Monday November 30th saw the launch of the inaugural Social Media Marketing Summit (SMMS) for real estate in Toronto. SMMS is the brainchild of Toronto-area realtor, George O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill has also spearheaded the Real Estate Technology Meetup in Toronto. An obvious fan of technology and social media tools, Mr. O'Neill saw it necessary to hold this meeting to help educate real estate professionals on the benefits of using these tools.
Featuring speakers from inside and out of the real estate industry, more than 60 attendees enjoyed a day full of information and conversation. The following is a few of the event's speakers and some of their thoughts:
Erika Lang Digital Sales Manager, Globe and Mail
Ms. Lang kicked off the day introducing social media to the crowd. Although words like Twitter have become ubiquitous, real estate professionals have been very slow to adopt and embrace new technologies. Many realtors, like other professionals, understand the value of community and networking at different events and gatherings. It was with this understanding that they began to see the value in creating networks online via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
"Social media works because it is human, personal and conversational."
Karthik Ramakrishnan VP Technology, Gazoo Mobile
Now here's where things started getting a little interesting! Karthik's company develops mobile marketing applications for enterprises. He was here to cover some mobile trends and how mobile marketing should be a strategy for business people. Karthik was emphatic in suggesting that incorporating a mobile element into a digital campaign complements other avenues for engaging with potential clients.
"Mobile advertising allows companies to connect their brands with audiences when they're on the move and away from the computer, and do so in a way that is empowering, engaging, entertaining and meaningful".
Richard Silver Toronto Real Estate Board board member, Sales Representative, and Active Blogger
Mr. Silver is the go-to guy when it comes to real estate agents who blog and understand social media. One of the first things he did was stress the importance that social media is not the genie in a bottle but just some new tools in the toolbox. One of the important tips he left us with was to blog about topics that interest our audience and not just ourselves. When asked if he's made any money from blogging he pointed out that the overage of business he gets from his blog earns him over a 5 figure income per year alone.
A few things stood out to me throughout the day's proceedings. Firstly, real estate professionals, and that includes realtors, mortgage professionals and others, need to embrace social media. Not as a silver bullet. Not as a magic pill. But as a part of their overall strategy of sales and customer service. Clients and potential customers are on these platforms. To ignore them is to commit professional suicide.
Secondly, don't be afraid to make mistakes. The only way to learn how to behave online is to live online. Failing really is a part of learning.
Finally, there is a huge potential in the real estate industry. For people and companies that understand social media and new technology the real estate industry is desperate to learn how to use these new tools. It is up to us and others to take the initiative to educate these professionals. And in doing so create an opportunity to leverage our experience and knowledge.