Meet Betty Lee, a Brooklyn-based residential real estate professional .
I recently met Betty at a professional event focused on the use of social media tools for business. Betty’s unique journey using social media in the real estate business caught my attention. She was out there in the digital/social world! But she’d already caught the attention of online realty platform, Zillow, who highlighted her creative business use of Snapchat in a recent article.
Zillow is cited in the upcoming book, BrandED, by myself and my co-author Eric Sheninger. Zillow measures the concerns of parents as they buy homes as part of their social “listening”. Zillow tells us that today’s millennial parents actively seek a school that performs. They use digital and social tools in their search. Parents want to see the same return on investment and engagement from their schools that that they get from their other providers of branded products and services when they go online. Buying a house is a serious buy, and consumer purchase behavior is hooked to the educational experience provided to owners of that new home who are often parents.
Meeting Betty got me thinking--and a lot of questions came to mind. Could using the powerful concept of school branding nudge a collaborative opportunity? Could school leaders work with the real estate community as stakeholders in getting the word out about their unique school brand value? Could understanding what clearly branded schools offer help realtors talk to parent/clients about this most important consumer purchase? Could knowing the brand value of a school be a valuable part of the home buying choice?
Betty provides some interesting professional insights and answers to my questions in ways that can connect BrandED school leaders who build and share brand. BrandED leaders are looking for social and digital connection to communities just as savvy realtors like Betty are in this connected world. The information value of a well-crafted school brand to the public is important, and could create a win-win for schools and residential brokers and---for kids and their parents.
Let's hear what Betty Lee has to say...
The Benefits of Digital and Social Media Schools Stories to Buyers
Betty believes that her clients are very diligent about researching schools. Having the transparency of a school brand would bring a new dimension to their search. As someone who knows the power of social media from her own business, a school’s attention to sharing its brand on social media could tell a story about the mission and values that the school represents. This would also be a resource to professionals who could learn more about the good things the school is doing.
According to Betty, potential buyers could learn the benefits of the school from the stories about the kids, stories that come through different social media school channels. The achievements the school community makes could be more easily shared. In this transparent world, she suggests that an inside view of how the educational leadership organizes their efforts would also inform a buyer. There’s no more Ivory Tower! Schools could show the hard work around events, fundraisers, or even explain why they support certain events/organizations that could educate the community and buyers. These are all stories too and social media can be a platform where ideas or suggestions are solicited and a bigger picture of a school can be shared. If parents of a school age child could see what opportunities there are with a school around conversations, and suggestions for improvements, it could also promote the school brand.
Betty feels brand and digital transparency helps professionals too. Is there a new program, like a foreign language program? A digital brand presence would help professionals learn about this communicate that fact. It’s a great tool to showcase the benefits of the school and to get more engagement on the part of parents who are making a big decision.
Making Professional Sense about Schools
As a realtor, Betty is excited to see a movement for schools to share their brand. It helps her be a more informed professional. Even if a home is amazing and fits a client’s requirements, the buyers cannot pursue if the school cannot show value. Having a professional who understands the school’s brand presence can be an advantage.
Betty points out that as a real estate professional, agents cannot publicly support a school, but it would be great to know some key initiatives that a school is headed towards. Being able to see a school’s well-developed brand and its stories would make agents feel informed. Communicating that value would be very helpful to clients because it would not be information that can be searchable on any standard platform site. It comes from the ability of the school to tell their story every day.
She believes her clients would welcome using social media to learn about the school’s brand if they understood the value. They are essentially going out to the public education sites or the school’s individual websites for information but are not getting the whole picture. The BrandED concept is different. Seeing a school brand presented with stories and connection is more personal. Betty knows there are often school neighborhood listserves on Yahoo and Google. Those are a great resource for parents to get to know each other and there are always requests to speak to other parents who have kids in a particular school. But, in the end, Betty feels professionals can always use detailed information about a school setting and its goals. It can only make them more value added professionals in the whole process of purchasing a new home.