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11/15/2010                                        Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… Home        About      Worlds Gre...
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11/15/2010                                     Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri…   for using each of these channels. ...
11/15/2010                                         Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri…   Ho w are yo u t rying t o empo...
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Sell or else — c21 on empowering agents & brokers w sm


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Sell or else — c21 on empowering agents & brokers w sm

  1. 1. 11/15/2010 Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… Home About Worlds Greatest Salesperson Century 21 on Empowering Agents & Brokers with Social Media - by Phil Buehler @pwbuehler on Nov ember 15th, 2010. Real estate agents and brokers have been some of the earliest adopters of social media, w hich isn’t surprising that they’re entrepreneurs w hose success is built on being w ell connected in their communities. But for every agent engaged w ith Tw itter and Foursquare, there are many more that have yet to take the plunge. I recently had the pleasure of speaking w ith Mat t Gent ile, Direct o r o f P.R. and So cial Media fo r Cent ury 21 Real Est at e (@mat t gent ile) about how brokers and agents are using social media, About Sell or Else w hat they’ve been learning, and w hat he sees for the future. With over 121,000 agents and more Ot her Co o l Reso urces than 8,000 independent offices, Century 21 has a Digital Direct Marketing Thoughts big challenge. Ideas On Creativ ity Phil Buehler: Can yo u t ell us abo ut t he Tags evo lut io n o f so cial media at Cent ury 21? 140 charact er conference @ johnbernier @ mat t gent ile @pwbuehler Best Buy Blacksburg Mat t Gent ile: I didn’t grow up w ith social media Cent ury 21 Dav id M eerman S cot t Facebook in the 80’s, I grew up w orking in more of a Foursquare Fut ure of S elling Geo-local hut chinson traditional public relations environment I w as trained to look at everything as a channel or w ay jeff pulv er John Bernier M ack Hanan Ogilvy to disseminate messages. Initially, I saw social OgilvyOne Real Est at e Sell or Else small t ow ns social commerce media as another means to send a corporate message, w hich I must admit, w as probably a fairly cynical w ay to look at social media in the beginning. social media In 2005, I developed, w hat w as at the time probably one of the first training manuals Social Selling Tw elpforce Tw it t er V irginia Tech for utilizing social media for real estate marketing and recruiting w ith the Director of Training for the company I w orked for at the time. It’s amazing to think about just how new social media w as at the time and how influential it w ould become as a component of marketing. The guide leveraged LinkedIn for recruiting purposes for our brokers. We encouraged our brokers and agents to create short videos that told a story about a home they had listed and how to post a video on YouTube. To provide details I w ish! RT @handshake20: Just about their communities that consumers w ould be interested in. It w as basic, but made reservations for tomorrow s innovative for the time. 6PM seating @622North for Old What abo ut using so cial media fo r market ing? World vs. New World: In terms of true customer outreach, through social media channels or developing an about 3 hours ago audience, that w asn’t something that had been optimized w hen I came on board in We spoke to 2008 as Director of PR and Social Media. In 2009, I began to focus on the question, Best Buys head of Tw elpforce “Who is the audience that w e should be targeting, instead of w hat channel are w e about the challenges of bringing using to push messages.” social media to an organization w w w 5 days ago Today, the audience that w e target specifically w ith social media is 25-35 year old w omen. It makes sense for a number of reasons – they’re the fastest grow ing "In marketing, psychology is demographic in terms of home ow nership, and there’s a significant amount of influence infinitely more pow erful than that this demographic has on the homeow nership decision. I can tell you that because technology." 21 days ago the statistics back it up and because I’ve had the “real-life” experience to know that it is true. We really felt like it w as the right target. Thanks for all the RT juice - Facebo o k is beco ming t he hub o f many market ers’ so cial media effo rt s - what @thinkingjosh… 1/5
