The National Association of Realtors says it’s doubling its commitment to social media, hiring two prominent former Realtors to further its goal of becoming a social business with an emphasis on member engagement.

Nobu Hata, who became a Realtor in 1996 and has been active in social media and NAR’s Young Professionals Network, started this week as the trade association’s new director of digital engagement. Hata — formerly with Minnesota-based Edina Realty — will be based in Chicago, traveling to conferences and meetings to present NAR’s focus on social media and member engagement.

Nobu Hata

Hata will also meet with state and local association staff "to help grow their knowledge and expertise (in) social media and member engagement," said Stephanie Singer, NAR’s managing director of media communications, in an email.

NAR’s other new hire, Heather Elias, has been a Realtor in Loudoun County, Va., for eight years, landing much of her business through her blog, LocoMusings. Elias — who has a degree in journalism — will start a new position as NAR’s director of social business practice on July 30.

Elias will be based in Washington, D.C., and be responsible for helping NAR develop social business practices with a focus on serving members’ business needs, Singer said.

Elias will oversee NAR’s social media policies and guidelines, develop and share best practices across the organization, serve as an internal consultant to the department’s social media efforts, and train NAR staff and members on effective use of social media to advance business goals. She will also be responsible for growing engagement on NAR’s existing social media channels and working with NAR departments to create compelling content for these channels, Singer said.

"Anyone who knows me is aware that I am very passionate about improving the real estate industry, and this role will certainly give me the ability to have a broader impact," Elias said on her blog.

Heather Elias

NAR is bringing Hata and Elias on board following the departure of association’s first social media manager, Todd Carpenter, who left in April to become listing portal Trulia’s senior manager of industry engagement.

In a post on his personal blog, Carpenter said Hata and Elias "were on a very short list of people I recommended that NAR should interview. I think it’s great they hired them both."

Carpenter said that in his three years with NAR, he worked with Hata on "several occasions." Hata’s service as chairman of NAR’s Young Professionals Network subcommittee "solidified my opinion that he’s a natural leader," Carpenter wrote.

He called Elias "a fantastic writer" with analytical skills that are "through the roof. There are people who look at their Web traffic data, and then there (are) people who scour over it, determine what’s working and what isn’t, and make successful business decisions based off what they find. She’s of the latter."

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