Inman Connect NYC
This article was originally published on January 15, 2009 as author Brandie Young’s debut post that stirred things up right off the bat… I missed RE Connect in NYC this year – but kept up via Twitter and various live streams. All the excitement about the dynamic presentation given by Gary V piqued my curiosity.
I was floored when I watched the video on Facebook – and not in a good way. His advice to real estate agents incited a very lively discussion between me and my friend, Ginny Cain – a panelist at RE Connect – around the responsibilities of “internet famous” folks. (In fact, she’s posted the video and written about it here)
They are superstars
They’re Internet Famous. They have thousands of followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook, listeners on Blipfm. Everyone wants to know them, connect with them. We follow their Tweets and read their blogs. They are Social Media master black belt ninjas, and we all want to emulate their success in this arena.
The problem? If we were to follow their advice – and they got it wrong – it could potentially cause harm in our business. One strategy does not fit all industries! Sorry Gary V – IMHO you got it wrong!
We’ve entered an era where 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers and just 14% trust advertisements1. That’s not surprising.
We all like the comfort a referral brings knowing someone else took the risk of trying a new service provider with good results. (Aren’t a good deal of your new clients referrals?)
Gary V’s advice could harm agents’ business
The difference being these days we are taking advice from someone we may not actually know in real life (although we feel we do, having followed their Tweets and read their blogs). As Ginny stated, “Selling real estate is not selling wine”. Her contention was with Gary V’s recommendations that real estate agents spend 50% of their time on Social Media activities, stop “thinking local” and cut advertising altogether.
Those three pieces of advice could prove harmful to an agents’ business. If you are spending 50% of your time in front a computer, you can not be out and about in your community and forging those “real world” relationships that will ultimately get you business.
No flyers, signs or ads? Huh?
That said, if you embark on a Social Media journey – which is a great idea – you will initially spend more time getting things set up. But allocate your time wisely. And be warned, it’s addictive!
If you adjust your thinking to a more global perspective, are you truly going to get more clients? Unless, of course, you want to target relocation business. And cutting advertising all together? Seriously? How will anyone find you in your crowded, noisy marketplace if you aren’t out there? Better yet, how would your potential listing client react if you told them your marketing plan was to blog and Twitter about their house – and that’s it. No ads, flyers, signs, online listings, etc.
There is a saying: Fish where the fish are.
Your fish are not shopping exclusively for homes on Twitter, Facebook or Google. Key word: exclusively. They check Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and other sites. In addition, I’ll bet there are many smaller markets where the local newspaper still yields the best results. If you’re not represented where your clients shop, how can they find you?
You should leverage social media
“Stealth” is not a good business strategy for real estate agents. That said, I do believe you should leverage social media to grow your business. I like the program Pat Kitano has built to train real estate agents on tactics they can deploy utilizing Social Media. It’s put together specifically for an agents’ needs.
Please be mindful of the advice given by Internet Superstars. Hear their ideas and advice and absolutely take advantage of those great tidbits that can help you grow your business. Just consider their area of expertise. If it’s not real estate, listen with an open mind. While they are passionate about their own use of Social Media to succeed, a lack of real estate knowledge could cause them to (unknowingly) offer bad advice. Don’t get so caught up in the enthusiasm that you fail to really consider if this advice will work for you.
You might be thinking: But, it’s worked for Gary V (and a slew of others). True. But, I bet if Gary opened a retail wine shop, he wouldn’t move it to an obscure, out of the way location and take down the sign. If he did, how would anyone find him?
(I have a feeling this – my first post on AG – will “Bring Thunder to My World”…)
1. Nielsen “trust in advertising” report, October 2007
Photo courtesy Adrants from Revision3’s Internet Superstars at ad:tech San Francisco