In January 2018, Adam Contos took over as RE/MAX CEO for co-founder David Liniger. And, six months into his tenure, Senior Social Media Manager Kayla Roofe said he decided he wanted to embrace marketing and social media.
“It was a real opportunity to put a face to the brand,” she said. “We needed to start building brand trust, not only from our home buyers and sellers, but also within our network of brokers and agents. And we wanted to start building him up as an industry leader.”
Kayla started thinking about how they could set him up for success on social.
“At first, we considered working with different agencies, but we ultimately decided it needed to be someone in-house who can develop that relationship with our CEO and be consistently available,” she said. “At the time, I was a one-person team, so I said if they would expand my team, I would happily step up to work with Adam.”
Now, Kayla’s been working with him for over a year.
Early on in their content strategy planning, Adam expressed interest in starting his own podcast.
“We took that as an opportunity to frame the rest of our social media presence around what we were doing on the podcast,” said Kayla.
She said they decided to use the podcast as a platform for him to talk to entrepreneurs and experts both inside and outside of the real estate space, as-well-as an avenue for him to share his own experiences.
That podcast, called “Start With A Win,” soon became the cornerstone of their content.
Each podcast episode would be about 20 minutes long. With every new episode released weekly, they would break it down into 10 video clips that were 30 seconds to a minute long to share across their social platforms.
“Then, we’d write a blog around the overall topic of the podcast and post it on his LinkedIn account,” said Kayla. “We’d pull quotes and turn them into memes from the podcast. We would record twice a month, and that would give us content for one or two months to feed into his social channel.”
From every 20-minute podcast, Kayla said they generally get between 10 and 15 pieces of content.
Right out the gate, Kayla said they wanted to get Adam more comfortable speaking to a variety of different topics.
The first two months of content was all about showcasing the ideas that were in Adam’s head on a formal platform and channel.
“We didn’t interview anyone for the first few episodes, and if we did, they were internal guests who Adam was comfortable speaking with daily,” Kayla said. “After a couple of months, we started to branch out into our network of agents, and brokers. We knew we had to position ourselves as an authority figure in the space, and a lot of agents are interested in talking to Adam about his ideas to help them grow their businesses.”
Once they started to interview those agents and brokers, they would also follow up with them later to help push out their own episode. “Now, we have people reaching out to us for an interview,” she said. “We’ve also diversified our interviewees — with an HGTV host and a former star on The Bachelor joining us.”
While many CEOs position their content on LinkedIn, Kayla focused her strategy around building Adam on Facebook and Instagram.
“Those are the channels where our audiences are,” she said. “So, that’s where we wanted to focus our attention.”
They currently have a Facebook page for him set up as a business page, an Instagram page where they focus on Instagram Stories, a LinkedIn account that Kayla took over, a CEO Twitter account and a YouTube channel where they collect all their content.
Kayla said they decide on yearly goals for this content — and so far, it’s performing well.
Kayla said one of their biggest accomplishments was their post impressions for the year.
“We got over a million post impressions and coming from about 1,500 posts,” she said. “That means our content is shareable, that people are actually using it and seeing it, which then translates into engagement. We had almost 100K organic engagements on those posts.”
They also got good results on their video views on social media. “Our CEO is pro-video, so the fact that we had over 100K video views in the first year is great,” said Kayla. “I hope to see that number continue to grow.”
She said if their first year was about positioning and figuring out their processes, this next year is all about amplifying their successes.
Kayla recently audited their content over the first year to discover their top performers.
“Even though we built most of our content strategy around the podcast, our podcast was not our top performing content,” she said. “My next phase is looking at our content and evolving it, because I don’t want the podcast to be the dominant thing we’re talking about on social media.”
According to Kayla, now they want to put out more content about Adam as a person.
That includes personal moments between him and his family, his hobbies, things he enjoys, and content with his dog.
“Those pieces of content really humanize Adam,” said Kayla. “I’m working with him now and talking to him about what he’s doing on the weekends to see where I can either get content from him or encourage him to post.”
On the opposite end of that, Kayla said the other content that performed well was when they were talking specifically about their industry. “We have a heavy audience of agents and brokers, and they love hearing things about how RE/MAX is doing and what the real estate market is like,” she said.
To provide content that suits all of their audience needs, Kayla is splitting their content strategy into three different buckets.
“I want a third of our content to be personal, a third to be about the company through the podcast, and a third to be around the industry,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out the different kinds of posts within that breakdown that are going to be our top performers.”
One thing Kayla had to keep in mind throughout this process was striking the balance of Adam’s personal life and opinions, and Adam as the RE/MAX CEO.
“We didn’t want to have to slap the RE/MAX balloon on everything Adam posted,” she said. “We wanted him to be Adam Contos and the CEO of RE/MAX. But, one of the interesting challenges that came up right away was our legal team getting some concerns that we were positioning him too far away from the brand. We had to find the right balance.”
Despite that challenge, Kayla said they’ve been able to successfully put a human face to their brand.
“Even though we have a higher follower count than Adam on our brand channels, we’re starting to see higher engagement rates on his channels,” she said. “This helps us to amplify our messages in different ways and places an authority figure behind that message.”
To do this work successfully, Kayla said you have to have the right people around you.
“I’m a part of a larger communications team here at RE/MAX, and there is someone dedicated to our CEO voice or C-suite voice,” she said. “We made him an approver on Adam’s social content, so anything I create is at least checked by one other person. Just having someone you can run ideas by, that’s not the CEO directly, is a real gamechanger.”
She also set up weekly meetings with Adam early on to make sure she was getting face time with him.
“If I’m supposed to help be him on social media, I need to understand who he is, how he talks, and what he’s passionate about,” she said. “The weekly meetings really helped us out the gate. After the first six months, we started meeting once a month to talk about content strategy. Now we’re at a point where he texts me photos of cool things he’s doing that he wants to share, and I help him post it.”
According to Kayla, she’s seeing an increased interest among C-suite individuals to do this kind of work — but best practices are just emerging.
“We’re at a point where CEO and C-suite level executives are willing to start taking that risk of being on social media because they know there’s an added benefit,” she said. “But, there aren’t a lot of people in the industry that work with these individuals. There’s not a lot of testing done around it. It’s still new, and my goal is to help other people play in this space because I want to see more CEOs on Facebook. It’s not just about LinkedIn anymore.”