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8 August 2008

I am Starting to Believe in this Social Media thing

Posted by Jason Steele

Over the past month I have been searching for the first addition to my staff. We posted the position internally and on all of the major job boards, monster, craigslist, Yahoo!, etc.. The position requires about 3-5 years experience and would most likely attract someone in their 20s. I had a hypothesis going into the process and it was to see how well my application of social media would shape each candidates interview process.

Before joining BH&G Real Estate I would go into an interview blind as Googling the company and prospective Executive leadership could only get you so far. When I was interviewing for the VP of Interactive Marketing position here it was a whole different story. I was on our Industry blog, read press releases on Realogy’s web site, investigated Sherry, Nicolai & Wendy’sbackgrounds on Linkedin, searched for any viral video on YouTube and lastly took a shot in the dark that they maintained Facebook pages (which they all do). I got to know each and every one of them personally and professionally via those sources before I even walked in the door. I was able to evaluate whether or not my vision for the brand and professional goals were shared amongst my prospective boss and peers. I assume you know what the answer was as you are reading my post on the brand’s blog right now.

So back to my story, the interview process lasted about a month and the results were exactly as expected. Every candidate, except for one, referenced the fact that I was looking to move (read my previous Clean Slate blog posts), their parents planned their vacations through my previous company (viewed my linkedin profile), and knew I had children (I have pictures in my office so I can’t completely attribute that to flickr). I even got a candidate to apply for the job directly to me instead of going through a job site because they found our blog, where my contact information is readily available. So this made me think that consumer behavior is changing and the next generation of home buyers is incredibly savvy. Bottom-line is if we don’t play in the social media sandbox we are NOT in it for the long term.

The second observation is the application back to the real estate agent/broker. Maintaining any of these social media outlets is the key to showing value and developing a relationship with a potential customer before they call/email/text or god forbid walk through the door. Social media is a double edged sword as it can do as much good as it does harm. You have to walk into it with clear cut objectives and that will dictate which channels you should use and how you can use them most effectively.

The simplest application to get the social networking/media ball rolling is your email signature. Simply having you phone number(s) and address is just not enough as email should be viewed as an incredibly viral channel. Check out a snippet from Jonathan Washburn’s profile page on Active Rain.

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Connect With Me:

Please connect with me on these web 2.0 apps/social networks.

Facebook

I have active instant messenger accounts with MSN, AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo, but if I put them on this page then the spammers will find them. Contact me through ActiveRain’s and I will send you my IM account names.

YouTube: Rainmaker413

Twitter: jonwashburn

I am on LinkedIn as Jonathan Washburn

Del.icio.us: jonwashburn

Flickr: jonathan_washburn

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I am not condoning including every one of these links or social network references in your signature, but try a few and see how fast your network grows. Just keep in mind growing the network is only half the battle as you should have something interesting to say to keep’em engaged.

I dare you! (that’s reverse psychology)

2 thoughts on “I am Starting to Believe in this Social Media thing

  1. Jason, Glad my profile could be used as an example of how to grow your social graph.

    One thing I would like to share, that I learned the hard way, is not put your Instant Messenger (IM) account names on a static web page. I had mine up for about a day before the spammers got a hold of it. Now I get about 10 new spam messages every week from new ‘friends’ over im.

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