Pinterest’s and Instagram’s explosion this year was yet another testament to the power of visuals. Compared to text heavy sites, these sites are stunning to look at, easier to browse and fit right in with social sharing. Since these sites focus on photos instead of difficult to create videos, creating visual content is relatively simple – and much easier than writing.
CRE is starting to see the value in a visual marketing. Not only are new sites incorporating more images and videos but CRE agents have been experimenting with Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. While the data supports that visuals get more eyeballs and shares, the jury is still out as to whether it generates more solid CRE leads. Still, there’s something to be said for eyeballs and shares.
And as an aside, the image for this post was created with a new tool that I’m testing (it’s still in beta) that makes it easy to create visual collages that can be formatted for various purposes – social network posting, embedding in websites/blogs or as an animated GIF. Expect to see more visual tools in 2013.
If you believed Google when they said G+ wouldn’t affect search, I’ve got a bridge in NY to sell you. This year we got to see just how it works.
If you understand that G+ is primarily a way to verify people and you’ve noticed how the Google algorithm changes have been all about separating the wheat from the chaff, you get their “big” idea – verified content gets search result preference. Some say that Google has found a way to include the “social” layer into search but others see it as an abuse of their dominant search position.
Bottom line is that SEO has changed big time and G+ is part of the puzzle. If you’re not on G+, get there, fill your circles, and start posting. If you’re also on Facebook and/or Twitter, consider posting to those networks from Google Plus since you can’t do it the other way around. Google will thank you for it with better search placement.
If you’re a content creator (run or contribute to a blog) you’ll want to add that info to your profile and setup your blog so you can be “verified” (that’s how you see those author photos in search results – here’s a how to if you want to take a stab at it – http://searchengineland.com/the-definitive-guide-to-google-authorship-markup-123218 – warning…it’s harder than it looks…).
Fingers vs Stylus vs Voice
Steve Jobs famously said that if you’re visualizing a tablet with a pen, you’ve failed. For Jobs, I think it was more that the device design would suffer if you had to include a place for a stylus. But form should follow function and let’s face it, the finger doesn’t always function.
Jobs probably thought voice instruction was the say to go, but it’s not going there fast enough. Google had to redesign their mobile ads to deal with the “fat finger” issue – people accidentally clicking on ads. It’s not only an annoyance to users but the businesses paying for those clicks and getting inflated click data aren’t very happy. Plus Android and Windows 8 have excellent handwriting recognition capabilities that work best with a stylus.
Galaxy Note is currently the only tablet that has a stylus slot on the side. Even cases rarely come with a stylus holder. Your choices are a tether to hang the stylus from your headphone jack or some sort of clip on contraption to put on your case or device. I’m sure CRE agents would prefer better voice capabilities. After all, talking on phones is a big part of what they do. So talking to a phone seems like a good fit. But I’m hoping that in 2013 manufacturers will start making a place for the stylus.