What's your digital marketing score? A new tool will tell you
SphereBuilder, a new platform for agents and brokers, evaluates the effectiveness of online marketing — a critical tool for lead generation.
- Social media continues to be an important way for real estate agents to connect with potential clients, but it can be hard to measure results.
- The newly launched SphereBuilder platform scores agents’ efforts and recommends ways to improve.
- Social media can help agents gain market share in a down market with fewer sales to go around.
Being active on social media — whether it's posting a funny video or sharing local housing market data — can give real estate agents an edge when competing for that next client.
Measuring the impact of agents' digital marketing efforts is what a new software product called SphereBuilder is trying to accomplish. The platform, which was launched in the Denver and Huntsville, Alabama, markets on March 20, will give agents insights into their digital marketing performance and provide recommendations on how to improve, said Russ Cofano, CEO of Collabra Technology. (Note: Cofano also writes occasional guest columns for Real Estate News.)
Cofano said SphereBuilder solves an unmet need in the industry. While real estate agents are busy trying to establish themselves digitally, many are not being effective.
That's because agents are often knowledgeable about buying and selling real estate — but less savvy about marketing themselves. "We look at this idea of building a digital sphere of influence as a marketing activity as opposed to a sales activity," Cofano said. "By being better marketers, it will facilitate more robust sales."
Social media a valuable tool when used well
A 2022 technology report from the National Association of Realtors backs up that assertion. Brokers and agents surveyed in the report said that social media was the number one technology tool for providing quality leads in the past year.
According to the report, 89% of respondents use Facebook for their real estate business, 59% use Instagram, 53% use LinkedIn and 26% use YouTube. Nearly 6 in 10 surveyed said that agents are expected to have some presence on social media.
But many agents haven't gotten the hang of it, Cofano said, and that can cause their efforts to backfire. Consumers who are looking for an agent will often start their search online, and when they see an agent who hasn't posted for months, for example, they may look elsewhere.
"Your expertise, how you come across, all those things start building a relationship," Cofano said.
Patterned after the consumer application Credit Karma, SphereBuilder will review an agent's online presence and create a SphereIndex Score. The score is compared to benchmarks of top producers in the local area, and agents can see advice on how to improve their score.
Marketing smarts critical to making it through the downturn
A down market is a crucial time for agents to make sure they are on top of their social media game, said Cofano. Faced with fewer sales opportunities, many agents are expected to leave the industry, giving the ones who stay an opportunity to increase their market share.
In an industry paper, Collabra noted that the number of agents in the U.S. rose from around one million in 2012 to 1.6 million in 2022 — and that larger pool of agents is now chasing fewer potential sales. Agent numbers are expected to drop in 2023 as sales remain sluggish.
"The smart ones will position themselves to be the first one to get the phone call when the market starts back to a more robust framework," Cofano said.