While attending the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco last month, I took a moment to chat with Tyler Kraemer of AgentWorld, a site that is building a list of real estate agents in the U.S. and internationally (international is in beta). A few things stuck out in my mind as being potentially useful for agents looking for an additional tool for their online marketing — especially those using profile marketing.

First, a quick rundown of profile marketing: If you sign up for a service and there’s a profile page, there’s a good chance this profile page will show up in searches for your name. Search engines put up 10 or so links on their first page of search results.

You probably want all of those results to point to something you can control or at the very least participate in. Those of you with common names or who share names with someone famous understand that this can be tricky. So at a basic level, you can use profiles on various sites to help get control of that first page.

Ideally, sites you’re using for profile marketing will attract the sorts of people who you can work with in your business. Having a profile on the local baseball league site might not be as useful as having a profile on a local homebuyers’/sellers’ network or forum. This is because people who use the site will probably use the site’s internal search.

If you find yourself actually participating and using the site, then you’re getting beyond profile marketing and into social media (which can be good). At the very least, every social media or networking site starts out with potential as a profile marketing site.

Back to AgentWorld: This site consists of profiles of real estate agents. The profile consists of the sort of things that are relevant to your real estate career (increasing the likelihood that this profile will appear on searches for "your name" plus "real estate"). The usual stuff: name, markets, whether or not you are a Realtor, and so on. You can also put in a picture and a video.

So that’s what you’d get if you spent about 10 minutes setting up your profile. This would probably be enough for the profile to show up for searches for your name. But there are a few other things that I think you’ll find useful if you use the site.

Twitter integration

If you give AgentWorld your Twitter login and password then you can make Twitter posts that appear on both AgentWorld and Twitter. For example, if you use Twitter socially as well as for business then you might enter your real estate-related Twitter posts through AgentWorld.

This could result in a repository for your real-estate related Twitter posts, so someone finding your profile would see what sort of real estate-related things you talk about on Twitter. Keeping in mind the difficulty of locating past Twitter posts, this could be especially useful if you have great archival stuff in your Twitter stream. …CONTINUED

One bummer here is that AgentWorld asks for your login and password instead of using Twitter’s authentication setup. Hopefully this will change as the AgentWorld team continues to develop the service.

Basic blogging

If you don’t already have a blog, AgentWorld gives you some basic blogging capabilities. You’ll notice that with the combination of Twitter and the blogging service, it’s starting to look a little like a one-stop media distribution service for your real estate-related online persona.

The blog capabilities are really basic. And I would always encourage people to own their own blog as opposed to blogging on someone else’s server. But if setting up your own blog isn’t in the cards right now, you could do worse than using AgentWorld’s platform.

Agent rating

AgentWorld offers an intriguing agent-rating system. I know, I know — no one wants to have ratings because it’s too easy to get smeared, and so on. But AgentWorld has an interesting approach to the subject:

  • Only peer ratings.
  • Two categories: ability and ethics.
  • Ratings are not shown unless an agent has enough peer ratings to work in AgentWorld’s formula.

I know that rating systems are very unpopular in the industry. But it’s a conversation that probably won’t go away (see Robert Hahn’s "Your real estate trading card" column). I think AgentWorld has a pretty useful take on ratings: make them peer-only and only show them when there have been enough to see a trend.

Future development
Tyler tells me that AgentWorld is working to develop additional social media tools including Facebook integration and an iPhone App. AgentWorld is clearly a tool that is just coming out of the gate, but it has enough solid, basic functionality that I look forward to seeing where they go with it.

Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.


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