Day 2 at the Inman Connect Real Estate Technology Conference

A commentary by Susan Harrison, Senior VP Web Development, EXIT Realty Corp. International

Wow – there’s so much to talk about from Day 2 at the Inman Connect Conference and I look forward to sharing insights over the next few posts.

One hi-lite for me was keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk, Founder of You may wonder what wine has to do with real estate (insert appropriate joke here) but I figure anyone who has taken his brand (both the company and himself) from $4 Million to $45 Million in a five-year period is worth a listen.

Gary’s rapid-fire, brash delivery was a refreshing change to the conference’s staid panel discussions and he quickly caught my attention with his directive to the audience to "create more revenue streams – don’t be one-dimensional." Humm, additional revenue streams? Like residual income at EXIT Realty, I thought? But I digress…

Gary believes that being involved in personal branding in 2009 is not an option; it’s a necessity. The consumer is "obnoxiously knowledgeable" these days and according to Gary, the real estate industry has to become transparent. As real estate agents, consumers are going to know who you are before they meet you – the information is out there – so you should be the one directing the content about yourself. Technology doesn’t have to be scary – if you don’t know something, he says, just type your question into Google and you’ll get the answer. Embrace it. If you don’t already own your domain name, i.e.  (which I don’t own by the way), you should register it. If you have a common name and the usual extensions are taken, try .tv. Gary encourages us to "own what we rock at." 

Instead of paying for advertising this year, leverage your time in the social networking arena, Gary suggests. Use Google Blog Search to find the top 40 blogs about real estate and make yourself a relevant part of the conversation. Remember to add links referring back to your site and or blog – give yourself a chance to be passed along. Word-of-mouth has changed.

To illustrate the power of social networking, Gary gave this example. Over the holiday season in New Jersey, he spent $7,500 on three forms of advertising; billboard from which he received 170 orders, direct mail from which he received 302 orders and radio from which he received 240 orders. At the same time, he used Twitter to tweet a free shipping code and got 1,700 orders in 24 hours. Something to think about.

The conference wraps up today.


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