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5 Ways Blockchain Technology Will Change the Way We Do Business

The growing consensus among business leaders and entrepreneurs: The future of blockchain technology will be about a lot more than Bitcoin. Blockchain tech will impact every major area of business from accounting to operations, and there's evidence the revolution has begun. Here are five ways blockchain technology is disrupting the way we do business, with sometimes sweeping changes. Accounting is the textbook case study for a business field that stands to benefit from blockchain technology. Blockchain tech can more effectively manage all of the above. Advertising and marketing. Information technology and cybersecurity. Management and operations. The system allows professionals to take part in a new economy for photography, secure payment for licensing their work immediately when sold and offer their work on a secure blockchain platform. Blockchain technology is changing how companies do business in other staid industries, too.

How Instagram Analytics Can Help Boost ROI in 2019

To help you strategize for 2019, we’re looking at three key Instagram analytics that can help you improve and develop your overall marketing strategy and drive more traffic your business. Engagement rates Knowing what kind of Instagram content resonates best with your audience could help you plan your content calendar and marketing strategy for the future. There’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to measuring your engagement rate, but most marketers will agree that it’s usually based around this calculation: divide the total number of likes and comments by your follower count, which will give you a percentage. Or you can use tools or apps dedicated to deciphering your Instagram Analytics, which will automatically calculate your engagement rate for each post so you can get a snapshot of what content ranks top of the list month after month. Your exposure on Instagram is linked to your post’s engagement levels. By paying particular attention to your engagement rate and the content themes that performed the best, you’ll find strong indicators from your target audience of where you should be investing your time, energy and budget. But with Instagram Analytics, you can focus on your click-through rate and the effectiveness of your link placement with Instagram Stories’ swipe-up feature and your link in bio if you want to drive traffic to your business’ site. Small changes to how you present your bio link will help drive your audience from your Instagram feed to your business website, where they can get more information, make a purchase or browse your brand in more detail. Monitoring the click-through rates of your Instagram Stories helps determine what content works best for driving sales to your website. By focusing on identifying your audience’s behavior patterns, gathering customer feedback and pinpointing what content resonates most with your followers, you’ll be armed with the best information to strategically invest in the future.

These are the best housing markets for first-time buyers

Purchasing the perfect home can be difficult, especially for those navigating the housing market for the first time. Luckily, a new report by Zillow reveals the country’s top housing markets for first-time buyers, measuring factors like home value, home appreciation, wealth and inventory. “Becoming a homeowner for the first time is easier in some markets than others – and the difference is not strictly about home prices, although they have a big impact on how long it takes to save a down payment,” Zillow writes. “Strong inventory and lower competition for listings also make a difference – as does the market outlook.” The video below highlights the top 5 most affordable rental markets, according to Zillow’s research: 5. Orlando, Florida. In this metro, the median home value is $237,100 and 21.3% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $217,500 and 15.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $264,900 and 20.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $277,900 and 23.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $213,600 and 24.8% of home listings have experienced a price cut.

How Lego uses Instagram to inspire fans of all ages

Social media continues to be an intrinsic part of Lego's marketing strategy, with visual content a key way the brand drives engagement and fosters a sense of community online. With kids and youngsters being a core part of its target audience, Lego also uses Instagram to focus on ideas for education and play. The account typically makes use of video in this instance, using Lego for learning. Promoting Lego Life With an audience of 2.4 million, last year Lego decided to replicate its success on Instagram with the launch of a new visual app – this time specifically designed for young users. According to reports, Lego Life has proven to be a success, with the brand finding a distinct correlation between the number of times kids return to Lego Life and an increase in the sessions of playing with Lego. Interactive ads Alongside regular brand content, Lego has also entered Instagram’s advertising arena, seeing success with its paid-for campaigns. One in particular, created to promote its new ‘Boost’ playset, used the platform’s Canvas ads in Stories. This is a key component of any successful advertisement, but even more so on Instagram, where users are likely to be particularly wary of branded and sponsored content. Its focus on user generated content is key, as is posting content that encourages action or communication. With a highly immersive, quality campaign, it shows that Instagram advertising can actually increase brand sentiment and even have a real impact on sales.

