Why brands are turning away from big Instagram influencers to work with people who have small followings instead
Why brands are turning away from big Instagram influencers to work with people who have small followings instead Rachel Hosie,Rachel Hosie Apr 9, 2019, 08.24 PM Amber Atherton Zyper Brands are increasingly moving away from working with huge influencers to promote their products. Instead, they’re choosing to collaborate with micro or nano-influencers, who can have as few as 100 followers. There are many reasons for this switch, but mainly it’s because people with smaller followings are much more relatable and trustworthy, and their endorsements seem a lot more genuine and authentic. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories .
The life of an influencer can appear incredibly glamorous – who wouldn’t want to spend their days posing for photos, receiving gifts from brands, and being paid to post about them on Instagram?
It’s a lifestyle that appeals to many, so much so that “social media influencer” is the second most popular career aspiration amongst 11-to-16-year-olds today (second only to “doctor”), according to one study . With certain influencers commanding followings into the millions, securing an endorsement from one can seem like an incredibly powerful move for a brand.
However, the tide is slowly turning, and increasingly brands are seeing the benefits of working with micro or nano-influencers – meaning it’s actually possible work with your favourite brands even if you only have a few hundred followers. What is a micro-influencer?
The term “micro-influencer” is bandied around a lot, but exactly what it describes is up for debate.
While some people would consider anyone with 1,000 to 10,000 followers a micro-influencer, and anyone with more than that to be an influencer, others break things down more thoroughly.
Gabby Wickham and Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes are the co-founders of London-based brand influence agency Wickerwood , which plays the role of middle-man between brands and influencers.
They divide influencers into the following categories: Mega: 1 million + Nano: 800 – 10,000 followers Why do brands want to work with micro-influencers? It might seem counterintuitive for a company wanting to boost sales and increase brand awareness to choose to work with influencers with small followings, but there’s actually a whole host of reasons to do so.
For starters, people with a few thousand followers generally seem more trustworthy, authentic, and relatable than those with huge followings.
Working with smaller influencers can also mean a brand’s message is spread in a more natural-feeling way.
“It’s really trusted and curated content,” Wickerwood’s Gabby Wickham told INSIDER. “[Working with micro-influencers] is one of the strongest marketing platforms of the moment.”
Read more: I went on a professional Instagram photoshoot, and the lengths influencers go to for the perfect picture will shock you
What’s more, nano and micro-influencers often allow a brand to target specific audiences – if, say, you were opening a restaurant in north London, working with micro-influencers who post about their adventures in the area would likely increase your chances of reaching others who might spend time there.
“A lot of brands prefer to work with nano or micro-influencers because they’re a lot more focused and more targeted to their followers and audience,” cofounder Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes added.
“It means the potential engagement is a lot stronger because those influencers will be much more aware and in tune with their immediate following because they’ve grown them, they’re still small enough for them to be able to engage well with and also potentially know on some level. 25-year-old London-based food blogger Nina Ricafort, for example, has 10.6K followers on her Instagram account @feastlondon.
Her feed is dedicated to reviews of dishes and restaurants found in central London, and she always discloses when she was invited as a guest for a complimentary meal.
“They’ll be much more London-centric and locally-focussed because of the work they’ve been doing,” Leigh-Wood Oakes added. Wickerwood co-founders Gabby Wickham and Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes Sam Churchill Companies are seeking genuine brand fans
No matter the size of your following, and despite the inclusion of #ad, #gifted, or #spon in your caption, product endorsements on Instagram are a lot more powerful when the person doing so is a genuine fan of the brand.
This is something Amber Atherton, now the founder of a tool called Zyper , realized while running a jewellery e-commerce business.
“We learned our customers were our most relevant ambassadors,” Atherton told INSIDER. “Tapping into fans of a brand is far more powerful than using an influencer.” Amber Atherton is the founder of Zyper, a company which uses an algorithm to find a brand’s top 1% of fans, regardless of follower-count. Zyper This was the seed which led to her founding Zyper , which uses a secret algorithm to identify a brand’s top 1% of fans and then bring the two together on projects.
“It’s the idea that influencers are becoming less and less relevant and every consumer has the power to collaborate with a brand that they love,” Atherton said. “We’re like a hybrid loyalty programme, it’s about rewarding genuine fans as opposed to just paying people to post.”
