Navigating the World of Social Media - Wall Street Journal

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Navigating the World of Social Media

Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, flickr and YouTube are the new buzzwords in the online marketing world of social media. Whether you are buying or selling real estate, it is critical that you understand the important role social media has come to play in today’s market.

Social media has been described as a convergence point where public relations, marketing and advertising meet on the World Wide Web. The basic list of social media Web sites starts with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. They work by enabling users to create and maintain their own personal profiles.

A real estate professional well-versed in the social media space knows how to use these mediums to create a consistent, fresh image for themselves that helps develop strong industry relationships. They know how to assess their own strengths to create an online presence that is both authentic and transparent. Creating a compelling profile for themselves using social media is an important first step in marketing your home to other high profile agents on the Web.

Each social networking Web site is unique and has its own audience. Scott Monty, head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company says, “LinkedIn is the business meeting, Facebook is the hallway conversation and Twitter is the cocktail party.” A technological real estate professional is familiar with all these Web sites and understands the subtlety of the digital communications that occur there. After all is said and done, your buyer is probably someone who knows someone, who knows your agent.

For example, our company, Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty in California, recently had a listing on a home owned by an entertainment executive. We produced a YouTube video of the property and e-mailed the link to the owner. He was so excited about the video, he posted the link to his Facebook site. From there the video of his home was viewed by his Facebook “friends” and distributed by them to various other sites and venues on the Web. This is a great example of “viral marketing” where a marketing piece behaves much like a pebble tossed into a still pond.

Finally, an important question to ask your real estate professional is what networking sites are they active on. For example, Active Rain is a Web site where they can blog about the industry. Despite the multimedia world we live in, at the end of the day relationships are what matter most. The savvy techno-agent spends their time and resources on sites where they know the most productive agents and motivated buyers may be found. Recently we were successful in obtaining an offer to purchase from a buyer who was referred by an agent from out of the area, who learned of our listing through an e-correspondence flyer sent to them as the result of a blog entry on a well-traveled agent site.

Social networking is the wave of the future. Those that can find success in this space are true technological players in today’s marketing world. They are the agents that will be selling tomorrow’s homes.

More thoughts on using social networking to market real estate from the Sotheby’s International Realty® network:

“One of the most effective things we do is to have our agents become friends on Facebook with those people who have always been on their direct mail databases. When the agent has a sale, we upload a photo of the home and ‘tag’ the agent who sold the listing, along with information on the home. Tagging the photo instantly informs the agent’s friends/database that they are busy and successful. Not only is this an affordable way to market to their sphere of influence, it is environmentally acceptable and it is fairly subtle.”

— David Boehmig, President, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, Georgia

“Social networking is an important part of our online marketing program. We want to meet the consumer where they are getting their information, which is largely on the Internet. Social networking is highly-targeted and, if done properly, more effective because it is more personal.”

— Jenny Pruitt, CEO, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, Georgia

“Social media has provided an exciting new forum for conducting business and I am thrilled that we as a company are whole-heartedly embracing these emerging opportunities to better connect with our clients and further separate ourselves from our colleagues,” says Erika Paul, President and Broker-Owner of Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Hopkinton, MA. “We consider ourselves pioneers in leveraging technology to advance our business initiatives, and social media is just the newest tool in our arsenal. We use forums like Twitter and Facebook to recruit and promote some of the brightest technology-focused Realtors in our market. We have set-up our own YouTube channel to showcase our growing catalog of property videos. Our office Flickr photostream helps instantly publish our inventory of listing photography to a global audience.”

— Erika K. Paul, President, Broker-Owner, Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty, Massachusetts

Paul’s company and their social media efforts were recently highlighted in best-selling author David Meerman Scott’s newest book, World Wide Rave. “Real Estate will always be a ‘people’ business and we see social media as a fantastic vehicle to better connect with our clients and associates,” says Paul. “There has been a noticeable dramatic shift in the way people research, buy and sell real estate and we are extremely proud of our social media efforts to better connect, share and discover with our community. It’s such an exciting time to be in this business!”

Property above presented by Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, property ID #4165935. Tel: 818.222.9500

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