Homebuilder confidence stabilizes, hinting at solid spring home buying season

Despite affordability and labor concerns, homebuilder confidence held steady at 62 points in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. “Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018 and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season," NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said. In March, the index measuring current sales conditions rose from 66 to 68 points, while buyer traffic declined from 48 to 44. Lastly, expectations over the next six months rose from 68 to 71 points. The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores show the Northeast rose five points from 43 to 48 points, the South also moved forward from 63 to 66, the West inched forward from 67 to 69 points and the Midwest slid one point backwards from 52 to 51 points. "In a healthy sign for the housing market, more builders are saying that lower price points are selling well, and this was reflected in the government's new home sales report released last week," NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. "Increased inventory of affordably priced homes – in markets where government policies support such construction – will enable more entry-level buyers to enter the market." “The skilled worker shortage, lack of buildable lots and stiff zoning restrictions in many major metro markets are among the challenges builders face as they strive to construct homes that can sell at affordable price points,” the report states. NOTE: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder opinions of single-family home sales and expectations, asking for a rating of good, fair or poor. The scores are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index with a rating of 50 or over indicating positive sentiment.

Rent just hit an all-time high… again

With more and more renters feeling the affordability crunch, there seemed to be some light on the horizon recently with the steady rise in rents appearing to finally slow down over the last few months. Nevermind. As it turns out, rents are still going up and just hit an all-time high, again. According to the Census data, the median asking rent during the third quarter was $1,003, an increase of $52 over the second quarter and an increase of $91 over the same time period last year. (Click to enlarge. In the Northeast, the median asking rent rose from $1,134 in the second quarter to $1,210 in the third quarter. The largest year-to-date increase is actually in the South, where rents have climbed from $907 in the first quarter to $973 in the third quarter, an increase of $66. Rents in the West have also risen, from $1,345 in the first quarter to $1,382 in the third quarter, an increase of $37 this year. So, despite falling in the Midwest and the Northeast, rents went up in the South and West, and all that added up to a $49 increase in rents this year. The median asking sales price for homes is going up as well.

These markets are hotbeds for luxury real estate

A new report by Coldwell Banker reveals where the country’s wealthiest individuals are buying properties, listing the top 5 “power markets” for luxury real estate. Coldwell defines power markets as areas that offer the lifestyle amenities, education, and culture that the uber-rich seek out. Key features of these markets include airport accessibility and a housing stock that lends itself to privacy, exclusivity and stellar views. A recent report by Redfin revealed that luxury home sales – or sales of homes priced above $2 million – fell 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018, marking the first time in more than two years that sales in this high-end market have fallen on an annual basis. But Charlie Young, Coldwell President and CEO, said that the median sold price has remained around $1.4 million, holding steady for the last 18 months, and that this is a key sign of stability. “When you take the long view, the luxury real estate picture is steady and stable.” Here are Coldwell’s top five power markets for buyers and sellers, which Young called hotbeds of luxury home sales at the million-dollar price point and higher: 2018 Top 5 luxury buyer power markets Maui, Hawaii Palm Beach, Florida Washington, D.C. Kauai, Hawaii Brooklyn, New York 2018 Top 5 luxury seller power markets LA Valley, California Detroit, Michigan Las Vegas, Nevada Boulder, Colorado Raleigh, North Carolina Coldwell’s report also revealed other trends in luxury real estate. High-end real estate in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, had the shortest median days on the market – just three – for single-family homes. For condos, Orlando, Florida, had the lowest median price per square foot at $156. Vail, Colorado, ranked the most expensive for condos with a median price of $1,629 per square foot. Finally, Staten Island, New York, was named the most evolving market, standing out for its notable value compared with the other four boroughs of New York City, as its proximity to Manhattan appeals to buyers.

