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"Easy Blogging Techniques For a Torrent of Commissions"

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1/2/09 Interview with Bill French

MyST Technology Partners, Inc.
155 Snowberry Way
Keystone, CO 80435

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Explanation of "Social Media"

  1. The Google definition of social media is a category of sites based on user participation and user-generated content; social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are examples.
  2. The term "social media" broadly refers to anything online that is related to conversation—the Web has morphed into new and interesting ways for the public to communicate.
  3. As a consequence, businesses are beginning to focus on the need for greater conversation online; in real estate, conversation leads to greater understanding of communities, types of homes and living environments.
  4. The conversational element on the Web is not as good as businesses would like, so there is a push toward new and better social media tools for finding and connecting with people who have specific expertise and/or are likeminded.
  5. Web presence in the late 1990s was concentrated in web sites that showed who a business person was, what that business did and how it could be contacted; these sites had to be found by customers to be useful, and even then, they did not lend themselves to fostering conversation.
  6. Business people have learned that they need to expand their findability; posting a profile on a site such as LinkedIn works to fragment a person's web presence; posting on additional social networking sites (Names, Ning, etc.) multiplies the exposure.

Social Media Search Engines

  1. The trend now is for people's web presence to extend far beyond their web site because they continue to sign up for new services, send their content out and comment on their own and other people's blogs.
  2. One way to give visitors to your web site a means to find out all about you on the scattered web venues you are on is to create a social media search utility; brokers and agents should consider offering their own special search capability because of the way consumers search.

Second-tier Searches

  1. Typically, consumers begin with a search engine such as Google; when results come up, consumers move on to sites of interest where they conduct a second-tier, more specific search.
  2. Providing second-tier search capability—a box designated to "search within this site"— invites consumers to look for what they specifically want on your web site or blog instead of hitting the back-button.
  3. Well instrumented second-tier searches will automatically plug the consumer's search query from the initial search engine into the local search engine; little effort is required from the consumer.
  4. Google recognizes the necessity of second-tier searches—the Google tool bar (easy to use and free) offers an option to do a second-tier search within a destination site; because not everyone uses the Google tool bar, all website and blogsite builders should include their own search functionality.

Search Engines for Real Estate

  1. The real estate industry is embedding second-tier search functionality (MLS services) into web sites so that consumers can find properties with specific attributes; social media become relevant because real estate consumers also look for expertise or for conversation about a community.
  2. A good search strategy is to include both typical property detail and the social media that talk about communities.
  3. French's company builds advanced search solutions for large companies; e.g., a "social media newsroom" created for a public relations firm makes web visitors aware of all the conversations that members of the firm participate in outside the company's web site.
  4. To identify web spaces where their name is present, brokers and agents should do a Google search on themselves.
  5. Relying on Google to represent you opens searches to extraneous results; having your own search application makes results specific to you—you can use Google for a search limited to domains of your choice.

Do It Yourself or Seek Help?

  1. Building your own site search engine for designated domains is not difficult with Google custom site search tools; most web masters should be able to add this kind of functionality to a site.
  2. Adding capability to search social media is more complicated, but French recommends doing this to build a generous supply of information; the trick is to use links specific to you—e.g., add your profile from a social networking site (not the url for the broad site) to your search engine.
  3. Also consider adding social media content for your staff and discussions about your company and your community as sources on your site search engine.

Social Media Search Engine Awareness

  1. The concept of social media search engines is relatively new, so few companies have recognized the need to aggregate their social media content.
  2. Clever applications for custom search engines are springing up; a company in Colorado has created one that aggregates relevant web content on ski resort real estate—
  3. Another successful custom search engine for real estate is; it is a source of good prospects.

Web Resources

  1. Good web resources on custom search engines are and
  2. Bill French's MyST Technology Partners ( is the provider for the Society's blogsite,
Contact Information for Bill French:

(v) 970-262-9181
(f) 970-262-1796

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

MyST Technology Partners:
Social networking sites:
Google tool bar:
Social media newsroom example:
Google custom search engine group:
Ski resort real estate search engine:
RE CyberSpace Society blogsite: