By Nick Caruso
RISMEDIA, May 7, 2011—There is no question that social media has forever changed our world. Facebook, Twitter and countless other social media titans have swept our society, changing the ways businesses market themselves and dynamically influencing how those businesses communicate with their consumers. This is especially true for the real estate industry at large.
In today’s newfangled world of social networking, user-generation and peer recommendations, it’s as important as ever for real estate brokers to have and implement a cohesive social media strategy. As businesses are quickly discovering, there is a science to mastering social media marketing—one that cutting-edge brokers are training agents on to maximize both efficiency and effectiveness.
At Prudential Fox & Roach, social media has been a priority akin to team building and the generation of successful listing presentations. In fact, at an upcoming meeting with their top 150 agents, social media has reserved itself a spot on the docket of hot topics to be discussed. At the broker level, the company has put effort into perfecting the company’s corporate blog as a means to disseminate quality content.
According to Rajeev Sajja, vice president of Online and Agent Technologies, that’s not the only action being taken. “We’re also leveraging Facebook groups and collaborating among our agents,” he says. With approximately 600 agents connected through Facebook groups, the brokerage has also been utilizing sites like Twitter to syndicate its blog content and share information.
Agent training remains an invaluable commodity to the brokerage. Having recently completed a 10-part webinar series, agents were trained about how to leverage social media in their marketing as it pertains to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and video. Agents learned how to “refine and recharge” existing business plans with topical information, including blogging with WordPress, utilizing Facebook pages, creating hyperlocal video to generate leads, monitoring and measuring ROI, and closing business in 140 characters.
“We’re continuing our efforts and are in a transitional phase in terms of how we’re teaching this to our agents,” says Sajja. “We encourage our agents to use this medium, not necessarily as a marketing medium, but as a ‘strengthening your sphere’ medium.”
At Realty Executives of Kansas City, agents are trained through an extensive schedule of live classes, webinars and one-on-one coaching. According to Broker/Owner Steve Summers, training sessions are topical, such as how to showcase your listings on YouTube or how to set up a Facebook fan page.
“We have a full-time technology staff person to lead the programs, but it is particularly important that all of our leaders understand social media,” says Summers. “We lead by example. We post regularly on our own company Facebook page, have created a company-wide blog and use other social media outlets. We don’t want to encourage our agents to use an online tool that we don’t use ourselves.”
The company also touts a full-blown marketing services assessment in order to take a big picture look at their agents’ levels of social media use. “We want to find out the agents’ strengths and then suggest incremental steps to begin implementing social media into their business plan,” says Summers.
In today’s world of virtual relationships and Web 2.0 networking, social media has played an increasingly pivotal role in the grand scheme of business marketing and consumer interaction. Training agents on the importance of incorporating social media marketing into their business practices has become inevitable for all successful and progressive brokerages.
“Consumers expect our agents to be savvy in social media and that’s another reason it is important to our agents’ success,” says Summers.
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