Renters are renewing their leases more than ever before

Despite rents continuing to rise throughout much of 2018, renters are choosing to remain in the same apartment more than they ever have before, even if their rent goes up. In fact, a new report from RealPage shows that apartment resident retention (renters electing to renew their lease after its initial term expires) hit an all-time high last year, with nearly 53% of renters choosing to renew their leases. According to RealPage’s report, apartment resident retention jumped to 52.5% last year, meaning that in the country’s 50 largest markets, when renters’ initial leases came up from renewal, 52.5% of them chose to renew. According to RealPage’s report, the renters who chose to renew their leases did so at rents that were 4.5% higher on average than their initial rent. The figures probably come as a bit of surprise to some in the market, especially considering apartment construction was at a nearly 30-year high last year, but RealPage notes that there a number of factors at work here. “For example, loss of renters to purchase ran below the historical norm, especially when interest rates inched ahead of year-ago levels, making purchase less affordable,” RealPage noted in its report. Apartments in Milwaukee and Newark-Jersey City had the most repeat renters, each registering conversion of expiring leases into renewal leases for 61.9% of the households. Resident retention was also above 60% in Providence, Rhode Island and Miami. The rest of the top ten markets where renters renewed their leases most often consisted of St. Louis, Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Pittsburgh. According to the report, other areas where resident retention ran well below the national level were San Diego, Charlotte and Phoenix.

Here’s where homeowners are relocating

According to Redfin’s migration analysis, 25% of home searchers looked to relocate to another metro in the fourth quarter of 2018. This percentage is a slight increase from 23% in 2017, and now sits at the highest recorded level in the report's history. The migration report utilized data from Redfin’s website, gathering information from more than 1 million users who searched for homes across 87 metros, from October through December. In fact, Redfin states all of these metros saw their outflows (people moving away from the area) dramatically increase from the previous year, especially in San Francisco. In this metro, 24% of Bay Area Redfin users were searching for homes in another metro, which is an uptick from 19% during the same time period in 2017. However, Denver made the biggest move up 2017’s list, as 24% of Denverites searched for homes outside the metro, climbing from 17% the previous year. Interestingly, although Seattle’s market continues to be one of the most expensive in the nation, its net inflow (the number of people moving into an area) surged in Q4, making it the fifth-most popular migration destination. “In both Seattle and Denver prices were growing rapidly in 2017 and early 2018 to the point that buyers backed off in the second half of 2018,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said. (Click to enlarge) NOTE: Redfin's sample-sized users must have viewed at least 10 listings during the quarter. In order to calculate net inflow and outflow, Redfin took the number of users looking to leave the metro area and subtracted the number of users looking to move to the metro area from another metro area.

Generate Leads With Your Facebook Cover Photo

The Cover Photo Design Your cover photo, just like any other photo you post on Facebook, is clickable. This means users can click on the photo to expand it and view the complete image. ‘Click Here’ Sign There are two different ways to get fans to click on your cover photo. After designing your cover photo, add a “click here” sign to the image. The second way to let fans know to click your image to read the image’s description is to add a short CTA to the bottom of the image. Once a fan clicks on the image (on their desktop), the complete photo is shown and fans can see the CTA on the bottom requesting they click on the link to your landing page in your image’s description. This automatic feature is a great way to inform fans that you’ve changed your cover photo. While you’re busy creating the best cover photo image to drive traffic to your landing pages, let Homes.com’s Social Fuel experts handle all your Facebook advertising needs. Patty McNease is director of Marketing for Homes.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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5 Fall Home Maintenance Items To Check Off Now Before The...

That means it's time to start thinking about how to get your home ready for winter. "Summer hasn't quite wound down yet, but fall isn't as far away as it seems," said Forbes. "Doing a round of simple fall maintenance chores now can save you time, money, and stress when the cold weather comes. " Check your chimney Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. "Creosote buildup causes chimney fires," said Family Handyman. "You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. "Fall is when critters often enter our homes to build a nest and ride out the cold weather," said Forbes. Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient so it takes less effort and money to keep warm in the winter. "Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. That way, you'll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet."