TikTok: The Phenomenal Marketing Resource Real Estate Agents Are Tapping Into

TikTok: The Phenomenal Marketing Resource Real Estate Agents Are Tapping Into

Viral dances, concise skincare tutorials, fashion, and humor are all part of what has made TikTok a sensation amongst its users. Primarily, the popular social media app consists of members of Gen Z, who seemingly spent most of the last year uploading and sharing these short, creative videos. It would make sense if you’ve already written off TikTok as a nonsensical medium better meant for silliness and trivial content– but you’d be making a hefty marketing mistake. 

Some of the most viral videos showcase extravagant mansions with infinity pools, massive home gyms, home theatres, and driveways lined with Range Rovers and G Wagons. These videos are packed with more than just appeal; they aim to sell a lifestyle millions and millions of people are working to achieve. 

And if you think Gen Z is the only group flocking to the app, you need to take a closer look inside this unbelievably hot social medium. 

Building A Brand

When you hear the term “influencer,” you may picture a young creative with a keen eye for what makes content go viral. Maybe her avenue is lifestyle or quick, healthy meal recipes, and she may be easily dismissed by older generations. In fact, I can confidently say she has been dismissed. But why? In an age where building your brand on social media has led to success for countless influencers, why are we dismissing their pioneering efforts?

Simply put: we have underestimated their power, and somewhere in the process, we told ourselves to fear it. 

Dylan Brush, a Los Angeles-based real estate agent with SJF Group, began sharing luxury properties on TikTok in late January and quickly went viral. His videos have amassed millions of views, and his follower count has grown to influencer status. But it didn’t just take a quick upload or two to make that happen. 

Brush worked on his brand with a constant stream of luxury properties and an edge to go with it. His simple, yet clever “Client Says” captions such as, “Client says I want a place to entertain,” followed by a gorgeous view of the property have helped him cement who he is on the app, and mostly, what he represents: himself. Brush says he gets his listings more exposure than any other platform. This exposure spreads more than just the addresses he’s selling; it’s getting his name out there to people across the globe

Leads, Leads, Leads

As salespeople, we love our leads. Since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down agents’ abilities to host open houses, other avenues of marketing became the new norm. But even with 3-D and self-guided tours, options seemed limited. Dylan Brush’s trendy vibe attracted him leads from all over, with people DMing him on the platform asking for help or referring him out to friends looking to buy or sell their homes. 

“TikTok is creating that Million Dollar Listing and Selling Sunset buzz, which in turn is getting people to reach out to me. The market I work in is Los Angeles, and people love that vibe,” Brush says. 

Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok all share one major roadblock to viral success: challenging algorithms. Even with all the right planning and content-capturing tools, a post can still flop thanks to the algorithms designed to either help or hurt your view count. What agents find works for them the most is posting daily, and oftentimes, reposting content. The trick is to keep going, keep posting, and ensure the content is, for a lack of a better word, cool

Attracting Millennials

It’s not some industry secret that Millennials conduct much of their lives through social media. Whether looking for new skincare tips, the best spots to vacation, or showcasing their own wannabe luxurious lifestyles, Millennials use various social media sites to gather their information. 

While TikTok may seem intimidating outside of its primary audience, industry experts believe agents should invest their time and money into the platform. For one, you never know who is watching your videos. It could be a teen fantasizing about his future, or a Millennial investor looking to grow her fortune. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Myspace all started out with a young audience viewing and engaging with the posts of young users. And while Myspace is no longer with us, the other platforms have rocketed their users to success. 

Scott Durkin, president and chief operating officer at Douglas Elliman, believes that TikTok’s younger user base is actually an advantage. “This is the exact audience we want to be targeting,” Mr. Durkin said. “Millennials are said to buy the most real estate in the next year.”

That’s right: the generation so consumed with dropping their hard-earned cash on avocado toast is the next group gearing up to buy homes. While Millennial millionaires make up only 2 percent of the total millionaire population in the United States, their wealth and influence will continue to grow ahead of the Great Wealth Transfer. Many are turning to real estate to further build their wealth, and more than nine in 10 millennial millionaires are homeowners as of 2019

Millennials may not feel they share much with their younger cronies, but they do have one major thing in common, and that’s a borderline obsession with social media. I don’t make this point to drag these people– quite the opposite. They know that these platforms are what make or break a brand. 

Where To Start

TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2020, and if you’re not on that long list of users, you’re not just missing out on some mindless entertainment; you’re missing out on learning more about what makes a product or service sell. 

The first obvious step is to download the app and get to know its users through their captions, comments, and content. Next, follow the users who are already doing what you aim to do: create your brand, build on it, and use it to your advantage. Much like with any project, it’s in your best interest to do your research. And when it comes to social media, your research never ends. 

Keep up with the trends, comment and engage on posts, and upload the best content that reflects not only your listings but your ideal brand as well.

Will the US Market Survive Post COVID-19?

With the unwelcome introduction of COVID-19 into the world, we have not only found ourselves in incredibly uncertain times with regards to healthcare and pandemic responses, we have also found ourselves facing economic uncertainty. This week alone, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco have temporarily closed all non-essential businesses. This includes film sets, bars, restaurants, gyms, salons, and so on, leaving many people temporarily out of work. It’s quite easy to feel concern for our economic future, so let’s break this down a bit shall we?

 

Over the last several decades there have been severe downturns in all sectors of the economy. The worst that I have experienced in my lifetime thus far, was back in 2008 which in essence was truly a depression. The banking debacle was caused by  the ease of the credit market and the false valuation of the US real estate market by way of mortgage lending to unqualified borrowers with interest rates being based on inflated real estate values. I knew we were headed for a total disaster when I was getting my shoes shined by a wonderful man and he was telling me he just bought a house with 100% financing and easily qualified for a mortgage. It was later blamed on the sub-market of sub-prime mortgages. The bond traders loved having these higher than average interest rates that were touted as AA bond type with little risk. Everyone was at fault and the domino effect on every aspect of the marketplace was astronomic. After the market crashed, short sales were happening left and right and large pools of defaulted properties and defaulted loans were sold for pennies on the dollar. Loan rates dropped and the credit checks with more stringent requirements for borrowers were put back into place. A sense of normality came back into the mortgage market, while the bond traders got greedy and were left holding the bag. 

 

Eventually, Henry Paulson, an American banker who served as the US Secretary of the Treasury was able to implement policies to save the banks in the US as a whole; while proactive investors during this time (who believed in America) were buying solid real estate or stocks in sound companies. 

 

This crisis caused by global pandemic COVID-19, is a whole different animal entirely. By and large, the economies of the United states (and many of the economic leaders worldwide) were rolling along at such a high levels that there were really no real signs of an upcoming downturn; certainly, not an abrupt one. Who would have thought a virus would put our country (and the entire world) on its knees? No one quite knows what to do, which makes it feel debilitating.  So, let’s talk about how to take advantage of this crazy downturn. Real estate for now will not, in my opinion, drop as quickly as the rest of the market. It would take more time to bring down the market to a level that would be worthwhile to pick up a bargain. Sellers largely paid too much for their properties and won’t be willing to let it slip away so quickly. There will be exceptions to this, but not in prime real estate areas. Therefore, let’s start by having a  look at the stock market; the market hates uncertainty. It is my opinion that the stock market will continue dropping until a solution is in the wind, however, I believe that will happen sooner rather than later. The most important thing as a person, a neighbor, and as a potential new investor in these troubling times is going to be to stay calm. Should you be prudent, and stock up essentials? Yes. Should you obnoxiously hoard items and leave nothing for others? Of course not, and the same mindset goes for stock. Would you be comfortable if your neighbor had nothing? The world will not dramatically change, if people remain socially responsible and prudent. It is in these times of disaster, and yes, this is a global disaster, that leadership and a calm disposition is most critical. 

 

Now, if you’re aiming to purchase stock in the downward slide (and it is my position that you should if you can), you don’t want to look back and say “wow, I could have purchased stock in Disney at $100 or less”, rather than looking at the price of stock as the sole decision making factor, look at companies that are well suited to come back quickly; the ones that have a solid balance sheet. There is great opportunity right now in the stock market. This downward slide in the market is likely to last a few weeks or months, but the market works on the future valuation of companies and once we get a handle on a direction and how to handle this virus, we are on our way back to stability.   

 

On the macro side, we will undoubtedly see a downturn in the economy, and major economic indicators and statistics will start to trend downward. However, we will bounce back. If a simple statistic like national GDP suffer, quite frankly it is not the end of the world. Perhaps, the sector of the market which will suffer the most will be credit. With rates next to zero, bad companies have continued to borrow. Some of these companies will not survive unless there is staggering government assistance. 

 

It is my hope that those with hourly wages, living paycheck to paycheck are given government support through programs or tax breaks. Equities on the other hand will certainly rebound. If you don’t need the money (and it’s understandable if you do), now is not the time to sell your stocks. When investing in equities you need a medium-term outlook; you are not there to pick the bottom of the market. Companies with strong balance sheets will undoubtedly survive., in fact they will thrive. Especially if we are stuck in our houses for a while, talk about pent up demand! Earnings outlooks for every company will be adjusted. Quite frankly, it’s already priced in. Now is the time to get back into the market, the rise up is often as vicious and fierce as the fall down. Stay calm, be kind, America is strong, and we will come through this. 

We will come back.  We always do. 

 

This Week in Los Angeles

This Week in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city that is constantly changing. Whether we are building new rail lines or new housing developments, we are always growing. This week some key changes are occurring and as you know, I always like to stay informed! Here are my picks for must-read articles of the week.

 

 

Richard Maize

7 Business Lessons You Should Learn by 30

7 Business Lessons You Should Learn by 30

Starting a business — or even getting involved as a professional — when you’re young can be intimidating. You might have knowledge about business from school, books or practical advice from sources online, but there’s a big difference between understanding business fundamentals on paper and gaining wisdom through actual experience.

By the end of your career, you’ll have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and hundreds of lessons, but there are some lessons that you should learn early on — ideally before you turn 30.

This article by Jayson Demers of Entrepreneur.com outlines the 7 lessons everyone should learn before they turn 30.

Click here to read the full article.

Best Business Articles of the Week!

Every week I make sure to read multiple articles from a plethora of news and tech websites to stay up to date with what is going on in the business world. This week I chose my top 5 to share with you!

  • Venus Williams inspirational story of how and why she became an entrepreneur on top of being an Olympic athlete. http://www.inc.com/magazine/201702/jeff-haden-bill-saporito/venus-williams-cover-story.html?utm_content=buffer4abf6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  • What are the best countries to start a business in? https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287908
  • Housing starts jump more than expected in the start of 2017.http://www.businessinsider.com/housing-starts-building-permits-december-2016-2017-1
  • 15 things you never knew about Elon Musk. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288010
  • Don’t get sucked into the content trap! https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287737

 

 

AI: It’s What’s For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

AI: It’s What’s For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

From delivering your groceries to helping you decompress after a long day, the latest advancements in artificial intelligence aim to make everyday life easier for humans. The latest news from the forefront of warehouse and home robotics technology indicate promising developments on the horizon. Just think, soon we could be having our groceries bagged by robots, then sitting down to dinner with a robot companion capable of much more than just passing the salt and pepper.

Ocado: The UK-based grocery delivery service, which logged 1.5 billion USD in 2014 revenue, is developing automated humanoid robots to assist with warehouse operations. “The ultimate aim is for humans to end up relying on collaborative robots because they have become an active participant in their daily tasks,” said Dr Graham Deacon, Robotics Research Team Leader at Ocado Technology. The robots will assist human mechanics in keeping the shipping facility running at optimum speed and efficiency. By evaluating the poses of their human counterparts, these robots will eventually be able to anticipate the needs of their human co-workers. If successful, Ocado’s humanoid robots will be the first to offer intuitive support in a warehouse setting. The company also filed a recent patent for robots capable of selecting and packing grocery orders, which could drastically alter the warehouse needs of large scale shipping companies.

Pepper: Japan based SoftBank Robotics Corp. recently sold 1,000 units of its much buzzed about home robot helper, Pepper, in one minute on its first day of consumer sales. Pepper aims to be a part of the family, offering conversation and even the ability to read and form emotions, thanks to sensors and cloud-based artificial intelligence (the algorithms for which have been closely guarded thus far). With a $1600 price tag, Pepper is a bargain compared to comparable robots, but is a robot companion a worthy investment? While it may be a novelty in its initial stages, SoftBank anticipates rolling Pepper out worldwide next year, with projected applications in office environments. Pepper could also pave the way for automated caregiver and nanny robots, with emotional intelligence being an essential component from taking robots from the warehouse to the home.

 

 

 

iPhone Does Away With Headphone Jack, Making Fans Go Crazy

iPhone Does Away With Headphone Jack, Making Fans Go Crazy

Due to hit stores in September, the next generation iPhone—presumably to be called the iPhone 7—has a lot of people excited for its latest innovations such as a waterproof frame and wireless charging capability. But one of its new features, the removal of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of making the new phone slimmer and sleeker, has at least 300,000 people outraged.

“Apple is about to rip off every one of its customers. Again,” reads an online petition that calls on the tech giant to restore traditional headphone jacks to its next phone.

Though the change is still only a rumor at this point, mounting evidence suggests that the headphone jack is history. But you need not worry if the rumor turns out to be true. The new iPhone will come with brand new Apple earbuds that will allow you to plug into your music by using the phone’s Lightning port.

Connecting headphones to the phone this way will actually help improve sound quality. By using the power from Lightning cables, headphones can power built-in amplifiers for a much smoother listening experience. A source close to Apple also indicated that the iPhone 7’s new Lightning audio system will also include noise canceling technology.

But despite the benefits of the new system, some fans are unhappy because they fear having to leave their favorite standard headphones behind or spend more money to be able to use them.

Though its products sell supremely well, Apple has been known to upset customers with many past feature changes. Back in 2012, the company removed the 30-pin charge connector that was used in all its products to that point in favor of the 8-pin Lightning charger its products use today. Though many people were upset about having to stop using their old charging cables, everyone eventually adapted to the better system. Apple’s computers also lost their optical drives some time ago. More recently, the company removed all but one port from its 12-inch MacBook Pro. The remaining port triples as a charger, USB, and device connector.

Like it’s done before, Apple appears to be paving the way for the future. Several overseas Android phones are also making use of new USB port technology in place of traditional headphone jacks to deliver higher quality digital audio to their users, signaling that headphones jacks are simply becoming outdated. Apple may just be the first company to make this change in the United States.

Fortunately, a number of options are available to help you if you’re among those people wishing to use your standard headphones with the new iPhone. Firstly, it is highly likely that standard headphone jack to Lightning port adapters will hit the market at the same time the new iPhone does. They should be available on Amazon or eBay very cheaply. For a more sophisticated option, you may plug your traditional headphones into a Bluetooth audio receiver, which will beam music to you from your iPhone 7 with exceptional sound quality.

 

Be Good, Be Profitable. Be Socially Conscious.

Be Good, Be Profitable. Be Socially Conscious.

Socially conscious, social entrepreneurship, and corporate sustainability. We hear these words together a lot, and with good reason. Social entrepreneurship requires businesses to be socially conscious—and, if deemed so appropriately, these business will likely have corporate sustainability, or long-term value through a “green” strategy supporting the natural environment and considering every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment.

Socially conscious business models have garnered a lot of attention lately. This is evident just by walking through the doors of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship in New York City, an entire coworking space, community, and launch pad built specifically for entrepreneurs starting socially conscious businesses. However, this shift toward social entrepreneurship isn’t limited to startups and small brands. Even large, well-established companies like Patagonia—which was founded on a three-pronged mission “to build the best products, do no unnecessary harm and to use business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis”—have made socially conscious business practices the platform of their organizations.

Even companies that have long been considered “traditional,” (translate, stuck in their ways) have been taking broad strokes to become more socially conscious. Daily Finance cites Walmart, Waste Management, and Unilever as three of five surprising companies that have gone green—the final focused entirely on “altering its business model with a focus on sustainability.” The takeaway? Socially conscious business practices are no longer just a “perk” or selling point for PR purposes. In my mind, both from a business and profitability standpoint, and from a moral standpoint, being socially conscious should be a requirement.

And while progress is being made on this front, it seems like we’ve been talking about this for a long time, with very little progress toward consistent change. This is evident in what I see day-to-day—the small oversight of people failing to recycle during their lunch hours—so I can’t imagine the kinds of socially conscious infractions I’d see if I took a peek behind closed-doors of large companies. Perhaps the scare tactics aren’t being used effectively enough. I can think of one in particular that’s worked well on me: We are at a tipping point today, because by 2050 we will be beyond our resources as a plant. This is scary. I could live to see this day if I don’t start making changes right now; if we don’t all start making changes right now.

