kellerwilliamslogoMarketing spin can sometimes get out of control – especially with social media.  That recently happened to Keller Williams, who make a claim as the Number 1 Real Estate Company.  Obviously Keller Williams agents and franchisors were thrilled to learn this.  They went about the internet on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Blogs announcing their new stature to the world.  As it turns out, they are Number 1 in the number of friends they have on Twitter and Facebook among four national franchise competitor brands who are close to Keller Williams in associate count on a particular date and time according to some potentially uncertain data points.  Although it is still not clear – they may have used Klout (twitter application) and an informal survey conducted by leading industry consultant Stephan Swanepoel as evidence of their Number 1 social media position.  Stephan is a friend and I like his thoughtful research.  I think Kout is cool but am not certain of how it works or if their methodology is valid – but it is fun to try.  Apparently Kristen Carr and I are Connectors and almost Personas like Trulia.  Perhaps I could claim that WAV Group (Victor Lund) is more Connected than Trulia.  Or, RPR (Kristen Carr) could claim that they are more Influential than Trulia. That would be some heavy media spin, eh?  Anyway – I hope you appreciate the point.

Keller Williams did the right thing.  They cleared up the statement in their post on their facebook fan page.  These things happen sometimes.  Small buds of information can spread like wildfire through the social media world and be taken beyond the original context.  Here is the retraction.

We’d like to clarify the statements that have been made regarding Keller Williams Realty claiming to be the No. 1 real estate company on Twitter and Facebook. This statement was pulled from a larger presentation during our annual convention, which compared the numbers of our social media friends and followers to the top four national franchise brands who are close to us in associate count.

There are many measuring sticks out there and there’s no “right” one.  Also, in an informal survey published late last year by Stefan Swanepoel, he cited us as the most recognized real estate brand and attributed it to “the strong, above average online and social media presence of their agents.”

The bottom line is that what we wanted to portray was our excitement at being chosen by so many members of our industry as one of the voices they trust to follow/friend/listen to through social media. We are extremely proud of our agents (and our industry for that matter!) and how they have embraced the power of social media to drive their businesses forward.

We absolutely agree with many of the points made about the importance of the level of service that each agent gives to their clients, and that’s why as a company, we’ve always held the view that it’s not our brand that matters – it’s the agents’ brand and their influence in their local markets that matters most. We believe this also holds true in the social media realm.

In the end, we have to say that many of those who responded are correct. We should have been more careful about the way we stated the No. 1 claim and clarified that it was among the four largest franchise brands.

In the meantime, we’ll keep striving – in every arena – to be No. 1 in the eyes of our associates and our clients.