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Focus on real-time, transparent social engagement: Jason Ballo

“Go live or go home” could be the online mantra for Jason Ballo from Raine & Horne Surry Hills. Having embraced the real-time and very transparent world of Facebook Live, Jason is focussed on providing an authentic way for customers to see what his team does and how they do it.

1. What is the key way your brand differentiates itself using digital platforms?
It comes down to authenticity. We take a transparent approach, which is why we use Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories. If I were to do an open home, I would promote a live open inspection to my online audience, and then do an ‘MTV Cribs’ style live feed where we’ll walk through the premises and show off the property. It’s really inviting to people who might not have the opportunity to physically visit the property. But it’s also an opportunity for people to see what we do and how we do it.

2. What is your favourite social platform for prospecting, and why? How do you use it?
I would say Facebook ads. The ad product is incredible – it’s very targeted. Facebook is really powerful for real estate specifically because of the age demographic that is using the platform right now. Facebook started as a college thing and people thought that 40-year-olds would never be on it, but now they’re all users. The context of how we use Facebook is important – it’s not a matter of posting listings. Truthfully, people don’t care about that. Buyers are active or passive. They look on REA, they look on Domain and visit the properties they want to see. Facebook is more of a newsfeed, so we provide news and content, something new and interesting.

3. Can you give me an example of a social media campaign from any category that has really stuck with you?
Pokémon Go is a huge phenomenon. How smaller businesses with limited resources use social media is really important. You can throw Pokémon Go ‘lures’ outside your place of business. People will literally gather from the street knowing there are lures. This worked really wonderfully for local businesses in our area.

4. Why do you think some real estate brands are so frightened of the digital world? What’s holding them back?
They’re scared of themselves. The biggest challenge that our industry faces is the old guard being romantic about things that work. There is a massive cultural shift – not just in real estate, but in sales. We want to put power back in the consumer’s hands so they can see what takes place. When we came out with our first live auction, people said ‘But what if it doesn’t sell?’ I was like ‘That’s great! They’ll be able to see what happens afterwards, they’ll see it’s not the end of the world’. The old guard are afraid of public failure, rather than the actual story being told about a property or a service.

5. What are your top apps for productivity or enjoyment?
Office365 – Outlook, OneNote.
To Do List – Task management and delegation.
Toggl – Time tracking and timesheets.
Voxer – Audio note-taking on the go, ideal for transcription.
Airtasker – For getting small jobs done.

If you are interested to hear what other agents are doing to lead the change using technology, we also spoke to Gia Le and Lynette Malcolm.

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