Big PR Pluses – Being a Social Media Realtor

2012-06-24 by Richard D. Pace

Social tree It seems like just a moment ago Tim O’Reilly coined the term Web 2.0, a Google here, a YouTube there, here a MySpace, there a Facebook, and the world has gone full social. That is, a great many traditional, even antiquated businesses have now engaged via the social web. One industry however, the real estate niche, is somehow unable to follow the trend? Everything PR News suggests some examples for a hurting real estate industry throng to follow.

Brand It or Die

Coke and Pepsi, GM and Nikon, even dusty old law firms were forced to usher in this digital age. But still, not everyone seems so convinced. Real Estate agents, for one, seem to fall short digital speak wise, somewhere right behind plumbers and electricians. Maybe the Wall Street crash, the housing bust, maybe it set the business back – stagnated adaptation of communicative skills? Who can say. Rather than bash Realtors who somehow fail to use SM channels for their constituents though, we thought to offer up some good examples of super communicative professionals. They are “branding” like crazy, what are you doing?

Here are ten or so Real Estate pros that “cut it” where two way conversation goes. This may appear to be a simple list, but maybe the rest should emulate? There’s more here than meets the casual glance.

1: @nik_nik

I actually ran across Nicole Nicolay a few years ago when Twitter and all the other social trends were very young ideas. What impressed me most about hers and her huband’s (Reggie Nicolay) super connectedness, even early on. For people in the real estate industry, in particular, I assure you this sort of channel masters was and is NOT the norm. That said, the creators of MyTechOpinion, and later AgentEvolution,

Niknik on the air

On the air with Nicole – Via her Facebook – Click here and go there

Make no mistake, my analysis is not about numbers of Twitter followers, how many conferences a professional attends or speaks at, a Facebook pic or two, this social media realm is about committed and dedicated reciprocity. Nicole has had no clue anyone is scrutinizing such, she just responds in kind, period. If she is selling a house in California (which is not her bag), we would be talking to her if we chose to move there. That should be all I have to say.

2: @bnix aka Brad Nix

Brad NixOf the 100 or so industry pros I looked at to select these few, one actually stood out where what I would call “cool” and calculated real estate business is concerned. I am not talking about the ice blue Brad uses on his Twitter feed, or elsewhere, but the symbolism is there. The guys either knows how to do web design, or knows someone who can one. And as for in your face dogma?

“A chaotic good character favors change for a greater good, disdains organizations that get in the way of improvement, and places a high value on personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well.”

Right there, front and center, when you land – under the social media buttons, above the first rich media element – I like this. A respectable 500 plus Facebook likes, the 4500 plus Twitter folks, suit and tie LinkedIn class, and the Maxsell Real Estate founder, Managing Director at Acru, shows of his best side. He may not be the biggest star in the social real estate celeb lineup, but he does know how to establish his name for the coming years. My only advice would be a bit more on the “friendly” side, maybe follow some more peeps? It’s nice to wear a fresh Brooks Brothers every morning, but jacket over the shoulder, hand shaking, this is not just good for politicians, you know?

Jeff Turner speaks.

Jeff Turner, not shy in front of the audience either

3: How Bout Just Jeff Turner?

If Jeff Turner (image above courtesy Tony McGrath  at REBarcamp Sydney) had not made me wait to either be followed or his approval of my even following him, he would have been, hands down, the odds on favorite for some future real estate guru award for being wired. Twitter and Facebook being foregone conclusions, sort of, for any professional intent on having a job in the next five years, only a scant few make the best use of the web, Jeff is one.

If @respres does not reveal some Realty hieroglyph meaning, Turner’s business should. He quite simply questions and answers some of digital real estate’s most pressing questions. On his site, Jeff Turner Facebook, Jeff Turner, President of Zeek Interactive since forever, member of several boards including Professionals Realty Group USA, is a poster box for new age salesmanship and educating new arrivals. Okay, none of my potential Hall of Fame RE peeps here have a lock on social media, but its clear the ones like this Cali pro have a massive head start. Who knows why Jeff has a lock and key on his Twitter? Maybe he’ll let us know.

