Analogies: Seeking ActiveRain's Most Innovative Minds

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

I have often found that stories and metaphors are great tools for teaching and informing, so I am in pursuit of some wisdom and guidance from the most prolific group of Realtors on the internet.

We all know that digital marketing has taken our industry by storm, and those of us who are actively creating content and using social media platforms to expand our reach should have a top-notch presentation that explains the usefulness of the different social media platforms to home sellers.

The use of effective digital marketing is a competitive advantage that Rainers hold in their local market places, so it is imperative that we have a method to communicate this value to prospective home sellers. After all, there is a lot of competition for listings; you must set yourself apart.

For this purpose, I created an analogy comparing the suburban shopping mall of the 1980s with the internet of today. I began assembling this story for home sellers back in 2011 in an attempt to explain to the less-than-savvy home sellers who did not use social media. I felt that I could take the traditional suburban shopping mall and analogize different features within the mall to explain how social media works in the same manner.

The Analogy For Home Sellers

Consider that one Mega Mall has replaced all shopping malls around the world, and we're about to take a stroll through the mall and try to explain what we see.


As you enter the main doors of the mall, you immediately encounter the “you are here” display that provides a guide to the entire layout of the mall. In the digital world, this display is built backward, rather than showing you where you are, it asks you where you want to go. Guidance is provided and these Google displays (and similar search engines like Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, etc.) are situated conveniently in every nook and cranny of the mall. Every marketer knows that to gain Google’s favor is to guarantee a steady flow of customers through the doors of the store.


In the center of the mall is the food court, where people go to hang out, people-watch and socialize with friends over a bite to eat. Facebook is by far the most active place in the digital mall - as of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users9. The smarter marketers in the mall know that while everyone at the food court may not want their product right now, store owners should still have a display present in order to remain top of mind. When people are ready to buy, they’ll remember the food court signs and head your way.


Youtube is the mall music, that sound in the background you hear when you are shopping. Of course, there are regular interruptions to the music, reminding you of stores with items on sale. On the internet, Youtube often shows up in organic search results with videos, and people love to see videos. A recent forecast from Cisco suggests that video content is going to make up a whopping 82% of all internet traffic by 2021, up from 73% in 20168. Whether people are too lazy to read or if they simply retain information better from videos, the numbers speak for themselves. The prudent marketer is creating content and boosting it on Youtube and other video platforms.


All the snippets of conversations you hear from the other mall visitors as you walk through the mall, sit in the food court, or browse through shops are like Twitter. A constant stream of opinions and information, much of it disregarded by mall visitors. However, sometimes you hear almost everyone in the mall talking about that one store having a great sale. Well, that store is now "trending."


Instagram is like the window displays in the traditional mall. Each store displays their best products, fashioned in such a way as to bring visitors into their stores. People love to window shop, looking at all the pretty and shiny things and that is exactly what Instagram should be for your company. It's a glimpse into the best parts of your company, a behind-the-scenes look into what visitors will find when they walk into your store or work with your company.


As you walk through the mall, you see people carrying bags from all the stores. Colorful, classy shopping bags are proof of happy customers going out into the world and letting everyone else know exactly who made them so happy. These shopping bags are like Pinterest, a marketing vehicle with low cost and high visibility, with appealing ads that link viewers to a source (the store) and are shared with the masses. Effective marketers use Pinterest by creating appealing content that users want to share with others.


Linkedin is the mall’s back office, containing a record of all the shop owners and employees, enabling them to communicate best practices, acknowledge great employees and network. It’s also a great way to spread the word around the mall when you are hiring, having a sale, expanding into new space, etc. It’s a great way for the shop owners to leverage internal mall relationships in order to stay up to date with the latest mall news and developments and to share information among themselves.

I Need Your Help

I have about 25 more elements of this analogy but would love examples or thoughts from ActiveRain readers and writers. What other social media platforms would you include, and how would you explain them? How do I perfect this story to blow away sellers during a listing presentation?


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Show All Comments
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Wow Joe- I think you've covered the main Social Media portals that come to mind but I have my thinking cap on and will return if I can help. 

Jul 08, 2019 07:50 PM #1
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thank you Kathy Streib I actually have quite a few more but I'm still looking for the missing "stores"

Jul 09, 2019 03:13 AM #2
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Joe,
What great analogies!  You're onto creating a very interesting presentation. Will be interesting to see what input you get.  I'll include this in Second Chance Saturday to see if we can round up some more thoughts.

