Remember the days prior to social media? Nor do we. Just
about every business – big and small – has a designated social media manager or
consultant that’s responsible for tweets, content posts, audience engagement,
follows, shares, comments, insight and data reports and messaging.
It’s a big job that goes far beyond those “likes” and
shares. To be a social media pro, you’ve got to master some skills.
Be creative: To stand out among your competitors, you need to create a dynamic and persuasive visual content across all your social media platforms.
Images, polls, invitations, posters, graphs, videos and
illustrations don’t have to be in every post, but the eye loves visuals, and
the more visuals you incorporate into your posts, the better chance you have of
being noticed in what’s becoming an increasingly crowded field.
Inspire conversation: Interacting
and engaging with your audience (think potential clients) is crucial to social
media success – and that includes responding to comments in a
Whether it’s a simple
acknowledgement of thanks to someone who has responded positively to a post, a
call to action for someone posing a question or a conversation starter that
opens dialogue, you need to know how to foster communication.
That, in turn, encourages
your audience to share your content, which increases your post’s longevity. And
sharing content grows you audience and results in leads and “likes.”
To post engaging ads, take
advantage of Facebook’s Ads Manager, a powerful tool that enables businesses to
launch campaigns that reach a large audience.
Live video has the kind of human
touch that doesn’t exist in text, and social media audiences can’t get enough
Shooting spontaneous short
videos on your smartphone and streaming them live on your social media
platforms has become easier than ever with recent technological advances, and
the content can range from entertaining to informative (or both).
Live streams tend to be more personable and
authentic than text posts, and studies have shown that social media audiences
overwhelmingly prefer live video.
Sixty-five percent of homeowners nationwide view buying a house in their zip code as a “somewhat good” or “very good” financial investment, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Housing Expectations.
As well, existing homeowners are eager to
invest more in their homes, says the report, noting that the percentage of
homeowners expecting to invest at least $5,000 in their homes over the next one
to three years continues to increase.
A national survey of title agents conducted by the American Land Title Association shows that our industry has farther to go when it comes to formalizing cyber and escrow security plans.
Results of the survey also hint that the threat landscape is
becoming increasingly perilous for title agents, consumers and others involved in real estate transactions.
Of the survey’s more than 750 respondents, 63 percent said the number of cybercrime attempts targeting their company increased between 2017 and 2018.
Roughly one-third of respondents also observed increases in fraud attempts targeting buyers, sellers and real estate agents over the same period.
Many title agencies have sought to combat the worsening cyber and escrow fraud threat by means of employee awareness.
More than half of respondents said their company reminds employees about the need to remain vigilant on about a weekly basis. More than 25 percent said those employee reminders are made on a monthly basis.
However, more than 20 percent of respondents reported that their company offers no training at all on cybercrime trends or red flags.
More troubling, however, is that despite the apparent increase in fraud attempts, just 62 percent of respondents said their company has a written cybercrime response plan.
Smaller agencies — those with gross annual income below $1 million — were also somewhat less likely to have formal cyber response plans, wire retrieval plans or training programs than were larger agencies.
Survey results also show that cybercrime insurance coverage among title agents of all sizes is not as prevalent as one might expect given the apparent increase in fraud attempts. More than 27 percent of respondents said their company does not currently have a cybercrime insurance policy.
While most industry participants have made strides when it comes to protecting escrow funds and sensitive information, the survey clearly shows that gaps remain.
The survey also provides an opportunity for all of us to redouble our efforts, particularly when it comes to formalizing cyber response plans.
To help, we’ll be posting a blog series in the coming weeks that will provide simple, actionable tips for improving and formalizing response plans, as well as plans for wire retrieval and staff training.
We’ll also talk about the importance of cyber insurance and provide insight on how to get the right coverages for your business.
In the meantime, check out the growing library of cyber fraud resources on the Alliant National Education page. Alliant National agents can also watch our brand new Texas Continuing Education webinar on information and escrow security.
No matter the size, mission, strength or success of your
strategies are necessary components to building trust, establishing
relationships and strengthening awareness.
But like everything else, branding practices are constantly
evolving, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and understand what
your future branding strategies should entail.
To help, here are three best-practice branding trends that need to be on your radar:
human: Technology is wonderful for increasing brand recognition,
and you should embrace it. But don’t forego human interaction.