  2. 2. 11/15/2010 g Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… y has Cent ury 21 been up t o t here? @w ritemo @arifkhan7 @OgilvyOneBrasil @OgilvyCR In 2009, w e mainly encouraged our brokers and agents to open a Facebook account (Have a great Tuesday!) and reach back to their old sphere of influence. It’s an outstanding w ay to get in touch 26 days ago w ith folks you haven’t been in touch w ith, for good or bad (laughing). In 2010, w e felt like this w as a platform w here w e could really make a difference for our franchisees and their agents. We’re now enabling brokers and agents to thrive in this space. We developed and deployed a Facebook Home Buyer/Seller tab. It enables our brokers in essence to create an environment w ithin their ow n company Facebook fan pages, w here home buyers and sellers can access the same information through Facebook that they can get by visiting a Century 21 brokers’ Web sites. So yo u’re creat ing so me kind o f infrast ruct ure o r suppo rt fo r yo ur agent s and bro kers… It’s a branded, customized tab that brokers and agents can add to their ow n Facebook company pages. First, w e developed the buyer/seller tab for the Century 21 corporate Facebook fan page, w hich is After w e rolled this out, w e started hearing from a lot of brokers, “that’s really great, I’d like to have something like that on our Facebook”. So w e developed the mechanics and assets for our brokers to easily serve it up on their ow n Facebook pages. The first adopter w as a gentleman named Mike Bow man in Fort Worth, Texas, and you can see his buyer/seller tab up and it links back to his company’s dot com. We’ve been seeing t hat in many co mpanies, t he sales peo ple are way ahead o f t he syst em, get t ing o ut t here wit h Facebo o k o r Twit t er o n t heir o wn. Do yo u have o t her peo ple, bro kers and agent s t hat are inno vat o rs, way o ut ahead o f t he rest ? We have a lot of brokers and agents out there blogging and attempting to drive business through social media. The one broker that comes to mind is a gentleman in Tallahassee. He w as one of the early adopters w ith blogging. He developed a relationship w ith the major new spaper in Florida, and they asked him if he w ould blog for them online. In essence he became the real estate blogger for the new spaper. He now has over 100,000 follow ers on Tw itter and drives a third of his business via social media marketing. There are countless examples of Century 21 brokers and agents utilizing social media in unique and innovative w ays to market and sell homes. We’re currently w orking w ith our business consultants and learning team to identify those brokers and agents so w e may highlight their best practices to the Century 21 System. There are pro bably so me agent s and bro kers t hat feel t hey have so cial media under co nt ro l, and t hen o t hers t hat pro bably feel lo st … I often hear, “Can I hire someone to do my social media?” There are companies and service providers out there cropping up that are taking it in that direction. They’ll say, “Yeah, I’ll post for you and I’ll tw eet for you, I’ll do w hatever it is that’s necessary to fill that content void.” We feel this is another area w here Century 21 has an opportunity to create a differentiation point for our brand. We are able to provide our brokers w ith a constant feed of content , so they can take w hat w e’re doing in Tw itter and Facebook, and easily apply it to their ow n social netw orks. Just like the old adage, location, location, location in real estate, its content, content, content in social. Ho w are yo u get t ing t he larger Cent ury 21 co mmunit y int o t his? Fo r example, at a co nvent io n where all yo ur bro kers and agent s are t o get her? One idea w e’re exploring is hosting a “Geek Squad” style tent area at our International Convention in Las Vegas, w here w e w ill literally take 6 - 10 brokers and agents at a time, get them set-up on Facebook, Tw itter and LinkedIn. We w ill provide them w ith some basic instruction on how to use these netw orks and w hat the best practices… 2/5
  3. 3. 11/15/2010 Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… for using each of these channels. In essence, getting the masses up to speed in the social environment. For advanced users, our learning team w ill hold seminars and break-out sessions to enhance already existing skills in how to optimize social media for their business. We have seven (7) regional trainers that are out there providing similar guidance on a regular basis throughout the U.S. Are yo u dist ribut ing any o f t hat by video , o nline, o t her places? For social media, w e’re w orking hand in hand w ith Dr. Christina Murphy, w ho leads our aw ard-w inning Learning Team, to develop a series of short video vignettes that offer best practices for utilizing social media. These are 3-5 minute short video snippets that give Century 21 brokers and agents a significant amount of content in a very small w indow . For visual learners, I believe it’s ideal. We feel it positions our brand as a more innovative company. Anything w e can do to enhance the perception of our brand w ith consumers, and folks that are potentially interested in a career, is the direction w e should be moving. We really feel that’s an area w here w e can hit some home runs… not only in marketing, but also learning. Do t he agent s and bro kers say, “ I’ve go t t o get int o so cial media,” o r do t hey act ually kno w t he benefit s and what t hey’ll get o ut o f it ? I think it’s incumbent upon us as organization to unearth the true benefits of social media from a business perspective. That’s the kind of w ork w e’re doing w ith our field teams to solicit from the field best-in-class examples of how agents and brokers are utilizing this media for actually developing and driving leads and ultimately contracting business. What wo uld t he bro kers and agent s say are t he big benefit s fo r t hem? The most fundamental benefit is expanding your sphere. You have a netw ork of people that you’ve grow n over the years, w hether that be school, w ork or leisure activities, that you’re able to connect in one place, w hether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook, and they have access to