… by Matt Gentile, Director of PR and Social Media, Century 21 Real Estate LLC
If consumers are already aware of your brand, how do you take it to the next level? What is necessary to develop a relationship where the consumer chooses your company as their preferred source for valuable information, research and knowledge to help them make an informed purchasing decision? At CENTURY 21, we’re leveraging new media to engage our target audience. Through sponsorships of events like BlogWorld & New Media Expo, Inman Real Estate Connect, and Agent Reboot, the CENTURY 21 Brand is reaching the next generation of home buyers, sellers, agents and entrepreneurs.
Business is about building and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. It involves the same types of decisions that we make every single day: WIFM – What’s In It for Me? Whether consciously or sub-consciously, we are always evaluating what is best for ourselves. Today’s consumers, who often check location based services and rating sites like Yelp.com before reading the ‘About Us’ section of a company’s website, want to know more about the products and services they are using. It is important for consumers to know where a company stands on philanthropy and what type of value-add they are going to receive by establishing a relationship with a particular brand or product. Delivering valuable content via mobile and social channels enables the relationship between the brand and the consumer to grow over time.
For some products and services the value-added is easy to identify. For example, I know if I purchase and use an iPad I will be given entrée to an entire culture of like-minded users who are producing leading-edge applications that do everything from destroying building blocks on Angry Birds to informing me of traffic flow on Interstate 80. To ensure we are making the most of our opportunities to engage with the consumer about real estate, the CENTURY 21 System is engaging in a proactive mobile social media strategy through multiple platforms including century21.com, @C21 – Home Matters blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile apps. In order to keep our brand value relevant, we follow these key tenants:
1) Listen – Use new media to listen to your target audience’s wants and needs. Respond where you can with timely, relevant resources and plan to share content via your corporate channels that address this feedback.
2) Keep it fresh – Share content each day that is new and topical. Consumers will come to regard your company as the sources for breaking news in your industry.
3) Make it local – If you live in New York, you don’t want to hear about what’s going on Boulder. Have local representatives and experts offer advice to their own, local communities through your channels.
4) Embrace the new – Did you ever think your company would have a mobile app? Or put QR codes on signs? Whether you planned for it or not, these are the technologies of the future and it’s critical to become educated on how best to offer these convenient upgrades to consumers.
5) Build relationships – Use new media to engage with consumers. Really get to know your audience and the individuals reaching out to you via these new types of media. Your best brand advocate might be a tweet away!
Matt Gentile directs public relations and social media content strategy for Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization. In this role, he promotes approximately 7,900 independently owned and operated franchised brokerage offices and 119,000 sales associates in 68 countries and territories worldwide.