Matthew Shadbolt, director of Internet marketing for New York City brokerage company The Corcoran Group, says social media can be a time-sink for real estate professionals, unless they have a plan.
Shadbolt will participate in a "Social media marketing wake-up call" panel during a Broker Summit at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which will run from Jan. 12-14, 2011. He will be joined on the panel by Marnie Blanco, vice president of e-business for RE/MAX International.
He responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
1. What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned in the past year?
Mobile is going to be really, really big for everyone, and fundamentally change the way you think about your computer.
2. What inspired you to pursue your current career path?
I always loved making things that people could use. A career in interactive design became a natural way to pursue this, and I graduated from college just as people began to talk about "the Internet" as something that was interesting to them. I spent five years working for QVC in its interactive department, first in London, then in Philadelphia.
I was fortunate enough to cross paths with the Corcoran team during a relocation to New York, and was really excited by the way that interactive technology and marketing is in their DNA. I still feel that way today after five years with them.
3. Share a personal experience or anecdote about buying, selling, owning or renting a home.
I own a very old house in a forest, about 45 minutes outside of New York City, on a street with no lighting or sidewalks. Living in an aging home comes with its own unique set of challenges. This year’s project is to replace our basement’s 60-year-old boiler, which is actually larger than our car.
4. What’s the coolest technology you’ve discovered this year, and how are you using it?
I really love what Netflix has done this year. Not having to mail in DVDs anymore in favor of streaming everything through the Wii (game system), and having it sync seamlessly with the iPad and iPhone apps is phenomenal. At the moment I am also really enjoying the Foodspotting app.
5. What is your advice for real estate industry professionals to thrive in this market?
Make sure that your marketing efforts are working smarter and harder than ever before. No one is interested in Realtors talking about themselves. And most importantly, data beats opinion.
6. What is your favorite non-work-related hobby?
I really love to cook.
7. Who is your hero, and why?
Graphic designer Peter Saville. I grew up listening to records he had designed for Factory Records, and he instilled in me not only a strong visual sense that less is (much) more, but also that taking your time and creating something truly special is very important. This isn’t an easy lesson to stay true to in today’s fast-moving interactive climate.
8. What do you view as the biggest problem facing the real estate industry today, and how would you fix it?
I think social media is causing many organizations to take their eye off the ball with their interactive marketing efforts. While I think social media is very important, I think that our industry is still struggling to adapt to finding a business-building way of using these new tools, and I think that’s causing a large time-sink for many.
Education is a large part of calming the fears of "the new" here, and I think if Realtors approached these tools from a problem-solving perspective as opposed to an "I have to be on this" angle, many would be able to create stronger presences on each platform. What problems are you solving by using social media?
9. Tell us something we don’t already know about you.
A lesser known fact about me is that I’m a big reader of anything related to the history of the British Empire in South Africa, and I’m an active member of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society.
Hear Matthew Shadbolt speak at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 12-14 at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.