She believes real fans are more important than influencers because you know they genuinely like the product. Are big influencers losing their allure?
One of the problems with working with huge influencers is that you don’t really know who you’re reaching.
“With macro- and mega-influencers, it’s like throwing sand at a wall,” Wickham said. “It’s a numbers game, rather than really curating.”
What’s more, the biggest influencers have become celebrities in their own rights, which makes them not seem like real people any more.
“Some of these much bigger ones with half a million or a million followers, they feel a little out of touch or seem to have propelled themselves into the celebrity space,” Leigh-Wood Oakes said.
“So consumers and followers start to see the dollar signs behind that, they’re turning into a business, probably being paid a hell of a lot.”
Even though a micro- or nano-influencer might have received something for free, they certainly won’t have been paid the huge amounts mega-influencers receive for their endorsements. The general public is also becoming more savvy to how sizeable these fees can be – and it’s a turn-off.
“People want authentic content and it becomes really disingenuous if you realise someone is paid £10,0000 ($13,000) to do it,” said Wickham.
Read more: Instagram influencers are hiring life coaches to help them deal with the pressures of the platform
All of these factors have contributed to a general decline in trust of big influencers, and Atherton says the data backs this up.
“Advertising is not the way to appeal to millennials and Generation Z, and influencers are very much becoming just a new form of paid media,” she said. “That lack of trust is really where we’re seeing a shift to going back to this peer-to-peer grassroots level. Because at the end of the day, the most effective form of advertising is peer-to-peer referral.
“I think the whole influencer space is a massive bubble which is going to burst.” How micro-influencers are selected
If the big influencer space has become overcrowded, there are of course even more potential micro- and nano-influencers on Instagram, so how do agencies and brands decide who to work with?
For WickerWood, it’s a case of considering analytics but also a person’s content creation – that means not only whether what you’re posting has been thoughtfully created, but also whether it aligns with the brand’s image.
From a personal point of view, you won’t be doing yourself any favours by endorsing a product that doesn’t fit seamlessly into your Instagram.
“Followers are so much more savvy than they were before, and if it doesn’t look real and it doesn’t look like it is part of your world and you would endorse it, there’s no point in doing it,” said Leigh-Wood Oakes.
“The influencer should want to work with brands that work with their lifestyle because otherwise their followers are just going to get turned off.”
For Zyper, exactly how brand fans are identified is secret. However, Atherton says the algorithm is largely based around an analysis of a brand’s customer data, someone’s engagement with the brand, whether you’re an existing customer, your aesthetic, and various other metrics. “They have to have the right metrics to have 1% fan status,” Atherton said. “That’s how we confirm someone is a real brand advocate – it’s obviously completely different to influencers which just comes down to brands choosing different people who’ll promote tons of different brands if they’re paid.”
The size of a person’s following doesn’t actually come into it at all, and there’s no minimum you have to have to become a brand fan: “It’s a completely artificial way to determine if somebody is relevant to a brand or in any way influential within their peer group,” Atherton explained.
“We generally don’t look at that as a defining metric at all.”
Read more: Instagram posts encouraging eating disorders are ‘spiralling out of control,’ psychiatrists warn
While Zyper tends to approach the top 1% of fans on social media after identifying them, they also get people applying, often enticed by the prospect of freebies.
Since launching a year and a half ago, Zyper has had 100,000s of applications from people who want to be brand fans, but the vast majority get turned down if they don’t come up in the company’s data deep-dive.
“So if you wanted to work with Topshop, we take a deep dive and then match that up with our inbound signup list and see if those people are actually coming up in the top 1%,” Atherton said. “A lot of the time they’re not.” What does being a micro-influencer actually entail? Working with brands on a micro- or nano-influencer scale can mean various different things.
In order to maintain authenticity, it’s important that you’re not just doing a one-off post, but rather that you become an ambassador who is part of a campaign over months or years.
Zyper works with brands such as Magnum, L’Oréal, and Dior, but how it works with influencers varies.
Usually, once the top 1% of fans have been identified and they’ve agreed to be involved, they’ll be given credit to spend on the brand in some capacity and be asked to feature it in posts a certain number of times per month (disclosing that the products were gifted).
Zyper’s brand fans double-up as a focus group for the brands too, and they’re often brought together to sample new products and provide feedback on what they’d like to see.
