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May 19, 2008


Sean Pecor

Perhaps you need a champion who can stay at arm's length from your real estate business and social network on your behalf? And in exchange for that networking, they can recommend you as a realtor privately when it's appropriate? A guerrilla marketer would simply create an alter ego with a handle that can't be traced back to themselves. Just a thought. I've been pretty active on City-Data in the Virginia forums, mostly for fun, partly just to see how many folks I can inspire into relocating to Franklin County. I think I average about one family every couple of months. I've had many of them stop by and visit our farm and it's been great to meet them. There are several that I've helped put in touch with a local realtor who has converted most of them into sales. Others contact me after they've settled into the area and thank me for all the information I provided on city-data and/or on my blog. It's a fun diversion for me. I keep at it because I actually research answers and as a result I am always learning more about my own area.

With that said, I'm not sold on social networking either. For one, it requires constant nurturing so it's not leveraging the nature of the web effectively. From a web/viral perspective, it would make more sense to invest the time to create a categorized online resource for your area. Like a dynamic categorized relocation guide to address popular concerns. Something that would plump out to a few hundred pages and then yield web visitors continually because each page is focusing its context on a specific concern (school issues, cultural events, festivals, civic groups etc). I suppose this could be accomplished by a blog that was thoroughly categorized?



Actually while I wouldn't bet my future on it, I am very pleased with my progress on City-Data. This weekend someone tried to impersonate me with a slightly different handle. A number of readers who are more active than me, figured it out and in the process said some very nice things about me. The whole thread was removed by a moderator eventually, but it was nice to see a number of people jump to my defense.

Like you I tend to think social networking is just another tool. Today I had clients visit from California. They came from a combination of blogs and social networking. They might buy something in a few years.

I am averaging two client visits a month driven by social networking and/or blogs.

About one every three months buys. Given the market conditions that is a welcome boost.

That success has been noticed at our company so I am now being paid to write a blog for Bluewater which focuses on issues where potential newcomers might want more personal information.

The first entry is live.

In addition to that we're working with Andy Cohill in Blacksburg to bring up a local website that can provide many answers to people.

It is still in beta as we populate it with information.

It will have a very strong search capability.

We expect it to have some very neat things for people looking to relocate and it will be vendor neutral and have all real estate companies when we get rolling.

Still right now, given my choice I'll take the person who has made the decision to get serious about purchasing and decides to walk through the door of the real estate office.

They are almost always farther along on the process and more committed to making it happen.

It is almost as if those who have spent extensive time on the web get hooked on the whole web process and don't want to take that next step.

It might have something to do with the uncertainty of today's market, but most of today's buyers who actually come away with property are still pretty traditional.

They see a listing they like and call the listing agent, never even letting it bother them that the listing agent represents the seller and they would be better off with a buyer's agent.

In spite of all the Internet expertise and searching, that key fact seems to escape most buyers.

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