2012 REALTORS Use of Mobile Technology & Social Media

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1 2012 REALTORS Use of Mobile Technology & Social Media CALIFORNIA ASSOCATION OF REALTORS RESEARCH AND ECONOMICS

2 1 Table of Contents LIFE IS CLOSE TO BEING FULLY MOBILE... 2 Mobile Technology and Social Media Survey... 3 Survey Methodology... 3 HOW REALTORS USE MOBILE TECHNOLOGY... 4 Most Important Tech Purchase/Upgrade... 4 Mobile Technology: Definitely a Game Changer... 4 In what ways has mobile technology helped your business?... 5 HOW REALTORS USE SOCIAL MEDIA... 7 Which social media platforms do you employ in your business?... 7 It is all about connections: Staying social... 8 In what ways has social media helped your business?... 9 Social Media s Return on Investment... 9 KEY CONCLUSIONS... 10

3 2 H O W R E A L T O R S U S E M O B I L E T E C H N O L O G Y A N D S O C I A L M E D I A. LIFE IS CLOSE TO BEING FULLY MOBILE Since the first cellular phones were introduced a little over a decade and a half ago, mobile technology has had an exponential growth and continues to do so. Mobile technology began to replace landline telephones, and then shifted over to replacing written communication with text and instant messaging capabilities. The next generation of smartphones is small devices with the same capabilities as a computer that fit in the palm of your hand. Today a typical smart phone has more computing power than even Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon. (Gibbs, Nancy. Your Life is Fully Mobile. TIME August 27, 2012: 32-39) Another rapid development in recent years has been mobile applications or apps as they are commonly known. Currently there are thousands of apps in categories like education, entertainment, finance, games, design, health, fitness, lifestyle, medical, music, news, photography, productivity, sports, travel, utilities, video, weather, business, and social network, to name a few. These apps have given phones the power to change how people shop, pay their bills, learn, how they are entertained, how they share and communicate, and even how they conduct their business. Mobile technology has allowed people to be fully connected from practically anywhere.

4 3 Mobile Technology and Social Media Survey According to Mobile is the needle; Social is the thread a Pew Research Center study, internet use in the U.S. has increased from 14 percent in June of 1995 to 82 percent in April Eighty-five percent of adults in America have a cellphone of which 45 percent use smartphones, 2/3 are wireless internet users and slightly over 66 percent of online adults use social media. People far and wide in the U.S. have incorporated this cutting-edge technology in order to stay connected. Both the supply and demand for mobile technology and social media have been growing for several years and have become a popular trend in today s society. Being mobile and social brings many advantages both on a personal level and on a professional level. In 2012, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS decided to further study How REALTORS Use Mobile Technology and Social Media to improve their business. Survey Methodology The survey results are based on an online survey that was sent to 5,044 randomly selected members of C.A.R. s total membership. Out of those 5,044 surveys, 792 were completed in September 2012 (16% response rate), which were statistically analyzed with a maximum sampling error: ±1.36% at 2 standard deviations (a 95% confidence level) and for any subsets of the total sample will have a higher sampling error.

5 4 HOW REALTORS USE MOBILE TECHNOLOGY In order to gauge what REALTORS are doing to improve their business through the use of mobile technology, survey respondents were asked what was their most important technology purchase or upgrade and how has mobile technology helped their business. The following is what they had to say: Most Important Tech Purchase/Upgrade Exhibit 1: Most important tech purchase/upgrade 27% Exhibit 2: Most popular mobile device features used among REALTORS 44% MOST POPULAR MOBILE-DEVICE FEATURES USED AMONG REALTORS Tablet 19% Laptop Smartphone Text Messages 72% Mobile Internet 70% GPS Navigation 53% Built-in Camera 41% Real Estate Apps 38% Mobile Apps 53% Social Networking 41% Exhibit 4: Mobile technology: Definitely a Game Changer Mobile Technology: Definitely a Game Changer When asked, has mobile technology: enhanced your real estate business? Exhibit 3: Do you need to have the latest technology for your real estate business? Do you need to have the latest technology for your real estate business? 83% of REALTORS believe Mobile Technology has in fact enhanced their real estate business made you more efficient? 92% of REALTORS believe Mobile Technology has increased their efficiency 32% 68% Yes No

