You've probably noticed that it is very difficult to start a major new business trend. If you are smart and lucky enough to develop a fascinating new technology, you might pull-off such an accomplishment (the people who make this happen usually end up as multi-millionaires). However, most trends are developed and sustained by large companies who have the capital and talent to try lots of things. Through trial and error, trends emerge and gain traction in the general business community.
While most real estate companies do not have the capital to fuel this type of innovation, it doesn't take a lot of resources to watch what the bigger companies are doing and learn from their investments. Not everything the "big boys" are accomplishing will be relevant to your organization, but there is much that you can take-away and apply.
I found a great example of such trending earlier this week. A three-year study was recently conducted by Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations/communication firm that tracks the use of social media by Fortune 100 companies. There are several ways to digest the findings of the study, but for the purpose of our discussion, I'll share the info-graphic they created to summarize their conclusions.
How could some of this trending information apply to a real estate company? Here are some of my thoughts:
- Twitter is turning out to be a much bigger deal than most people would have guessed. We've known for awhile it is a great tool for starting a revolution to overthrow your government or organizing a flash mob to ransack Walmart, but promoting your business? It's true. This venue is now significantly larger than Facebook for business applications. If you don't have a Twitter account for your office, you should consider creating one and learning how to use it. Among other things, it is a great tool for driving traffic to your private social network (a trend we discussed a couple of weeks ago in WorkPuzzle, 1, 2, 3).
- Large companies can no longer ignore YouTube. Video used to be reserved for those who could afford the large production and distribution costs of making commercials. There was a comfortable barrier to entry that kept most real estate companies (and millions or other small businesses) from participating. Of course, this has been trending for awhile, but the data suggests a tipping point has probably been reached. There are now enough eyeballs on YouTube to make it a useful advertising venue for almost any company. If you don't have a YouTube channel, it might be time to get one.
- The death of any social network implementation is the lack of useful and relevant information. Users disengage and leave if they are not receiving constant benefit from their participation. Most large companies are now creating systems to ensure consistent engagement. If you're going to create and manage a social networking application for your office, you'll probably need similar systems as well.
- Pace yourself. The use of multiple platforms is something that large companies can and probably need to embrace. For a real estate company, it might be better to become proficient on one platform first and then expand once some level of mastery has been obtained.
If you'd like to read more about this research, there is both an executive summary and a 40-slide presentation deck that is available. I've just brushed the surface on this--there is much more to learn.
Editor's Note: This article was written by Ben Hess. Ben is the Founding Partner and Managing Director of Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.