Tired of competing against cat videos, dancing teenagers, and all the other non-real estate-related content on the socials? If you’re ready to build your brand on a site exclusively devoted to real estate professionals and enthusiasts, Foiye is the place to be in 2023.
Melinda Witmer, the CEO and founder of Foiye, has assembled a team of specialists from the entertainment, technology, and media industries in order to create an entirely new type of real estate experience. Foiye is designed to capitalize on how the public consumes real estate content as entertainment and how they use real estate sites to dream before they buy. As Whitmer likes to say,
Homes are the sets where the scenes of our lives take place.
Witmer describes herself as a “fifth-generation looky-loo.” Her great-grandmother and her great-aunts used to get dressed up on the weekend and go out to look at open houses in their car that looked like the 1926 Hudson from the movie The Grapes of Wrath.
They got their fix around home design and entertainment by driving around and going to open houses. I grew up the same way. My mother dragged me everywhere and I had an innate love of real estate.
After many years as an executive in the entertainment industry, I believed there was an opportunity to create a destination built around real estate for the enthusiast that loves home design and real estate. It would be a place where they could come to really dream and enjoy it, much in the spirit that my great-grandmother did.
What Foiye does
Real estate listings are viewed by millions of people every day as a source of entertainment, inspiration and enjoyment. Foiye is the first platform to cater specifically to the large audience of home enthusiasts and to recognize real estate professionals as creators of great content. According to Witmer:
We bring real estate listing content, home design, renovation, and inspirational content on to one platform. We give consumers and enthusiasts the opportunity to spend time looking at real estate, enjoy it, be inspired by it, and to dream about what home might be like for them well before they decide to transact.
We’re different from other sites in that we view real estate listings as content and agents as content creators. We really see real estate listings as content that consumers use to be inspired by or to enjoy.
If a consumer wants to connect with an agent, we built a platform that has social interaction. If they (the consumer) want to connect about potentially buying a property or potentially learning more about it, we want that communication to go directly to the agent representing the property.
Another important difference is that posts to your social media feeds pop into your feed, pop out, and then it’s gone. At Foiye we’re building a destination where your stories will last because it can be a long time between when people decide to transact.
What great agents do is build trusted relationships in their community by remaining a relevant part of the conversation, often long before someone decides to transact.
Every home has a story
Witmer explained how real estate is a type of creative expression:
Even when a house may seem like a cookie-cutter property, every home looks out a window differently and every decision that has been made inside of a home is a creative decision some human has made. In other words, real estate is creative expression. As consumers viewing properties, they’re imagining what it would be like to live there. I may live in the cold northeast, but I can look at a beautiful Pueblo style home in New Mexico and imagine what it’s like to live there.
This is why stagers are so important to helping buyers imagine how they might live in a home. They stage a home to make it more appealing to any buyer.
How agents, brokers and team leaders can get started on Foiye
The primary way Witmer sees real estate professionals using Foiye is to be part of a community of people who really love real estate and homes. Whether you’re creating a page for yourself or your business, the first step is to create your free profile or “folio.” The folio is much like your profile on other social media sites.
Some ideas in terms of what to post include:
- New listing videos and/or photos.
- A video where you conduct a virtual walkthrough of your new listing or open house.
- Before and after staging photos and/or videos.
- Before and after pictures from remodelers.
- Lifestyle stories about what it’s like to live in your area.
- The backstory about one of your listings, a historical home, haunted house, or other interesting local property.
- Videos that you may have posted on other social media platforms.
- Tips for buyers and sellers.
- Market and mortgage updates.
Witmer also likes researching stories on newspapers.com which catalogues newspapers dating as far back as 1789. This site is run by Ancestry.com and while it’s designed to provide genealogy information, it contains a wealth of stories about people, how areas have grown, new home developments, historical facts, and, most importantly, the real estate sections for the newspapers they catalogue.
For example, Witmer owns a 110-year-old farmhouse that had a two-car garage (a rarity at that time.) She discovered the doctor who built her house was one of the first doctors to do house calls by car.
The best agents are great storytellers
According to Witmer,
Out there in the wild, where agents are doing their thing naturally, they’re always storytellers. They walk into a home, and they not only point out the great features, but they start telling you something about the home. This is what creates an emotional connection. One of the things we hope to do at Foiye is to really inspire agents and others to flex their creative wings and tell some stories.
A major goal for Witmer is to have more agents telling their stories on Foiye, just as they do when the show a property in person.
A huge win for MLS, brokers and agents
Foiye recently signed their first major listing feed contract with the Miami Realtors. Foiye allows MLSs, brokerages, and teams with their own listing data feed to create their own channel. Foiye allows these companies to post specialty types of properties or listing feeds for specific types of buyers.
By working with them to create these channels, we can then feature their content on Foiye. We promote the content, push it out into social, and through the other marketing we do because we’ll draw consumers who are just excited about the content and want to see what this brokerage (company/MLS) is doing.
What’s particularly exciting, however, is what happens when an agent creates a folio on Foiye when their MLS or company is already providing Foiye with their listing feed:
When you’re an agent that goes to the platform and your MLS or company is already on board, we will find you and automatically post all your present and past listings to your folio. You don’t have to do anything.
This is a huge innovation. Trying to aggregate all your present and past listings on any other social media site or on your personal website is a costly, time-consuming process. If your company or MLS provides Foiye with a listing feed, they will do this for you.
Other types of content
In addition to agents and companies who are early adopters, Foiye also has a wealth of design content, information on home repairs, remodeling, gardening updates, landscaping ideas, as well as links to Sunset Magazine.
Foiye is free for consumers, agents, and brands. They are currently developing new premium features that may include opportunities to buy into experiences or to be featured more prominently on the site. They are also actively seeking feedback from the early adopters on their site.
Witmer wrapped up the interview by inviting real estate professionals to check out Foiye. Since they just launched, they’re very interested in your feedback about what they’re doing. What Witmer really hopes you will do, however is to come and share your stories and your love of real estate. “It doesn’t have to be fancy, just bring content that inspires you!”
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.