Kevin Tomlinson of Miami Beach is the subject of the first in a series of editorials on digitally aware realty professionals. My recent articles dealing with mostly the mediocre lot of Realtors online, provoked me to investigate the top of the online real estate food chain. Where Miami Beach is concerned, fishing for the best was not too difficult - let me explain why Tomlinson is lightyears ahead of the "Dilberts" of online real estate.
Doing a Google search for any number of keyword or key-phrase queries usually leads to whomever is, SEO wise at least, the most visible player in online business. Not many realize though, that searching Facebook can reveal even more - more on that later.
For now, it is fun for this professor of Web 2.0 to showcase a bit of digital savvy for the real estate world. Kevin Tomlinson has effectively branded himself where so many others have failed.
From his main website, to Twitter, and on to Facebook and even YouTube & LinkedIn, Tomlinson has left an indelible footprint online. Sure, his main site is not TechCrunch by any stretch, traffic wise only a few thousands of people visit per month, but the other channels are full of Tomlinson communication.
If there is a negatives at all, those reside in Tomlinson's ineffective use of YouTube, the image aspect of Facebook, and most onerously for this tech blogger/startup geek - watermarking otherwise perfect images. GOD I hate that! Watermarking images in the social sphere is tantamount to a raccoon peeing on a bush - marking territory, yuk - in a creative commons world this is taboo. But back to the plus side - he is a Sotheby's International partner too. (See the pool image below)
By contrast, the second most prevalent Miami Beach agency seems to be one called. That main website gets slightly more traffic than Tomlinson's, but where digital engagement is concerned, Zilbert is dilbert - they follow exactly 2 people!. And the landing of their brand is like something out of a Web 1.0 handbook - crisp but ugly as sin. Let's just write this firm off to what I call "the lost opportunity matrix" - the visitors to their website who left and will never return - money never realized.
Sunny Realty should also be mentioned for their traffic (Compete graphic) if nothing else (you are welcome for the link). And Luxury Living Real Estate got at least the hub website right, even if they fudged on really engaging anyone (77 Facebook peeps is hardly Wikipedia level visibility). And finally, Miamisim has a catch brand, but even a lifeguard stand on the landing may not be enough if no one lands! These guys are the up and comers it looks like BTW - they have a designer. However interesting these Tomlinson competitors may be, Kevin is definitely the Top Dawg where understanding the social web is concerned.
People ask me all the time about the necessity for proper digital branding and insertion. Agents say; "But I never sell any houses from my online stuff!" Don't you now? Imagine this. Two years from now online real estate takes on the complexion of online travel - uh oh, suddenly the only brick and mortar Realtors left swimming are those with digital savvy. If I have to explain further call my assistant for an appointment - you need help only money can buy.
I mentioned up there somewhere using Facebook to evaluate digital presence. A very blunt too at present, but an effective one if you play with it, is to do a series of queries on Facebook. The image below shows how you can investigate interesting companies via searching for such things as "Miami Real Estate" - note Tomlinson at the top of the heap fan wise - which led to this article. Think.
Kevin Tomlinson may not sell a single unit via online engagement (but I doubt it), he may also be the biggest jerk in South Beach (but I doubt that too) - but somehow neither of these seem likely - he is too personable (listen to his YouTube channel videos). Though this broker is not so typical (he sells high end stuff) perhaps he and those like him are a good example to follow - if for no other reason than people like me scrutinizing web engagement? Until the next Top Dawg segment, Phil out.
I see the Sunny Realty's traffic is by far superior to Kevin's or Dilbert's traffic. If that's the case, wouldn't you say that Sunny Realty is number one?
@John, Only if we were living in a two dimensional world. Being "on" the web, even getting some traffic, is not exactly taking advantage of the digital realm to its fullest. There are so many components to this actually, my explaining them for free time has been all used up. Here is a link to my friend Brian Solis' book Engage. While I do not adhere strictly to everything Brian prognosticates, the man does know his business.
In honesty to all of you reading this news too, my analysis are mostly "shoot from the hip" perceptions, based on one hell of a lot of hours doing same for people you probably heard of. There will be white paper research and etc here, but I am 99 point 9 percent sure it will not be needed to ascertain which real estate company is digitally aware. The landscape is, pointedly, full of charlatans in my view. So there it is.