Does your Real Estate Agent use Social Media? Should you care?
An article in the Sunday Chicago Tribune made me want to throw up on my shoes.
Here’s a link to to the article, which was entitled “Home Tweet Home: Agents turn to social media“.
It’s not a bad article – IF you’re someone who is in the business of selling the real estate industry on having more agents and brokers using social media tools – and using their mobile phone, too.
But it’s not a great article – because the takeaway is all wrong. From the headline, you’re going to guess that you should be using Twitter if you’re a real estate agent who wants to sell more houses. NO. That shouldn’t be the takeaway…
So, we’re first going to talk about some of the things we disagree with if you’re using social media for real estate. THEN we’re going to give you a brand new takeaway. Here goes:
1. It’s Not All About the Numbers
Here’s a quote from the article:
“Gregg Slapak, a real estate broker with Exit Realty Redefined in Wheaton, has close to 5,000 Facebook friends — the maximum for the social networking site. On his recent birthday, more than 1,100 well-wishers from all over the world sent him greetings.”
Awesome. Gregg is popular and he’s so busy on his birthday that he can’t possibly respond to every well-wisher.
And does this make you want to buy a house from this guy?
Gregg goes on to say that “70 percent of his clients find him today using their computers.”
I’m not picking on Gregg here – have never met him, and maybe he is darn good at his job. But let’s continue…
2. The misnomer is that it’s a “tech-only” business
The article went on to say that the new generation of buyers want to text message with their real estate agent. They want instantaneous communication. They’re using social platforms first and foremost – a fact I won’t argue with. But here’s where the article’s premise – that you have to be “social” first – goes off the rails:
“Terri McAuley, a broker with Koenig & Strey Real Living in Chicago, estimates that 75 percent of her new clients have never met her in person.”
Maybe I’m missing something here – buy those shopping for a home haven’t met their broker in person?
I’m left with a very shallow opinion of both sides of this equation: the agent will take any business they can find without so much as a handshake – and the buyer would rather see that there’s a Facebook presence or that the broker can use a mobile phone to send a text message. ACK.
3. Google and Yelp. Google and Yelp.
I can’t stress these two things enough – but they are afterthoughts in this article:
Remember our example above, Ms McAuley:
“…Instead, they rely on Yelp reviews or Google searches to find her.”
As well they should. As well they should.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, if you are a real estate agent or broker, focus on Google and Yelp FIRST.
These should not be afterthoughts in your “social media strategy” – actually, they are the table stakes in your marketing – which is on- and off-line these days. You could spend hours learning how to do this right – and you SHOULD.
Because if someone finds you on Google or Yelp and reads up on you and decides that they don’t want to work with you because you DON’T HAVE 5000 FACEBOOK FRIENDS…you didn’t want to work with them anyway.
4. When Your Agent Has a Social Media Consulting Business – BEWARE!
This is a serious pet peeve of mine: the agent or broker should be working for you – and real estate should be their one and only profession.
You’ll find some dynamite speakers out there in real estate land – but the second someone crosses over from “agent” to “social media consultant” – you are no longer their focus. That sucks for you if you’re their client.
Real Estate Professionals: What Are You Leading With?
When we “wrote the book” on Social Media for Real Estate a couple years ago (and then rewrote the book again), we knew that a lot of this stuff would change. That’s why we focused on things like “knowing your target market” and “going where the buyers are.”
This doesn’t change; but the overarching theme of our work – then and now – is that you need to “be the kind of agent you would want to work with.”
Information is everywhere: and maybe you can find out more than enough about Gregg and Terri to decide that they’re the person you want to work with for your next real estate transaction.
AND, maybe it IS important to you to create a kicking Twitter presence and a dynamite list of Facebook friends.
AND…leading with the real you – Hey, Authenticity!!! – is never a bad thing to do. But here’s the thing, and here’s your takeaway from this article:
Location, Location, Location – Where is it?
This is the thing you should be leading with, real estate professional. We said it in the book, we’ll say it again, and here’s where you should build your online strategy:
Take a Look at Your Last 10 Transactions
There’s a theme there. Right?
If you found all ten people you sold homes to from Facebook, that’s great. Keep at it.
If all ten people found YOU through a Google search, maybe that’s where you should be spending your time.
Better yet – if all ten found you through a common thread, like a work or school group, or a club, or your referral network – isn’t that the thing to cultivate even more?