When asked to name a business which utilizes Social Media to effectively reach out to new customers and maintain contact with existing ones, I immediately thought of The Furtado Group. Operating under the Rock Star Real Estate umbrella, they are a Real Estate Team based in Oakville, primarily servicing the West GTA. The Furtado Group is not your average Real Estate Brokerage and this is evident across their unique branding efforts. And, they surpass any expectations one may have for effectively using Social Media to interact with their audience. Each of the Team’s members has their own Social Media presence.
The Team is led by Ruben Furtado. He is considered “a true expert in his field, a trusted advisor and mentor to many in the real estate community” (The Furtado Group. 2016). They have a dedicated Art Director & Brand Communications Manager and each member of their team contributes to content for all social media platforms. Mary Da Rosa has her own blog in which she writes about her business life and market trends. And, there’s Austin Furtado who shares his personal and business goals on his own You Tube channel, Auzzy TV. Clearly this Team has made Social Media a priority in their communication strategies.
The company website lists valuable advice, reports and recommendations for reputable service providers. This information is exchanged for contact information which starts a conversation or a relationship with a customer. The company Instagram feed is filled with inspirational quotes, beautiful homes, members having fun and satisfied customers. It has been a great traffic generator through the use of hashtags. Images of modern home design elements get a lot of attention (as well as employee images). Their Facebook site also features available listings, vacation photos and more inspirational messages. Many positive comments from their followers are posted here. These are platforms for open, two-way communication.
Another prime example of engaging their audience through Social Media has been with YouTube videos, created as a result of customer requests. Several of Ruben’s clients were interested in seeing his renovation projects with before and after perspectives so he created a series of videos for his audience. These posted videos outline transformations of Ruben’s renovations, truly captivating and providing value for customers by sharing his experiences. Again, this was done because his customers asked. This is a strong example of how this business responded to customer interest. And, this home ended up selling within hours of listing, for significantly more than any other 3+1 bedroom home in the community, because in part of it’s Social Media exposure. Other success story videos are posted on the company Facebook page.
The Furtado Group has differentiated themselves from their competition by focusing on a niche market in the west GTA. Ruben has piloted new builds and also managed complete transformations from classic into modern style homes. This is not a formula that any other realtors in this area have been able to replicate. In fact, the first modern-style home that Ruben built set a new record when it sold for more than any other home in South West Oakville. Pictures of this home are used across the company’s Social Marketing platforms. In the article “Seven Ways to Engage Your Customers using Social Media”, the author lists repurposing content as a means of doing this. The Furtado Group has customized their various Social Media feeds with common videos, pictures and ideas.
The importance of customer engagement has been recognized by many business experts. “It has thus become crucial for companies to create a superior consumer experience, which can be leveraged by fostering enhanced consumer engagement, and which, in turn, is expected to generate enhanced customer loyalty.” (Brodie et al. 2013). In a conversation I had with Ruben Furtado, he emphasized that their goal is to continue to “build personal relationships with the community that we live in as opposed to just handing out flyers. If customers feel they know more about who you are on a personal level then they will think of you when it comes time to requiring an agent.” In the meantime, followers of Social Media feeds from a realtor are very likely to continue using other resources or advice that their realtor also has to offer.
I can attest to this from my own experience and I trust that I’m getting solid advice from my realtor. Social Media platforms enable a following of customers. The Furtado Group agrees that Social Media has been a great resource to reach new and existing customers. Their weekly Newsletter email subscriber base continues to grow. And, although Facebook is met with the most competition for online communications, it’s still effective. Feedback or comments on any social media platforms is great, but a customer referral is even better! Loyalty from having created a relationship with customers is demonstrated by these actions. This is inline with the goals of The Furtado Group; “to create a long-term relationship” with their customers and “not just sell homes.” (Furtado, R. 2016).
Lessons for Others
When implementing Social Media strategies, providing relevant, useful or interesting information for the audience is very helpful in keeping and growing an audience. If Customers can get something back from the Business (such as advice or acknowledgement) this fosters trust in the relationship.
Regular monitoring of a company’s Social Media platforms can provide a sense of what their customers like, (or possibly dislike), or hope to see more of. Businesses need to answer questions and interact with the users on these platforms to satisfy their audience and thereby keep communication lines open. And, by posting regularly (to each Social Media platform) businesses have a better chance of keeping customers interested.
A simple Twitter “retweet” or a Facebook “like” holds potential for a larger audience at every instance. Customers are likely to refer a business or keep using their services if a positive relationship has been established. Isn’t that what all businesses should strive for?
The Furtado Group
Industry: Real Estate
Name of Organization Contact: Ruben Furtado
Authored by: Michelle Brady
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Auzzy TV. (2016). Re. Contact Us. [Video file] retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrwkaVW6cciU2q3azEN65XA
Brodie, R. J., Ilic, A., Juric, B., & Hollebeek, L. (2013). Consumer engagement in a virtual Brand Community: an exploratory analysis. Journal of Business Research, 66(1), 105–114.
The Furtado Group. (2016). Re. Contact Us. [Website link] retrieved from http://www.rubenfurtado.com/default In order by surname; Mary Da Rosa, Sales Representative (meet Mary), Austin Furtado, Sales Representative (meet Austin), Ruben Furtado, Sales Representative (meet Ruben).
Furtado, R. (2016). Re. The Rochester Project, Why I destroyed a perfectly good home. [Youtube video file] – retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_pr2IbJPn4&list=PLzxH7hepT9ztRanpavfIo3F1Xj66Egwoj
Hyken, Shep. (Sept. 7, 2015) Seven Ways To Engage Your Customers Using Social Media. [Beyond Philosophy Blog] retrieved from https://beyondphilosophy.com/seven-ways-to-engage-your-customers-using-social-media/
Rock Star Real Estate. (2016) Home. [Website link] retrieved from http://www.rockstarbrokerage.com