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  • Innovative techniques proposed for overcoming difficulties of hiring for diversity in a world of scarcity.
  • Common mistakes found on real estate websites.
  • Video has more shelf life and better returns than traditional channels.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Tech Connect panel was a popular event with the industry on the edge of their seats to hear how they could use technology to improve their business. This series was moderated by Jeff Lobb with SparkTank Media and Valerie Garcia with Re/Max Integra.

They questioned four panels: automation, recruiting tech talent, consumer user experience best practices and video.


The speakers on automation were Joshua Boltuch of Fancy Hands, Chris Hexton of Vero and Bill Yaman of Imprev.

The panel agreed that automation should be used to create efficiencies in everyday tasks, so that you can get where you want to be more quickly. Ideas included creating a property marketing campaign in different languages with different themes to better reach targeted audiences.

Regarding social media, the message was clear: Use automation to manage your campaigns, but don’t set it and forget it. Although automation such as Buffer can make sure that you’re tweeting and posting on a planned schedule, curating and creating content should be in some way traced back to the source — you. Keep it personal.

Recruiting tech talent

The speakers on recruiting included Mike Euglow of DocuSign, Sam Wholley with Riviera Partners and Joy Wolken with Blue Jeans Network.

The panel discussed the difficulties of hiring for diversity in a world of scarcity. Innovative techniques proposed for overcoming these conditions included:

  • Hiring new college graduates as interns and them bringing them on as employees.
  • Providing training to increase the toolset for existing tech talent.
  • Creating off-site teams in markets that have a bigger buyer pool.

There was a consensus that defining company culture is essential to building a dynamic team, so long as the hiring managers don’t gravitate toward clones of themselves.

More than anything, the panel stressed hiring for attitude over aptitude, and — Wolken chipped in — motivation.

Consumer UX

This panel included Joel Burslem from 1000watt, Ian Swinson from Speakeasy Tech and Justin Hu with dotloop.

When creating UX, the panel agreed that it is critical to build it for users and not for the creator.

To ensure this, define your users and then test with these users early. When watching a user engage with your site, don’t tell them how to navigate it; instead, seek input on how they think it should work. The overall theme was: Test before you invest.

The panel pointed out some common mistakes found on real estate websites:

  1. Property searches have too many filters. Buyers gravitate toward price and pictures, and they stray from too much filtering for fear of missing “the one.”
  2. There is nothing worse than stale data — keep it fresh.
  3. Bigger, better photos and video will go a long way.
  4. Make sure it works easily in a mobile setting.

When creating UX, make it simple, fast and easy to use.



The final panelists were Bryan Robertson with Catarra Real Estate, Cara Ameer with Coldwell Banker Vanguard and Jesse Peters with Re/Max Executive Realty.

The panelists are all agents who employ video in their marketing successfully. Although each has a different style, they all find that the investment is well worth it.

They suggest that it has more shelf life and better returns than traditional channels such as bus benches and billboards.

From house tours to emails, there are many ways to go about incorporating video in your marketing. And with the technology so advanced on newer smartphones you don’t even need a fancy camera to get started.

With a good smartphone and an inexpensive microphone attachment you can start making videos that can be added to your website and all your social media channels. Services such as BombBomb make it simple to send video email.

If you want to take video to the next level, write a script and bring a cameraman to create a more polished result. This type of production would be ideal for a home tour or location piece.

All in all, the panelists all found that they received multiple leads that connected with them organically through their videos and that their business increased substantially as a result.

The clear message of the day was that no matter how we use technology, it’s the human element that will ultimately drive results.

Heather Sittig Jackson is the CEO and co-founder at Relola. You can follow her on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Email Heather Sittig Jackson.

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