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A new report by Digital City Rhode Island titled  “Going Digital: Developing Business and Education Strategies for a 21st-century Rhode Island,” talks about the importance of improving digital literacy in Rhode Island, as well as a strategy for  the state to accomplish that. How important is digital literacy, you may ask? So important that local business leaders and educators are encouraged to learn how to navigate themselves online. This report promotes digital literacy as the key to economic success in the 21st century. This got us thinking...for clients looking to buy or sell, knowing how your agent utilizes the great online tools will only help expedite the process and keep you both on the same page.  Here's a list of ways to find out whether your agent is digitally literate.

Promoting themselves

An agent who invests their time and money in promoting themselves is the person you want selling your house.   It doesn't matter if the agent is young or "seasoned", having a strong online presence reveals a true knowledge of online  marketing and the vital role that digital media plays in the real estate market. Here are some ways to find out whether or not your agent is promoting his or her self online: 1. They have a great website. Not just any website, but well-designed, user friendly and SEO that is up to date. It's pretty common that potential sellers will pass on an agent with a website from the 90's. If you think about it, part of an agent's job is good representation and marketability. 2. They utilize social media.  Although social media is a tricky platform to use for the real estate industry, it is still a great way to promote expertise and listings to social networks. Social media is a powerful tool to use in this day and age. Information is shared instantaneously around the world, and it's important to not get left behind. Ever heard the phrase "Sharing is caring" in grade school? Well, sharing information and having a conversation online is definitely a way of showing that your care, whether it's through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. 3. They have a blog.  Agents who blog understand that original content is vital for online promotion. We can't stress this enough. Some think that sharing what others have written is good enough. If you ask us, nothing showcases expertise and knowledge of the industry like sharing your own thoughts and advice. Besides sales numbers, of course. 4. They have others promoting them.  This is gold. The best PR is having others promote you, not the other way around. Referrals brought to the digital platform is by far the most lucrative way in having a great online presence. Look for agents with testimonials on their websites, or have web links circulating the internet being shared amongst friends. This brings us to our next point...

Market listings online

Banners, postcards, signs--traditional means of promotion are all still importance and pretty effective in terms of real estate marketing. However, great agents who understand digital media also incorporate other methods, such as video, online advertisements, PR, and real estate listing platforms like Zillow and Trulia. This may sound pretty obvious so let us be a bit more specific. Here are effective steps agents use to promote listings: 1. Real estate marketing platforms.  Your new agent has an account on Zillow already? Great! But are they a premier agent? Agents who invest in premier agent accounts on Zillow are serious about exposure and marketing. The main reason is that IT IS quite an investment. Zillow premier agents buy out specific zip codes around your city so that those who are searching for property in those areas have a higher chance of seeing their properties. Not only that, but their accounts have a higher chance of showing up in property searches. Both buyers and sellers can benefit from an agent who makes the effort to do this. More exposure, more marketability. 2. Outreach.  This comes in many forms, but one in particular is email marketing. Yes, this is still very effective and no, it's not outdated. The only way it doesn't work is if your content is horrible and uninformative. Thanks to social media, email marketing is more powerful than ever. Any agent that doesn't see the potential in email marketing clearly isn't concerned with...well...marketing. If you think this is all, then we're sorry to disappoint. This just goes to show how involved digital media is nowadays to economic success in the 21st century. Digital literacy requires intuitiveness, consistency, patience, and strong, original messaging. Utilizing digital platforms to your advantage requires an investment of time and money, as well as innate skill for marketing.  We promise that we haven't given you all of our secrets but rather, just a bit!

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Jim DeRentis
Sales Associate
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