I thought you’d be interested in reading about this unique marketing project.
Mike Vander Vloet & Sarah Poirier Vander Vloet are real estate representatives with Realty Executives Elite Ltd. Brokerage based in London Ontario.

Leading London

They brought tbk Creative on their team to help them grow their brand through digital and social media marketing.

As we dug into developing a social media strategy, we recognized something very important – real estate reps have it tough with social media.

When it comes to a real estate company creating a Facebook.com page, consumers really don’t want to see news in their feed every day about the home marketplace. By nature, people only care about this info when they need to buy or sell a home – you’re either on or your off.

When it comes to traditional media such as outdoor, print, radio, or tv, it may worthwhile to spend money on such inventory to: a) Hopefully, catch a consumer at the right place and the right time in their buying process, or b) Increase your brand profile in the community.

Social media, however, is a different beast.
Traditional media is push marketing, social media is pull.

With traditional you pay and then push a message out to the masses whether they want to hear it, read it, see it, or not.

With social media, consumers have a choice. You need to pull them into your community.

They don’t need to like, follow, or subscribe to your blog. If they do and they stop liking what content you’re publishing, they can unlike you, unfollow you, or unsubscribe to your work.

This is where the challenge lies for the real estate world and many other industries.

And this is where the opportunity got birthed for the Vander Vloet’s real estate partnership.

Before we slapped up yet another customized real estate Facebook.com page (that would probably get little engagement and digress consumers’ senses further), we looked at, instead, what people would really be interested in, if they were to join their Facebook.com community.

Here’s where we looked from: social media isn’t advertising, it’s a conversation, and good conversations start with what people are most passionate about.

We chose to take the primary focus off of real estate and onto something Mike, Sarah, their friends, prospects, and customers are really passionate about – the London Ontario community.

Out of this conversation as a group, the brand, Leading London was formed (we crafted a new logo) and they decided to adopt this brand throughout all their communications.

A Facebook.com page was then developed with the intention of creating dialogue about the great things happening in London, highlighting the great people and brands doing wonderful things in the city, collaborating on ways to better London, and yes, they won’t forget to share local London real estate news and listings as they are still a real estate sales team. You can see their Facebook.com page here.

This is the important distinction between push marketing (traditional) and pull marketing (social media), and the main reason I chose to write this blog: I can name a handful of real estate representatives who I personally know that have built up seizable practices over the years using traditional media. But when you try to bring the same communications strategy into the social media world, you may create some sales over time (from relationships you already had pre-established), but you’ll never fully ignite what’s really possible with this new form of social communication.

If you’re in the real estate business and reading this blog (or a similar field such as financial/insurance services, law, accounting, ok I’ll stop here…), I’m not telling you to run out and re-brand your company or brokerage. The brand is always an important thought but you can get away with sticking to the brand (even if it’s your personal brand) that you have now.

What I am saying is consider engaging around topics that ignite the interest and passion of your audience.

That’s what they care about, and thus, willing to talk about.

As for Leading London, I’ve come to know Mike & Sarah’s commitment for producing great results for their clients but what I’ve learned even more is their commitment to London Ontario as a place to work, live, play, and call their home. You can join the Leading London Facebook community here and follow their Twitter account here.

Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.