Where is the real estate industry on this chart? In terms of brokerages, arguably it’s between 2005 and 2006. Many real estate firms still encourage their agents to pursue off-line sphere of influence strategies (i.e., volunteer at the local charity, pass the business card around, wait for the call, etc) without a similar focus on Internet strategies. Indeed, many of these same firms are extremely uncomfortable with encouraging their agents to contribute to blogs, community forums, etc, due to fear that an agent will say something inappropriate, or whatever. And forget about these firms providing a company-funded blog platform for its agents!
Unfortunately, these risk averse attitudes drive marketing myosis.
What is social media? Wikipedia has a good answer. Why does social media matter? For the real estate industry it matters because the whole business of selling real is about engagement. And social media, at it’s core, is about engaging consumers immediately. Real estate firms who do not invest in social media devices aimed at engaging consumers directly or reinforcing the firms’ local expertise are at risk of sliding into irrelevancy.
What’s one of the easiest ways to begin the conversion? A corporate blog that is owned by the firm but also owned by the agents (in terms of content contributions). Why does this matter? This lets the firm’s agents demonstrate their local knowledge, superior marketing accumen, and reinforce their superior service value proposition. Why does this matter? Because consumers are going to “test” the firm’s claims by searching for validation of these claims. What better way to validate a firm’s deep local knowledge than to have an archive of such in a blog?
What’s an example of a great corporate-sponsored blog in real estate? This blog clearly demonstrates the firm’s local expertise, market knowledge, and marketing acumen, while giving its agents a platform to shine.