Roost CEO Alex Chang sent me a note last week alerting me to the launch of the company’s app on Facebook, “Social Real Estate.” It enables local agents to create a “real estate” tab on their pages full of market data and other information.
Chang explained, “The Roost app allows a local agent or broker to configure a free ‘Real Estate’ Tab on their business page within minutes. It leverages external API’s to bring in true local market real estate, schools and lifestyle data. This is just the first iteration of the tools we plan to offer.”
Here’s an example of what the app looks like on a Facebook Page:
Click on the tab and you see promotional copy, links to other online marketing (blog), maps, market data and so on:
In email I asked Chang if he knew how many local realtors had Facebook Pages. He estimated that in the US there are about 300,000 (or somewhat more) agents on Facebook. The National Assn of Realtors claims about 1.3 million members, not all of whom are active. Chang guessed that the agents on Facebook represent perhaps 40% to 50% of the active agents in the US.
Realtors have always been among the most interesting of SMBs. Many of them are aggressive, early adopters of new marketing methods.
Now, imagine a fairly complete digital marketing program for realtors that doesn’t involve a penny of media spending:
- A blog (feeds into FB, Twitter)
- Mobile app from Smarter Agent (local listings w/agent branding)
- Mobile optimized personal site/blog (somewhat optional at the moment)
- Enhanced Google LBC presence (w/video)
- Yelp enhanced profile
- Facebook Page like the one above
- Online classifieds (mostly free)
This represents considerable effort, especially the blogging if it’s done regularly. And while there is money changing hands to create and launch all these tools, my point is there’s no “advertising” involved.
Agents still will undoubtedly do some traditional media ads, but in terms of online this could all be done — and be quite effective — without spending a dime on advertising. Most SMBs don’t realize how much can now be done online for free. If they did it would be potentially very scary for publishers and media companies.