Company: Royal LePage Niagara, Royal LePage Canada
Industry: Real Estate
Contact: Ryan Johnstone, Broker/Manager, Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate
Dial back to 1913 when Albert Edward LePage establishes his real estate company A.E. LePage – The Bungalow Specialist. Eddie, as he became known as, was truly a visionary. Not only was he instrumental in the forming of organized real estate and the Toronto Real Estate Board, he built a real estate empire that has stood the test of time. And he didn’t even know it then, but his legendary marketing ideas were social media in its infancy! Eddie was the first REALTOR to take film of his listings and show them in movie theatres and people’s homes. Remarkable considering the era. It is also very apparent from the company history that he understood the value of media and using it to position himself and his company as an authority figure to the industry.
Fast forward to 2015, A.E LePage, now Royal LePage after a merger with Royal Trust back in 1984, is still a driving force in the Real Estate industry. In fact, Royal LePage tops the ranks as The Voice of Canadian Real Estate garnering 60% more media impressions than their closest competitor! I’d call that a land slide in the very least!
While Royal LePage Canada would not comment on what percent of the impressions were due to social media, it’s relatively safe to assume it’s quite a lot. Here’s what leads me to that statement. Royal LePage Canada employs numerous SM platforms: Web site, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and Pinterest to name a few and they appear to have a strategy for each of those that ties into a big picture goal of maintaining their position as the Voice of Canadian Real Estate.
Content publishing appears to be the tactic at the centre of the social media strategy. It creates brand awareness, establishes the brand as an authority and supports the Franchisees and their sales forces all in one. RLP Canada has invested heavily in content publishing social media platforms and they have taken a top down approach with President and CEO Phil Soper often dominating the conversation. Mr. Soper has a strong voice and known expertise in the Real Estate industry, his comments on various elements of the housing market are constantly fueling industry talk and spread across SM channels and news wires. This is an industry that everyone likes to talk about, a topic that that affects millions of Canadians as homeowners, so there is a natural tendency to pay attention. It’s also an industry that is in the news almost daily due to its economic impact, whether it’s interest rates, legislation, housing prices, property taxes etc., there is always something to talk about. As a marketing professional, I love the opportunity Social Media provides to such a strategy. It’s a perfect fit but that’s not to say it’s a simple one. Careful thought and planning is needed to chart a path for each platform to ensure all are working in unison to accomplish their goal. Let’s take a look at some of the major platforms Royal LePage Canada uses.
LinkedIn content is almost all professionally related, seemingly geared to Franchisees and their sales forces. Content in the form of news articles, original content and videos were shared on topics such as housing trends and statistical findings, agent accomplishments, corporate initiative such as apps and marketing services and sales force recruitment with a minor mix of social, community and cultural tidbits.
Facebook on the other hand was a good mix of consumer and sales force content. It had a more casual feel and included general interest stories on homeownership, maintenance and how to’s, style and décor, community and cultural initiatives and contests as well as various homeowner reports and recruitment pieces. The recruitment pieces were an interesting inclusion, I believe their purpose there is two fold; one recruitment, the other to show the calibre of agents at Royal LePage and to help the viewer understand what drives a Real Estate agent in this profession and why they were attracted to Royal LePage as their Broker.
RoyalLePage.ca although it has access to the corporate portal, is mainly consumer driven with the ability to search listings and research REALTORS, learn more information about the home buying and selling processes, housing trends and statistical reports, agent accomplishments, testimonials. It also offers plenty of recruitment information.
Twitter is a healthy mix of corporate and consumer information along the lines of the above. And all of the above platforms were well established with Facebook and LinkedIn having over 10,000 likes and followers and Twitter over 2700.
Pinterest looked to be a more recently developed platform with under 1000 followers and although very much consumer driven with pages on style and décor ideas for various rooms, DIY’s, photos of unique houses and some of Canada’s major markets, there was one page for REALTRORS specifically.
Click here and check out their most recent stats! Royal LePage is definitely leading the way in the real estate industry!
National activities support local Franchisees and their Sales Force
Narrowing the scope to Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre, a Franchisee with 14 offices throughout the Niagara Region. RLP Niagara has found its place at the top too, with #1 market share in the Region. Royal LePage Niagara uses a number of the same platforms as RLP Canada and publishes some of the national content to their SM platforms. They also publish a variety of reports, stats and newsletters with a local perspective. I had an opportunity to speak with Ryan Johnstone, a Broker/Manager at Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre about how social media is impacting their marketing efforts. Here’s a clip of our interview.
In our discussion, Ryan noted
that taking baby steps when initiating a social media strategy could be the difference between success and failure. There are a so many platforms out there so it is important that you research the options and align yourself with those platforms that make the most sense to your business. Those that will allow you to achieve your goals but also fit within your brand strategy too.
Learning for others
Using a content based social media strategy to create brand awareness and build credibility makes a lot of sense for a business or industry such as real estate. The fact that remains however that it’s a strategy that will take careful planning and strategizing not to mention a lot of creativity and originality to pull off. The content has to be relevant and newsworthy and by golly there better be a lot of it! Here’s a few tips to use going forward.
- Make sure your content is original and offers value to the reader every time
- Understand your audience and recognize that each platform you use will have different audiences, so the same piece of information may offer value to one audience but not necessarily to all
- Do use this strategy to show all aspects of your business, not just the revenue generating ones. Use it to build the profile of your business and depict your brand personality. In other words, be real!
- Don’t bite of more than you can chew. Start with one platform and nail it down, then move on to the next. Trying to take on too much all at once could really slow you down.
- Put systems in place to ensure you can generate all the content you will need. That may mean tapping into other departments in your organization or hiring someone who is responsible for scanning the headlines and spinning it into relevant and timely information.
Facts and Figures:
Royal LePage Canada is a Canadian real estate franchiser and owner-operator with more than 600 locations and over 15,000 Realtors in Canada. The company recently just celebrated 100 years of Real Estate. More
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate: ROYAL LEPAGE NIAGARA IS A TEAM OF OVER 400 spanning several offices across the region. #1 MARKET SHARE In Niagara*. Royal LePage Niagara completed 5238 transactions in 2013. We are dedicated to providing a competent and high level of service. Helping you is what we do!
*based on closed transactions in 2013
Submitted By: Lisa Taylor, student, SMPB, University of Waterloo
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