Hi,

Just thought I would give you an update on my 3 days in San Francisco at the ‘Real Estate Connect’ conference.  This is the main technology in real estate conference and is traditionally packed with technologies that make our industry better.  Full details can be found on the Inman site – http://www.realestateconnect.com/sf11/

The main discussions seemed to center on the role of social networking and the rise of mobile smartphones / iPads.  These are becoming well established with our users, through RP Connect, RP Mobile Pro and RP Lister.

So what insights did I learn? 

First and foremost –

Australia is on the curve: we do not lag in technology compared to the USA!

This is great news to me as it shows that we are doing the right things.  It also helps not to feel like the ‘country bumpkin’ at these conferences ?

Second –

Social Networking is maturing with easy tools and better ways to ‘be social’

Tools are out there that help manage your whole social presence – like hootsuite (hootsuite.com) for managing twitter, or indeed RP Data’s ‘rp.connect’ (rpdata.com/connect.html) for twitter, facebook and blogging.

Better ways to be social include an understanding of what to say and when to say it.   Social Media is not about selling – it is about a long running relationship.  The best agents are not “listing by listing promoters”, they are relationship champions that keep up contact even with people who are not currently buyers or sellers.  When someone wants to sell and has a relationship with you they won’t even look around at others!  To help achieve this, the conference message was to ‘be authentic’.  If you like the Queensland Reds and are chuffed they are champions – tell your readers!  (I am so I am telling you I am chuffed with their performance this year! )

Also, those of you feeling under pressure to keep posting new content to facebook / twitter / your blog, remember that:

a lot of content can be ‘curated’ from others

There is nothing wrong with linking to other posts or web pages, just tell your audience why they should follow the link, so you might say: “Saw an interesting article here on how good Kenmore State High School is compared to the top private schools.  Good reading for parents out there worrying about the cost of high school.”

Can you put a post like this on facebook?  Something that is about a local school but not about property? Of Course! 

The “rule of one third” applies, your social media musings should cover:

1/3 – being the local industry expert on housing

1/3 – hyper local news for the area

1/3 – entertainment

For the 1/3 that is ‘being the industry expert’ – take a look at my earlier post on finding something to say as an example of where to get the data.  Remember to tell it like it is – if there is a downturn or the market is flat then tell your audience, it keeps you authentic – and trusted.

if there is a downturn or the market is flat then tell your audience, it keeps you authentic – and trusted

For the 1/3 that is about being ‘hyper local’ – talk about schools or roadworks or other issues and activities in your area.  If you know you are going to talk about these things you will be amazed how much you hear about just through your day. 

The ‘entertainment 1/3’ is just letting your audience know you have a life and are a real person.  Talk about interesting open houses you have done in the past (keeping names anonymous), or why you love footy, or local celebrities.  In my area, Bruce Flegg is the state MP.  He drives a small car around with his name prominently on the side.  I have been playing a game with myself where I try to list where I have seen it (Moggill, Toowong, outside McDonalds in Kenmore, etc).  If I was a local agent it would be tempting to put up “the Flegg Report” on where I have seen the car parked and challenge my readers to update me through facebook – entertaining for me and hopefully them, although maybe a little geeky!

Should Agents put their listings on facebook?

A question was asked during the conference as to whether “Agents should put their listings on Facebook?” I thought it was a great one – if you have followers how much of what you do in social media should be selling property to them?   

The answer?  “Tell them about the cookies you baked to handout at the listing, or how excited you are about showing off the view, but don’t push the listing itself like an advert.” 

Social Media is about forging a relationship with your audience. Not selling to them. When you have the relationship they will automatically go to you first.

 

There was a whole lot more at the conference – augmented reality, airbnb, mobile app development, etc.  But for me the takeaway was the industry is starting to ‘get’ social media and how it can be most effectively used.

Good luck tweeting, blogging and facebooking (google plussing?)

Greg

P.S.  Has anyone tried out the new RP Prospector and Property Monitor in RPP?  I will post on them shortly as we get a feel for how they are used and what changes users need – but would love to get comments.