I had an interesting time last week, appearing at two sessions that had more in common than just my presence. If you read down in this blog, you’ll see that I was on a panel of media members that addressed reporters and editors of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the mushrooming presence of so-called social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.) Later in the week, I attended REtechSouth, a one-day session on social media that was aimed at the real estate industry.
A common thread is that the reason the AJC and other newspapers are struggling is the same reason that social media is booming. (Update: The AJC is reportedly losing $1 million weekly, per this cnn.com story. And staff cuts were announced 3/25/00.) REtechSouth, more informative than other such sessions I’ve attended, demonstrated how various online writing, photo and video sharing sites can be tailored for specific uses, such as selling or marketing homes and related services. Going to a newspaper Web site, such as ajc.com, does not leave a user with the same shared experience.
And though many media types abhor numbers, here are some more related statistics: Before markets open today (3/23/09) consider these stock prices: Time Warner (CNN, Time Inc.), $7.86. News Corp. (FOX), $9.08. Google, $330.16. Yep, the ruler of Internet search and the owner of YouTube is in a class of its own. Because it rules search, it also allows its data to be mined, and it generates much revenue from pay-per-click advertising.
So real estate, obviously struggling, is plugging in big time to sites that allow sales and marketing data to be tailored, and then displayed to a global audience.
How best to do that? Well, one interesting item came from Bo Gilbert of mRelevance, a public relations/social media firm that has offices in Atlanta and Chicago. His breakout session emphasized that a Web site’s “title tag” is the key to boosting the page’s SEO. Always before, I’d heard keywords stressed.
At another breakout session, Carol Flammer of mRelevance described a multifaceted marketing system that involved presence on various Web sites. Also noted was that recent home-page changes in Facebook could hurt Twitter, the popular mini-blogging site that is growing rapidly but can’t match Facebook for overall users.
Another interesting nugget, from a session led by Realtor Teresa Boardman, is that Google (there’s that word again) treats photos on Flickr (owned by Yahoo) like blog posts. (I checked on my own Flickr site — bsteve76 — this way. It’s true.) And what real estate buyer does not like to see pics of a property before buying? Hey, data at REtechSouth showed that 81% of home buyers go online for info before even selecting an agent.
So there’s more evidence that readers and consumers are driving changes in many industries. Adapt, or …