What feature(s) are you expecting to see rolled out with private messaging in the coming months?