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Social media gurus, are you listening to the crowd?

Somehow I doubt it. But in case you are (I got over 100 more in email), we’re going to continue our discussion on how you’ve gone about killing passion in the real estate space and clear up a few misnomers.

I’m not anti-training. Training is a valuable tool in consumerism. It keeps all professionals at the top of their game and reinforces value. Training or the idea of training in and of itself is not the crime. The crime is in what is and is not being taught; what has been elevated to the point of mission critical is not what is actually mission critical.

With all due respect to those that may disagree with me, blogging is the cornerstone to all online marketing unless your goal is to simply boost traffic and the prestige of the latest social network. It has become commonplace to lay out the easy route of skipping blogging altogether in exchange for a 140 character retweet of something completely unrelated to the goal. In other words, you’re teaching the virtues of pulling, but not teaching where they’re pulling to, nor constructing and delivering a point of value (POV) in which to capture community within an agent or broker’s web property. In other words, you’re low level, teaching low level ideals and principals, not building the value of the agent in the eye of their consumer. To prove my point, I often ask myself “become a fan of what?” What exactly is on that fan page, where does it lead me, and what do I find once I get there? If there is nothing, then there is no value.

Instead of high level discussion on the value platform of an agent, there is only the “me” quest. “Me” quest begins with a barcamp, then usually another conference and then another. Suddenly, all reality has flown out the window. The blog is dead, the agent is playing geek, passing out 140 characters of nothing, all while the consumer they once hoped to capture have found an agent that has focused on the cornerstone- the content only they can provide, it’s personal, it’s spectacular, it’s exactly right, and it closes the deal in terms of winning the consumer. It elevates the consumer to partner- this is social media 101.

No agent should be on to advanced levels of social media until they’ve actually cleaned up their house (their blog and website are active and in order), and are ready to receive guests. The invitations come after, but this seems to have been skipped all together. Teaching facebook or twitter to an agent that has no place to call home is the equivalent of the homeless man on the corner begging for change. I’ll give him a buck, but I’m not really sure why or where it’s going, or if he is really what he says he is… a struggling homeless person could also be a full time beggar making twice your income. We would know more if we could see more, if we could dig deeper, if we could better assess him, but no, the light turns green and the opportunity is lost.

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I think Ruthmarie drives it home when she says that blogging is hard work, and it is. But like anything else we’re passionate about in life, it ain’t work if you love it, if you love what you do. When was the last time a social media guru could sell someone passion? The answer is and was never. One can inspire you, but what you do with that inspiration comes from you, and no where else. There is no shortcut to being a mega producer, it also takes work, but if you ask a mega producer if they hate their work, they’ll tell you “hell no, I love what I do.” It shines though, and they succeed.

You can’t teach or sell passion. I can sell you how to turn on your computer and explain why you should turn it on, but what you do in that moment should be natural if you fully understand what it means to be consumer-centric. I see very few honest people in social media to be quite honest. I say that with much regret. Realtors are told to be human and not to sell, yet it seems no guru has built really anything they can call their own. It’s a facade of followers and not much behind the curtain if you get my meaning. It’s self promotion buried below layers of other people promoting nothing- it’s hype. For you, pretty flyers, better web UI, and a facebook fan page isn’t enough unless your goal is to be a really bad blonde joke… you know, a lot on the surface, but not much going on in there, if you get my meaning. A traveling ball of ego, self promoting and sheep throwing all while saying look at me, I’m a geek on a plane with my iPad all while tweeting out how much they admire their friends at the other end of the flight.

Folks, that isn’t real estate, it’s bullsh*t.

Imagine if you will, a billboard with a picture of your phone book ad on it- your old fashioned social profile. Your face is there, the office number is there, a consumer calls, but no one answers. OR worse, you answer but not much knowledge or resource is there to build credibility. I suppose you could put them on hold, call a competitor, ask them the questions and switch back over with the answers without any attribution? This is the equivalent of using other people as the source, so why not just call them in the first place, we wonder? Why wouldn’t you staff your office with expertise? The same is true for your blog (the point of value).

The gurus are lying to you and they’re omitting huge facts- anything worth doing takes work, and if you love what you’re doing, it’s not work at all. This isn’t about being in the cool kids club, it’s about your clients wanting to be in your club. That’s consumer-centric social media, that’s consumer-centric real estate, and all else is piss poor marketing with only a badge to show for it.

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…and then there’s those that actually do teach blogging, but I’ll save that one for another day.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Daniel Bates

    September 17, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Preach It! Whole Heartedly Agree and glad to see you pull a Real Estate Tomato client out as an example 😉

    • Benn Rosales

      September 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      I really doubt that Ruthmarie does what she does because of a tomato, she does what she does because she is passionate and knows who she is. How demeaning. Seriously. If she wants to attribute that passion to something else, that’s really for her to say.

  2. Misty Lackie

    September 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I love this quote “Teaching facebook or twitter to an agent that has no place to call home is the equivalent of the homeless man on the corner begging for change.”

    That sums it up perfectly!

  3. Matt Thomson

    September 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I teach a CE course in Washington about social media, that is centered around the “Hub and Spokes.” 2 main principles of the course: 1) You don’t have to do social media to be successful. Bad social media is far worse than no social media. 2) The blog is the hub, the rest are just spokes. If you don’t have that hub, that landing page, who cares what spokes you have.

    I don’t think I share your feelings towards training, as I love to teach and train (I get that you don’t see that in and of itself as the issue). I do believe you can teach people to find a passion in blogging. I helped an agent set up a great blog…about wineries in WA.

    Too many agents let “lack of time” and “I’m not a good writer” stop them from doing what they need to do. And WAY too many agents feel they “have to” blog to keep up.