you. Instead of seeing them at the coffee shop or the hair salon, you’re seeing them online on a more regular basis. I think the follow -up activity and constant contact is w here the fundamental advantage of social media lies for a sales organization. We’ve fo und t hat so me o f t he mo st so cially co nnect ed peo ple are real est at e agent s. Are yo u seeing a st eep learning curve fo r t he rest ? As an industry, w e w ere probably a little bit late to the game, but once the benefits w ere understood, I believe the industry jumped in w ith both feet. That’s w here learning comes in, w e’re constantly driving home the fact that you don’t w ant to be the guy or w oman that w alks into a party w ith a big sandw ich board on your front and back screaming at people “I have a great 3/2 ranch for sale”, that’s essentially w hat you’re doing w hen you’re spamming people w ith your listings in a social netw ork. The goal is to provide content of value and the relationships and customers w ill develop based on that value. The “have to give a little, to get a little” mentality is very pow erful in the social space. In t erms o f met rics, when yo ur management says, “ what did yo u do fo r me lat ely?” what do yo u t ell t hem ? We’ve kind of taken it a step further, this probably goes back to my traditional roots in PR and tracking, to make sure you’re providing value at all times. The w ay w e’ve managed to do that is by using something called Pro, w hich enables us to shorten and customize all of our links to all of the content w e’re putting out there. It can then track a link from w hatever distribution point w e disseminate, w hether that is Tw itter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even YouTube for that matter, and track it back, to not only our .com, but all the w ay through the process funnel to completing an online contact form. We also use Radian 6 to do all of our metrics. I know how many leads are generated through the content that w e’re putting out… 3/5
  4. 4. 11/15/2010 Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… Ho w are yo u t rying t o empo wer t hese franchises o r t he bro kers and t he agent s? Do es t he o rganizat io n kno w ho w t hat ’s go ing? We just deployed the first home buyer/seller tab on one of our broker’s facebook pages, and as far as I know , no other real estate franchise company is providing that degree of support in the social space. So, yes, w e are definitely w orking to empow er Century 21 System professionals to better understand and optimize the cost effective marketing pow er that social media offers. So me sales o rganizat io ns are st art ing t o make use o f Yo uTube, almo st beco ming t heir o wn co nt ent pro viders o r jo urnalist s. Are any o f yo ur agent s using video ? Some of them are using it on their ow n blogs and providing market updates. We’re not enabling that necessarily from the corporate side. The types of solutions w e’re looking at for video have more to do w ith enabling the automated transition of still-frames of homes, and converting them into video and mobile platforms. With broadband and mobile becoming so w idely adopted, I believe video w ill become w hat online photos w ere in the earlier part of this decade. Is Cent ury 21 leading in t his so cial media area? Who else is part icipat ing? We are holding our ow n, and leading in several categories. If you look at some of the more “social savvy” real-estate brokerages, I think Better Homes and Gardens has made a big push into that area. They have made social media a significant part of their brand marketing. Coldw ell Banker is doing some good things, they’ve recently rolled out a blog. I think they’re appealing to their ow n audiences, but I don’t see any one real estate brand building a significant audience in this space. I think that’s w here Century 21 has taken a leadership role in identifying a very specific demographic and building that audience. Where do yo u t hink t his who le area will be in a few years? Will so cial media be baked int o ho w real est at e is so ld, o r just a mino r part o f selling? Given the rapid development of the types of media that you can generate in social media today, I w ould anticipate significantly more complex and more robust social media solutions to hit the market. Things that w e’re seeing are easy to do, like Animoto and Flip video cameras, and the editing that you can do now as an individual is remarkably easy. I think it’s a w ide open area. I w ould anticipate mobile playing a large part in the future of real estate marketing, w ith FourSquare and location-based services innovating in the space. Please share yo ur experiences wit h so cial selling - yo ur co ncerns, challenges, successes, met rics, and o t her lesso ns. We’d lo ve t o hear fro m yo u. Categories: Sales Interview Series, The Future of Selling Tags: @mattgentile, @pw buehler, Century 21, Ogilvy, OgilvyOne, Real Estate, Sell or Else, Social Selling No comments. Your comment is awaiting moderation. Phil, Thank y ou for the opportunity . You are bringing a lot of great c ontent c ontributors to the surfac e with this… 4/5
  5. 5. 11/15/2010 Sell or Else — Century 21 on Empoweri… Regards, MG Posted by Matt Gentile on Nov ember 15th, 2010. Post a comment. Matt Gentile Name (required) Mail (w ill not be published) (required) Website Submit Comment Sell or Else is pow ered by WordPress and sty led by Infimum. Valid XHTML and v alid CSS. Log… 5/5