@NYCRealEstate: Social Media Status Update

The Real DealMarch 01, 2014
In July, Halstead Property broker Jill Sloane wrote a post on the brokerage’s popular Tumblr page titled “10 things you didn’t know about the Ansonia.” Sloane compiled a list of historical tidbits about the Upper West Side condominium, including its status as the first air-conditioned hotel in the city and its cameo in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film, “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

A prospective buyer came across the post and reached out to Sloane. The two are now working together to find a unit, according to Matthew Leone, director of web marketing and social media at Halstead parent Terra Holdings.

“Real estate companies should be like politicians and act as ambassadors of the community,” Leone said, pointing to social media — a blanket term for online community-focused tools such as Facebook and Twitter — as a powerful tool to achieve this goal.

In the last three years, social media has gone from being a bit player in New York real estate to a central component of a firm’s marketing and branding strategy. Most of the city’s top residential brokerages have made big bets on social platforms, hiring dedicated teams to run social media operations, brainstorming ways to stand out with their content and training their brokers in the art of engagement. And the ones who haven’t are catching up fast.

Commercial firms have been slower to the draw, but they too are now racking up followers across many social platforms.

Warburg Realty president Frederick Peters, who pens a weekly blog about his views on real estate, said the posts are a strong driver of business for his agents. “It provides the firm with a particular kind of credibility,” he said, noting that the four-year-old blog gets about 1 million page views per year.

Individual brokers who build a social media brand can also reap rewards. Douglas Elliman broker and “Million Dollar Listing” star Fredrik Eklund, who has about 200,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and photo-sharing app Instagram, estimates that social media is responsible for almost a quarter of his business.

“There are actual transactions coming through,” he said. “People will comment on a post [showcasing a listing] saying, ‘This is perfect for us!’ and then they tag their husband or wife.”