Matthew Slutsky
December 29, 2010

Real estate developers, builders and marketing firms are not adapting to online social behaviours fast enough.

We are living in an era of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, blogs, Google, online forums, and many many more. With all of these online sources of shared information, new home buyers have more control then ever over the flow of information.

Buying pre-construction, whether highrise or lowrise, used to be a one-way conversation between an informed sales-agent and a curious buyer, but this is no longer the case.

Purchasers are no longer walking into sales-centres knowing nothing about the project; potential purchasers are now walking into sales centres knowing everything, and asking very specific questions about the project.

Did you know that Canadians spend more time surfing online than any other country? If you are not engaging with these people, you are missing the boat. According to the Globe and Mail:

“From Statistics Canada to the CRTC to the private online data crunching firm, comScore Inc., study after study released this year shows Canadians spend more time surfing than people from any other country. The most specific and comparable numbers, released by comScore in April, showed the average online Canadians spent 42 hours a month surfing, compared with 30 hours for Americans.”

Nothing drives me crazier than seeing builders with no online presence; they are ignoring all of the people mentioned above. Second thing that drives me crazy is seeing an online brand spitting out useless noise that no one cares to hear.

I haven’t been able to find any stats on Canada, but if our social-media training is anything like the US, then we are in trouble! According to Forbes:

“Many U.S. companies claim to have a social media strategy, but only 9% of U.S. salespeople say their company trains or educates them on the use of social media for sales. This stands in stark contrast to Brazil where 25% of salespeople surveyed receive training on social media usage. Thirty-eight percent of the salespeople we surveyed in China use personal blogs in their selling process while only 3% of U.S. salespeople do the same.”

Here are some simple tips to get you started, or back on track. Sure, these all sound really obvious, so why aren’t you doing it?

1. Listen! Hear what people are talking about, and get involved. Sure, you can start your own conversations, but jumping into conversations and providing useful information provides trust.

2. Participate – it is a dialogue, not a monologue! Just spouting out information about how awesome you are only gets you unfollowed, unliked, and ignored.

3. Engage – Much like the above two points, it is all about engaging with people, getting to know them, and creating relationships.

4. Forget About Control – You will not be able to control a conversation but you can inspire and influence people.

5. Don’t just make noise. Useless noise clutters feeds, and makes people want to shut you up. At BuzzBuzzHome we make a lot of noise, but we always try to keep it relevant, interesting, and participatory.

6. Honesty is the only policy. People feel entitled to information, and they will dig to the truth if they smell a rat. Using social media to promote a one-sided message only to make sales will backfire.

So, with 2011 just days away, start to look at your social-media strategy and work on it. It could turn out to be your best marketing tool, and most cost effective. It just takes time and thought.

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