Impact of Social Media in the Luxury Market

Earlier today I got my hands on a survey that the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) did of their members around how they are using social networks.

institute of luxury home marketing logoOne of the reasons I really like this survey is that the number of emails and calls I get from luxury agents and brokerages has ramped up lately, and yet, I haven’t had a great source of data to at least anchor the conversation in terms of social media presence within the luxury market.  This survey will definitely help me jump-start many of those conversations.

ILHM asked their members questions like:

  • Which social networking websites do you use?
  • If you had to choose just one social networking site for the member networking group, which would it be?
  • Have you ever given or received a referral, or generated business via a social network?

The answers to these questions and more from the 473 members who responded can be found within their survey results document (PDF), but I’m gonna summarize what I think are some of the more interesting findings:

  • LinkedIn (30%) and Facebook (28%) about equally dominate the mind-share of luxury agents
  • Over 80% of the agents said they were using social networks
  • When asked where ILHM should have a member group, people were equally divided between LinkedIn and Facebook
  • 20% of respondents said they had generated business out of social networks
  • Non-real estate social networks like Twitter and MySpace didn’t register much interest, while ActiveRain was the only real estate specific site mentioned that had any real traction
  • The social networks offered by Zillow and Trulia didn’t even hit the radar on the survey.  I’m not sure if this is because agents think of Trulia and Zillow as search sites and the idea of Trulia Voices or Zillow Advice being social networks didn’t occur to them or because the agents surveyed simply aren’t using these services.

I’m a bit surprised to see Facebook register just as high as LinkedIn only because LinkedIn seems like such a natural fit for luxury agents, but with so much buzz around Facebook in the press lately, in retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve been telling agents for a long time now that they should be using LinkedIn to market themselves (that article is over 2 years old already)… and that advice rings even more true in the luxury market where it seems like agents are often extremely concerned with their image.  Especially if you have years of experience, then you really have to try to look bad on LinkedIn.

And, by the way, if you’re looking for one more person to connect with on LinkedIn (or better yet recommend!), I’m always looking to connect up with interesting real estate people!

Update: I hadn’t noticed before posting, but John C’s comment prompted me to check out ILHM’s blog: Luxury Insight, where I see that they also posted information on the survey.

24 responses

  1. Dustin~ This is very good info to know..I had always been wondering how the Luxury Market might do with Social I know! Good work.

  2. Thanks Laura… Credit for the idea and the work definitely go to Waco Moore at ILHM, but I was sure glad he shared the report with me and didn’t mind me publishing a story about the results.

  3. Thanks for the heads up on this. I had no idea the ILHM existed, much less had a blog. Interesting survey, but, as an agent in a second home market, I think they should have asked:

    If you have closed a sale from social networking, was it giving a referral to another realtor, receiving a referral from another realtor, or contact directly from a consumer?

    Then asked the same question about getting leads, not necessarily closed leads.

  4. Thanks John… After seeing the survey, I was thinking of the different questions I might have asked… and you picked two great ones.

  5. I just want to say that LinkedIn has been and will remain one of my favorite social networks!

  6. PS. See what I mean about the gravater? 😛

  7. Yeah… You’re a monster here, but that’s only because you haven’t registered with a gravatar account. 😉

  8. Ok…I’m testing a different email account.

  9. Thanks Dustin. hope to see you again this yr at RE Tech South in ATL.

  10. Dustin, I find it very interesting that some of the answers varied so much. From, social networks are a must to we don’t need this because real estate is a people business.
    I would also be curious to know the percentage of the luxury agents who have static web sites vs. self hosted blogs.

  11. I agree completely Nick… I thought it was really interesting, although not particularly surprising in retrospect, just how varied the answers were.

  12. Luxury Homes are defined the same in each market, but the prices ranges differ. What amazes me is how unsavvy the average agent is. Social Media allows you to put a big fat detour sign on the information superhighway to your site. Keeping the visitors there is certainly a skill, but if you get enough visitors you can create a buzz. Not sure why high end luxury agents are utilizing social media to touch the people who can actually afford the most expensive homes.

    If I list one is Chateau Elan soon, I’ll be messaging rock stars, like Dustin Luther to see if he wants to buy it before someone else.

    Interesting study, wonder how it compares to “average” realtor usage.

  13. this survery is pretty intresting. I also wonder how it compares to the average realtors usage. Most realtors I know don’t even have blogs yet

  14. Joshua: Please do message me with any beautiful listings you care to share! 😉

  15. I’m seeing intense interest in Facebook from agents I’m in contact with, and little or no interest in LinkedIn. The level of participation is a lot less than the level of interest, however.

  16. I am pretty heavy as far as FB goes and probably should focus more on linkin at this point. It does seem to be the more “respectable” of the two:) Interesting numbers.

  17. @Joe: Interesting that you’re hearing more interest in Facebook… It seems like there’s a core group that really likes one or the other service. I find facebook to be the most fun by far, but I’m tempted to eliminate all my “real estate-only” connections so I can enjoy it a bit more.

    In terms of LinkedIn that just wouldn’t make any sense at all! 😉

  18. @Courtney: LinkedIn is pretty hit-and-miss, but definitely works for some. If networking is your thing then there’s very few services more pure networking than LinkedIn!

  19. It’s nice to see that the Luxury market is in step with the online social networking. It seems that that group resisted much of the online world due to the belief that it was just a relationship business (hey, luxury people search online too 🙂 ).

  20. I’m a bit late finding your post but.. thanks for commenting on this: it is is great material to understand how verticals are interested in social medias .

  21. […] can embrace social. You can also read more on this topic from Mashable, Duo, and results from a recent study.   It’s going to take some time for brands –and society—to tackle this topic. If you’re an […]

  22. Social media allows individuals to gain exposure and interact with other professionals in a particular field. Great networking resource!

  23. I am sure each site brings something to the table. It’s hard to believe Facebook would be ranked up there. All I ever see is my wife sending cocktail recipes to her friends.

    1. Mike: You might want to try playing on Facebook a bit… I’m finding it to be a ridiculously great marketing platform. Don’t think of it so much as “cocktail” recipes, as much as a place where the people are already interacting. It’s much harder to drive people to your website and take action than to join them where they are already active.

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