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The Socially Networked Neighborhood

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

If you want to become recognized as your neighborhood’s real estate expert, you should create a fan page for it on Facebook, advises Max Pigman, vice president and national speaker at REALTOR.com®. Pigman talked about how to get some marketing traction via social media in a Friday morning session at the 2009 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego.

He said that real estate pros can “take over” their neighborhoods if they create a fan page, invite residents to join it, and post updates regularly about community events and local real estate and development trends.

“This becomes the perfect place to assert that you’re the real estate expert for your area,” he said. “Every time you send an update, everyone can see it. If you get strategic with this, you can connect with your sphere at an unbelievable level.”

Real estate professionals might be tempted to use this page to churn out listings. This is a mistake, Pigman said. While you can create a fan page for your business and post listings there, it’s not advisable when you’re trying to build a sense of community via a neighborhood fan page.

In general, conventional marketing techniques don’t work well on social networks, he added. This can be problematic for many real estate practitioners, who are accustomed to “interrupt marketing”—i.e., regular advertising breaks in TV shows, radio programs, and print news.

“I still see REALTORS automatically shoot their listings into the status feed,” Pigman said. “We’re really missing the boat here. We’re not thinking about engagement, we’re thinking about advertising. We think, ‘Hey, it’s free eyeballs.’”

When it comes to social networking, you should convey authenticity and passion with regards to your personal and professional interests and be genuinely interested in learning about others, Pigman said.

“Be willing to share some personal information,” he explained. “People want to know that you have a life outside of real estate. I’m not saying you can’t ever talk about real estate. I’m just saying you need to turn it into a conversation.”

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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Comments
  1. Great informative. Thank you!
    “ADV.” Think REALTOR ® Think Ben! Houston, TX http://www.har. com/benhuynh
    281 561 5386 Champions Real Estate Group.
    “Open Doors, Closing Deals” Referral is appreciated.

  2. This is a great idea, I have been working on the concept of a seperate interactive community page for each district. To then incorporate Facebook, (which as hard as it may be to believe is bigger my than my http://www.calgarysrealestate.ca site could really mount up the exposure it gets. The girlfriend is always telling me, get on http://www.facebook.com. I guess maybe I should have been listening.

  3. I think the 30 somethings’ have a big advantaged over us “seasoned” Realtors where social media is concerned. Those of us trying the waters are finding it time consuming and a little intimidating, but probably worth it in the long run. There’s just lots to learn!

  4. Those who have been networking at “real world” social networking events shouldn’t have any problem utillizing this new marketing tool.

  5. Thanks. I’m still at a loss about social networking. Any info is appreciated…

  6. Rick

    I’m sorry, I disagree with the social networking aspect of prospecting. I’ve had countless arguments with other Realtors, who assert that keeping up with a daily blog on social networking sites translate to sales. For example, go to any Realtor blog and what will you see? Countless comments on the pictures, nothing more. I’m of the opinion that keeping up with a blog, (no matter how interesting it may sound to the blogger), doesn’t translate to sales. And one sale a year because you decided to ignore your ROI and travel to the other end of the state you’re licensed in to earn that 3.5% doesn’t count.

    If any one blogger can show me hard data that blogging in particular translated into just 4 sales a month, (within their county), after a year of blogging, I’ll eat my hat. Sorry but these are the numbers I’m going to need to see or blogging is waste of time.

    Firstly, I understand blogs are free. But if one is spending time to write yet another novel-length blog about short sales or the current economy: they’re wasting their time and time is money. Also notice anyone who swears by blogging, never say it took them three years of daily blogging to convince prospects to finally get off their butt buy. Or becoming an expert in their community is only helpful to those who are located in their quadrant of the state. How many buyers move from one part of the county to the other? Or to a county they just happen to be an expert in? Exactly. They also won’t answer how many of these prospects they’ve come across in a year who became buyers. As reported by this month’s Realtor magazine YPN lounge reported: “…on average, they have closed three to five additional transactions as a direct result of their activity on Facebook.” 3-5% Of what? Over what time period? They again, didn’t say. The time period does matter!

    Secondly, my argument is simple and corresponds directly to this month’s issue of Realtor magazine’s poll: “How much time do you spend interacting with blogs each week?” 53% of respondents said Seldom or Never. Why? Not because they’re over worked, but because they know there aren’t any buyers on these sites. Read the comments, you’ll see. “Gee, what a pretty picture.” from a fellow Realtor isn’t a prospect.

    Believe it or not, there are some of us Realtors who don’t want to hook-up with “long lost friends” who may be looking in the county where we are licensed. One has to have a butt-load of friends to make it even worth it and the others are “lost” for a reason.

    In conclusion, these social networking sites, in my opinion are just a way to meet other Realtors and build our COI. All the potential in the world means nothing if all of your time and effort don’t translate to sales.

  7. Hey Rick, that’s a very good point – if you don’t believe that social networking / blogging are going to result in sales, don’t do it! It’s not for everyone.

    Everyone has a talent or niche for prospecting and lead generating. For some that might mean door knocking, calling people, or traditional farming. Your are right to be skeptical, and want to see real world numbers.

    My own experience was that I had a blog coach for 6 months, and around 50% of my 2009 production was from relationships I built through blogging.

  8. A fantastic article which hits the nail on the head! Every Realtor should pay close attention as social networking gains even more momentum.

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