According to World Wildlife Federation’s Jason Clay in his TED Talk How Big Brands Can Help Save Biodiversity, it’s even simpler than that: Inspiring 100 key companies to go sustainable will be enough to convince global markets to shift and make significant changes to protect the planet that our consumption has already outgrown. Clay’s roundtables are already getting big brands to agree on green practices before their products even hit store shelves. The point is, as business owners we all need to make a commitment to making socially conscious practices a part of our business, in the same way we make accounting, marketing, or human resources a part of our businesses. Whether its using solar and wind power to run manufacturing; sourcing our products from vendors who respect the earth, people and animals; or providing our employees with the benefits they need to live well at and away from work, we need to commit to making these changes and be completely transparent in doing so.

For those business owners who aren’t easily scared, or don’t think they have the infrastructure to support such a shift, perhaps it’s more impactful to talk about the benefits of social responsibility to the business itself. In addition to just being the right thing to do, socially conscious practices are also profitable. Earlier I mentioned the correlation between social entrepreneurship and corporate sustainability. Sustainability—closely linked to profitability—is one of the tenants of social entrepreneurship. Our minds are focused on “not running out” because that is exactly what we are so close to doing. It’s just plain, good business sense to use methods that will conserve our resources (be they people or products) and save us money in the long run. And there are plenty of companies that started out small and have accomplished just that. Look where they are now, in most cases beating out those who are slow to change: Patagonia, mention above, has seen double digit growth annually over the past five years; and Al Gore and David Blood’s Investment Firm, Generation demonstrates the success of a deliberative investment model committed to reducing environmental and social damage, by showing greater returns and less volatility than the standard investment house approach by a significant percentage.

The real kicker for me, though, is the recently discovered, and rarely discussed link between the environmental destruction of our planet and human trafficking, which is outlined in abolitionist Kevin Bale’s book: Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World.  Many of us are unknowingly supporting the perpetuation of modern day slavery through our daily consumer habits, just by purchasing from companies who haven’t fully vetted the practices of their supply chains. So much so, that the interactive website Made in a Free World was founded to allow anyone to compile information about their consumer habits and estimate the correlation of those habits to the promotion of slavery. This organization is currently building a revolutionary tool for companies to directly address slavery in their supply chains, along with a movement to partner with companies who are actively building “a free world,” by practicing socially conscious business.

As far as appearances are concerned, from corporate to cultural measures and everything in between, we live in a world that cares about social entrepreneurship and corporate sustainability. It’s time we start consistently acting on that feeling.

Originally published on Huffington Post

5 Things Your CEO Won’t Tell You — But Should

5 Things Your CEO Won’t Tell You — But Should

Why haven’t you gotten that promotion or raise? Why does your boss give you extra attention, but not in the way you’d like? There are modes of behavior that are not in the employee handbook which can radically affect the way you are perceived by your CEO at work. Though these traits are not in themselves fireable offenses, they won’t make you a popular person to your CEO (or your fellow coworkers) either. Luckily, once you become aware that you may be guilty of these actions, it’s easy enough to curb these bad behaviors if you can be honest with yourself.

Mind Your Bad Attitude

An employee’s work product is a huge part of what sets them apart from their coworkers. Company culture is a huge part of what creates a successful or unsuccessful environment for a business, and a person’s attitude can create a positive or negative atmosphere. We all have days that aren’t ideal: lose a client, an account, or don’t hit revenue targets. It happens. The difference between an employee who gets negative or positive attention from the CEO is how the employee handles bad news, and stressors.

Honesty vs Oversharing

Let’s face it, no one wants to see fifty pictures of your cat. At work, there should be a certain level of friendliness but please, keep it professional, especially if you work in an industry that requires discretion. If your loose lips run amok at the watercooler, you may sink your own ship come promotion time. A person who can’t tell the difference between what should or shouldn’t be shared at work (or company functions), comes off as untrustworthy. Who wants to share information with a person who shares all information?

Share an appropriate number of pictures. There is no need to go all or nothing, but know your audience. Your CEO could be a dog person.

