Zillow is a Seattle company providing real estate data, mainly home price estimates (“Zestimates”), to home owners, buyers, sellers, and others interested in such information. Its main presence is a website as well as a strong mobile app.

On the social side, Zillow operates a number of its own blogs as well as have presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goggle+, Pintrest, and LinkedIn. Zillow appears to be a very active in the social channels. Some products, such as Zillow Digs and Zillow Rentals, actually have their own handles on those social sites. This is an interesting approach as presumably buyers and renters are interested in different information and are engaged differently

Their blogs are written on its own website, separated into the Zillow Engineering blog focused on products and technologies, the Zillow Pros blog, focused on posts for real estate professionals, and the regular Zillow blog, which covers broad topics from posts about Zillow CEO’s appearance on CNBC, to mortgage rates, to tips on how to decorate your home. Zillow seems to use their blog posts mainly as 1-way conversations. Although they posts to the Zillow and Zillow Pros blog often, there has been little to no reader comments/response to those postings.

On the other hand, their Twitter (93K followers) and Facebook (300K likes) appears much more engaging. However, I found that a lot of their Facebook posts has been about complains, both technical and otherwise, such as below:

User engagement on their social sites seems consistent with what a lot of other companies experience– that Facebook has become a public unofficial support channel where users can come to air their grievances. Replies by Zillow are usually quick – I can see how if I have a problem with using Zillow, this would be more effective as a support channel than email.

It appears that Zillow uses social media channel consistency to push new products, such as “Dig”, which allows users to look at and share (in a Pintrest style way, with a board you can share) photos of homes, sometimes with estimates of their worth. Digs related posts are on all their channels, either explicitly, or implicitly by showing pictures of remodels from Digs.

The most interesting social media feature I found on Zillow actually only becomes available after you’ve linked your Facebook account as your signin for the site. Zillow actually request to use your friends’ addresses on Facebook, and when you search for a home, it automatically shows you friends who are living in that area. For example, when I searched for a home in Issaquah, the home details page showed:

*names and pictures blacked out to protect the innocent.

This is actually a great way to connect users to each other, and aids in the viral promotion of Zillow itself.

In my opinion, what seems lacking in Zillow’s social media line up is a showcase of its culture. Unlike other companies whose culture oozes from every blog posts they make, Zillow’s seems to be less personal. It would be great to see more of an insider look of what their company is really like.



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Filed under 2013 - Post 1

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