Great Ideas In: Communications

Real estate infographics can be fun and powerful if you use the right tools. Here are some cheap and easy online services and apps recommended by REALTOR® association staff that enable you to create your own infographics: Piktochart, Venngage, Easel.ly, Canva, Infogram.

"Focus mainly on social media and video. These are the two most significant and easiest ways to get your message to members."
— Ryan Conrad, RCE, CAE, CEO, Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®

During the national association's midyear meetings, the Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Calif., engaged a small group of correspondents (directors, officers, and staff) to bring news from D.C. back home to members via the association's Facebook page.

At the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS®, boosting event participation started with a contest to win a digital camera. Members were entered to win by posting photos from Member Appreciation Week events. The goal of the contest was to attract members to the events, but it also increased the association's social media following. And, of course, with more followers there's a wider audience for the next promotion.

The Long Island Association of REALTORS®, N.Y., has used Twitter to promote discount codes for association products and services to boost event attendance. If someone liked or commented on the association's social media posts, they'd also get special offers. The result was increased participation over that of previous years and more member followers on Twitter.

Using the popular "events" feature on Facebook helped the Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS®, Fla., generate a 10–15% increase in attendance at events. Even though the association has to then manually register members from the Facebook list, the member convenience makes it worthwhile, the association says. 

When it comes to email subject lines, shorter is always better. According to an Informz study, subject lines with fewer than 10 characters were opened the most. Short, clever subject lines are even more important today since a smartphone displays far fewer characters at a time than a computer. 

A well-organized, regular e-newsletter is more effective than multiple, random emails, as NAR learned when it consolidated dozens of enewsletters into a more streamlined and less-frequent format. 

The Mississippi Association of REALTORS®' multiyear rebranding plan began with a new name, Mississippi REALTORS®, and a new logo and tagline: "Property Professionals—Community Champions." The new brand focuses on professionalism and community and political advocacy.  

"Your volunteer leaders are used to answering questions from clients on a daily basis. But they should never talk to reporters as if they were clients, and never have their guard down, because with reporters everything is on the record, even if it feels like unrelated small talk." 
—Eric Berman, RCE, Communications Director, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®

"Associations really need to treat communications strategies like their members treat lead generation. You're basically trying to do the same thing: get members to buy in to your association through your channels and 'close' them by moving a metric, for example, more online engagement, higher event attendance, or more participation in calls to action. The key is to go to where the bulk of your membership is. Stop wasting time where they're not." 
— Nobu Hata, Director, Industry Outreach and Engagement Strategy, National Association of REALTORS®

Providing media training to all volunteers, not just the president, will benefit the association in the short and long terms. There will be volunteer leaders who can be backups in case the president is unavailable, and future leaders will be better prepared when their time to lead comes.

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