How Century 21 Creates Award-Winning Real-Time Social Media

I had the pleasure of appearing on the Social Pros podcast hosted by +Jay Baer.  We discussed what it means to direct social media for +CENTURY 21.

Social Pros Podcast

Social Pros Podcast

As the largest residential real estate franchise sales organization, @Century21 has created multiple award-winning campaigns specific to the social media space. Most recently, I’m proud to report that our brand was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award for “Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Social Media Focused“.

This summer the CENTURY 21® brand celebrated a fourth consecutive win during this year’s advertising awards season collecting a Gold Andy Award, Gold and Silver OneShow Pencils and the People’s Choice Award at the Webby Awards for innovative social creative content.

CENTURY 21 Award-Winning Social Media Campaigns

CENTURY 21 Award-Winning Social Media Campaigns

Most recently the brand was honored with a Stevie Award for best PR and Communication – Social Media Focus.

Our social media team has been focused on maintaining the brand’s position as the number one most-trafficked real estate franchise website and providing unique social content that drives conversations and engagement opportunities for CENTURY 21 affiliated brokers and agents.

The biggest challenge and opportunity within our business model is that we have both a business to business (B2B – Brand to Franchise) and a business to consumer (B2C – Brand to Consumer) relationship.  Each franchise is its own individual business, so the corporate team supports the 103,000+ agents in their 7,100 offices around the world with fresh content and with social media education. We also market to the consumer via national advertising campaigns and sponsorships like U.S. Soccer, Indy 500, Super Bowl, Little League World Series, and the National Spelling Bee Championship.

Social Pros Podcast

Century 21 releases best practices, but really it comes down to the local operator. Some offices have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, and they leverage the content that Matt’s team provides. “At the end of the day, they have to make business happen,” Matt says. “They understand the market better than anyone at corporate headquarters.” Matt’s team encourages every franchise to get out there and use the tools in ways that work for them.

Take a listen to the full podcast and let me know what you think and how you manage the same types of challenges in your organization.

List of social media awards earned by CENTURY 21 since 2013:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattgentile

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CENTURY 21® Announces Social Platform with Google and Videolicious

C21SocialXchange_ICON2Today at the CENTURY 21® Global Conference in Las Vegas, I’m pleased to report that we announced the details of the C21 Social Xchange, our suite of social media tools and advertising programs. I have been working on this suite of tools to get ready for launch at global conference for the last 18 months. It is great to see this vision become a reality for our brokers, agents, managers and staff.

Below you will find quotes from our news release as well as a short video clip from Sam Sebastian, Director, Local, Google.

Through an industry-first licensing agreement with Google, a co-marketing agreement with Google AdWords, and a comprehensive licensing agreement with Videolicious, the C21 Social Xchange combines a comprehensive social media marketing, communications and advertising tool suite for CENTURY 21® System professionals.

“The C21 Social Xchange empowers our independent sales professionals to easily build relationships and grow their sphere of influence,” said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “Real estate is a people business, and today many business relationships begin online. CENTURY 21® agents are the only real estate professionals to benefit from such a partnership with Google, a recognized leader in relationship marketing.”

“CENTURY 21 continues to be an innovator in online marketing,” said Sam Sebastian, director, local, Google, Inc. “We brought this unique combination of tools and programs to the CENTURY 21 System because of their forward-looking marketing strategy. I am very excited that Google tools will play a role in helping CENTURY 21 sales associates to remain on the leading edge of online marketing and advertising.”

Released News:

http://www.inman.com/2014/03/17/century-21-unveils-google-powered-marketing-suite-c21-social-xchange/

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/29348-century-21-google-and-videolicious-pair-up-for-marketing-suite

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Will G+ Dominate Social in 2014?

Google Plus has been live for over three years now and as of December 20113 it had over 550 million users* on the network. For comparison sake, Facebook has 1.19 billion users** and its mobile business has been growing rapidly; however, its user growth rate has slowed.G+ Circles Image

So, will G+ supplant Facebook as the world’s most dominant social network? Well, according to G+ expert @RebekahRadice, blog post, “Google Plus vs Facebook: Why G+ Should Dominate Your 2014 Marketing Strategy,” G+ will become a much stronger player in the social media space. I strongly encourage you to read the post in its entirety as it is well thought out and includes quotes from other thought leaders on this subject.  Key quote:

Google+ is Google. Google is search. Search is where people go to buy. Buying is what makes your clients money, which they then reinvest in your services.”

In my humble opinion, Facebook has a great deal of functionality that enables and fosters community building. This is great for businesses and sales professionals who plan to manage a community and foster business via long-term relationship building. This will require time and an ability to generate engaging content that inspires and generates ongoing conversation.

Google+ is much more for brands and business who want to be found online. And…given the growth of online shopping, this objective continues to grow in importance for every business.  G+ in its present form does not have the robust feature set as Facebook.  This definitely gives Facebook an edge in community building and management.  However, G+ continues to improve and the fact that it is Google provides an inherent value that Facebook cannot match.

The bottom line:  I believe brands, businesses and individual sales professionals need to have business pages established on both platforms. Currently, the networks serve different purposes with Facebook serving as more of a CRM tool for customer incubation and G+ providing an edge in search.  I don’t believe there is an either / or answer to the question of whether you should market your business on Facebook or Google+, but you must understand the differences, understand your business/marketing goals and spend the time / money that is appropriate for you on each platform.  Oh yeah…G+ is launching social ads.

Now, to answer the question of whether or not G+ will dominate social in 2014? Yes, I believe it will grow more rapidly than any other social network. No, I would not expect it to “dominate” social. There are way too many smart app developers and start-ups in No. Cal., Boston, Austin and many, many other cities around the globe creating an entirely new Web environment every day, but as my Advanced Writing professor taught me…draft attention-grabbing headlines.

Bonus thought: Regardless of how much time you dedicate to Facebook and/or G+ this year, make sure everything you post, design, develop is done with a mobile audience in mind.  The growth of mobile and the volume of content consumed will only increase in 2014 and beyond.

For tech trends in real estate, make sure to read: http://eight11.com/2014predictions/ from our good friend @tracyweir

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B
*
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

Does PR Support Social or Vice Versa?

Public relations has been transformed by social media. As news media evolved to digital distribution platforms in the early 2000′s the value of a well placed article via traditional public relations efforts also evolved. No longer was a call to the local beat writer to arrange a lunch with your CEO or CMO the most effective way to ensure your story / angle received coverage in the next day’s paper. Digital media created an entirely new ecosystem of opportunity for pr practitioners and the introduction of social media only widened the field even further by creating a new universe of prospective syndication networks by which a message might reach its intended audience. The question I have is how has this paradigm shift in the media landscape effected the value of news.

Combining the explosion of “media” outlets with social media syndication has made it more challenging to reach a large audience through one interview, news release or advertisement. The Super Bowl and other iconic media appointments offer a unique ability to reach a massive audience and that has been the strategy for Century 21 Real Estate, but we have also selected targets that have the potential to earn media well beyond the activation date. Take a look at some of the best work we achieved in 2012 and 2013.

Maximizing ROI on paid intiatives is key to the pr/sm function and it always has been for pr, but the definition of ROI is changing. I often hear my peers struggling to make sense of this new reality, but in my mind today’s media environment has exponentially increased demand for talented communication professionals. The role of the PR professional has now morphed from corporate executives employed by large corporations to that of community manager or consumer engagement specialist. There are many more opportunities for talented flaks now than there were 10 or 20 years ago. The overlap between paid, owned and earned media opportunities in the digital space has created a void that today’s mass comm graduate is ideally suited to fill.

So, does PR support Social or Vice Versa? Yes, but it is not that simple. Interactive, sales, training, HR, Marketing and Operations all have a stake in PR and Social Media. Figuring out how all these stakeholders can play in the same sandbox and achieve their own individual objectives while at the same time achieving the overall corporate objectives is the true goal of the modern communication professional.

Sender – Message – Channel – Receiver “Same as it ever was.”

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Who Pulled the Plug at the SuperDome?

Taking guerrilla marketing to a whole new level…we think we may know what happened to the lights at the Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII.  A simple power outage…perhaps not…as the jumbotron reads, “Is there a CENTURY 21 Agent in the House?” just seconds after the lights when out.

Coincidence?

Coincidence?

 

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