“I think that is becoming a huge part of the value we’re bringing to brands,” Atherton said. “It’s a very lean feedback group for insights.”
Zyper also then feeds data back to its brands: for example, if 50% of a beauty brand’s fans have Instagrammed something matcha-related over the past three months, this might result in the brand considering bringing out a matcha line of products, or even just giving out matcha kits to fans as a reward. How to make yourself more attractive to brands
So, you’ve got a small but engaged following on Instagram and want to get a slice of the micro-influencer action – how do you go about it?
Ultimately, you need to wait for a brand or agency to come to you, but there are certain ways you can increase your chances of this happening, as Leigh-Wood Oakes explained. 1. Understand yourself as a brand
Ask yourself: What’s your ethos as a social media influencer? What do you want to tell your followers? What lifestyle are your trying to promote? Make sure this comes across strongly through your posts. 2. Be real
“A lot of brands are starting to work a lot less with influencers who Photoshop too much, use loads of filters, and give off this idea that life is perfect and wonderful and there’s not a pimple or a dimple in sight – it’s not real life,” Leigh-Wood Oakes said.
“So I would definitely suggest an influencer make sure they are really showing real life. Yes it can be curated and tailored, but you have a responsibility and that’s very key.”
3. Put effort into your content
It helps to show enthusiasm for the brand and show that you care about what you’re producing.
“We love it when we see an influencer get really involved, be enthusiastic, and have lots of ideas and creative input,” Leigh-Wood Oakes said. 4. Know your audience
If you want your audience to engage with you, you need to engage with them, and this is how you’ll get to know them.
“Really understanding and being OK with having a small audience following is crucial,” Leigh-Wood Oakes said.
You just need to demonstrate you know how to engage that audience successfully.
Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ inspires Oprah to donate $2M to Puerto Rico
Oprah Winfrey will donate $2 million to Puerto Rico to help with rebuilding efforts and revitalize cultural programs that have been stymied since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Winfrey was inspired to make the donation after seeing the award-winning composer, lyricist and actor ” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s commitment to bring ‘Hamilton’ to Puerto Rico and support the community that served him growing up,” according to a statement from the Hispanic Federation .
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father on the importance of ‘Hamilton’ in Puerto Rico Jan. 15, 2019 02:36 The nonprofit organization, which focuses on supporting Hispanic communities through local, state and national advocacy efforts, said Monday that $1 million would go to the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico fund — which helps the organization develop and implement programs to deal with the island’s long-term needs.
The other $1 million of Winfrey’s donation will go to the Flamboyan Arts Fund , a grant program created by Miranda and his family to help artists and arts institutions in Puerto Rico promote arts on the island.
Winfrey’s contribution adds to the estimated $15 million Miranda was able to raise for the Flamboyan Arts Fund after reprising his leading role during a 23-performance run of the hit musical “Hamilton,” which he created in 2015, in Puerto Rico in January.
“I wanted to join in the revitalization efforts of an island so rich in culture, beauty and heritage,” Winfrey said. “The needs of Puerto Rico and our fellow American citizens following the tragic hurricanes are still very real, and the work that has already been done by the Hispanic Federation, Flamboyan Arts Fund and other organizations on and off the island is long from over.”
Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, killed at least 2,975 people and left around $90 billion in damages — making it the third-costliest hurricane on record in the United States .
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Nicole Acevedo Nicole Acevedo is a staff reporter at NBC News Digital where she reports, writes and produces content for NBC Latino.
Everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 9!
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know! Here’s the lowdown on one of 2018’s most powerful smartphones (in 2019) 9 Apr 2019 270 Released in August 2018, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is still one heck of an Android phone that brings a lot of power, functionality, and style to the table.
We’re expecting its successor, the Galaxy Note 10, to arrive at some point in August, but whether you own a Note 9 or are thinking about picking one up now that the price has come down, there’s still plenty to like.
If you’re in search of our full review of the phone, its specs, cases for it, or anything else in between, here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9! The latest Galaxy Note 9 news March 12, 2019 — Android Pie now rolling out to unlocked and Verizon Note 9 handsets
A little less than two weeks since the Note 9 on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint received the big update to Android 9 Pie, the Verizon and unlocked versions of the phone are now joining in on the Pie fun.
