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Jun 27 2014

How to Instagram Your Next Open House

Instagram’s simple platform and focus on photos makes it the perfect platform for real estate agents to share their listings. However, agents who aren’t familiar with the platform may not know what kinds of pictures to post. Simply posting a photo of your listing with the address and a description isn’t going to get much attention. You need to create a story around the listing and share multiple photos to tell that story.

The easiest way to start “Instagramming” your listings is to use Instagram during an open house. Below are 7 different pictures you can take to create and share your open house story.

Start with a selfie
A “selfie” is a photo that you take of yoruself Take a selfie in your car, in front of the sign or by the front door. Caption it with something like “Excited to host an open house at 12345 Main Street.”

Your favorite room
Take a photo of your favorite room in the house. In the caption, get your followers to imagine life in that room. For example, if your favorite room is the bathroom with the huge soaking tub, say something like “Can you imagine coming home from a hard days work and getting to soak in this tub? Glorious!”

Your favorite outdoor feature
Photograph your favorite outside space. Again, get your followers to imagine themselves living there. “Check out this built in BBQ. Would you love to host summer BBQs at this home?”

Give a shoutout to other agents
A shoutout is a social media referral. If a real estate agent you know comes by the house with clients, snap a picture with them and give them a shoutout in the caption (be sure to use their Instagram handle if they have one.) Your caption could read something like this “Look who stopped by my open house today! Thanks for bringing your buyers @realestateagent.”

Share your “to-do list.”
Write or type a list of things you need to do to prepare for the open house then post a picture. This gives people an idea of the services you provide when hosting an open house. You can also share the owners to do list to educate people on how they should prepare for an open house.

Tools of the Trade
Do you always bring a specific water bottle to open houses? Do you often bake cookies or bring a vase of flowers? Lay out your items and snap a photo. The caption can read something like “Here’s my open house survival kit!”

Get the owners in on the fun
If the homeowners are around, take a photo with them. Tag them and ask them to share the photo on their Instagram and to tag you!



Apr 22 2014

7 Gifts to Your Buyers Would Love to Receive at Closing

We design and print wine bottle boxes and labels. They are fully customized to display whatever logo, colors or brand you'd like

We design and print wine bottle boxes and labels. They are fully customized to display whatever logo, colors or brand you’d like

Why give a closing gift? In a word: referrals. During the home buying process, your clients talk to you on a daily basis. But once the new paint is up and the boxes are unpacked, they will settle into life and slowly start to forget about their experience, and you. Giving a gift, especially one that can be reused and that has your business brand on it, is a great way to ensure that you stay at top of mind. Every time they use the gift they’ll remember you and the next time a friend mentions buying or selling a home, your past clients will say “I know the perfect real estate agent for you!”

  • Bottle of Wine and Engraved Wine Glasses- Hand them a bottle of closing cabernet to celebrate their new home. Make the gift extra special by including wine glasses engraved with their name and the year the house was bought. You can brand this gift by putting the wine bottle in a box customized with your logo and contact information. In fact, our designers at One Step can design and print custom wine bottle boxes just for you.
  • Homeowners Tool Kit- Fill a container, such as a large mason jar, with odds and ends that people need when moving such as batteries, screwdriver, tape, permanent marker, sponge, and dish soap. You can brand this gift by adding a label with your logo and contact information. If you need labels, let us know and we’ll create and print custom ones just for you.
  • Soup in a Jar- Put all the dry ingredients for soup in a large mason jar. After a long day of moving, your buyers just have to add water and they’ll instantly have a delicious meal. You can brand this gift by ordering custom labels from One Step and sticking them on the jars.
  • Restaurant Gift Certificate- After a long day of moving, nobody feels like cooking. Treat your clients to dinner buy purchasing a gift card to a local restaurant. Skip the chain restaurants and go for one that is unique to the area. Not only will they enjoy the free meal, but they’ll love getting acquainted with a small business unique to the area. You can brand this gift by putting it in one of the personalized notecards you’ve ordered from One Step.
  • New Address Postcards- Snap a picture of your buyers in front of their house, then put it on a postcard along with their new address. Hand them a stack of 50-100 so they can send them out to friends and family and inform them of their new address. You can brand this gift by taking a the photo next to your yard sign so recipients see your information.
  • Memory Plate- Commemorate this momentous occasion with a memory plate. Grab a solid color dinner plate from a dollar store. With permanent marker write down all the important events that led to the purchase of the house. Bake the plate at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and the design will stick. Add some baked treats for extra pizazz. You can brand this gift by putting your full name somewhere on the plate and on the back you can put your contact info.
  • Welcome to the Neighborhood packet- This is a great gift if your buyers are new to the area. Include in the packet a list of contractors you personally recommend to help them with any home improvement or maintenance issues they may encounter. You can also include a list of important phone numbers for utility companies, schools, vets, doctors, etc. Instructions to local museums, parks, grocery stores and restaurants are also helpful. Add a couple gift cards to local businesses and you’ve got a practical gift new homeowners will love. You can brand this gift by putting the lists on flyers that bear your business brand.