Jul 12, 2019 07:50 AM #3
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I'm so glad Carol included this in her Saturday Second Chance post.

I think this is great and you have all the most popular social media sites listed.  If this is for sellers, though, how would you explain MLS, and all the home shopping sites (Z, T, R, etc)?

Keep us posted on your project! You're on to something.

Jul 13, 2019 02:57 AM #4
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Joe Manausa if you're referencing listing presentations, you must include Realbird.... It's a site to create a website for the listing.... but it's well beyond just a works that website for you.... syndicates everywhere....just everywhere..... it offers more than any one site can match....and in multiple languages.... 

Jul 13, 2019 03:55 AM #5
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Kat Palmiotti I always point out that 100% of all listings go to those sites. Even the ones that fail to sell. Being on those sites is merely a small step in the process I don’t even use them in my mall analogy but maybe I should

Jul 13, 2019 05:31 AM #6
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Joe - a trip to the mall these days, in some locations at least, will find some empty stores.  Coming Soon?  Maybe  Going Out of Business?  Occasionally.  A re-invention, a new concept or under new ownership?  Yes, that can be seen.  Stay tuned.  

Jul 13, 2019 10:24 AM #7
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Joe:

I think you have done a stellar job on this analogy for sellers and how social media work. Not sure I can add anything but will give it some thought.

Is there anything that could be done about Internet security and protecting one's identity and information?


Jul 13, 2019 03:21 PM #8
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                            Thank you, Joe. 

Jul 13, 2019 06:58 PM #9
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

OMG....reading this and loving all comments.  This is great stuff!

Jul 14, 2019 04:53 AM #10
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

How it is done on the Internet is also very important- anyone can throw something on the Internet  but to get it seen on the Internet  is another story - 

Having a Google Business Page should be a Must -- and a very colorful page 

by the way there is not a G+ 

Jul 14, 2019 04:56 AM #11
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Joe Manausa - now I know why Kathy Streib included you on her weekly roundup.  I don't know what else I could add because you really explained reasons for social media to everyone here.

Jul 14, 2019 06:24 AM #12
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on being featured by Kathy this week!  Great post!

Jul 14, 2019 06:55 AM #13
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I too would add RealBird, it is a wonderful tool and really helps get the word out about listings. An analogy to a store? Hmmn. That will require a bit more thought as I wake up this morning. D

Jul 14, 2019 07:01 AM #14
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Joe Manausa,  This is a great way to analogize something that has become so dominant in our world: technology! Amazon comes to mind when it comes to retailing.  That may be one to consider in your analogy; it represents one place where most consumers make at least some of their purchases. Now, I personally think they have gone a little too far with their "Prime" offering but just like a retailer with a huge following, there is always something for someone.  As for Google, that is another place that has overstepped it's place in the web universe,  IMHO. Just like Zillow, they now only show names of entities/individuals on their front page who pay them a lot of money to appear; it has nothing to do with SEO anymore--just pay up big time and you get a better a shot at showing up on their first page. Content is no longer King now that Google has set their algorithms to read and show only that which directly affects their bottom line! Between Zillow demanding "Pay-up or Shut-Up" of all agents in the real estate world, and Zillow no longer recognizing good original content with page 1 placement on local information from the blogosphere, we are all losers--It's about who pays up in a big way. The internet is just one big Pay-to-Play set up. 

Jul 14, 2019 03:26 PM #15
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Joe Manausa,

Wow, very cool!  You might want to include all the different credit cards types and compare them to the types of loans that one might get. 

Gift Wrapping store - tying up the loose ends maybe with the close - escrow or title companies and handing off the keys.   

Jul 14, 2019 05:44 PM #16
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Joe Manausa 

Excellent read! So glad this was featured by Kathy Streib 

Maybe add SPAM as other element...rowdy teens, running ' up'  the "down" escalators, loud groups, or the security tags that make that awful sound when the clerk forgets to remove one. Sure there will be many more suggestions.

Jul 14, 2019 07:51 PM #17
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

SPAM! That is brilliant Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland ... thank you so much for sharing!

Jul 15, 2019 03:34 AM #18
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Joe Manausa, I would definitely add RealBird. Amazon would also be a great addition.  

Jul 15, 2019 07:26 AM #19
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Nice work here, Joe.  I am totally not sure about everything other than Google.  I think you might wish to include the new email marketing apps or programs that allow you to build from templates.  The analogy? Unsolicited calls from the mall asking you to come by and check out their merch!

Jul 16, 2019 06:27 AM #20
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