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RISMEDIA, January 21, 2010—The ability to market yourself and your company in today’s real estate market is crucial. Whether you focus more on print advertising or online advertising, it is important that your message is clear and will capture the attention of your consumers. Here, Erika Paul, President & Broker/Owner of Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Hopkinton, Massachusetts discusses how she markets her company in order to stand out in today’s market.

Erika Paul
President & Broker/Owner
Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty
Hopkinton, Massachusetts

Years in real estate: 9
Years as broker/owner:
Number of offices:
Region served:
Metro-west Boston and Hopinkton (the starting point for the Boston Marathon)
Most beneficial background experience:
Marketing for a private golf and country club
What ultimately sells a home:
Exposure and price
On affiliating with Sotheby’s Intl. Realty:
I sat down one day and said if I wanted to be affiliated with any real estate company in the world, who would it be? The answer was clear. The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand has an amazing reputation for quality and service—that’s what every business strives for. The brand supports us when we need it, but allows us to be independent. It’s the best decision I ever made.

What is your approach/philosophy to social media?
Social media is a fantastic networking tool and we embraced it early on here. With YouTube now being the second-most popular search engine after Google, consumers are telling us that not only are they looking for textual answers to questions, but video answers as well. It really boils down to just being able to keep in touch with our client base and fellow colleagues on a very accelerated scale.

How can real estate professionals best capitalize on vehicles like YouTube?
We use videos instead of virtual tours. We do full-motion videos for our properties and post them all on YouTube. We also do agent videos. The agent videos promote the agents themselves and it helps me with recruitment; we have a microsite dedicated just to recruitment.

How are you utilizing Facebook as part of your social media marketing strategy?
All of our agents are on Facebook and we have a Facebook business page. We have recruited agents from Facebook and also received relocation leads from Facebook. We now post new property videos on our Facebook page, and hundreds of our customers see it. Some of them may know someone else who may be interested and they share it on their page with their hundreds of connections and so on and so on. There are tremendous business applications for social media and once you get past the “I am now ordering coffee and a bagel” tweets, you’ll see the whole phenomenon is really just a very ramped up networking and connection tool. But you just can’t use it to post listings—you have to provide useful information consumers can use.

How has your focus on marketing through technology affected your print marketing strategies?
We hardly do any print advertising anymore. The only print ads we run are in our local town paper that gets delivered to everyone’s mailbox. We