NAR released its 2008 member profile recently. One of the most significant findings, for this crowd anyway, will be the number of agents who are blogging. At 8 percent of 1.2 million REALTORS, we now have 96,000 REALTOR-bloggers pecking away on a keyboard and clicking publish. That’s almost three times as many members as Virginia Association of REALTORS has in total. And there are, on average, more than 300 bloggers for each of the 300 largest US metro areas. This stat leaves me with a bunch of questions.
Q: How significant is 8 percent and 96,000?
What does it mean to REALTOR associations? With a small minority of members authoring real estate blogs, is there any sense at all in expending resources to provide services to just 8 percent of members? Maybe not on the surface. But with that trendline pointing up (last year the same figure stood at six percent), this is clearly a growing concern for REALTORS and their associations.
I’m fond of the business advice implied in a famous statement by Wayne Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. Gretzky said he didn’t skate to the puck. He skated to where the puck would be. It’s a calculated risk that VAR and other associations are making. Just like the Great One, we’re committing to engaging bloggers and social media types now, not knowing exactly where the puck will go, so that when it bounces off the boards or a goal post, we’ll be there to corral it and put it in the net — repeatedly.
On the other side, consider the resources associations expend on other slivers of their memberships. Ten percent of the entire membership is often held up as a target to shoot for when setting attendance goals at association conventions. On average, click through rates on association e-mails hovers around five percent. There are programs for brokers, which overall represent a small minority of the total membership. I could go on and on.
On balance, we know that bloggers have a wider reach than the average member. And just like you, we love when bloggers write about us, so we engage bloggers, no matter where they work, and try to do blogworthy stuff.
Q: Is VAR’s social media effort paying off?
Through VAR’s social media initiatives, such as dedicating an entire magazine issue to the topic, holding events for real estate bloggers, modeling the use of blogs, and undertaking social media research projects, we’re starting to see our members take a greater interest in social media compared to the rest of the country. While only 7 percent of Virginia REALTORS currently have a blog, NAR’s stats show they’re almost 20 percent more likely to start blogging than the national average.
That needle’s heading in the right direction as far as I’m concerned, but we still have a ways to go.
Q: 100,000 voices, yet why so quiet?
If there are really 96,000 real estate bloggers, why are so few engaged in the conversation here and around the REBC? I’ll tell you why: Bloggers in Name Only (BINOs). You catch my drift, don’tcha? I set up a WordPress.com account, therefore I’m a blogger and I answer NAR’s survey that way, never mind the fact that my only entry was the obligatory “Hello world!” post.
Q: What makes a legitimate real estate blogger?
How many posts do you have to make per month to avoid the BINO label? Or is it about posts at all? Maybe it’s links or comments? Or none of the above! How do you become a member of the REBC anyway?
Q: What do AgentGenius readers think of this statistic?
Psst! That’s your cue! (See comment button below)