6 5 In what ways has mobile technology helped your business? Exhibit 5: In what ways has mobile technology helped your business? Accessibility & remote access from anywhere Ability to communicate with my clients and Having the ability to get information immediately Respond quicker Higher efficiency / Convience Text Messaging Other Mobile Apps GPS Not Yet/ Not Sure Address arising issues/ problems much faster 6% 5% 5% 3% 3% 1% 17% 16% 26% 29% 42% 36.2% of REALTORS believe it has helped them in more than one way Some of the common verbatim responses REALTORS gave when they were asked the previous question Exhibit 6: Common verbatim responses by REALTORS 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% "By letting me do business wherever I am. I no longer have to wait until I'm at my desk to figure most things out. I am much more efficient at problem solving on the go." "Constant communication with clients and vendors. Easy access to important s, calendar updates, ability to surf the web while on the road." "Being able to look for listings on the road and communicate with clients, respond to their concerns without being in the office."

7 6 By the above verbatim responses in exhibit 7, REALTORS agreed that mobile technology has given them the freedom or mobility to handle business from anywhere. In fact, they also agree that mobile technology has provided convenience and improvement in response time as well as the ability for instant connections with clients, associates, even family and friends. Mobile technology has made REALTORS more efficient and productive by being able to manage more, be away from the office, stay informed in general (news, etc), therefore enhancing business tremendously. That was congruent with Pew Research Center study mentioned previously, that also found about 70 percent of all cellphone owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. used their phones in the previous 30 days to at least either coordinate a meeting, solve an unexpected problem, research nearby restaurant options, find information to help settle an argument, look up sporting event scores, get traffic or public transit information, or even get help in an emergency situation. Overall, REALTORS, like the rest of the country, are reaping the same benefits of mobile technology. A look at the 2012 C.A.R. s Home Buyer Survey, provides some additional insights to what consumers demand from their real estate agent. The survey showed that 88 percent of home buyers expect a response from their agent within one hour. In fact, quick to respond was also in the top three qualities agents must meet in order to meet buyers expectations. However, there was room for improvement in agent response time since according to the Home Buyer Survey, only 33 percent of agents respond within one hour. Furthermore, the survey also found that more than half (54 percent) of home buyers found their homes online. Consumers are also google-ing or using social media as a means of researching their agent before chosing to work with them.

8 7 HOW REALTORS USE SOCIAL MEDIA The use of social media in the real estate business is more difficult to measure exactly and thus becomes a challenge to represent how it has been incorporated and how it is influencing the industry. Nevertheless, through this survey, REALTORS were able to convey what they have done and how they feel about social media and the impact on their business. Which social media platforms do you employ in your business? Exhibit 7: Which social media platforms do you employ in your business? Pinterest 6% Other 6% Foursquare 2% Tumblr 1% Yelp 12% Twitter 21% YouTube 25% 55% of REALTORS use more than ONE social media platform in their business Facebook 61% LinkedIn 54% Do not use social media for my business 27% Not surprisingly, exhibit 8 above reveals the most beneficial social media platforms are in fact the two most popularly employed by REALTORS : Facebook and LinkedIn.

9 8 It is all about connections: Staying social Exhibit 8: It is all about connections: Staying social 41% of REALTORS actively seek connections (friends, friends of friends, networking, etc.) 72% of REALTORS connect with smartphones 71% of REALTORS connect with laptops 50% of REALTORS connect with desktops 34% of REALTORS connect with ipads 7% of REALTORS connect with other tablets Relationships matter when incorporating social media. Home buyers value connectivity and communication just as much as REALTORS do. The connections are the main objective REALTORS cite for employing social media in their business as shown in both exhibits 9 and 10. Exhibit 9: In an effort to grow your business, what objective are you trying to achieve by incorporating social media into your business? Q: In an effort to grow your business, what objective are you trying to achieve by incorporating social media into your business? Farming 35% Market my business to a younger demograph ic 44% Respond to clients faster 50% Be more accessible to my clients 54% Staying in touch with clients 67%

