The Real Deal Miami

Scoring the social media accounts of the biggest homesellers

Residential real estate’s brokerages have wildly varying approaches to their feeds, but it’s largely the individual broker accounts that garner the “likes”

September 21, 2017
By Jeff Vasishta

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Which brokerage is winning at social media? While the accounts for national firms like Coldwell Banker and Douglas Elliman send out a blitz of general real estate information including everything from market analysis, news stories and luxury listings to decorating tips, in South Florida, star brokers use their own feeds to keep potential clients engaged. Here’s how the top five firms in TRD’s ranking of residential brokerages in Miami-Dade county fared in a very informal rating of their performance on social media.

Coldwell Banker: A+

As a national brokerage, Coldwell Banker’s brand recognition is hard to beat, with 89,600 followers on Twitter, 208,209 on Facebook and 54.3K followers on Instagram. The firm’s Facebook page for the state of Florida has 7,308 followers. The Coldwell Banker Twitter account for Florida has 5,861 followers. 

But it’s the company’s TV personalities and top sellers who dominate the social feeds. The Jills have 6,000 Twitter followers, over 5,000 likes on their Facebook page and an impressive 35.8K Instagram followers.

Agent Danny Hertzberg, son of the Jills’ Jill Hertzberg, has led the team’s foray into social media marketing.

“At first I think there was a general conception amongst older people in the business that social media was just something that the kids did,” he said. “Then I closed a large sale in 2009 through a lead that came via Twitter. That’s when people started to take notice.”

One Sotheby’s: A-

One Sotheby’s International Realty has a solid social media presence, with 9,052 followers on Twitter, 60,759 on Facebook and 30.4K on Instagram.

Jo-Ann Forster is One Sotheby’s No. 2 producer companywide, according to her website. However, her social media profile bucks the trend seen with other luxury brokers in the area. She has under 600 Instagram followers and under 1,000Twitter followers, with about one-tenth the number of One Sotheby’s Facebook followers. While she said those numbers haven’t hurt her sales figures, Forster is quick to affirm her commitment to social media.

“I do everything: print, social media, networking,” she said. “And what I’ve found is sometimes less is more.”

Her social media director, David Hernandez, underscored the risks of oversaturation: “We all have seen a commercial run one too many times. We become bored of it, and sometimes resentful having to repeatedly view it in a seemingly endless loop.”

EWM Realty International: B+

EWM is middling when it comes to social engagement. It has 5,218 followers on Twitter, 5,093 on Instagram and 20,063 Facebook page likes. The firm posts one to two times a day on both Twitter and Facebook, usually about in-house office events such as award presentations as well as new listings, company press coverage and relevant news stories. On Instagram, the firm also posts new listings and company events (everything from presentations to soup kitchen volunteering and company bowling competitions) on average once or twice a day.

Uber-successful EWM Realtors such as Nelson Gonzales, who was recently voted best Realtor in Miami-Dade County in a Miami Herald poll, have established their own footholds within the market. Gonzalez has two Facebook accounts: a personal one, with over 2,800 friends, and a professional page, which has 1,800 followers. The two are interlinked, so it’s possible to see the broker relaxing with friends and family. 

“Recently I was in Chicago, and I put that on my personal Facebook site. A client of mine who lives there saw it and reached out. We ended up having breakfast together and may do some business together,” Gonzales said. “Where social media helps is engaging people. Not everyone can buy a $20 million property, but everyone can comment on it.”

Douglas Elliman: B

Douglas Elliman’s South Florida office has 4,258 followers on Facebook, 3,089 on Twitter and 15.2K on Instagram. Elliman’s national Instagram account boasts 76.9K followers and its national Twitter account has 18.2K followers, and it has 49,385 followers on its national Facebook page. 

Chad Carroll, a star of Bravo’s canceled “Million Dollar Listing Miami,” is an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman and the company’s top-producing agent in South Florida, according to his company’s website. Carroll has 13,739 Facebook followers and 17.6K followers on Twitter. However, Instagram is where Carroll seems to be focusing his social media efforts, with 240K followers. All his posts exude the Miami lifestyle: sports cars pulling into luxury homes in slow motion, the flutter of a model’s skirt above a toned thigh, dramatic skylines backed with chilled-out Euro house music.

Carroll flatly rebuts the notion that his TV celebrity has fueled his social media success. “What we do now is night and day from what we did on TV,” he says. “We target the right hashtags, post the right content and do it consistently.”

The Keyes Company: B

If other brokerages emit Miami-kilowatt glamour through social media, the Keyes Company, a venerable 90-year-old operation with 3,000 agents, is markedly different. It has 2,800 followers on Facebook, under 900 followers on Twitter and 204 followers on Instagram. Its Facebook feed is full of in-office presentation videos along with home improvement-related posts from “This Old House,” Buzzfeed and other sites. The Instagram page is dedicated to in-office competition winners and motivational messages as well as listings. The whole feel is more folksy than those of its Louboutin-heeled competitors.

Paula Renaldo, the chief marketing officer for the Keyes Company, explained the firm’s social media strategy.

“We don’t just want to do a listings drop, because we’ve found we lose consumers when we do that,” she said, adding that the company has a social media staffer within its marketing department. “Our goal is to show that we are not just some faceless corporate company but part of the community, too.”

This article has been amended to include Douglas Elliman’s national Instagram, Twitter andFacebook account following and Coldwell Banker’s local Facebook and Twitter following.