Developing Community (& a Farm) with a Neighborhood Facebook Group
Posted on June 1, 2012 by Arizona Realtor Monthly
United Brokers Group
When Kay Kurth moved to Chandler in 2008 after 30 years in Scottsdale, she didn’t know anyone in the Southeast Valley. As a REALTOR® used to being part of her community, she needed to meet people—and fast. So she started a Meetup group for her new neighborhood, Sun Groves.
But how to get the word out? Her title company offered to print her newsletters with local real estate statistics and information promoting the Meetup group, but Kay still needed to purchase reams of colored paper. “When your marketing budget is less than $0, even $36 is too much,” she says with a smile. So she visited local businesses and offered to provide advertising space in the newsletter if they provided the colored paper. Three businesses agreed. “I made them offer Sun Groves-specific specials so that they could see the return,” Kay explains. “My exercising quickly became my real estate marketing program—delivering 1,500 flyers a month!”
Make It Social. “I would host two events a month: one a happy hour, one more family-oriented such as a visit to the park,” she explains. “The economy was in terrible shape, so people couldn’t afford to go out. But they were stifled staying at home and longed for socializing. We rotated hosts and everyone brought their own drinks and an appetizer to share.” Soon connections were forming, and the group grew to 85 families.
“Farming isn’t dead. It’s how you become the face of the community.”
Moving to Facebook. The Meetup platform made it easy for her as group leader to communicate, but it limited how the group’s members could reach out to each other. “With the Facebook platform, neighbors can communicate with each other directly,” Kay says.
The “Sun Groves Chandler Neighbors Staying Connected” Facebook group is buzzing with community information. Neighbors post events, warn about accidents, highlight furniture for sale, share information on lost or found pets and more.
“I spent my childhood in Illinois where neighbors know each other,” explains Kay. “Here in Arizona, we don’t do that kind of connecting. But now the Sun Groves Facebook group has over 260 families, and more join every month.”
Earning Business. The group has netted Kay closings and referrals. “When I sold a house, my clients posted a wonderful testimonial on the group page. Advertising doesn’t get better than that!” says Kay. “The people in the group see me as a community expert. When someone is looking for a REALTOR®, they recommend me.”
Invest in a Niche. “Real estate agents worry about limiting themselves to one area,” says Kay. “But REALTORS® are about relationships, and they should be deep and sincere. I invested in a neighborhood, and that has naturally expanded by itself through referrals outside of Sun Groves.”
On Farming. “Recently I’ve been hearing that farming is dead, that it’s a waste of time and money,” notes Kay. “It’s not true. I took farming and enhanced it with online tools that make it easier and quicker to connect. Farming isn’t dead. It’s how you become the face of the community.”
“Sun Groves has a special place in my heart because of how the group took off. The connections became more meaningful than I ever expected!”
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