Saturday, June 25, 2011

Following Up On Social Media Tools, Strategies For Real Estate Practioners

Recently I published a short post about social media and small brokerages. I had about 20 attendees at a recent luncheon presentation, and have been asked to give an updated overview of social media there in the fall, as well as a similar presentation soon to the members of the Licking County (Ohio) Board of Realtors. The very reason I was at the Independent Brokers Association to start with was because social networking is a passion, and an approach I have advocated for years.

In fact, my invitation came about from Doug McCloud, a past president of the Ohio Association of Realtors, who suggested IBA approach me about such a presentation due to my avid CRE blogging and use of social media. Doug had attended one of the LinkedIn classes I had taught to members of the Columbus Board of Realtors. A few hundred attendees each time, with great questions and feedback.

The reason for this brief commentary is that in the past week I have received more than a dozen comments from a number of sources. Each one an advertisement or link to sites where they are selling stuff. I publish useful comments, constructive comments. I provide links to other sites of interest, where readers can learn. I do NOT permit links to advertorials or flat out spam. Sorry won't do it.

With that said, I'll give a brief rundown on my philosophy for social media and real estate brokerage. This works for me. It might not be everyone else's cup of tea, but since this is my forum (my sandbox?) I get to share my philosophy first and foremost.

I do not believe in putting listings on social media sites, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or some other equivalent tool. Links to a list of listings are okay (thats what I do), but your site should not be populated with listings. It is a waste of space and time. Listings can be found everywhere -- buyers and sellers (consumers all) don't need agents to help them find property. Your social media site should be about differentiating yourself from the competition. Showing the agent is the expert. It should be about teaching, educating, informing. Making the reader more knowledgeable. But at the same time, increasing the author's credibility and reputation. THAT is the best use of an agent's time in social media, IMHO.

Case in point. I have buyer after buyer who say they were drawn to me because I shared knowledge. I didn't brag (generally), and I wasn't trying to shove buildings down thier throats when I had no idea anything about their goals and needs. True, commercial/investment brokerage is different from residential real estate, in thatwith the latter people simply want to buy, or sell, a house. Find their home. Create their shelter, their domicile, their respite from the rat race. In my biz, there are any number of different motivations. Those differences often are extensive -- they could be: early retirement, set up personal pension plan, put aside money for kids' or grandkids college, built a nestegg for travel, protect the value of an existing family estate portfolio, and so on. Often, the type of motivation dictates the type of investment property one is seeking.
Here is another thing: I don't use or like Facebook for real estate. A lot of agents love it, and that's fine. If it works for them, great! But I have found that most people using Facebook for their real estate business are just throwing listings on it. There is no strategy behind it. Secondly, rightly or wrongly, I have a bias against sharing the same platform that teenagers use (FB) to candidly and credibly promote complex business practices designed to help build portfolio wealth and support the the bottom line of well known institutions and corporatons. Facebook is a great tool, respected by millions of people. It just isn't for me.

Notice what I said earlier, also. If there isn't a strategy behind what someone is doing for business with a social media tool, it is not only a waste of time for the owner/agent who is using it, but visitors will quickly find that these same sites are either not dynamic (they don't change very often). or they offer nothing but listings that can be found anywhere else.

What I teach, preach and otherwise advocate is how agents can use these tools to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

That is what has helped my practice. So, to those folks who expected me to publish their comments (in reality, links to the stuff they are selling), sorry. Like I said. If you have something on your site to share that is constructive and educational, I'm all over it. Just trying to sell your CDs, books and tapes? Not gonna happen......

As always, thank you for your support!!!

No comments: