Tucked in the hip, affluent Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of M Squared Real Estate, a small brokerage of four agents that launched in 2010.
The driving idea behind M Squared Real Estate is to take the technology, graphic design and marketing burden off agents, and streamline and execute these things to a high standard so that all brand marketing is consistent. Doing this enables agents to focus 100 percent on their client relationships and sales.
While many of the national real estate brands do this, what’s different about M Squared is its completely custom-built back-end technology and total focus on local neighborhoods. There are no plans to expand out of state – or even out to the suburbs of metro D.C.
“We believe in doing what we do very well and not getting into areas we’re not familiar with.”
The custom backend platform is core to M Squared’s business. You could say it has a seat at the board table since the guy who built it is also a co-founder, Dominic Morrocco. Dominic and fellow co-founder Mark Mlakar have the freedom to move quickly with any changes or features they need to add to the platform to improve or enhance performance since they have total control over it.
Having this kind of control over the firm’s core technology enables them to innovate more freely than a broker bound to a vendor or outside developer, and make immediate changes to improve both the agent and consumer experience.
M Squared’s customized platform runs on WordPress. The system enables agents to operate virtually and manage contacts, drip email campaigns, transactions, listing creation, etc., from anywhere. This also means their transactions are completely paperless. And it’s all part of being an agent with M Squared. No fees or add-ons are charged to use the technology.
Where M Squared really stands out as a new brokerage is its beautiful website and branding, strategic social media marketing and “go local or go home” mentality. They want agents who live in the neighborhoods they sell, who are proficient with technology and friendly and outgoing.
The ‘hood is the star of social media
For a small and relatively new brokerage, they have an impressive approach to social media. They have about 64 social neighborhood pages in total (a Facebook and Twitter profile for each of about 32 neighborhoods).
The neighborhood and its residents are the stars of M Squared’s social media strategy – not the brokerage or the listings.
Dominic explains that they use a distribution tool, Dlvr.it, to scan hundreds of original news and blog sources for specific neighborhood news. When found, the news is delivered to the proper neighborhood social pages. They also share MLS listings to the specific neighborhood channels: Logan Circle listings go the Logan Circle Facebook and Twitter pages; Georgetown to Georgetown, etc.
Rather than post content that pulls fans back to M Squared’s website, they’re more interested in sending the fans to the direct content source (news or blog site). But wait, isn’t the whole point to drive traffic back to the brokerage website? Not exactly.
“The idea is that as a consumer I click a link for neighborhood news I’m interested in, then read that content directly from the source. Promise made, promise kept, trust earned,” Dominic said. “As a result, people follow the channels and a network is born.”
The listings do, however, point consumers back to M Squared’s site (again: original source).
Another nifty side effect is that M Squared now appears as a traffic originator, sending thousands of visitors each month to local, unaffiliated neighborhood blogs and websites.
This engine of neighborhood networks they’re building is about to get even more interesting. M Squared will soon release websites for their agents that will enable them to create their own content to publish out to the appropriate neighborhood pages. “Our agents will be originating content themselves, and have a built-in, sustainable network of readers, ready and waiting,” Dominic said.
Right now, though, they are building that foundation, and with much success. Dominic says they get about 12,000+ clicks on the content each month, 25 percent of which is to listings, which goes back to msqrealty.com.
Smart. And very strategic.
For an example of one of these social channels, check out the Facebook page for Adams Morgan, a hot D.C. neighborhood.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
M Squared started local, social and small. They have no interest in expanding geographically, but they do hope to grow their agent base to 60 agents. Dominic is busy developing the new agent websites and has a full plate keeping their mobile app, website and backend platform fresh and functional.
They’ll be opening another client center-type of office in the Logan Circle neighborhood of D.C., where clients can meet with agents.
Mark explains the reason they aren’t interested in expanding outside of D.C. metro is because their agents are so intricately involved in the neighborhoods of D.C. “We believe in doing what we do very well and not getting into areas we’re not familiar with,” he said.