It's always interesting to hear how brands, especially very traditional brands, utilize social media. Century 21 is one company that has embraced it extensively because, according to Matt Gentile, the Director of Public Relations and Social Media for the company, it is vital for businesses to embrace social and mobile platforms.
For Century 21, a lot of first-time homebuyers are between the ages of 25-34, which is a group that is known for its social media activity. Gentile told us that Century 21 must follow these "digital natives" and reach them in the medium in which they spend most of their time - the social Web.
"I think, for brands, it's essential that you learn how to communicate effectively in those channels to reach the consumer," he said.
Gentile admits that, although social is significant in this day and age, it can be challenging for brands. He compared it to when brands first began to pull their advertising campaigns from print outlets and started advertising online. The challenging part for Century 21 is keeping the system members informed on the reasons for its decisions. However, Gentile believes that communication helps to overcome this challenge.
Many brands also struggle with finding ROI in social media. Gentile told us that Century 21 has been able to turn many "likes into leads" by attaching a custom Bit.ly link to every piece of content it puts out in the social space. By doing this, it can track a lead from wherever it originated, be it Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., and see what the pattern of the consumer is.
Century 21 also recently released a new Facebook application that allows brokers to optimize their offices' Facebook business page to better engage with consumers. Through the app, brokers can incorporate home listing info, Twitter feeds, blog posts, and more.
Gentile told us that Century 21 would continue to embrace social media in order to improve connections with not only its more than 112,000 sales agents, but also consumers.