In addition to Pie / Samsung One UI, this update for the Verizon and unlocked Note 9 also brings the February 2019 security patch to ensure your device is as safe as can be. March 1, 2019 — Galaxy Note 9 on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint gets Android Pie
Samsung’s One UI/Android 9 Pie update brings a lot of goodies to the Galaxy Note 9, and if you bought the phone on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, Pie should now be rolling out to your phone.
The update comes in at around 1.8GB, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network before you start downloading it. February 4, 2019 — Android Pie with One UI comes to the Note 9 on AT&T and Sprint
If you’re rocking a Note 9 and have it on either AT&T or Sprint in the U.S., your wait for Android Pie has ended. According to tips from multiple readers, the Pie/One UI update is now arriving to the Note 9 on both carriers.
We haven’t seen the update size for the AT&T update, but the Sprint one shows up as 1840.5 MB. It’s also rocking the January 1, 2019 security patch.
The updates are widely rolling out now, so if you haven’t received it yet, you should see it soon. January 27, 2019 — Android Pie update with One UI scheduled for February 4 on Rogers
Samsung’s One UI update with Android Pie has been graduating from betas to stable release in countries around the world, but we should soon be seeing the update rolling out in North America with the announcement that Rogers will be updating the Samsung Galaxy Now 9 to Android Pie on February 4 , a week before Rogers pushes the Android Pie update for the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
While one Canadian carrier may not seem like a big deal, this is a great sign for all American and Canadian Note 9 users, as these software variants are developed side by side. If the version for Rogers is rolling through its final testing, hopefully the update will be ready soon for the rest of the US and Canada carriers. Bugs could still arise in the next week before the rollout, but hopefully the One UI update will be here in just a few short days!
Read more: Everything you need to know about Samsung One UI and Android Pie update November 24, 2018 — “First Snow White” Note 9 launches in Taiwan
There have been whispers and wishes of a Note 9 as white as snow, and Samsung has official launched a “First Snow White” Note 9 in Taiwan, and wow, it’s pretty! The name homages the first snowfall of the year, which is what the Taiwan launch coincides with.
This Note 9 features an all-white back, including the camera and fingerprint module. The S-Pen is also snow white, while the front of the phone is the same deep ebony black as the current color line-up, and inside, everything else matches the other Note 9 colors. The Snow Fall White model was unveiled in Taipei and will be exclusively sold by Samsung in Taiwan beginning in December.
It’s not clear if or when this color could make its way to other markets, but this beauty has me dreaming of a White Christmas. September 19, 2018 — Latest Bixby update for Note 9 has a new press twice to open option
Ever since we were first introduced to Bixby on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Samsung’s virtual assistant has proven to be an annoyance rather than genuinely helpful more times than not. Users have previously been allowed to disable the physical Bixby button if they don’t want to use it, but with the Note 9, Samsung removed this option.
A new Bixby update is rolling out now to Note 9 owners, and while there’s still no way to disable the Bixby button entirely, you can make it more difficult to accidentally trigger the assistant.
Under the new Bixby Key setting, you can now choose to open Bixby by pressing the button once or twice. By switching over to twice, it’s far less likely you’ll unwantingly open Bixby when you mistake its button for the power/lock one.
What do you think of this update? Is it enough to keep Bixby at bay or do you still want a way to turn it off completely? September 17, 2018 — A woman is suing Samsung after her Galaxy Note 9 caught on fire
Ever since Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 debacle from a couple years ago, the company’s been under a fine microscope when it comes to the safety of its devices. A little less than a month since the Note 9 officially went on sale, there’s already one report from a woman in New York claiming that her Note 9 randomly caught on fire while it was in her purse.
Diane Chunge is a real estate agent in New York City, and according to her recently filed lawsuit against Samsung, she was in an elevator when she noticed that her Note 9 was unusually hot. She put the phone in her purse, but shortly after, she says “she heard a whistling and screeching sound, and she noticed thick smoke.”
Chunge did make it safely out of the elevator (someone in the lobby she exited the elevator from threw the Note 9 in a bucket of water) and is now suing Samsung for unknown damages and wants it to cease further sales of the phone.
Following this, a Samsung spokesperson said, “We have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note9 device and we are investigating the matter.”