At a time when
trust is precariously fragile, it’s vital for businesses to establish human
bonds. Strive to engage with your clients beyond social media platforms and
problem-solvers, aim for empathy, be an expert in your field, share knowledge
and insights and recognize that emotional, face-to-face communication tips the
trust scale in your favor.
Be authentic and transparent: When your business opens its curtain and
provides public visibility, it shows that you’re authentic and transparent.
And clients and customers
rank transparency above just about everything else. In fact, a Sprout Social
Report released in 2018 showed that 86 percentof Americans believe
transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.
Additionally, 73 percentof consumers are
willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. The numbers
Businesses need to account for the public’s increasing
demands for transparency and develop practices and processes that convey honesty
is the key to content: A
compelling narrative that connects with your target audience is key to telling
your story, and a story without soul falls down the rabbit hole.
When creating branding content,
it’s all too easy to focus solely on promoting a product or service, but
falling into that formula potentially robs businesses of cultivating
relationships and providing meaningful value.
When you tell the story of your brand, aim to be
enthusiastic, inspiring and passionate—and don’t be afraid to show some
emotion. It’s good for the soul, and it speaks to your human side.
Cyber insurance is now critical to help protect your business.
Cyber attacks are becoming
more frequent, clever and complex. Cyber insurance is now critical
to help protect your business from major expenses, business loss, and
regulatory fines and penalties.
General liability umbrella policies typically do not cover
cyber events (Target’s insurance policy only covered
36 percent of its $252 million data breach costs).
This insurance comes in many different variations and
costs, so it is important to know what product works best for you, considering
and balancing coverage and cost.
Four key elements comprise essential coverage to protect
against data breach and loss of customer data:
What is most important is that both cyber-crimes and
liability are included in your coverage.
The policy may be a standalone, or a rider on to your
existing policy. Always buy the most
compressive coverage available that you can afford.
Here is why that is so important:
Broad coverage includes both first and third-party
coverage. First party only covers your business, while third party will cover
the claims against you from customers or clients as well as related damages and
The below comparisons show why you need both cyber-crimes and cyber liability coverage:
Loss of funds (escrow and operational,
personal) due to social engineering and electronic fraud or theft
Fraudulent electronic transfer or
divergence of funds
Employee electronic theft
Cyber extortion (ransomware)
Data breach expenses including legal
costs, fines or penalties
Loss of assets and loss of business
Recovery of systems and forensics;
Economic damages through network
security failure or failure of privacy controls
Consult with your insurance carrier for specific coverage
offerings and cost and weigh the decision that is right for your business and
broadest form of coverage will best protect you and your business so while it
may be more expensive, your business will be better protected against the risks
we face in today’s business environment.
We’ve found three tools that make it easier to manage your social media platforms.
A strong social media presence is one way to increase the visibility of your business, expand your reach and generate new leads:
Buffer: Buffer is a relatively simple web application that allows users
to schedule social media posts across a variety of social network platforms.
Dually mobile and desktop friendly, the app optimizes posts for peak engagement
times (it also allows for customization) and best of all, its users receive salient
feedback, via analytics, to view social media post performance, improve results
and create data-driven reports for clients and managers.
Canva: That old cliché that a picture is
worth a thousand words rings true with Canva, an intuitive, easy-to-master
graphic-design creator that businesses can use to increase website traffic and
social media engagement. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides
access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You don’t need a
background in design to use the tool, and with more than 50,000 templates to
choose from, it’s easy to design just about anything,including those all-important info graphics.
and buzz are key when it comes to social media, and with Woobox, an
increasingly popular marketing platform, businesses can create contests,
giveaways, polls, quizzes, brackets, photo contests and more, all of which
encourage your audience to engage. Bonus: It allows businesses to seamlessly
integrate several social media platforms while running campaigns, plus it collects
and exports useful data that stems from those campaigns, an advantageous perk
that all but guarantees robust leads.
According to a recent study published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expensive home prices, coupled with high demand, are driving today’s youngest homebuyers to smaller cities.
long as supply keeps up to meet demand, and prevents costs from rising too high
and too rapidly, these identified metro areas are likely to see an uptick in
purchases from millennial homebuyers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist
of the NAR. A robust job market and affordability are
two of the main factors that impact home-buying decisions by millennials, notes
This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.
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The Independent Underwriter for the Independent Agent®