10 Tips For Getting Started with Chatter for Real Estate

July 29th, 2013 – in technology tips

Here at Propertybase we love using Chatter. It’s the easily the most-used tool in our business to communicate internally and externally. In this article you’ll learn all about Chatter, and how to get the most out of it for Real Estate, including 10 handy suggestions for getting started.

Propertybase is very a collaborative company, so to make sure we’re all in the loop and not bogged down in emails, we use Chatter to share ideas, approve them, move things along in our pipeline and ultimately, get stuff done. Communication systems like this are key to social CRM, but it seems there are a large number of Real Estate businesses who don’t yet understand the concept… we know it can get quite convoluted. So let’s break down social CRM, what it means to you internally, externally, and how you can use chatter to achieve some of these social CRM goals.

What is Social CRM?

In short, Social CRM leverages the social web to provide your customer with more value. This is achieved, generally, through ‘social listening’, whereby you track, follow, and engage people and conversations relevant to your business.

Potentially, Social Media opens you up to a global customer base, but in practice social customer relationship management is challenging, time consuming and hard to do well without a strong focus. In the coming weeks we’ll delve into social CRM, and best practice tips on being a social brand in real estate.

Our Knowledge Base has some great content on how to use social media in in Propertybase as well as our blog post on social listening. If you want more detailed information about Social CRM in general, take a look at this in-depth article from Social Media Examiner.

What is Chatter?

Chatter is designed to give you the space you need to service clients needs better. Right now at least a handful of leads are lying in your inbox, buried under too many back and forth email conversations. Chatter brings relevant content and conversations to you, based on your preferences, shares, likes, and notification settings, so you can engage actively in the conversations that interest you, instead of being bombarded by ‘reply all’ email streams.

Chatter is a place, where all of your business can exist in one collaborative place, and have all of those important discussions searchable by topic and archivable, for future reference. Naturally, Chatter is a feature of the Salesforce platform, but it is incredibly powerful used in conjunction with your Propertybase.

Leveraging the Social Company

Chatter is often referred to as the social network for your company, which might seem a little off-putting to those who think of social media as a time waster. However, Chatter brings value to your ‘Social CRM’ strategy by leveraging the knowledge of your entire company, and fostering increased transparency, communication and collaboration.


Holding a discussion on Chatter is a way of opening up business processes to your organisation. You can, of course, control who is included in communications by creating communities (check out our tips below for how to do this). Transparency means you can see who is online, and contributing to tasks, pushing them through and also where blockers to a task are.


Transparency breeds better communication techniques. More open channels of communication to the people you need, means a flow of business ideas, and eliminates information silos. People can join or exit the conversation at any time, instead of being CCd, BCCd, or Forwarded messages, missing emails, being behind on a conversation and getting lost in email clutter. Chatter can help communication proceed at a faster pace, with more streamlined approval processes. Open conversations also make people accountable to expediency, and efficacy in their communications, so even the most long-winded writers will adjust their behaviour to suit the platform.


Businesses are increasingly collaborative, and Real Estate should be no exception. Social Media, Marketing, and other online activities should be playing an increasingly important role in your business by now, so your internal and external interactions will be growing exponentially, between a more diverse array of departments and platforms respectively. With so many moving pieces, Chatter is terrific for organising your collaborations and business interactions, whether internal, external or from a selected group of colleagues. The customer centric company is a collaborative one, where multiple skills and people are needed along the customer life cycle, from the time they approach you on social media to the time they engage your services. Collaboration means a quicker turnaround on ideas, and access to the resources and information you need that ultimately work to convert your leads into happy closings.

Why Your Team Isn’t Using Chatter and How to Solve it

The most common aspect of non-adoption of Chatter we come across is that agents simply want to keep to themselves in an effort to protect their commission, and their sale from prying hands or eyes in the sales pit. Not only is this mentality a little outdated, but it’s detrimental to creating a modern Real Estate business. Protective mindsets can be appropriate in some cases, but in an enterprise where there are perhaps hundreds of minds to leverage knowledge from, Chatter is only as good as the community contributing to it.

You need to incentivise Chatter. Encourage contribution, formalise the channel as a method of business communication, and lead by example. Don’t wait to be the first, start a community invite your colleagues, and start using the tool to get more done. Make cutting down on emails a mission for the company. Help your team to see the productivity benefits of reducing emails, and breaking down the information silos.

Here are some neat figures we came across while researching this article, about how much time employees spend on various tasks in business.

Employees spend 36% of their time “trying to contact customers, partners or colleagues; find information, or schedule a meeting” (Source: Inc.) - 14% percent of an employee’s average day is spent: “duplicating information (forwarding emails or phone calls to confirm if fax/e-mail/text message was received) and managing unwanted communications, such as spam or unsolicited phone calls” (Source: Inc.) - Chatter has the potential to reduce organisational emails by 32% (Source: Salesforce)

While these statistics aren’t real estate specific, they are certainly indicative of a wider lack of productivity from follow ups, back and forth emailing, and searching for information/resources.

If you’re not using Chatter yet (and can relate to at least some of the statistics above), you should definitely be taking it for a spin; the benefits could be incredible. So now that we’ve told you how amazing of a tool Chatter is, we made a list of 10 things you could with Chatter right now. If you have Chatter, pick one, and do it… Right this instant!

10 Things You Could do In Chatter Right Now

1. Setup a Community

Communities are a terrific way for you to communicate privately both internally and externally. You can set up communities within your organisation, to ensure only the necessary team members are included on more specific communications

2. Share files

Upload a file you want comments or approval on, and ask people to give you feedback via Chatter.

3. Download the free app

Chatter will be of little use to those agents out of the office i they can’t see the real time updates. The app is free to download, and is easy to use in conjunction with Propertybase. Just install, log in, and everything is ready to go from your Chatter stream. Download it from iTunes or Google Play.

4. Tell people about your close!

Talk about your success via your feed. It’s great for a little healthy competition, and your colleagues can congratulate you, and learn more from your process.

5. Setup Groups

Setup a group of your colleagues. Invite seller agents to engage in a group purely for them, or create one based on a particular project.

6. Start a Hashtag or Topic

If there is a hot topic in the office right now, set up that topic in Chatter. This makes it searchable for everyone in the business to catch up on what they missed with this conversation.

7. Setup Actions in your Feed

We have a whole blog post on how to get this terrific feature into the top of your Chatter feed and make your data entry super quick.

8. Ask a Question

Do you have a problem that you’re struggling with, or a client question you don’t know how to answer? Get on chatter and ask your colleagues right now how to solve it. Before you know it you’ll have a whole discussion going on, and maybe even an extremely indepth answer, that will benefit your customer.

9. Go to Salesforce for detailed usage ideas

That’s right, take a poke around Salesforce for some extremely detailed information on being a Chatter pro.

10. Post this article in your feed!

Can’t think up anything to post? Post this article, to start the dialogue and get some discussion going on something relevant and helpful to your team. Lead by example!

So did you do at least one of the things on that list? Don’t just stick with our suggestions, figure out all of the functionality Chatter has by just getting in and using it. Chatter is not just the ‘social network for your business’, and the list of business benefits extends far past just using it as such.

Tell us how you’re using Chatter in your real estate business, and in what creative ways you’re leveraging the tool internally and externally. Remember to share this article with your colleagues and network via the buttons at top if you found it useful.

Author: Sara Regan