WAV Group has gained the support of The Realty Alliance and The Leading Real Estate Companies of the world to revisit our Broker Website Effectiveness study performed in 2008. A lot has changed over the past 5 years, but much has remained the same. Our report will be published at the end of the month in advance of the Inman conference in San Francisco.
As the MLS Issues and Policy Committee continues to debate a rule structure for Social Media, Here is an early insight that may forward the shape of what the rule is trying to solve for. Social Media marketing in real estate works, but not the way you think. The impact has less to do with brokers and agents publishing listings to social sites, and more about the ability for consumers to plug listings into their social pages.
The ongoing drone social media experts in real estate eschewing the benefits of Facebook and Twitter at creating real, authentic, and meaningful relationships with consumers on those sites is not likely to end anytime soon. It is a bunch of retarded noise. Real research of agents indicates that social media is not effective at selling real estate. At least, it is not effective at selling real estate the way that the social media experts suggest.
There are a number of top brokerage websites in America that have a feature on the listing detail page called “Share This Listing.” Share This Listing is the key social media strategy for brokerage online effectiveness today. Consumers want to communicate and store relevant real estate information on their social pages. Our research of traffic behavior on broker websites indicates that Facebook and Pinterest are powerful drivers of traffic and consumer engagement. Facebook was expected. Twitter was very disappointing. Pinterest was a huge surprise.
Disclaimer: It is hard to determine what consumers are thinking when they use the Share This Listing feature without doing some consumer research. However, as a user of social media, I have a few suspicions.
I think that Twitter fails because there are no photos. When you share a listing on twitter, there is text and a link. Unless the text is delivered cleverly with catchy verbiage – nobody clicks. A click on Twitter is an investment in time that consumers will only make if they have a strong feeling that the click will be paid off. Again, I do not have research to back this up. It is my best guess.
Real Estate is sexy. Buying a home is emotional. Every seller who uses Facebook knows that its reach is impressive. Those are all of the ingredients that make for a pretty inspired Facebook share. Facebook is a top ranking referrer to real estate broker websites because of all of these reasons. It plays a role more powerful than Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Homes.com and Homefinder. In many ways, Share This Listing on Facebook may be more powerful than syndication as a whole for some brokers. Again, I do not have research to back up why consumers share listings on Facebook, but they do it consistently.
I admit that I was very surprised by the impact of Pinterest. For some brokers, Pinterest is a top 10 referring site. I have a Pinterest account and I go there for visual inspiration, but it is not a social site in the traditional terms for me. I use it to create collections of visual ideas. However, I learned something last November from my daughter Alexandra who was turning 10 years old. Our family is scattered all over the planet and they wanted to know what they could buy her for her birthday. She went online shopping without paying for anything. She pinned the items she liked from dozens of stores to a collection on Pinterest. She left notes about her clothing sizes and colors. Family members left notes when they made a purchase so others would not buy another one. Everyone was happy.
Pinterest for real estate is not a new concept. Before Pinterest we had social bookmarking applications, including a social bookmarking application for real estate by industry pioneers – Woolley Robertson – Dwellicious. My take on it is that women like Pinterest, a lot! They know how to use it to create collections and appreciate the opportunity to file their real estate listing interests on Pinterest rather than create an account on a broker website to save a listing to favorites. I suspect that many consumers don’t clearly know that they will get listing alerts if they use the broker site rather than Pinterest – but I guess that story may be for another day.
If you do not have a “Share This Listing” feature on the listing detail page of your broker website today – you are missing out on a powerful driver of consumer traffic.
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