• Jordan Safranski

5 Free Apps That Will Boost Your Real Estate Marketing

In the ever-changing world of social media and marketing, keeping up with changing trends can feel near impossible while you attempt to juggle open houses and showings as a real estate agent. If you're constantly looking for ways to make your social media marketing easier, or just want to have the best real estate marketing of any agent in your area, then you need the help of some powerful apps.

Lucky for you, as the world of marketing grows so does the world of digital apps, and there is no shortage of marketing resources for real estate agents doing their own social media marketing. For those of you real estate agents looking to take your real estate marketing to the next level, here are the top five FREE apps that can help:

1. Canva

By now, it seems most everyone has heard of and utilizes the powerhouse of free online editing: Canva. This site is perhaps one of the easiest-to-use graphic design tools online, and the basic option is free! I've been using this site since high school when I needed to make graphics for presentations, and the graphic design app has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

Canva is the answer to every small business owner who needs beautiful graphics for marketing, logos, flyers, and more, without the hefty prices and learning curve of programs like Indesign and Photoshop. On Canva, you can create any real estate marketing design you need. From just-listed social media posts to marketing flyers for your potential seller clients, Canva is the perfect one-stop-shop for your basic real estate graphic design needs.

Canva Pros

There are a lot of free design programs online, so why choose Canva? Here are a few reasons I like it:

Easy to use - unlike professional design platforms, Canva is made for those with little to no graphic design experience and can be learned in an afternoon. Even if you can't quite figure everything out, their guides are extremely helpful, and the app is so popular there are endless tutorial videos online.

Pre-made templates - you do not have to be proficient, or even good, at graphic design to create beautiful marketing designs with Canva. Artists and Canva employees create thousands of pre-made templates you can choose from, with hand-made art and beautiful add-on graphics. Simply choose from the pre-made template and edit it for your own needs, or start with a blank template and build something completely unique for your real estate social media marketing needs.

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Time saver - your time is insanely valuable as a real estate agent! You don't have the time to spend hours designing your own content and teaching yourself professional design software; Canva is the answer to simple marketing graphic design needs. As a realtor myself, I appreciate that I can do my real estate social media designing with my phone anywhere instead of needing to bring a big laptop with me everywhere. Canva has saved me so much time and hassle compared to something like Adobe Photoshop.

Platform integration - post your social media designs to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, all straight from Canva! This is another time-saver, and you'll appreciate not having to have a million tabs open during your marketing time.

Print ordering - not only can you design beautiful business cards, logos, and marketing flyers from Canva, but you can order them all straight from the app/online site as well. The printing service is fast and easy to use, and the products are high-quality. It's the perfect one-stop-shop for your printing services.

Canva Cons

Nothing is perfect, right? While Canva is amazing, here are the biggest current cons that could be improved:

Individual use - While there is a system to add team members to your account on Canva, this only comes with the paid plan. Otherwise, getting your designs to other team members can be a bit of a hassle with Canva. Downloading them and sending designs on your own is simple, but having multiple people working on a single design will not work. This is definitely a single-user app.

Overused stock images/templates - If you use Canva long enough, and even if you don't, you'll notice the same templates popping up all over social media. That's because a lot of people use the platform, and those free templates are popular for a reason. If you want completely unique content, using the free templates will either require a lot of editing to transform them and make them unique to your brand. For the most part, the free templates still work great for real estate social media, and no one will know it's a template when you add in your personal branding and property photos.

Lag/general system issues - Canva, like all apps and technology, has its system problems every now and then. It has been known, frequently at the worst of times, to occasionally freeze/crash/delete work. It hasn't been a huge problem for me, and I can't remember the last time it happened to me personally, but it's something to think about and watch out for. Luckily, it's rarely a big problem because the app uses automatic saving, so it's extremely rare to lose something you're working on.

Overall, Canva is popular for a reason: it's a wonderful, easy-to-use graphic design platform. Many real estate agents could save time and money creating beautiful real estate social media graphics with this site.

2. Ripl

Ripl is a video creator for social media that makes it simple to incorporate video content into your current real estate marketing strategy. Videos are the best content right now, especially on Facebook and Instagram, but they aren't the easiest content to create and make look professional. With Ripl, you simply upload your property photos, select a template, and begin creating your video. It takes minutes to create a professional marketing video with Ripl, and I'm using it constantly. Here's an example of what real estate agents can create with Ripl.

Ripl Pros

Easy to use - pick a format (Ripl already has pre-made real estate templates, so it couldn't be easier), upload your photos, and your video is almost complete. Then you just fill in the pre-set text and royalty-free music, and your video is ready to download or post. It takes no skill to use and the templates in the app take no editing, so even the most basic-tech real estate agent can pick it up.

