by Marina R. James
Time flies! Mid-November marks my first full year as CEO of WinnipegREALTORS®. In that time, I have experienced firsthand the loyalty and dedication of staff to their jobs and roles as they assist our members to achieve their business goals. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working directly with many of our members in the spirit of collaboration as we continue to build an association that is innovative and progressive. I feel gratitude that members and staff alike have offered their expertise, experience and assistance to orient me to the diverse needs of our industry and as we wrap up 2017, I look forward to implementing new initiatives that will enhance value proposition to you, our member.
Here are some highlights of the action items from Q3.
In July 2017, senior staff participated in the prestigious Inman Connect Conference in San Francisco. This extensive convention of real estate professionals, industry leaders and progressive services presented sessions detailing industry marketing trends, including its myriad of technology disruptors and innovators. Key takeaways in areas such as digital marketing, personal and company branding, big data and machine learning will influence our strategies for the enhancement and evolution of core services.
The communication vehicles for both our membership and the public continue to be refined with new platforms, roles and resources. The Relator newsletter received a format facelift via the Constant Contact platform with a focus on creating a modern attractive design. Under the new platform, accurate engagement metrics such as click-throughs will be monitored which will inform us about which articles are of interest.
Tracy Mainland, our new Director of Publications, has enhanced all of our publications. Design changes for the Winnipeg Real Estate News including minimizing white space on page layouts and creating condo headers in the MLS® section have been implemented. Editorial content for every publication continues to better reflect the value of using a REALTOR®, plus producing more relevant home buying and selling articles.
The importance of the online aspect of WinnipegREALTORS®, including the Winnipeg Real Estate News website, ranks high on our action items for 2017 and continuing on to 2018. Many improvements have already been implemented, including streamlining the property search function, allowing for better search capabilities and increasing the size of the city and provincial maps.
Four extensive presentations from eminent local web development companies were heard by our senior management team to initiate plans for this significant facet. Feature requirements for both enhancement, including sharing capabilities, responsive design, and augmented search functions, for the current Real Estate News end consumer site and the development of an association website have been created.
Intensified use of social media is bearing fruit as we continue to increase our consumer engagement with our brands. Significant gains on the Winnipeg Real Estate News Facebook page in terms of both followers and likes and increased Twitter and Linked-in followers have been generated. For 2018, there will be an additional dimension to our communications strategy that includes relevant shareable content that reflects the value of a REALTOR®, the benefits of the MLS® and the activities of the association.
Our member information portal, Keystone 2.0, continues on its planned integration with a scheduled launch date of November 15, 2017. Keystone 2.0 will serve as a centralized information network containing member resources such as rate cards, policies and notices, an events calendar and a committee hub with events, contact information and committee specific material. Once the system has been completed, it will serve as a central knowledge repository for members.
With the intense planning for the first annual REALTOR® Reset event complete, over 300 guests participated in an exhilarating day of networking, learning and reconnecting. The October 19 event saw a new format for its many speakers, one that increased the level of knowledge gained and set standards for future association networking functions. Attendees were treated to a diverse array of speakers and topics ranging from social media marketing, REALTOR® buyer agency, the importance of persevering over difficult obstacles, technology disruptors and innovators and more.
September saw the installation of a new inductee to our Citizen’s Hall of Fame. This important facet of WinnipegREALTORS® continues to promote the heritage and accomplishments of Winnipeg’s diverse leadership. Located at Assiniboine Park, this prominent display of likenesses celebrates our citizens who have contributed to our quality of life and helped build our city to what it is today. Joining such luminaries as Terry Fox and Carol Shields, the newest inductee is Lee Newton, founder of Winnipeg Harvest. Ms. Newton came across an idea about a food bank in New York and recognized the need for such a program in Winnipeg. Her incredible determination led to setting up Winnipeg Harvest, which today feeds thousands of Manitobans unable to provide for themselves.
Our dedicated senior management team and their staff are anticipating the opportunity to take on further innovation. Evolving digital marketing landscapes, changes in government policies, increasing availability of real estate information; all these will affect and transform how REALTORS® conduct their business. As we strive to adapt our association, we foresee an organization that offers outstanding services that are integral to your business.