It’s believed that this was a one-time fluke seeing as how Samsung’s phones now go through a rigorous battery safety check following the release of the Note 7, but even so, it’ll be interesting to see if any additional reports come to light following this. August 27, 2018 — Samsung’s now offering free Gear VR adapters to Note 9 owners
While there was a lot of hype and fanfare surrounding the Note 9 when Samsung announced it, something that was noticeably absent was a new Gear VR. Last year’s model doesn’t currently work with the Note 9 due to the phone’s larger size, but thankfully, Samsung’s announced a small fix .
If you call 1-800-SAMSUNG and give the company your Gear VR’s serial and model numbers, you’ll be sent an adapter within 10 business days that allows the Note 9 to properly fit inside the headset.
There’s currently no way to purchase the adapter online or in-stores, and as a quick reminder, this only applies to the Gear VR headset that was released last year alongside the Note 8. August 21, 2018 — Google names the Note 9 as the best phone for YouTube
The Note 9’s 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display is one of the best you’ll find on a smartphone in 2018, and thanks to this, Google’s deemed it as the best phone for binging YouTube on.
YouTube’s Signature Devices list recently launched as a way to highlight Android phones that offer the best experience for all things YouTube, and as part of it, it’s noted that:
With this transition from TV screen to phone screen, YouTube has announced its Signature Devices for a best-in-class YouTube experience. Ranked against a variety of key attributes, YouTube endorsed a variety of devices as best-in-class for the platform.
Their top choice? The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 August 21, 2018 — The 512GB Note 9 saw more pre-orders than the 128GB model in Korea
Pre-order numbers for the Galaxy Note 9 are slowly trickling out, and according to a report from The Investor , Samsung’s highest-end 512GB model was the most popular in the country.
SK Telecom, Korea’s biggest wireless carrier, notes that “users mostly preferred to buy the 512GB version” which costs 1.35 million won (or $1,208 USD). At this time, it’s unclear if the 512GB preference carriers over to the U.S. and other markets.
Korean pre-orders for the Note 9 have also been stronger than that of the Galaxy S9, but not as high as last year’s Note 8. August 17, 2018 — Galaxy Note 9 already getting a software update that adds August 2018 security patch and more slow-mo video options
The Note 9 won’t officially be released until Augst 24, but even so, Samsung’s already pushing a software update to the phone that adds a couple goodies.
This update changes the software version number to N960FXXU1ARH5 and allows users to record Super Slow-Mo video for moments that last either 0.2 seconds or 0.4 seconds when in manual mode. 0.2-second shots are still in glorious 960 FPS while 0.4-second ones are limited to 480 FPS.
Additionally, this update also brings the more recent August 2018 security patch. August 15, 2018 — Samsung talks about what it took to make the Note 9 so darn pretty
It’s no secret that Samsung makes stunning phones, and with the Galaxy Note 9, the company put all of its design prowess on full display. However, as much fun as it is to look at and hold the Note 9, it’s even more exciting to take a closer look at just what goes into crafting a device of its caliber.
Samsung’s Infinity Display is once again being used on the Note 9, and measuring in at 6.4-inches, is the biggest the company’s created to-date. Samsung also says that the Note 9’s screen is an ever deeper black compared to past handsets, which “allows it to blend in with the bezels when the device is off and enhances the overall aesthetic.”
A process called Die-cutting was used to craft the Note 9’s frame, and as a result of this laborious process, the frame of the Note 9 ” features an interplay of glossy and matte finishes that complements the Galaxy Note9’s premium design cues.”
To read more about the Note 9’s design and the time/attention that went into its S Pen, check out Samsung’s full deep dive below. All the big details Check out our written and video reviews
Before you do anything else, be sure to check out our full review of the Galaxy Note 9!
While the Note 9 may not be the newest Samsung phone on the market these days (that title goes to the Galaxy S10 ), it still has a lot going for it. The Note 9 has a gorgeous display, insanely fast processing tech, a massive battery, and much, much more.
Get the full lowdown in the video review above and our written one below.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: Welcome to the one comma club Here are the specs
Like past Notes before it, the Galaxy Note 9 is packed to the gills with all of the latest available tech. That means it has a speedy processor, massive battery, an insane amount of RAM, etc.