Are You Being Micromanaged? There Is Probably A Good Reason

To be fair, some micromanagers are born and their helicoptering can’t be helped regardless of how perfect your work is. For the purposes of this article, let’s concentrate on you. Ask yourself honestly: have I been dropping the ball, missing deadlines, turning in sloppy work, or coming to meetings ill-prepared? If you answer “yes” to any of those questions, you may need a micromanager. Nobody wants to admit he or she is failing in their roles, but many targets of micromanagement fail to ask the aforementioned questions. If your CEO is hovering and using you as a helipad but no one else, it may be time for you to be honest with yourself about your performance at work.

Emotions Can Affect Your Credibility

Life happens, so we are not suggesting that having emotions from situational incidents or struggles in your personal life isn’t ok. What we’re talking about is whining, pouting, rage, storming out of meetings, or overreacting to x. There is one surefire thing that no CEO (or anyone) enjoys in an employee: a moody, constant complainer. If your moods change with your current situation, if you get slighted easily, or if you bring every single complaint about the weather, your significant other, etc to every conversation with your CEO, you’ll start looking like the boy or girl who cried wolf. They will automatically discount your complaints as your modus operandi.

Your Boss Isn’t Your Friend

Some bosses and employees are friends, but that isn’t always the case. Don’t overshare, ingratiate yourself, or expect for the end of your tenure at the company to mean that you’ll be taking trips to Hawaii with your CEO. First and foremost, they are your boss — responsible for your paycheck, and your upward mobility. Your actions outside of work are just as important as how you act at work. A CEO will not groom you to be their next manager if you cannot show decorum, restraint, and grace in every circumstance and situation.

Often, CEOs won’t bring these issues up in your one-on-ones. Maybe they think you are a lost cause. Ask yourself honestly if you are guilty of some or all the above, and if you aren’t sure, the answer is most likely a yes.

Originally published on Huffington Post

The Amazon Echo Actually Makes for a Happy Home

The Amazon Echo Actually Makes for a Happy Home

Technology made specifically for your home has found a nice niche over the past two years. Many products have hit the market that automate functions and monitor your home while you’re away. Several voice activated products have caught public interest but the Amazon Echo in particular has solidified its future.

The Amazon Echo is the first new product of its kind to get a dedicated commercial – let alone during the Super Bowl.

Amazon dubbed the commercial as the “#BaldwinBowl” and after a week the YouTube version has amounted over 18.7 million views. The product had already been on the market well before the commercial but the promotion really helped the public see the value in the “smart speaker.”

The product works simply out of the box: take the Amazon Echo out of the box and plug it in. Then you’ll hear the awakening of your personal assistant, Alexa. She’ll prompt you to begin the setup process of connecting the speaker’s Wi-Fi network on your phone or tablet, as well as your home network in the Alexa app. Within minutes your smart speaker will be ready to go. The setup is simple but the possibilities are endless; this is an Amazon product that really brings convenience to your life at home.

The speaker will light up whenever it hears its name called and it’s a good listener – seven noise-cancelling microphones are hidden within. The Echo’s dual downward-firing speakers create an “immersive sound,” and current consumers say that they don’t usually raise the volume above about 60 percent. The speaker has been reviewed to fill a room well with sound.

The most interesting part about the Amazon Echo is that it’s always evolving. The capabilities it has now weren’t the core functions in the product’s earlier days.

When the Echo launched, the speaker could naturally read off weather reports, set timers and alarms, and managing your to-do list and shopping list. Obviously, the company added a very accessible pathway to shop on Amazon. Alexa can also read curated news from popular sources like NPR, BBC News, CNN and others. The ability to choose which categories and sources that interest you can be done from the Alexa app.

The Amazon Echo now has over 135 skills and climbing. There are so many commands that Alexa can comprehend and carry out, but its home services create an all-in-one controller for any homeowner.

Apps like WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, and other smart home devices are all compatible. Use your Echo to turn on the lights before getting up in the morning or setting your coffee pot the night before. Alexa will even order Domino’s and Uber for you if you asked.

The Amazon Echo isn’t a stagnant product; instead, Alexa is continually adding skills and capabilities. This smart speaker is a product that can truly make your life easier at home without lifting a finger.