Unique format - Video content marketing is growing in popularity and demand, especially as 2020 becomes more virtual. Real estate agents need to incorporate video marketing into their real estate marketing strategy, and this is a simple way to do that without hiring a very expensive editing freelancer to create a video that might not be to your exact standards.

Video Branding - One thing I personally love about Ripl is that you can add your logo to the video, in the beginning, end, and throughout. Many video apps make this difficult, but the ease of this feature was stand-out to me.

In-app posting - once again, this app stands out as being able to handle cross-platform posting-- even Instagram, which has been a struggle with automated posting sites for years, now.

Ripl Cons

Only a free trial - unfortunately, Ripl only offers a 7-day free trial to use their app, making it not-quite-free, but still good enough of an app that I highly recommend checking it out!

Photos only - while the app does create a video for you, it isn't a moving-picture video in that kind of sense. This is only taking photographs and adding text and moving graphics to it. While valuable, there are other apps and freelance designers who can create a real video if you are looking for something more high-end.

Short-form only - you can only upload up to ten pictures at a time for your video, so this isn't the app to use if you're looking to do longer projects.

Overall, this is a great app to help diversify your social media and mix up your posts so your audience can get a variety of photos, graphics, videos, live streams, and more!

3. Later

One of the most difficult aspects of running your own social media for your real estate business is finding the time to create and post your content, which is luckily becoming a thing of the past. Apps like Later help schedule social media posts so you don't have to stay glued to your phone waiting to post something. While social platform apps themselves are now offering the ability to schedule posts in the future (namely Facebook and Pinterest, and sometimes Instagram, but only if you ask nicely), scheduling apps like Later gathering your graphics in one place and help monitor your engagement and more, which is invaluable information as your own marketer for your small business.

Later Pros

Usable free option - the free social scheduling and media planning service Later offers is completely worth using. The features of the paid version will make you envious at times, like hashtag suggestions and being able to tag people directly via Later (yea, dumb that you have to pay for that), but you can live without out it.

Multiple social sets - if you have multiple social media you accounts on the same platform (like a Facebook page for your realty business and your freelance writing business, if you're me), you can use the same account for all the planning, posting, and analyzing, which is a massive time-saver. You have you pay extra for this feature in the upgraded plan, but it's worth it if you need multiple sets.

Later Cons

Charges for basic tools - being forced to pay the upgraded fee just to have the privilege of tagging someone in your post and other basic tools offered by Instagram feels a bit ridiculous, but I understand they need to make some money somewhere. It's just strange they choose to charge for something that can be easily edited by-hand on Instagram for free.

Too many plan upgrades - when you pay a monthly fee of $9, the same amount I pay for all the songs I could possibly want on my phone, you expect that you won't have to pay double that amount when you go to the next page and realize you need to upgrade to the next-highest plan just to get more through analytics of your posts' performance is a hassle and not worth it.

Made for Instagram - Later is clearly built for Instagram and the site doesn't hide it. I've found no way, so far, to make a post without a picture involved, which I wouldn't do anyway, but I find it funny. Who knows-- I might just be old. In any case, even the system integration matches Instagram much better, with formats edited to fit any Instagram frame and more, it doesn't offer any more tools than Facebook Ad Center, so if you're a Faceoboo0heavey realtor, sticking with the unpaid plan will probably be fine.

Honorable Mentions:

WordSwag - Sometimes I want to spice up my social media graphics, so I use apps like WordSwag. This is a simple app that puts pretty text over any chosen picture, whether you use your stock photo. Personally, I love using this app when I have a picture of a couple or client at a closing that I want to promote on social media and I want a to "congratulations" script to the photo in big, sparkling letters. This app makes that so simple to do, and almost impossible not to download just for the convenience of it.

Headline Analyzer - I always struggled to come up with strong, SEO formatted headlines on my own. I can think of keywords and generate subtopics for days, but this headline analyzer helps keep me in line and score headlines so that I can make my real estate blog posts matriculate at the top of Google's search results.

Keywords Everywhere - Chrome plug-in that generates popular keywords every time you search online. Super helpful when you're a real estate blogger, or even when you're looking for popular keywords to mark include listings, and more.

Running your own real estate social media marketing can be a challenge, but these online resources can help you boost your marketing in no time! Which reminds me...

Do you have a dedicated real estate writer?

If real estate is your profession, then being a full-time writer wasn't what you signed up for. It is what will make your content stand out among all the other real estate marketing in your area. If you need a professional real estate freelance writer to take your content marketing to the next level, increase your brand awareness and sales, then contact me! I'm your writer.

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