Here are all the specs you can look forward to. Category
Silent Solution: How To Call 999 Without Speaking If You’re In Danger
Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (en français) South Africa United Kingdom United States LIFESTYLE 08/04/2019 11:12 BST | Updated 08/04/2019 11:50 BST Silent Solution: How To Call 999 Without Speaking If You’re In Danger Kerry Power’s life may have been saved if she’d been told to press two buttons. 123 By Natasha Hinde If you needed to call the police without saying a word, would you know how?
A new national campaign hopes to raise awareness of the little-known system which helps people let police know they are in imminent danger and could save lives.
The Silent Solution system enables a 999 mobile caller, who is too scared to make a noise or speak, to press 55 when prompted and inform police they are in a genuine emergency.
It was a system that might have saved the life of Kerry Power, from Plymouth, who was murdered in her own home in December 2013.
Supplied by IOPC Kerry Power But Power, 36, wasn’t fully aware of the system when, early in the morning, her ex-partner and stalker David Wilder broke in. When she called the police but did not respond to the BT operator’s instructions, her call was transferred to the Silent Solution system. But because 55 was not pressed, the call was terminated and local police were not notified of Power’s call.
Later that morning, Wilder called police to report he had fatally strangled her.
Power’s family said: “Although she was not able to speak for the fear of alerting the intruder to her actions, she followed the advice given by a police officer during an earlier visit; that she could call and not speak, as the police held her details they would be alerted and attend.”
The family claim Power had not been not told to press 55. An investigation could not conclusively identify the wording the officer used when advising Kerry about emergency calls, however the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was clear she did not know she needed to press 55.
To coincide with National Stalking Awareness Week (8-12 April), the IOPC has launched its ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign with support from Power’s family, Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
“For survivors of domestic abuse calling the police might be too dangerous,” explained Lisa Johnson from Women’s Aid. “Many abusers will threaten to hurt or even kill them if they try to speak out about the abuse. This means that for far too long many women have not been able to access the emergency support they so desperately need from the police.”
The campaign aims to educate the public on how to make a silent call.
More from HuffPost UK Life:
How To Recognise Economic Abuse In A Relationship And What You Can Do About It More Than Third Of UK Women Have Experienced Psychological Abuse What Is Coercive Control And What Types Of Behaviour Can Be Prosecuted? What Is Gaslighting And How Do You Spot The Signs In Your Relationship? How To Make A Silent Emergency Call “It’s always best to speak to a police call handler if you can, even if by whispering,” said IOPC Regional Director Catrin Evans
“But if you are putting yourself or someone else in danger by making a sound, there is something you can do. Make yourself heard by coughing, tapping the handset or – once prompted by the automated system – by pressing 55.”
Evans added: “We found from our investigation into police contact with Kerry that there is a lack of public awareness of the Silent Solution system and are keen to share this important information as widely as possible. It could potentially save a life.
Myth-Busting The police service receives 12 million 999 calls each year. Police will not automatically attend if you make a silent 999 call. Callers need to listen and respond to questions and instructions, including by coughing or tapping the handset if possible – or if using a mobile phone, once prompted by the automated Silent Solution system, pressing 55.
The system filters out thousands of accidental or hoax silent 999 calls made daily. Around 50 emergency calls from mobiles a day are transferred by a BT operator to police forces in the UK as a result of someone having pressed 55 when prompted, enabling the police to carry out urgent enquiries to respond.
Natasha Hinde Reporter at HuffPost UK
Why You Should Take Your Real Estate Agent’s Advice
Real Estate Why You Should Take Your Real Estate Agent’s Advice The advice your real estate agent offers can help you close the right deal to buy or sell your home. By Steven Gottlieb , Contributor | April 8, 2019, at 9:54 a.m. Why You Should Take Your Real Estate Agent’s Advice
Buying or selling a home seems like it should be fairly intuitive. A buyer and a seller agree on a price and voila – a deal is made. But of course, as any homebuyer or seller will tell you it’s much more complicated than that.
In many markets, buying residential real estate has become all but a contact sport, and selling seems just shy of a Stepfordian beauty pageant. Not only has technology changed the way properties are marketed and searched for, but the smoke-and-mirrors of home staging has raised the bar for sellers’ presentation, and therefore made it more difficult for buyers to spot that diamond in the rough. And, of course, a seasoned Realtor can advise even the most veteran or rookie client.
