Lesson from social media successes (and fails) for real estate agents

This week we’re going to cover some social media successes and failures (and you’ll be surprised which HUGE international brand recently had an “epic fail” with one of their latest Twitter campaigns). I’ll also touch on how to get the best out of social media and how to avoid failures.Let’s start with a success story…

Share a Coke

Coca-Cola Australia’s “Share a Coke” campaign is a massive social success.

We’ve all seen the cans and bottles of coke with the 150 most popular Australian names on them. Coca-Cola even set up booths in Westfield shopping centres around the country for people to have their name printed for free on a can of Coke. This campaign offered consumers a very personal way to take ownership of the brand. In addition to the cans and bottles of Coke being sold, and the free custom cans, Coca-Cola had a Facebook app that allowed people to virtually create their own Share a Coke can.In an interview to Food Magazine in late November 2011, Lauren Thompson, Communications Manager for Coca-Cola South Pacific said “62,208 virtual Cokes created of which 56,211 were shared. This generated 1,719,227 newsfeed impressions!”Those impressions just came from the Facebook app they created. I know that at least half of my Facebook friends would buy a Coke, and then tag any of their friends who’s name appeared on the can or bottle they bought – creating more awareness of the Coca-Cola brand and the Share a Coke campaign.Further to this, it encouraged people, who don’t even like Coke to go out and look for, and buy a can or bottle with their name on it like Adam Dimech who has this to say: “Last week, whilst in company I discovered my own name printed on a bottle that was sitting at the front of a drinks cabinet at a local bakery. Of course I was inclined to buy the bottle and I don’t even like Coca-Cola.”Thompson, in that same interview with Food Magazine went on to say that “The Share a Coke campaign has been led by deepening relationships with consumers” – and this is where the power of this campaign was. They were able to personalise the brand experience for everyone who consumes Coke. People now feel they have a relationship with Coca-Cola, because their name is on a can or bottle. This campaign truly is marketing genius.The Share a Coke campaign has now been extended and an additional 50 names, chosen by “the people” on Facebook will be printed onto Coke bottles in 2012.


International corporate giant, McDonalds had a massive “McFail” with a Twitter campaign they started (and ended very quickly) last month.So what happened? McDonalds promoted a hashtag #McDStories that was supposed to encourage feel-good stories about the McDonalds brand. Instead of only getting feel-good stories, tweets like the following were tagged with the #McDStories hashtag:

“I once worked at McDonalds. I have never eaten there since. #McDStories”

As you can see, this campaign backfired, and backfired big time. Instead of getting the feel-good stories they hoped for, they got horror stories (some of them we’re too ‘detailed’ for me to put on this blog!).

Neo Property

So let’s bring this back to how social media relates to Real Estate...Ian Adams and Adrian Jenkins of Neo Property, a Gold Coast real estate agency, made news headlines last year when they uploaded a video onto YouTube featuring a scantily clad model that went viral. The video was actually marketing for a property listing, and has since been pulled from every corner of the internet (... I wonder why?). If you didn't see it at the time, you can read about it here.Some of you may think it's tasteless and tacky, others may think they are incredibly creative marketing videos. The video had over 600,000 views before the property was sold and the video taken down, and Neo Property were generating enquiries for this property from all over the world.In an article on domain.com.au, Mr Adams says "This industry takes itself too seriously sometimes. In the current market, we need to be making a point of difference and the traditional marketing tools just aren't enough anymore," he said.I’m from a generation where scantily-clad women (and men) in advertising doesn’t generally offend. I think the video is quite funny and an excellent “outside the square” approach to marketing property.In the comments section of this blog, you tell me what you think about these kinds of videos – are they tacky and tasteless or are they a creative new way to market property?

What can we learn from all this?

Social media can be great for building the brand image of your business, but you really need to think about what you put up into the social space. Coca-Cola’s stroke of marketing genius paid off – it encouraged consumer engagement with their brand, and sharing of content. If you can develop a social campaign that will encourage engagement in your brand, the sharing of your content (which is easy, just make the content useful and relevant and people will share it) and that can somehow make people personally relate to your brand, you’ll strike gold!McDonald’s clearly didn’t think through their #McDStories hashtag – their marketing executives should have known that this hashtag could have (and DID) draw negative stories about the brand. Don’t assume that just because people “Like” your brand on social media, they don’t have something negative to say about you. Plan your campaigns carefully, and you can avoid having your own disastrous social campaign.As for Neo Property, I don’t know if any or all of the properties sold since the YouTube campaigns for each of them was release, but Neo Property definitely built their brand awareness with these videos though, and that’s what social media in real estate is about.Engagement with your brand is key – the more engagement, the more shares, the bigger your brand will grow. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen – just like with all other types of marketing.

Next week...

Next week we will finish up the blog series on social media in real estate. I’ll fill you in then on what to expect from the Rex blog in the future.Don’t forget to tell me what you think about Neo Property videos in the comments section below!

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