U.S. teens may be drifting away from Facebook, but real estate agents are not. Hordes of them embraced the social media giant as a marketing tool in 2013, following a 2012 decision by the National Association of Realtors to let multiple listing services decide whether to allow the display of listing information on social media platforms.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based N-Play, which claims to be the leading provider of real estate applications on Facebook, estimates that 1 million real estate agents are active on the social networking site. One in 4 agents in that group — 250,000 — have signed up to use N-Play’s Facebook registry, Real Estate Agent Directory, a 90 percent increase from a year ago, the company says.
In a recent survey of 2,000 members of N-Play’s directory, 68 percent of respondents said they focused more of their marketing efforts on Facebook this year, N-play said.
“The Directory’s swift growth has been fueled by agent migration from traditional websites to social media,” said Mark Bloomfield, CEO of N-Play, a shift that’s been accelerated by the high costs and declining ROI of Web marketing.
Launched in the fourth quarter of 2011, N-Play’s directory allows consumers and real estate professionals to search for agents based on location and expertise. N-Play offers a range of other Facebook services, including one that helps agents advertise both themselves and their listings, and an app that lets agents and brokers host monthly cash-awards contests on their Facebook pages.
READ ADvantage enables agents to create Facebook ads that drive traffic to Facebook listing pages, their Facebook business pages and their Real Estate Agent Directory profiles. N-Play’s “Dream Sweeps” ($29.95 for three months and $49.94 for six months) posts monthly themed contests on agent and broker Facebook pages that tempt netizens with prizes ranging from $500 to $1,000 each month — awarded by N-Play, not service users.
At its current sign-up rate of 350 agents per day, N-Play said it expects 300,000 agents will have signed up to use its directory by the end of March.
One likely reason for the rapid growth of N-Play’s directory is NAR’s 2012 decision to leave it up to MLSs to decide whether member brokers and agents can display information about for-sale listings represented by other, consenting members on social media sites.
Since NAR introduced the social media policy last year, N-Play said, more than 100 MLS nationwide, including eight of the 10 largest, have given their members the go-ahead to offer home search and display listings on social media platforms like Facebook. The company said 105 MLSs have signed up to offer N-Play’s Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings search application.