Many real estate professionals have begun to call themselves real estate advisors, and in many ways, the title is appropriate. For the average American homeowner, a home represents the largest asset they have. Therefore it is a wise move to hire someone to advise, regarding how and when to smartly buy or sell the asset.
[ Read: How to Find a Real Estate Agent ]
For many buyers and sellers, the real estate agent has become a trusted advisor, much like a portfolio manager. If someone is living in a robust real estate market, like a cosmopolitan city or affluent suburb, it makes sense to not only hire a smart and experienced agent to shepherd the often confusing process of buying or selling property, but also to follow his or her advice.
Chances are your real estate agent is going to echo other professionals in a few key topics when it comes to buying or selling. Here are a few notable examples of advice your agent may give, and why they’ll help you buy or sell your home. For Sellers: Stage Your Home
These days, buyers have very little imagination, and they expect to see houses that look like clean slates, and the popularity of both newly developed properties as well as TV shows about interior design and real estate deals further the expectation. These professionally staged homes are selling a dream, and if your resale is going to compete, you also have to sell the dream of clean and bright. Anything too far from that can easily turn off many potential buyers.
If some of your furniture looks old or odd, bringing in some newer pieces instead might be a small investment that will net you more money – and more quickly – upon the sale. And if your agent asks you to put a bowl of lemons in the kitchen or flowers in the living room, just do it. Clean Up and Declutter
Cleaning up means not only giving the bathrooms and kitchen a deep cleaning, but it also means decluttering . Remember: You’re moving. Think of this as step one of packing, including getting extra furniture, toys and out-of-season clothes out of your house. Closet space is paramount. Keep your closets as neat as possible while your home is on the market. The floors of the closets should also be clear – if there’s clutter on closet floors, it telegraphs to buyers that this home doesn’t have enough closet space.
And for each showing or open house, make the beds, get dishes out of the sink and remove laundry from sight – and close those toilet seats. Depersonalize
Personal effects can distract buyers from focusing on the space itself. All family photos, or other identifying decor pieces like awards and diplomas, should be moved into the new home or put into storage. They’re not going to help sell the property and your privacy is important. A good way to think about selling your house is that although the property is your home, once it’s on the market, it’s a product for sale. Depersonalizing also means neutralizing decor choices that are specific to you, like painting the chartreuse foyer white, storing your beer-soaked pleather recliner from college and taking down the bead curtain from the bedroom door frame. For Buyers: Get Your Ducks in a Row
Before you begin to look at properties, decide if you’re going to take out a mortgage and get preapproved by a bank. It will give you an idea of what you can afford, and what you can’t. Many real estate agents are happy to help you reach out to lenders, but they won’t want to show you homes until you know how you plan to pay for a house. Make a Wish List
To best utilize the time and talents of your agent, give him or her your wish list. What are the things you must have versus what you’d like to have? An open kitchen ? A view? Proximity to work? Outdoor space? A home office ? The must-haves and want-to-haves help your agent narrow down potential properties, which shortens the time it takes for you to find a home that meets your needs.
[ Read: The Guide to Buying a Home ] Let Your Agent Play Devil’s Advocate
When you tour properties together, tell your agent what you liked and disliked about each property, but ask him if you’re missing something. Is bad decor throwing you off from seeing the amazing bones of the house? Is a fabulous renovation distracting you from dark views or an unlivable layout? Your agent should be able to see a neglected gem, as well as through the smoke and mirrors of great staging.
