22 Feb Socializing With Dru Bloomfield: She Beat the Down Real Estate Market Using Social Media
There are many reasons why social media and real estate mix so well. For one thing real estate is an intensely people business. Successful agents are defined by how well they treat their customers and are able to deal with them more than anything else. With the vast majority of people starting their home search online, its almost a given that agents need to have a solid presence on the Internet. What many do not understand is that having a website and your MLS listings is not enough and does not constitute having a strong Internet presence. Today you need to be able to demonstrate your expertise to those who are seeking it as they are searching. There is no better way of doing this than thorough various social media channels.
I first met Dru Bloomfield back in 2007 when she attended my “Blogging in Real Estate” class. She is one of a few that took to heart the importance of blogging. Once she got going she has never looked back. Since then she’s been mentioned on Forbes magazine and been named as one of the “Top 12 Women Real State Bloggers of 2009”. Besides the accolades her business has thrived in a severe down market, the likes of which we probably will never see again in our lifetimes.
I followed up with Dru a few weeks ago to see how things are going. I wanted to ask her a few questions about social media, blogging and business. Here is what she had to say:
1. Why did you choose social media (blogs, twitter) as an integral part of your business development strategy?
My decision to blog was almost an instinctual response. I heard about it a few times and was thinking it was something I should explore. My broker mentioned it a few time in his meetings. I heard you speak. A colleague told me I’d better. Plus, I love to write.
As far as social media goes, it was a natural evolution. I like connecting with people, and connecting others that seem like they should know each other. I would say that it felt like the right thing to do at the time, and the positive results have validated that decision.
2. What is the most amazing thing you did in 2009 when it comes to social media? Perhaps there was a blog post or a Twitter connection?
Making the front page of the AZ Republic Real Estate section for using Twitter to connect to clients.
Real-estate agents use Twitter, blogs to boost clients – Arizona Republic / AzCentral.com, July 16, 2009
Having my blog mentioned on Forbes.com as an example of a locally focused real estate blog.
Must-Read Real Estate Blogs – Forbes.com, October 8, 2009
And one more honor:
Top 12 Women Real Estate Bloggers 2009 – Sellsius Real Estate Blog, December 22, 2009
Having my sunrise photos used for the morning news. (Channel 12)
Getting reconnected to aunts and cousins in the Mid-West through my son on Facebook who had never met any of them before!
3. As a real estate professional is it possible to successfully use social media without being passionate about real estate? What role does passion play in making your social media usage successful?
I think that one has to be “real” to be successful in social media, whether it has to do with real estate or some other related topic. For the most part, my blog is very real estate focused, either about the market or the city I work, live, and play in. With Twitter, I share a broader view of me, and find that it’s opened the doors to some fantastic dialogue and friendships. I’ve explored ideas, concepts, music, photography, and all sorts of other non-real estate related subjects, because I enjoy them, and because I’ve connected with others who do to. And, I suppose that is where the passion comes in. Do what you love and the rest will follow.
For me, being real is about being positive and passionate about life, that’s the vibration I hope people sense and want to tap into. Part of my strategy for my blog and my other social media interaction is to attract and connect with fun people that I would enjoy working with, and that would enjoy working with me.
4. How do you answer those that say social media takes too much time and is a waste of time?
Don’t do it. Find another way to connect with people that you actually like to do. I view social media as a time investment that I enjoy. That enjoyment is key — people know if your heart is in it.
5. How do you measure the success of your social media strategy? What role did social media play in making 2009 successful for you?
My success in social media is measured primarily by the quality of my interactions with others. I do generate business from my social media strategy, and find that it is a growth channel for me. My advances in social media in 2009 provided me a level of confidence in the medium, and I decreased my most costly business generating expenses by half. I’m also much clearer about my branding and how I want to expand it in the future.
6. How has the use of social media directly affected your business since you actively began using it?
I would say that the quality and quantity of my business relationships have expanded exponentially. I have touched and am touched by so many that I would never have known, if it weren’t for social media.
7. How has the use of social media affected you personally?
I think that social media has “forced” me to be more open. I tend to be a fairly private person. For me, using social media requires me (my voice) to be genuine. However, I have found that sometimes I have to stop myself what I really want to say, and other times, I force myself to push the Enter button, just to get the thought out there.
Plus, I think (hope) that I’m a better writer, too! Twitter does require me to be very succinct in what I want to say. My blog allows me to develop a thought into a concept, and requires that I do it in such a way that it’s understandable to a variety of readers.
8. What are your hopes for 2010 when it comes to social media?
I plan to use social media even more as the year progresses. I want to write more, as my blog suffered last year when my business is extremely busy.
I’ll continue to use Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Flickr to develop networks. I’d like to get more organized in how are the services interact with each other. I find that it’s a bit messy right now, with all the services feeding into one another. I need to decide on which service is the focal point and develop an operational plan from based on that.
Also, I’m finding that I’m “reporting” more real-time info, from my phone, so I assume that I’ll become more even more mobile this year.
Something new and exciting will come along too, I’m sure I’ll have to try that too!
Thank you Dru for sharing your insights with us.
Read the other “socializing interviews” to learn more about social media practitioners.
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