There’s a January social media tradition in NYC each year: the day before the Inman Connect NYC Real Estate Conference, a barcamp is organized by the Lucky Strikers Social Media Club. RE Barcamp NY (REBCNY) is attended by a great group of tech savvy realtors from the Tri-State area, as well as from all over the country.
(Barcamps are a kind of “un-conference”, and if you haven’t gone to one, I highly recommend the experience).
Getting back to the goats: award-winning North Carolina realtor Lori Bee of Bee Realty explains her success with social media as the “law of attraction”. Her varied posts attract other people with similar interests, which leads to conversations, which leads to relationships. One day, she wrote a Facebook post about goats. That led to a relationship that helped sell two farms!
For everyone I talked to, there were 10 people I never got to meet, and space limits the success stories I can share. Here are a few:
- Sharon Steele, a New Jersey realtor who is virtually the only one in her office using the proprietary system her firm provides. She has become the online and social media expert in her office, maintaining the firm’s Facebook page as well as her own, and attributes a sizable increase in her business to her use of technology, social media included.
- Robin Taylor-Roth, whose hashtag rich tweetstream (#REBCNY) is a valuable tutorial for anyone reading it. When discussing the topic of realtors carefully guarding their privacy on “Linked in”, she gives her counter-argument for open networking: the strong social network that she has built –other realtors in her own town included – makes her more valuable to her clients and builds her reputation and her business.
- Virginia Munden, a Toronto realtor with 5000 Facebook friends (known to some as “the shoe lady”), whose distinctive business card includes a QR code. Virginia has developed a competitive edge in her market due to her online following, a persona that combines local interest (“Virginia’s Buzz” on Facebook), real estate news, and personal style.
- Real estate power bloggers Nikki Beauchamp, Phil Faranda, and Jeff Belonger; Houlihan Lawrence social media powerhouse Liz Nunen; and Westchester entrepreneur and marketing smart-cookie Debbie Gartner, whose networking within the real estate community (and elsewhere!)is helping to build her floor covering business.
What’s my takeaway from REBCNY 2011? The real estate industry is no different than any other when it comes to social media and online technology. There is a sub-group of smart business people who get it: eager to use the new tools that are available: social networking, video, QR codes, blogs, mobile technology, and so on.
These early adopters have gained a competitive advantage from technology. This competitive edge may not last, but by the time others catch on, this first group of tech-smart realtors will be way out front.
With so many social media and technology success stories, I am sure I missed a bunch…please add yours in the comments, and I’ll write a sequel!