Whether someone is new to the market or has bought and sold many properties over the years, one of the biggest mistakes that buyers or sellers make is to think they can outsmart the market or cut corners regarding their Realtor’s advice. As you would listen to the advice of your accountant, financial advisor or attorney, if you’ve bothered to hire a real estate agent whom you respect, listen to the advice he or she is imparting to you. 9 Details That Signal a Home Is a Good Buy Are these must-haves on your list? (Getty Images)
One of the first steps you take when deciding you want a new home is determining what you need in order to be happy there. The list of your must-haves can get long, and you reasonably can’t expect to find a house that perfectly matches all your criteria. “Someone has a list of 10 things – if they can find a house that has seven or eight of those, they’re doing pretty good,” says Jeff Plotkin, a Texas-licensed Realtor, attorney, certified public accountant and vice president of Habitat Hunters Inc. in Austin, Texas. Deciding what needs win out in your next home search can be tough, but there are a few key features and amenities many buyers seem unwilling to live without. Right in your price range (Getty Images)
Being able to afford your new home is a given, but buyers are often faced with having to choose between stretching their budget to have the master suite they want or having more reasonable monthly mortgage payments. Price often wins out in the end – you’re less likely to enjoy that master suite if you’re eating soup and foregoing vacations for the next five to 10 years to pay it off. In the 2018 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, home affordability was one of the three most important factors for respondents who recently purchased a home – behind only quality of the neighborhood and a location’s convenience to work. In your preferred location (Getty Images)
Homebuyers care a lot about being able to get from point A to point B – as well as points C, D and E. Your future neighborhood can dictate what school your kids go to, how long it takes to get to work and how easy it is to stop at the grocery store when you forgot an ingredient for dinner. Plotkin says buyers put a lot of stress on where the house is, rather than what’s in the house itself. They’re looking for “proximity to schools, shopping, entertainment, public transportation,” he says. Interior over curb appeal (Getty Images)
A handsome exterior keeps potential buyers from quickly driving away, but insight from new construction marketing site HomLuv.com reveals that it’s the interior that most often serves as the deal-maker. HomLuv’s website allows homebuyers to begin their search for a new home from the room they care about most, whether that’s the kitchen, living room or master bathroom. The one part of the house people don’t seem too worried about? Outside. In the roughly two months since HomLuv launched, “no one has chosen to look at exteriors first,” says Mark Law, vice president of product management for BDX, a home builder marketing company and parent company of HomLuv. The right number of bedrooms (Getty Images)
While the interior of the home allows more wiggle room to compromise on your needs, there are some details that buyers must have. The right number of bedrooms would be the big one. Family expansion is often a primary reason homeowners start looking for a new house, so leaving out that extra room would defeat the entire purpose of the sale. According to the NAR report, 85 percent of homes purchased by respondents in 2017 had three bedrooms or more. Window treatments for reference (Getty Images)
Staging matters in a home. As much as we think we can picture how a vacant house will look with our own furnishings and decor, at the end of the day we need some suggestions. Law says builders will include big picture windows in bedrooms or over the tub in a master bathroom to let in natural light, but if the photos show the space without curtains or blinds, house hunters will inevitably see a design flaw. “They’ll say, ‘I’m not an exhibitionist,’” he explains. To avoid turning homebuyers off, window treatments should be included in listing photos and for home tours. Move-in ready (Getty Images)
The condition of the home you shop for often goes hand in hand with your budget and the neighborhood you hope to live in. If your budget is at the lower end of the price range in the hottest community in town, you’ll likely find yourself buying a house that needs a little love. If your budget doesn’t restrict it, chances are you’ll have your pick of properties that have been turned by real estate investors. “The [buyer] demand is for 100 percent move-in ready condition,” says Bobby Montagne, CEO of Walnut Street Finance, a private money lender focused on home flipping in markets in Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia metro area. Possible to picture your vision (Getty Images)
Even if you’re one of the detractors who prefers a fixer-upper, it’s still necessary to be able to envision how the space will look once you’ve added your personal touches. Based on reactions from HomLuv users, details as small as the cabinet color in a photo can change the way a person thinks about a house. Law says he’s found preferences differ from region to region – darker cabinets may see more love in the South, while in California the preference is for white kitchen cabinets. “You could offer a free puppy and free pots and pans with the house, but if the cabinets are dark they still don’t want it,” he says. Warranty available (Getty Images)
For newly built homes and those that have been recently flipped with significant work, you want to know that the professionals involved stand by their work. New construction homes often come with a warranty from the builder or the option to get a third-party warranty, and you should ask the investors involved with a flip for the same level of protection. “A good builder [or] a good flipper does not have a problem with that,” Montagne says. If an issue arises within the life of the warranty related to the workmanship, you can rest easy knowing you’re covered financially for the repairs. Potential for value growth (Getty Images)
Your home isn’t just where you’ll live – it’s also an investment. There are a few easy decisions you can make that reduce the chances of losing out on potential growth in value over time, whether that means buying in a neighborhood where home values are steadily growing, finding a home in a desirable school district or avoiding living next to a strip mall . “When you’re buying a house, you’re not only buying it for yourself, you’re buying it for resale,” Plotkin says. “So most people are not going to want to back up to commercial [property] or a busy road.”