4: @CMYates

Chris Yates investorCM Yates. That sounds for the world like either some Louis L’Amour hero, or a Wall Street banker we should have heard of. As it turns out, Chris Yates pretty much looks and acts both parts. His company, CM Yates Capital, not only invests in real estate, but educates others in best practices and etc. to that end. The company acquires property on the one hand, and makes money at the other end. As for Chris’ cowboy-ing up on SM. Try following 96,000 people in your spare time. With over one hundred thousand in Yates’ lasso, no doubt many people listen when he tweets.

Sure, the number of followers is not as crucial as the real conversation, but here it is Sunday and I am watching him tweet every couple of minutes as I type this. What does he say?

Tax Rules for Renting Out Your Vacation Home

Talk about dedicated. Well, maybe he scheduled this on Hootsuite or… Point is, like his Facebook brand “Fast Money Wins” – sometimes its just better to put yourself out there. In the case of Yates, getting to the point seems to be a way of life. Investing is about making money, period.

5: @AndyKaufman

Rated by a number of SM experts at the top of digitally aware Realtors, Andy proves once again, converting social talk into real world value, it just ain’t that bad. His “My East Bay Agent” is a template for online real estate simplified and amped. Search even a modest home on his site and you’ll find larger more meaningful images, appropriate relevence, and basically everything we have hammer site owners for a decade over. Nothing’s perfect in the world, so they say, but simplifying the online process of looking for a house is clearly on Andy’s mind.

@philbo ha! news to me ;)

It goes without saying, make things easy for users or customers, and you will just sell more. If Andy’s efforts do have a weak spot it might be his Facebook outreach. That pointed out, if the “My” YouTube Channel were more like NikNik’s too, Andy might not have any rivals, on the web at least. Bottom line though, this top selling Cali professional “gets it” when it comes to digital channels and the business of industry marketing. He also responds very quickly, even on a Sunday (Tweet above).

Andy Kaufman

6: @BarbiReuter

Barbi Reuter is one of those broker types that actually may not need social media to get the job done. There are some pros out there that have built such a reputation, such a list and networks, as to have almost indelibly stamped their names onto an industry. That said, even the most influential business types WILL need to engage in two way conversation. This is especially true in “people” industries like real estate. While Barbi is not of a Nicole Nicolay type, the honesty and professionalism does show through, tweet to media mention or blog post.

Blogging at Cushman & Wakefield Picor, Barbi provides a template for tailored (somewhat clinical yes) property professionalism. Let’s get down to it, shall we? You want to be social guru of your niche? Here’s how it’s done. The expression of yours our your company’s best qualities, branded onto the digital landscape, open for anyone interested to see. You don’t have to be bold as brass, but if that is who you are… Barbi, like many other knowledgeable pros, is as content in support of a cause. This is exemplified via the Facebook image below, there she is in the background. Does she look just like her Twitter avatar? That’s credible, now isn’t it?

Picor Commercial Real Estate Services

Picor Commercial Real Estate Services

7: Lennar

You’ll notice there aren’t too many corporate industry types in this review. I won’t get into the reasons being now, but there is good reason to include Lennar here. Of all the big time real estate presences I ran across on Twitter and via Facebook, it’s not the 100,000 plus followers the company has on Twitter, or is it the sixty something thousand they follow. It’s not even the cookie cutter website the home builders have pasted up for visitors. And not even the 140 + thousand Facebook likes under that spiffy header (image below).

What makes Lennar a super social media company is the time and effort it takes to explain how they build new homes, what the focus of the company is, and to table comments from their following. Engage, as Brian Solis would say.

