As recently as 6 or 7 years ago, our largest marketing expense was buys in The Wall Street Journal. We were in nearly every Friday edition and that single ad used to drive a tremendous amount of buyers to our clients properties. As the years went by and more and more people turned to the internet for searching property, those ads became less and less effective. We eventually phased them out all together because they simply did not work any more. Today more than 90% of home buyers will use the internet during their property search. That's remarkable. Never before has such a huge percentage of an audience been in one place. It's because of this trend that we focus so much of our time and resources on internet based marketing with our website, www.homewaters.net as the foundation. It's the destination to which all of our other online marketing points.
Through our various agents and brokers, we belong to 5 different MLS systems throughout Michigan. These are the databases that all area REALTORS use to find information about available properties. Even more importantly, it's this MLS data that is used to populate nearly every national website including REALTOR.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com and more. The photos, description and details entered about a given property into the MLS determine almost entirely determine whether a given buyer will care to pursue that particular property. If done properly, it can generate interest for the most difficult parcel of land. If done wrong, it can prevent otherwise perfect buyers from even wanting to seek more information. We recognize the significance of this information and work hard to ensure every single property represented by our firm is displayed in the most attractive light possible while still providing a realistic portrayal of the property.
Once a playground for college kids, social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have become incredibly powerful tools for marketing when leveraged the right way. Between our various Facebook Pages, Twitter Accounts, Blog, Google+ Pages and Pinterest Account, we have the ability to reach 1,000's of followers in an instant with exactly the message we wish to send. Never before has it been possible to get that type of reach across the entire globe in so short a time. Thanks to our efforts in social media we can proudly say that no other northern Michigan brokerage has the social media reach that Homewaters, L.L.C. does. Click any of the icons at the bottom of the site to view our various social media outlets.
Many people enjoy exchanging ideas through various online forums that are tailored to their specific interests. This has become a very effective place to market properties. By introducing a property to people with a specific interest that ties in with that parcel, we can often find buyers who weren't actively in the market. Michigan Sportsmans Forum is a very effective place to generate interest on any property that would appeal to hunters, fishermen or others who enjoy time in the outdoors. We're a paid advertiser on the site so we have the right to publish content there. It's a right reserved for advertisers and has proven to be extremely effective. Other forums for sailing, snowmobiling, golf and other activities can also be used.
While it's technically a social media outlet, Youtube is unique in that all of the content is in a video format. We've built a channel within Youtube that allows users to view our videos by playlists that appeal to either the type of property they may have an interest in purchasing or by the geographic area. We'll be expanding our video exposure moving forward because it's quickly becoming the preferred medium for most internet shoppers and that includes real estate. Click the Youtube icon at the bottom of the site to view our channel.