Redfin

Redfin is a local Seattle company that offers people who are looking for new homes to buy a lot of useful information. Their biggest competition is Zillow, as well as standard realtor portals built on MLS database.   Since buying or selling a house is not an operation that one does lightly or often, their main target is to attract new customers, since repeat business would not be a sustainable business model.

Redfin’s social media seems to be concentrated on raising awareness, and not just of the brand, but of best strategies while selling or buying a house, as well as creating awareness about the market state (e.g. ‘it’s a good time to sell’ kind of statistics). This makes me believe that they’re focusing on the high end of the funnel, and hoping that offering great content, not just great services, will attract people to at least read the articles that Redfin is creating.  I think this is their gateway into conversion. Both their facebook feed and their twitter posts seem to be randomly talking about broader issues, not directly marketing the benefits of using Redfin. 

They also have a lot of community events that they are talking about on their social media, such as celebrating national ‘wear red’ day, and @mentioning stars. 

The coverage of news of Redfin is also mainly focused on the content they are spreading through their social media, such as their studies and surveys of home sellers and buyers. They’ve established themselves as experts on housing, and are now viewed as a reliable source for data and expertise on how to buy, sell, and market conditions for the housing market. 

The one gap I see in their online presence and mainstream media articles is the lack of focus on their main business-model source of revenue: their agents. Redfin allows people to post and search for free, so they aren’t really making much (if any) money on that from advertising or similar stuff. However, the way they make money is by offering seller/buyer agents that use a different model from that the market is used to, and offering a cash refund for people who use their agents that basically amounts to around 1%. There isn’t much focus on this, and that seems like a missed opportunity.

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