In case you have not engaged in social networking, anyone who has can readily profess at the commitment it takes. To be really successful, this is even more complex and difficult. This is why many do not get past creating a profile, to be honest. It’s just damned hard. BUT, for those that do? Well, you get articles like this written about you, AND approach 150,000 people taking a look at you. Proof in the pudding, as they say. Bravo Lennar, you deserve to survive since cars were made of real steel.

Lennar homes

Lennar – a leading home builder since the 50’s

8: @missycaulk

Missy Caulk (at right) just proves being social is what it’s all about. She’s also a good example of how being naturally friendly can just play out well on Twitter and the other SM channels too. If you look at her smile, right there on the Twitter feed (regardless how ugly the feed design might be) – everything she tweets just seems that much more credible.

Missy CaulkAnn Arbor Real Estate Talk is Michigan’s Realty’s answer to the old radio shows Mom and Pop listened to decades ago. Okay, maybe the business is not quite Orson Wells or the Long Ranger, but the principle is the same. A company reflecting a bit of what Michigan is all about. What better way to sell property in any state, when you think about it? Okay, Missy’s social media integration could use some improvment, there’s no buttons – n – such, as there should be. Here’s her Facebook, departing from other initiatives.

Her sites and profiles seem scattered about, as it were. But, organization is only one aspect of “connecting” – the viability of genuine friendliness… you get the message. Hook it all together Missy!

9 @kevincottrell

Kevin Cottrell should place a lot higher among real estate social gurus. In fact, yes he should. But, his Twitter account is “upside down” – or he follows more peeps than follow him. Okay, that’s not the only reason he is not first on the list. He’s got some big gaps in between tweets and postings, I hate his Austin real estate website, Cottrell Realty Group is dislocated from Kevin’s other enterprises, and the guy is just in too good physical condition. Yeah, he looks like he would be more at home in an Iron Man competition than whisking potential home buyers up an open house.

Now that I think about it, why is Kevin in this top ten of SM Realtors? Oh yeah! More often than not business is about being there, hanging in, resilience. Cotrell is a tattooed, six pack ab toting pin up for “being there” at the finish. I have known many of the type. While his social presences are a lot tattered about the edges, sort of like cut off jeans and flip flops, it’s the get-r-done aspect to fellows like this that counts. Maybe this is why Cotrell ventured off into relocating pro athletes? SportStar Relocation, Inc. is an interesting idea, for sure. As for clients and potential clients? Never underestimate the power of determination.

Screaming triceps

If he can suffer these screaming triceps, chances are…

10: @RETomato

Like Andy up there, Jim Cronin is one of THE accepted experts where selling houses and property meets communicating via new channels. If anyone ever had a brand that could be recognized (beside Nik Nik stamping hers out), then Tomato University has to be at the top of any potentials list. Real Estate Tomato, you gotta love that spliced onto “University” – I wish I owner it.

Twitter is the main channel Jim communicates through, and truth be told, his footprint would be far wider than an honorable mention here if the Facebook and other channels like g+ were ramped up some. As for Facebook, it looks like his team joined back in 2010 and sort of let things sit. Busy people sometimes get carried off on other tangents? Maybe someone can enlighten us as to why social has not been accelerated here? Regardless, this Tomato is networked with some of the most influential people in the business.
Jim Cronin's RETomato

So there you have some super “wired” real estate peeps. Are there more? To be certain. But, agents and brokers so wired into social media for their businesses are actually a comparative rarity, believe it or not. This is almost unbelievable for me to discover, after a good deal of research these last few months. I actually write for several industry media sites, and look at local Realtors a good bit. What makes the lag in their utilization of SM channels and the web overall so confounding, is the potential for revenue gain and business expansion. With just a little effort, the people above could virtually corner some markets of Internet and mobile visibility. I’m surprised they have not.

All that said, please throw your name in this hat it I miss you, or somebody with a social reach of note. My intention was to be industry supportive here, not to leave anyone out. For those above pro’s, you guys have done a super job so far.

Everything Public Relations News Insights Author Richard D. Pace