By now most real estate professionals have heard about the all new e-PRO Certification Course featuring a Web 2.0 and Social Media component. So far, the feedback has been incredible.
The release of this course was a longtime in the making and is a credit to the National Association of REALTORS® continued effort to put the tools and systems needed into the hands of its membership.
Web 2.0, the second generation of web based services and behaviors, includes such things as social networking sites and communication tools which emphasize collaboration and sharing. Web 1.0 can be described as the Static Web and Web 2.0 can be described as the Programmable Web.
Think of Web 1.0 as a digital newspaper. You can open it and read, but you cannot add, change or interact, except perhaps by sending an e-mail to the editor. Web 2.0 sites are dynamic, and change frequently with people adding, creating, sharing, and socializing.
Today on the Internet, information about homes, neighborhoods, real estate professionals, the home buying and selling process, lending, you name it, are all available and searchable, at everyone’s fingertips. Being that the real estate business is really an information based business, Web 2.0 will have a major impact on the conduct and process of real estate related objectives by consumers.
Kevin Kelly, the first editor of Wired magazine said in his 1990s book, “no one is as smart as everyone.” That concept is reinforced in Wisdom of the Crowds, and is evident everyday if one frequents Wikipedia.
Social networking technologies can expand the reach of your brand and connects it into existing and developing social groups
· People - friends, connections, friends of friends
· Interests - common activities, hobbies, clubs
The rise of social media is creating a new form of marketing altogether called Social Influence Marketing (SIM). SIM is about employing social media as part of the entire relationship lifecycle that begins before and extends beyond the Sale.
It is no longer sufficient to be in the “center of the transaction. REALTORS® must be in the “center of the conversation.”
REALTORS® must employ social media, build social capital, and redefine their value proposition
Embracing the collective power of connected users means letting go. It feels risky, but properly connected users can authenticate your message and brand in ways you never could.
It is important to keep in mind that your goal as a REALTOR® is to remain in the center of the conversation about real estate. For most consumers, real estate is a lifelong proposition and the role of the REALTOR® is to be that “Trusted Advisor” in all things related to real estate, and that includes being the community and neighborhood expert.
Using Web 2.0 sites today will allow you to be that local area expert, and also to demonstrate the knowledge of your area, and your expertise in your field, not only when it is time for your client to buy and sell real estate, but all of the time, as you remain in the center of the conversation at all times.
Virtual communities give people with similar experiences and interests the opportunity to come together - freed from the restraints of time and space - to form beneficial relationships. An online community is a network of people sharing and collaborating with one another.
Major benefits for REALTORS® from participation in online communities include referrals from other real estate professionals, leads for listings and sales, a resource for information at your finger tips, and collective power with vendors.
With Online Communities, people are connected to people. This is a powerful force because "No one is as smart as everyone." There is a world of online communities out there for you to discover, as your interest and time allows…Facebook, MySpace, RealTown
Contact with people creates opportunity and the Internet creates a variety of ways to contact and connect with people. The Internet is the Network of Networks, and real estate is a networking business.
A large part of the job for any sales professional is prospecting and "working a territory" - be it geographical or a circle of friends and acquaintances - sometimes referred to as a sphere of influence. The Internet is a vast, relatively untouched territory, which can easily and effectively be reached on even a modest marketing budget.
Information is a driving force for consumers today. The real estate professional who has the ability to gather, position, and distribute information in a cost-effective manner will be the big winner.
Prospecting is the process of gathering a database of suspects through advertising and marketing, filtering that database into a list of prospects, which can further be filtered into a list of clients. These clients have the goal of purchasing or selling a home. Prospecting is one of the primary functions of a real estate sales professional. You have to keep your “pipeline” full. The Web 2.0 real estate professional must prospect both offline and online.
Saul Klein, the real estate industry’s first Internet Evangelist, was selected by the National Association Of REALTORS® as one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Real Estate Industry” in 2003 and one of the “100 Most Influential Real Estate People” by Inman News in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He is one of the creators of RealTown (http://RealTown.com), and many long-standing real estate online communities. He is the CEO of InternetCrusade® and Point2 Technologies, splitting his time between both companies. InternetCrusade® is a technology solution provider and creator of both the content and the technology delivery platform for the e-PRO® online technology certification program of the National Association of REALTORS®. Point2 Technologies is a leading website provider with more than 200,000 clients worldwide and provides heavy equipment website solutions for Caterpillar.