Century 21 has really been pushing to move beyond the Gold Jacket lately. First, they announced they were dropping all of their television advertising in favor of an all-Internet play (see Century 21 Ditches TV for Online)

Now they have announced that they’ve launched “C21 Communities” – a social media platform.

Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, today announced the launch of C21 Communities, its new social media platform. C21 Communities is available directly from the company’s Web site, www.century21.com, and this new platform bundles a dynamic set of social media tools designed to enable online conversations between its agents and consumers, including:

* Talks, an online interactive advice forum,
* C21 Talk Radio, an online radio channel for consumers interested in real estate, and
* CENTURY 21® social networking sites on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.

While I’m not a huge fan of the site design (the tag cloud seems to dominate the page – and is not a navigation element I’ve ever found particularly useful), I love that the brand is seeking to redefine itself with all of these social elements in place.

The interactive forum, specifically, has a lot of interesting possibilities. Especially if C21 were to leverage the interests and passions of their community to highlight and promote “super-users” as authorities on particular subjects.

Much like Apple does within it’s own support forums or like Verizon did to leverage the experience of its customers and let them take the lead on its customer service.

Promoting knowledgable users (read ‘agents’) through a national portal like Century21.com might very well be one more value-add that a large broker brand like C21 could offer to its franchise network.

It also begins to claw back some of the conversation that is currently being siphoned off by third party sites like Trulia and Zillow.

Owning the conversation is something that every broker brand, big or small, should be thinking about doing.

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