October 11, 2011

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Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 7 – Social Networking


Welcome to the final installment of our series on the top technology trends emerging from last month’s NAR Conference in San Diego.

In previous installments we looked at the rise of mobile access, low cost agent sites, video and virtual tours, the importance of local information, distribution to multiple portals, and most recently, the use of SMS and email based yard signs.

In this final installment we look at the continuing rise of social media and whether it really makes a difference to realtors.

One thing that stood out at the NAR Conference was the constant promotion of social media as an advertising tool for realtors with the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” being uttered at every second booth. Many of the providers there had the ability to syndicate the realtor’s listings to Facebook and Twitter and the often talked about it as if it was the next coming of Jesus. However, the question still remains: do Facebook and Twitter deliver true value to the realtor?

There is no question that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and so on are used by millions of people around the world. They have embedded themselves into the psyche of the modern Internet user. Around the world (and especially in the US), realtors are signing up to these services in their droves, building Facebook pages and opening Twitter accounts. They are following each other on Twitter and accumulating friends on their Facebook accounts at a great rate of knots.

However, I am yet to be convinced that this activity is actually generating any significant business. I have heard of the odd sale that may have originated from these channels but I am not sure that it is any more than a branding exercise.

These sites work on the basic principle that people want to link to each other – on Facebook it is about befriending and on Twitter it is about following. The question that arises is: how many buyers and sellers actually want to follow or befriend a realtor? My guess is not many.

I suspect that the real advantage of having a presence on these social media sites is to impress the buyer or seller and to be seen as “keeping up with the Joneses”. Many buyers and sellers are now Internet savvy (perhaps more than the realtor) and having a social media presence is likely to give them confidence that the realtor is also Internet savvy.

If I were a realtor I would have a Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace presence as part of my overall marketing campaign.


Related posts:

  1. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 4 – Local Information
  2. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 5 – Distribution to Multiple Portals
  3. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 6 – SMS and Email Yard Signs
  4. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 3 – Low Cost Agent Sites
  5. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 1 – Mobile Internet
  6. Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 2 – Video and Virtual Tours
  7. Social Networking Raises Questions
  8. Challenges and Opportunities on the Social Web
  9. Golden Rules for Social Media ROI
  10. Report Reveals Gaps in Aussie Social Media Use


  1. Geoff Cramer says:

    Great piece… I think that one benefit to social networking for realtors that is often overlooked is that many users are starting to use Facebook and twitter especially as a way to hear offers from companies and professionals OTHER than e-mail.

    Consumers are unsubscribing from e-mail lists, and instead following their favorite shops, restaurants and professionals on social networks, since they know that the offers will be limited to a quick 140 characters, rather than a huge email clogging up their inbox.

    We are launching a new service at Inman’s REConnect NYC in Jan called SocialMadeSimple, which is a site designed specifically for real estate and mortgage professionals to simplify social networking by combining accounts, and providing reminders and content.

    Check it out, http://www.socialmadesimple.com and enter to becoming on of our beta users for free.

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