Rise in Internet Use Reinforces the Need for a Cohesive Identity Strategy

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Time to update the statistics…

Tom Kelly from the Everett Daily Herald reports that NAR’s most recent Home Buyer & Seller Survey shows Internet use in a home search has climbed three percent from last year:

According to the latest survey just released by the National Association of Realtors, 80 percent of all buyers seeking to purchase a home did at least some searching online…

Nothing on NAR’s site about the survey yet, just the results from 2005.

Richard Nacht, co-author of the book Realty Blogging, picks up on the article and takes it one step further by asking:

…By what means do homebuyers find the agent they choose to work with? We’ve already said that word-of-mouth is the method most often used, but who do the recommendations come from? Friends? Trust authorities? Internet?

He correctly posits the idea that a blog can quickly and easily establishes an agent as an authority and build their word-of-mouth credibility.

I’ll take it even a step further and say that these results reinforce even more what I mentioned in my earlier post today – that online reputation management is going to be a critical part of any agent’s marketing strategy going forward.

Reputation management means controlling your online brand identity.

Reputation management requires a proactive strategy (e.g. RSS ego searches) to monitor online review sites and stay one step ahead of the echo chamber. It requires Internet literacy and a solid web presence including a blog.It also requires an understanding of some of the principles of search engine optimization (RSS pieces is a great place to get started with this).

Finally, it requires a reactive strategy to openly and transparently respond swiftly to any online challenge.

We’re in the very early stages on creating and maintain our online identities, so much of this still needs to shake out. But as the NAR statistics reflect, this is the future of real estate marketing.