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MWe’ve reached that time again—the end of another year. As we close this chapter and open the next, now is the perfect time to make resolutions and plan for the year ahead. For those in the real estate game, one key area of focus should be innovative marketing.

As you plan your marketing objectives for 2016, keep in mind that the majority of your audience will be searching for you online. Your online marketing presence should be a main focal point of your business planning, especially when it comes to social media. Here are four fresh marketing ideas to help you start your year off right.

1. Utilize Automation
The less time you need to spend in front of a computer sending emails or composing tweets, the more time you’ll have for what you do best—home transactions. Today, advancements in automated marketing have made it possible for REALTORS® to save hours each week while still connecting with clients and generating new leads. Services such as CRM integration, lead nurturing and management, automated email marketing, and sales cycle management are now easier than ever, and are helping to revolutionize real estate marketing.

If you’re looking for ways to automate your social media posting, check out programs like Hootsuite, Social Oomph or Buffer. Keep in mind, though, if you use automation for your social media channels, be sure to post more than new listings or blog content. Don’t ignore your real-time activity. Engage with your followers by responding to comments and posing questions in order to keep them involved and be successful.

2. Strengthen Your Social Presence
Regardless of what social media sites you use, your goal should be convincing followers that you’re the expert in the area and the best person to help them buy or sell a home. To do this effectively with a Facebook post or Instagram photo, you need to create quality content that interests your followers.

In a recent survey, the National Association of REALTORS® revealed that 77 percent of all agents use Facebook as their prime social media outlet. With over 1.3 billion members, it seems the perfect place to reach potential, past and existing customers. While Facebook is a safe approach to social media, keep up with the latest social media platforms (such as Periscope) to show clients that you’re current with the latest social trends.

3. Connect through Content
While Snapchat may have seemed like a passing fad just a year ago, now it’s evolved into a marketing platform with more than 100 million users that savvy agents can take advantage of. Even though your Snapchat photos will quickly fade, it will last long enough to catch someone’s fancy. The advantage of using apps like Snapchat is that, even though the image expires after a short period, it only takes up a small segment of your audience’s time, which for Millennials and people on the go, means a great deal.

Snapchat, along with other photo sharing apps like Instagram, also allows you to zero in on users’ locations. For example, one feature of Snapchat known as City Life allows users to snap photos or short videos and then add them to a city’s story line. This geo-targeted content can then be viewed by all users in the area. Take advantage of this location-based feature by snapping photos of your listings and adding them to the city storyline.

4. Engage Locally
The real estate technology market has been inundated with “location-based” applications to help buyers find properties in their area. When it comes to innovative location marketing technologies, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Today, marketers are able to leverage the power of location-based marketing technology to create interactive experiences and connect with customers at the point of engagement.

New technology, such as iBeacons are becoming increasingly popular in marketing campaigns as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs) are used in more cards, wristbands and apps. This new technology can provide agents with opportunities to connect with potential buyers by promoting your listings during their location-based searches. Similarly, new advertising programs, such as’s Local Connect, allow you to pursue transaction-ready prospects who are actively searching for homes in your market area.

While these are just a four ways to start planning for 2016, has created two free planning checklists to assist you in preparing for even more. Download our 2016 Social Media and Business Planning checklists to expand your audience and stay up-to-date with fresh, innovative ideas.