Realtors Encouraged to Join the Social Networking Conversation

24Jun09

Alysia Shivers, a fellow new media friend and colleague of mine, recently wrote a great article for the Naples Florida Weekly (my hometown) on the increasing integration of social network marketing into the real estate industry.  Enjoy!

Of the 87 percent of buyers using the Internet in 2008, 32 percent found a home compared to only 8 percent in 2001. I’m sure this statistic, as reported by the National Association of Realtors, is not surprising. What is surprising is the increasing rate in which the world of real estate and its marketing channels are changing.

At its Survival Guide 2009 workshop held last Thursday in Port Charlotte, speaker Joe Sesso of Realtor.com, who hosted the workshop, urged area agents to understand where consumers go for their research. These days they are doing much more than just a Google search; they are turning to online social tools, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, just to name a select few.

Why is social media such a growing phenomenon? Because these sites allow you to not only read content but to react to it and share it with your network. In fact, the latest report by Forrester Research shows 75 percent of online adults in the U.S. now use social tools to connect, compared with just 56 percent in 2007. And, dispelling the myth that these sites are strictly for the teenage set, Forrester further shows that social networking is way up among 35- to 44-year-olds and even among 45- to 54-year-olds, the latter of which 68 percent are now spectators and 24 percent are joiners.

With about 1.1 million Realtors nationwide, Mr. Sesso said it makes sense that those who are savvy about taking advantage of these free marketing tools stand a better chance of outwitting their competition. Jeannine de Alwis, an agent with Prudential Florida Realty in Naples attended the workshop because she likes to keep abreast of new tactics, but she admitted the social networking realm is a mystery. While she does have a Facebook page, she has yet to be active on it, saying, “It’s like a first impression. It takes a lot of thought.”

Mrs. de Alwis knows she cannot ignore social networking because the old tactics of referrals, open houses and print advertising only go so far when trying to obtain new customers. “We must challenge the established rules,” she said, noting a key line by Mr. Sesso.

From a company perspective, Dottie Babcock, chief operating officer of John R. Wood Realtors, a 50-year-old Naples real estate company, was impressed by the statistics that reinforce how all ages are using these sites. “I am amazed at how rapidly it is impacting the way we market our services,” she said. Her focus is now on how to best utilize these sites to increase leads to the company and its nearly 300 agents.

The prevailing quandary, however, is how to allot one’s time with social networking. “Realtors hardly have time to keep up with what’s going on in the market,” Mrs. de Alwis said. In response, Mr. Sesso had these words of advice: Designate time each week or each day to social networking; keep your updates fresh; view it as work, not play; don’t just post all business; join the conversation.

About Alysia

Based in Naples, Florida, Alysia Shivers is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, business-to-business, construction and green topics. Find out more at http://www.alysiashivers.com.

Lysh at Venetian Village

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4 Responses to “Realtors Encouraged to Join the Social Networking Conversation”

  1. 1 opizire

    Perfect!

  2. 2 Anonymous

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  3. 3 LnddMiles

    Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
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  4. Keep up the good work with your post – very informative!


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