10 9 In what ways has social media helped your business? Exhibit 10: In what ways has social media helped your business? Free Marketing/ Advertising Tool 36.54% Increased ability to network 30.77% To stay connected with previous clients It hasn't helped/ Not sure 19.71% 18.75% Immediate availability to clients 11.54% Data analysis Other 4.81% 3.85% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 21.2% of REALTORS believe it has helped them in more than ONE way Social Media s Return on Investment According to the survey, 63 percent of REALTORS estimated the return on investment (ROI) with respect to time and dollars invested in social media in the form of referrals: Exhibit 11: Social media s ROI s Website visits # of friends, followers, or "likes" 25% 34% Qualified leads from social media 43% Referrals 63%

11 10 As seen on exhibit 12, close to two-thirds of the survey respondents measure ROI based on referrals, followed by leads, friends or followers, and website visits. In other words, social media has helped REALTORS as another form of networking by providing another platform to meet new people. In addition, social media provides a relatively inexpensive (and in some cases free) form of advertising for their brand. This could also be the reason why 66 percent of REALTORS consider social media an integral tool in a marketing plan. A Pew Research study on Social Networking Sites found that in the U.S., the percentage of adult internet users who use social media has rose from 8 percent in 2005 to 65 percent in Additionally, according to Pew, 69 percent of women online and 60 percent of men online are active in social networking sites. Broken down by age cohort, among those adults online between the ages of a staggering 83 percent use social media followed by 70 percent for ages 30-49, 51 percent for ages and one-third (33%) ages 65+, clearly displaying a popular trend in the American society. However, social media was introduced slightly less than a decade ago and thus is fairly new to society overall and real estate in particular. In similar regard that mobile technology is constantly being updated, there appears to be a prevalent learning curve amongst REALTORS in regards to social media. The survey depicted that about 62 percent consider themselves still learning or beginners. This also gives some insights as to why 29 percent are not yet sure if social media has enhanced real estate business or not. Nevertheless, most REALTORS said they will integrate social media next year and added that they are only mindful of time and benefits. KEY CONCLUSIONS The real estate business is also very much a relationship business, requiring great customer care and sales expertise. Having the tools that allow agents to be aggressive as well as keeping in constant communication with customers provides great advantage. In this day and age, REALTORS have several tools necessary to improve and expand their business in the form of mobile technology. According to the survey the most popular device purchased in 2012 was a smartphone. The convenience of its portable pocket size and its tremendous diversified capabilities allows for mobility, accessibility and instant communication all contributing to higher efficiency in the real estate transaction. Society is rapidly changing due to the many technological advancements taking place every day. Conducting business is also shifting and adapting to newer trends. Mobile technology and social media forms of communication are expected to continue growing in the future. Integration of social media into the next generation of REALTORS business model is essential considering that 90 percent of home buyers indicated they are receptive to receiving information about the home buying process directly from their agent via social media (2012 C.A.R. Home Buyer Survey). As this landscape evolves, and REALTORS are also evolving and learning how to incorporate mobile technology and social media in their business and personal life, the statistics show that this could significantly improve efficiency and overall business productivity.

12 11 Table of Exhibits Exhibit 1: Most important tech purchase/upgrade... 4 Exhibit 2: Most popular mobile device features used among REALTORS... 4 Exhibit 3: Do you need to have the latest technology for your real estate business?... 4 Exhibit 4: Mobile technology: Definitely a Game Changer... 4 Exhibit 5: In what ways has mobile technology helped your business?... 5 Exhibit 6: Common verbatim responses by REALTORS... 5 Exhibit 7: Which social media platforms do you employ in your business?... 7 Exhibit 8: It is all about connections: Staying social... 8 Exhibit 9: In an effort to grow your business, what objective are you trying to achieve by incorporating social media into your business?... 8 Exhibit 10: In what ways has social media helped your business?... 9 Exhibit 11: Social media s ROI s... 9

13 12 Leading the way in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 155,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles. The Association develops and promotes programs and services that will enhance the members' freedom and ability to conduct their individual businesses successfully with integrity and competency and, through collective action, promotes the preservation of real property rights. CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Research and Economics 525 South Virgil Avenue Los Angeles, CA

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