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AE Chair Report: Be a Technology Role Model

May 14, 2012

Adapting to new technologies isn’t a choice for association executives; it’s a necessity. Beyond the charge of managing effective associations, we serve an important role model function for our members. REALTORS® look to us for best practices involving which tech tools we use and how we employ them in our daily business practices. They are also influenced by our use of social media and other nontraditional, tech-related marketing techniques.

Even if we can’t troubleshoot all tech issues ourselves, we should be able to direct our members to reliable sources of information.

So what does that mean? First of all, the basics:

  • Be sure your association budget allows for maintaining and occasionally updating your technology resources, including computers, software, smart phones, and tablets used by staff.
  • Offer training. It’s no use to provide smart phones if your staff doesn’t know how to download an app. The same holds true for the latest accounting and database management software.
  • Don’t hold out on investing in technology, like purchasing iPads or tablets, or developing a local market data app—your members are using them! Remember your function as a role model and resource. Anticipate your members’ needs and help them integrate technology into their business.
  • Listen for the technology buzz among your members. Get a feel for their questions and deficiencies when it comes to technology and respond to them by providing classes, workshops, articles, or other educational opportunities your members appreciate.
  • Teach best practices on how to use common tech tools effectively, and develop technological capabilities. There’s a big gap between having a Facebook page and knowing how to use it as a profitable marketing technique.
  • Dig beyond technologies you use every day to find the tools members would find useful. For instance, educate your members on how using listing syndication to display listings automatically across a variety of important real estate Web sites can make them more competitive.
  • Keep it fun! Don’t limit your association’s use of social media to promoting classes or events. Demonstrate your technological proficiency by engaging members in conversations via social media.
  • Re-tweet helpful member Twitter messages; “like” posts you find worthwhile on members’ Facebook pages; and comment on blog posts. Compliment your members who make meaningful use of social media and invite them to do the same!
  • If you’ve created a blog, use it to spotlight your personality with short and simple postings on market reports, the importance of education, or topics members ask about—really, anything on which you have expertise.

Share what works for you. If you have a favorite app or a preferred type of smart phone, tell your colleagues why. Having the conversation helps keep us all aware of new trends and best practices, better positioning us to do what we do best—serve members.

On another note, it was wonderful seeing so many familiar (and new!) faces at this year’s AE Institute in Louisville. Thank you to the tremendous group of NAR staff and association volunteers who orchestrated the programming and events for the centennial celebration. It was a privilege to be with you all.