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Century 21 promotes social selling, mobile connectivity for brokers

Century 21 Real Estate is aiming to leverage social media as an additional selling tool by partnering with platform Hootsuite, enabling brokers and sales associates to engage in social selling by managing several networks from one dashboard to allow for quick responses via mobile.

Century 21 will be rolling out the platform, deemed C21 “Social for Business,” in a bid to help its employees manage their Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and WordPress accounts so that they may interact with potential clients more readily via mobile devices. The platform is also set to suggest customized content and provide quick access to a content library of graphics that may help sales professionals seal the deal and drive revenue for the company.

“We had looked at Hootsuite in the past, and it didn’t feel like it was the right fit at the time for an enterprise solution,” said Matt Gentile, director of social media at Century 21 Real Estate LLC, Madison, NJ. “What I discovered this time was that they were a much more robust platform and ready to serve the needs of an enterprise client, from the platform itself to their willingness to create a customized solution for our brand.”

Social selling
Century 21’s partnership with Hootsuite suggests that more real estate brands will begin turning to social selling, a phenomenon that will see increased reliance on mobile devices and social media to connect with on-the-go consumers and showcase homes in user-friendly ways.

“Social selling is hugely important as it provides a medium through which real estate companies can engage prospective purchasers authentically and emotionally,” said Mark Attisha, director of sales at Atimi, Vancouver, Canada. “Buying a house is the biggest decision that people will make, and people want to work with realtors who ‘get them.’”

Employees will now be able to schedule social media content across their various accounts, as well as use the C21 Social Plugin to enter the content library, which features graphics provided at individual brokerage and brand levels.

Century 21 believes that the partnership will act as a marketing differentiator for the real estate brand, which is seeking to build stronger relationships with consumers online and on mobile, as well as leverage relevant social media content to generate revenue opportunities.

It does currently offer a mobile application which displays local homes for sale and various listings across the nation. Users have access to filters, specific ownership details and directions to favorited properties.

They may also text and email listings to friends, and press the “Contact” button to get immediately connected to a real estate representative.

“Having a baseline for everyone to learn best practices and understand how social media should be leveraged is incredibly important,” Century 21’s Mr. Gentile said. “There’s such a wide variety of ways in which it’s being used today.

“It’s important for our brand to create a center of excellence for digital/social media.”

Real estate and mobile
C21 University, along with Hootsuite, has also created five personalized learning modules for helping real estate representatives learn optimal practices for social selling. After completing these five courses, professionals will receive the Century 21 – Hootsuite Social Selling Certificate, which demonstrates their mastery of social selling in real estate.

Coldwell Banker, another real estate brand, also views mobile as a sharing medium for buyers, sellers and agents, and leverages social media to augment the sales process (see story).

“Like most industries vying for customers, real estate brands need to engage their clients where they put their attention,” Mr. Attisha said. “Most people have abandoned traditional media (such as newspapers, radio and television) as their primary news source long ago.

“Today they live on their phones, sharing their likes and dislikes with their friends and colleagues. To gain prospective buyers, real estate companies must provide engaging content on social media that establishes credibility and trust with them,” he said.

“Think about the last time you picked a realtor, you likely got that recommendation from someone you knew and trusted, not from a flyer. That is the crux of social marketing.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York