What I learned at National Association of REALTORS Conference San Diego 2009.

RebarcampsdREBarCampSD 2009:

We arrived a few days early and were able to take in some of the sites of San Diego and the REBarCamp San Diego  thanks to the great work of Jim Marks  and his team. REBarCamps are quite a phenomenon in the Real Estate Social Media World. They were begun by Todd Carpenter , Andy Kaufman , Mike Price  and Brad Coy , four energetic and crazy guys who decided that a “Un-conference” that gathered the best minds in the field in a large space with lots of viewpoints for a day of discussion might be fun. Little did they know that the idea would grow with BarCamps held across the States in one year culminating in the largest, held at the nightclub “Stingaree” in San Diego? It was my forth in the past year, filled with knowledge, networking and great conversation.

If you plan to attend an NAR Conference or an Inman Connect Conference , know that the REBarCamp is usually the day before so make sure that you add that time to your schedule. The REBarCamp is free to attend but to really benefit; you should participate as much as possible. I facilitated a group discussion on “How and if you could monetize Social Media”. The great thing about REBarcamp is that no position is right or wrong but great discussion brings great ideas…

Coming up is REBarCamp New York  on January 11thand hopefully REBarCampTO on May 7th or 8th…more to come. 

logo_realtororgNAR Conference San Diego 2009:

What follows is not all the sessions but highlights from them:

Max Pigman , one of the Social Media Speakers talked about taking a strong self assessment and growing your sphere of influence using Social Media. Those SM tools allow you to work smarter and leaner and suggested that REALTORS not spew Real Estate but also share personal information. He suggests short posts but ones that engage and that agents should leave comments and reengage old clients. He says that “commenting is like renting space in someone’s head” and that most would find greater success on Facebook than they might on email. He suggested using the chat on Facebook and make Facebook a major part of your marketing strategies.

He suggests that as well as a Fan Page on Facebook, you might want to create a neighbourhood page and invite your clients to share information about the “hood” that you work and live in with the odd listing being uploaded as well as specific content created for the community. I have created one on Facebook called the Cabbagetown Community Page and it is gaining momentum.

He pointed out something I love on LinkedIn which are the recommendations. Ask clients and friends for their recommendations and give them back.

For more follow Max at www.facebook.com/maxpigman

Another interesting session was on the Future of MLS:

A discussion of what the future holds is always interesting but the recent addition of RPR (REALTOR Property Resource) which marries parcel based information with Board/Association data makes the data richer than ever before and should help strengthen the REALTOR business proposition.

Jim Duncan of FranklyMLS.com  says that the consumer has good access to the data; REALTORS are needed to put it in context. The problem will come if the MLS is not perceived as the best data; the weak link is the Realtors.

I sat in on the Communications Committee of the National Association of REALTORS one afternoon.  

Interesting to note is that just before NAR San Diego Conference, Houselogic.com  was released in its Beta version. It is a public facing website wholly owned by NAR (REALTOR.com is not) that features all sorts of information about home ownership. I think it is a great move by NAR to try to make Houselogic.com the “go-to” location for homeowners.

NAR is also bringing Real Estate Today  to radio, another great move. They have also just released a Guideline for REALTOR Associations on Social Media. Feel free to email me and I will email you back a copy. It is the work of Todd Carpenter, the Social Media Manager at NAR and founder of REBarCamp.

There was a great Social Media course with Jeff Turner  (a perennial favourite) and friends: Amy Chorew , Dustin Luther , Rudy Bacharaty  and Daniel Rothamel :

As someone who has been involved now for a couple of years…the great thing about the SM movement is that the rules and ideas are still being defined and refined so that nothing is really hard and fast and few questions are considered “stupid”.

Some thoughts from the Friends:

  • There are huge changes in marketing…
  • The number of tools will expand
  • New behaviours will be needed
  • Keep your mind open to the new tools.
  • Blog is hub…use the tools to drive people to the blog…
  • Static has moved to interactive.
  • Content gets pushed or pulled to other sites.
  • The Consumer is the driver using it to search agents, communities…
  • How do you connect and use the tools, how do you engage the consumer…
  • Consumers are changing the way we interact…
  • The consumer wants to be listened to by real people.
  • Bring your personality online. It’s like having a beauty shot on your card and then showing up at the door…be real.
  • Don’t allow a disconnect between online and offline.
  • Develop a Social Media strategy. Think about it before you post.
  • Every post should have a goal…
  • Try to connect with friends of friends…F.O.F. marketing…creating content that friends would pass to friends is a huge game changer in Social Media.

Using Social Media to close more deals with Mike Parker  and Mark Porter . Some of their ideas:

  •  14 percent trust advertising but 78 percent trust peer recommendations
  • Make your Business photo pop: recently I had an Avatar created with the CN Tower in the background.
  • You have to be true.
  • Increase your friends every day by ten to generate more income.
  • Not who you know but who knows me.
  • Search for major employers in your area and add them as friends.
  • Don’t post anything negative.
  • Post updates 3 to 5 times a day

Going Beyond Listing Data:

  • Listings are ubiquitous…now what else?
  • Layers of data…communities, walk ability scores.
  • Add video of the community and community photos.
  • View and analyze your client actions on the web site.

Expanding your sphere of influence by using your Blog:

Here are some great Ideas from Ines Hegedus-Garcia , Teresa Boardman  and Mariana Wagner .


  • It is ok to be yourself…
  • Blog is the base.. it is the hub with “call to action” buttons on the site…
  • Contact Flickr  users to post their photos, for permission to post photos of your Community.
  • Anything you do online, be consistent.
  • Social Capitol. The currency that you get online; your followers.
  • Help put other businesses on the map.


  • writes a blog post every day about the ordinary.
  • It builds trust if you can be yourself.

Note: Teresa is admittedly anti-social but has built a great business from photos of her home town and engaging customers.


  • You have to be transparent…
  • write directly to the target…
  • think about what it is you want and write about it.
  • Picture the perfect client and write like you are talking directly to them.
  • Remember that whatever you put out there is there forever…

 The bottom line of a NAR Conference is that there is a huge amount of information, some great networking and a four day whirlwind that usually leaves participants reeling. This year there was a large contingent of Canadian REALTORS that contributed and as usual at all Conferences a lot of work happens behind the scenes.

Next year the Conference will be in New Orleans but San Diego proved to be an excellent location to get 20,000 REALTORS together.

2 Replies to “What I learned at National Association of REALTORS Conference San Diego 2009.”

  1. Thanks so much Richard for sharing the knowledge and tips you learned with those of us who weren’t able to make it to the REBar Camp.

    I’m so looking forward to having one here in Ontario next year.


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