Marketing is different for every industry and niche, but Google has upped the game for the real estate industry with the unveiling of a specialized marketing suite, Social XChange. Century 21 Real Estate was the lucky Google partner (though luck had nothing to do with it), and the suite has been designed to provide agents with a “more custodial role” via blending video and search engine marketing as well as social media management effortlessly into one simple platform. The suite took a year to develop, and it’s now free for all Century 21 agents in the US. Using Wildfire as a foundation, the latest Google social media marketing software might just be a Realtor’s game changer.
With social media content distribution simplified, Realtors can implement ready-made posts which help them to post content that’s complementary with ease. It also works with AdWords Express, letting agents take charge of their Google search ad campaigns. Finally, Videolicious is the finishing touch, which is an app that allows agents to video “walk throughs” to help with listings. From improving email marketing campaigns to luring in new clients, Social Xchange helps realtors do more; better and faster.
Google’s real estate vision
According to Director of Local at Google Sam Sebastian, “Over the past few years, Century 21 has worked hard to differentiate their agents with their ‘Smarter, Bolder and Faster’ campaign and we thought that packaging our tools in a creative way with the brand would further help them achieve their goals.” It’s no surprise that Google, an obvious tech leader, decided to partner with the leader in another industry. There have been numerous efforts to automate social media marketing in recent years, lightening the demands on realtors, but none come close to what this suite offers.
A few “competitors” include SocialMe and Lumentus, which are tech solutions that Re/Max uses, but these weren’t designed exclusively for the real estate market. Sebastian says, “It might sound a little big brotherish to some, but at the end of the day…it works.” But how did it come about? First, Century 21 secured the first even licensing agreement with Google along with a co-marketing agreement with Google AdWords, and finally a licensing agreement with Videolicious. It’s all about networking and building partnerships.
The best for the best
Chief Marketing Officer of Century 21 Bev Thorne says, "We've worked with the industry leader and we're providing to our agents a very simple and easy-to-use content platform that helps them optimize their relationship building. With Wildfire, users and schedule text/video content and post on the biggie SM sites including Twitter, Facebook and Google +. Then, "harvesting" posts is easy and Realtors can choose from a smorgasbord of posts which are pre-packaged to their industry.
The goal is that Century 21 HQ as well as every franchise will work together to create “content libraries” that can be used by thousands of agents and brokers across the country. It’s all about developing big-picture material as well as a smattering of local news across every region so that the selection never runs dry. Automation is the name of this game, and Century 21 has committed to creating a number of pre-scheduled posts that are easy to find and follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Thorne says, “We will selectively provide content for them; they’re not obligated to use it.”
Coming full circle
Just like many suites, analytics are available with Wildfire in order to better hone marketing campaigns and so realtors can see where they should focus more and where they should let it go. The company can swiftly pinpoint strategies that work and those which don’t, ensuring that they’re always improving. Unlike previous suites like HootSuite, there are a wide range of social media promotions with this suite and users can select from many templates for promotional tools ranging from sweepstakes to polls. Templates have been tailored just for real estate purposes, so there’s no messy overlap or possibility that a template just doesn’t work for an agent on any level.
It’s also a breeze for users of Social Xchange to access Videolicious and AdWords Express so they can instantly create walk-through videos and optimize their advertising from a social media marketing and email marketing perspective. It’s expected that the suite will be a driving force behind making social media marketing more accessible for all in the industry.
In 2012, SocialMe was launched, which was directed towards realtors but came at a fee of $59 per month. By lowering costs and partnering with a giant like Google, Century 21 has broken the mold and committed to being the first real estate company that actively appreciates the changes to digital marketing, what buyers and sellers want, and might just knock the next year of sales out of the ballpark.