While these gifts may require a little extra time and money, they are great ways to maintain relationships with past clients that will lead to referrals. Consider these quick tips to make gift giving easier and more beneficial to your business.

  • Buy gifts in bulk and keep them on hand. That way you aren’t scrambling for one at every closing.
  • Instead of giving a gift at closing, consider sending a gift on the one-year anniversary of the home purchase. Its a great way to remind clients of your business once the craziness of moving has settled.
  • In addition to your gift, leave buyers with a small package of promotional items such as a magnet, notepad and pen. These items should have your name and business brand all over them, and every time clients use them they’ll be reminded of their exceptional experience with you.
Mar 27 2014

6 Things Real Estate Agents Can Tweet to Their Clients

We’ve got some pretty brilliant clients here at One Step. As I was browsing Twitter the other day there were several tweets that caught my eye. I’m sharing them with you to give you some inspiration for your 140 character marketing messages. Not on Twitter? Keep reading anyways. These tips can be used across a variety of communication channels and under every tweet, I give you an adaption and show you how you can communicate the same information through different venues.

Remind people who you are

who we are tweet

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to remind your sphere of influence who you are and what you do! This simple reminder will often generate a referral or repeat business. Edie Israel and her team do this by tweeting a simple video that explains the basics of their business. Its about 30 seconds long and just discusses the highlights. It’s not meant to be a listing presentation, its simply meant to remind their followers what they do, where they do it and how they can help. Videos like this can be shared across all social media networks, in blogs, on websites and through email.

Adaptation: Call some of your past clients and remind them that your still in the business and would love to help them or one of their friends or family members. You can also send a personalized letter on branded stationery. 

Share Local News


If you have a local business, such as a real estate business, it’s a good idea to keep your audience informed about local happenings. Twitter’s fast paced communication style makes it perfect for sharing the most up to date news. Renee West does an excellent job of making her clients aware of breaking local news, and she does this by sharing articles form local news sources.

Adaptation: You could send text alerts to people when breaking news is happening in the community. Just make sure you have permission from them to text them, and make sure you are texting people who actually live in the community where news is happening. 

 Give a shoutout

shoutout tweetSocial media is meant to connect people, and what better way to connect with someone than by complimenting them in front of your social media audience? You can congratulate a client, give a review of product or service received from a vendor, or show your support for a coworker. Ashlie DuCros kills two birds with one stone by giving a shout out on Facebook and then sharing it through Twitter. Use hashtags and twitter handles to grab the attention of whoever you are giving a shout out to, and maybe they’ll return the favor.

Adaptation: People love to see their name in print! If you have a printed newsletter that you send out, make a regular habit of saying positive things to people in your sphere, especially if they receive your newsletter. You can also use variable data to create an entire direct mail campaign based on shoutouts. 

Share pertinent information about your industry

informative tweet


One of the best ways to build trust with potential clients is to establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Make a regular habit of sharing accurate industry information that you know your clients will find useful and interesting. Sharing from reliable sources is great, but you also need to be sharing information that comes directly from you! Share your thoughts on articles, original articles written by you, podcasts and videos.

Adaptation: Find speaking engagements and events where you can share your expertise. If you can’t find one, create one. Rent a banquet room, offer some free snacks and invite people to come hear you speak on a relevant topic. 

Promote a product or event



Sometimes in our attempts to be super creative and different, we forget the basics of marketing. We market to sell things! Don’t be afraid to do what the Geronsins did in this tweet and share your product!

Adaptation: New products, services and events usually need to be marketed across multiple channels. In addition to posting to social media, send an eblast to your clients and a direct mail piece to your target audience. 

Share a personal story


personal tweet 2When it comes to mixing business and personal communication, I like to follow the 80/20 rule. On your business communication channels, your messaging should be 80% business and 20% personal. This tweet by Aaron Zapata is a great example of effectively sharing a personal story over a business communication channel. He kept it simple, people like to know what’s going on in your life but don’t need your whole life story. He kept it modest and appropriate, no topless drinking photos. And he included a photo, which is always popular with audiences.

Adaptation: Instagram, Facebook and Google+ are great channels to share personal stories and photos. But, if you feel posts like this are still too personal, you can simply communicate personal things as they relate directly to your business. Photos of you and your coworkers at a conference, sharing an anecdote about something that happened at the office, and your personal feelings and opinions about current events are all great ways to connect with your audience on a more personal level.