Whether you blame the pandemic, the iPhone, or Millennials, real estate professionals in 2021 know one thing is abundantly clear: Digital marketing mastery is essential for success.
That’s why Corcoran’s in-house digital marketing and social media academy — Corcoran’s Digital Summit — is a highlight of the fall season for brokerage and affiliated agents of this now global brand. The annual conference offers an opportunity for industry newcomers and veterans alike to boost their digital marketing smarts and take an unvarnished look at the state of the world on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
“We originally conceived the Digital Summit as something of a fringe benefit,” said Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman. “It was an optional extra for busy agents who, across two very full days, could tap the expertise of our marketing and agent education teams and come away with a sense of what works — and what doesn’t — on social media.”
Corcoran leadership quickly realized, however, that this popular event was going to be much more than a perk. “Whatever the goal — putting an exclusive listing in front of the right buyer at the right time, getting front-of-mind for potential sellers, or just celebrating the places we live and work — agents desperately need the kind of strategic insight the Digital Summit provides,” said Liebman, who will kick off this year’s event with a session on the challenges of making true and lasting connections in a digital-first world.
“We collected and analyzed a huge volume of data in the last year,” said Corcoran’s head of social media, Sydney Perry. “And we worked with experts to quantify the most effective ways for agents to create, engage, and thrive on the major social platforms.”
Perry’s team develops and publishes the centerpiece of the Digital Summit, the Corcoran Social Media Playbook. “It’s really a platform-by-platform handbook of social media best practices for real estate professionals,” says Perry. The book, published in print and digital editions and exclusively distributed to Digital Summit attendees — and to agents across Corcoran’s Brokerage and Affiliate Network — is a user-friendly handbook of do’s and don’ts derived from performance analysis of thousands of actual social media posts from Corcoran agents, backed up by pointed advice from respected third-party analytics and engagement experts, and from key players at each of the social platforms.
“Algorithms mutate, platforms mature, and user expectations evolve,” says Perry. “What drove engagement last year might fall flat this year, so it’s vital that agents stay on top of the trends and, as much as possible, ahead of the change.”
And Corcoran knows what they’re talking about. The brand enjoys a Facebook following that is 50-percent larger than its closest rival. On Instagram, Corcoran is a driving force, with recent spinoff accounts for Agent Studio, Corcoran New Development, and Corcoran Rentals gaining traction. Corcoran is a frontrunner on TikTok, too. Launched on the short-form video platform last February, Corcoran’s channel quickly became the brand’s biggest social presence. This year’s Digital Summit aims to boost agents’ fluency with TikTok during a special session hosted by a trainer from the social media company.
“Corcoran’s the real estate industry’s social media leader,” said the company’s VP of Marketing and Advertising, Katie LoGatto. “We’re out front because we work smart: We look at the numbers, anticipate the trends, we learn from the experts and we listen to our agents to ensure we’re delivering the tools and resources they need to be successful. We believe in the power of these platforms, and we want our agents — everyone who carries the Corcoran flag, from New York to Hawaii and beyond — well-equipped to win.”
The second annual edition of Corcoran’s Digital Summit kicks off on November 17. The 100-percent virtual event offers two intense days of expert forums, talkbacks with top agents who are turning “digital into dollars,” and specialized breakout sessions with industry leaders and key members of the Corcoran social and education teams.
“What’s most impactful about Corcoran Digital Summit is that these learnings — the ability to effectively leverage social media when speaking to prospective clients or even when recruiting new agents — is something that transcends all markets and all regions,” said Stephanie Anton, Senior Vice President, Corcoran Affiliates.
Among this year’s topics: turning content into conversation on social media, leveraging storytelling techniques to increase engagement with your audience, and exploring the meaning and importance of authenticity in the post-handshake era, a discussion led by Corcoran’s longtime agent educator and chief motivator, Ida Fields.
“Ours is a calling for which presenting your authentic self — and earning the trust of your clients and colleagues — were traditionally established with a firm handshake,” said Fields. “But for so many reasons, that’s changing. To a large degree, the professional self we share on social media is the new firm handshake.”
“We want an agent to take from the Digital Summit a clear understanding of the rules of social engagement: where to post, what to post, and when to post it,” adds Corcoran CMO Christina Panos. “We want them to go back to their accounts knowing how to attract attention, how to grow their audiences, and, really, how to use the power of these platforms to make business happen.”