By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®
Imagine a future home buyer choosing to do business with you because you both “like” the same coffee shop on Facebook, went to the same school, or because you did business with relatives they never talk to, but stay connected to via a social network. It’s the sort of promise that social media was supposed to deliver, but hasn’t for most. But real estate portals are looking to change that.
This summer, Trulia leveraged Facebook to “socialize” their new recommendations service. When consumers recommend an agent on Trulia, that recommendation can be easily shared on Facebook for the consumer’s friends to see. Then, they’re using these recommendations to socialize the search for an agent process on their site. When consumers “Search for a Pro”, they’re encouraged to cross search their Facebook friends list to see if a friend has recommended a local agent. The result is a list of agents ranked by how many recommendations they have, but superseded by agents that have recommendations from people the site visitor already knows through Facebook.
Implementing a social-search strategy might be a part of REALTOR.com’s future plans as well. Having acquired SocialBios.com earlier this summer, the possibilities for how they will use it point to the importance of making sure your Facebook and LinkedIn profile pages are as complete as possible.
We know that we connect more easily with people who are like us. These services intend to connect the dots for consumers and agents. Whether consumers adopt this technology remains to be seen, but if so, agents will be well served to focus of their social networking efforts on local businesses, events, and causes that embed them into the markets they want to do business in.
This isn’t just about the future. Inman’s Data Summit in July brought to light some of lost opportunities that exist today. Greg Schwartz, chief revenue officer for Zillow, noted, ”Over half of all of Zillow’s leads go unanswered by agents. One big reason is that agents haven’t taken the time to set up their profile and verify that their email address is correct.” Zillow’s agent review platform continues to generate thousands of new ratings and reflect yet another way consumers are searching for agents.
Leveraging the future potential of social search starts today by checking your profiles in Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Yelp. Make sure your contact information is correct. Check to see if you have been reviewed or recommended. Then, consider soliciting reviews from your existing client base. Developing a social SEO strategy will be the next step. This is something I intend to cover in-depth at Inman Connect NYC next year. If you want to learn more about this emerging trend, please go vote for my session.
Todd Carpenter, Senior Manager of Industry Engagement at Trulia Previously the Director of Digital Engagement for The National Association of REALTORS®, overseeing the association’s communication strategy on its social media channels. He's also been a real estate and mortgage professional since 1992 and created the first broker-focused mortgage blog in 2005. Todd is an industry pioneer in leveraging the social web.