    I share your opinions on this, but I don’t think I’m quite as remorseful or passionate or forlorn (can’t quite pin your emotions) as you are. There’s always been, and always will be, people who do the next big thing poorly. And there’s those that do it well.

    • Benn Rosales

      September 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      I can help you find your passion, but I cannot sell you one. I can inspire you, but I don’t have to sell you what inspires you.

  4. Jeffrey Douglass

    September 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Benn, what a thought provoking post, thank you.

    A few comments.

    It seems to me that every real estate agent that is not a “short sale specialist” or foreclosure expert has gone into social media expert business.

    You have one real chance out there and if you don’t get your house in order you will #fail in social media. Some folks are best to leave it alone, it will actually do more harm than good.

    For instance, I followed a agent the other day on Twitter that looked interesting. One week later came a direct message thanking me for the follow and asking to do go to his website to buy or sell a home. A quick few seconds looking at my profile would have saved him from the subsequent “un-follow.”

    How many times have I followed a link on a twitter or e-mail to find the agents “virtual office” is complete joke. Unfinished contact pages, last blog post on December of 2008, and tons of ME..ME..ME..ME…AND…MORE…ME.

    My blog is written for client content. It is hard daily work but builds an on-line credibility that will be crucial to doing business in the next 2 or 3 years. Unfortunately most agents are looking for the quick fix, the magic pill, or the free solution. The ship has sailed and most are standing on the shoreline of cluelessness.

    Soon it will be way too late to establish that on-line presence. All they will have done is waste time running form one new platform to the next.

    Blog for yourself and business, but also blog for a higher purpose of setting quality information free to those consumers so desperately searching on the Internet. They deserve so much more than what is out there today.

    Bravo for speaking the truth.

  5. Alex Cortez

    September 17, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Personally, I think it’s better to forgo social media altogether if the attempt/efforts will be half-a** and passionless. Good stuff, Benn.

  6. Lesley Lambert

    September 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Total agreement from me here. The best thing I ever did for my marketing was to write blog posts and I spend lots and lots of time nurturing my blog sites. I love all the aspects of social media, but agree that without the home base of a strong blog, you are tweeting in the wind.

  7. Sheila Rasak

    September 18, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Jeffrey hit the nail on the head! There’s that fine line out there and a lot of agents don’t see it and stay into the me, me, me, puleeeze look at me when they should be caring about the consumer out there looking for expert information to help problem solve today’s current real estate market.

    Too many homeowner’s do not know who to trust or where to go for consumer protection. i take a stab here and there at helping to get the word out. If I help a homeowner in the process, so be it. If they come to me before the bank forecloses and I’m able to either refer them to someone local to them or help them myself, that much the better.

    I don’t blog about me. I prefer to blog about what matters. Afterall, I’m a person, not a celebrity…Thank God for small favors as I don’t want to carry a mini-dog in my big designer purse, get in trouble with the law and call myself by singular name. (Think, Lindsay, Paris, and Britney.)

  8. Joe Spake

    September 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Benn, thanks for saying what needs to be said. Real estate social media “instruction” is thoroughly missing the point. It seems that many are “learning” that is more important to be a Cool Kid than to be a productive professional real estate agent.

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks

    September 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Benn,

    Thanks for the mention. Was a tad surprised! First, I will say that the Tomato people are excellent. They take the burden of a lot of the mechanics away from me and they helped teach me how to build readership.

    However, they can lead the horse to water – but they can’t make it drink. You have to find what works for you and works in a sustainable way. I am lucky in that I enjoy photography and feel it is a very important component of local real estate. I think I’d be pretty lost if I hated it.

    For those who hate writing and for those who can’t stand photography and just can’t bring themselves to post frequently…neither blogging or social media will work well. Posting junk won’t work either. Active Rain has some excellent writers – but has a ton of junk to sift through just to get to the good writers. Taking an article from the NY times – no matter how good it may be – writing a few words after posting a link is NOT quality blogging. Reblogging the posts of others in lieu of writing your own content is NOT blogging. Occasional personal posts are fine and add personality, but having useful content is essential. That’s the sticky wicket. AR has been good to me but I am concerned that the “anything goes” mentality will create problems for the consumer. It becomes a matter of the lowest common denominator reflecting back on the whole. Almost any form of media can be a victim of its own success. I think that’s what we might be seeing here.

    Although I agree that there is waaaay too much ME, ME, ME in blogging and social media – some of what we do blogging and otherwise begins with us. When I started blogging I made it all about me! What I mean by that is that I pretended I was a buyer who didn’t know the area at all. I pretended to be a buyer in several cities that I had never been to before. How to even get started when you don’t know an area? And took it from there.

    Then you personalize it for your area. Since my area is about 20 miles north of Manhattan with a 30 minute commute – I have geared the blog to Manhattanites that have money, but are having trouble affording an acceptable lifestyle in Manhattan. The problem is that most Manhattanites view Westchester as “upstate.” Like some kind of frontier land! Many would prefer to stay in Manhattan, but it is so expensive – a large percentage really have to move “upstate” unless living in 700sf of space with two kids and a dog is doable for them. Knowing that – I sought to put those fears to rest. They were NOT going to need a horse and buggy to get anywhere and to show them that there is upscale dining, entertainment and retail in the area with far more affordable prices. (Westchester is wicked expensive – but everything is relative.) I also reassure them about the commute and focused my attention on areas where the train commute was less than 45 to midtown.

    The above are unique issues to my particular market. Bloggers and those working social media have to look at who is buying and who is selling in their areas and address those unique needs. Those things can not be taught by a guru.

    One more thing – I worry about everyone and their pet canary hanging up a shingle as a guru. Far too many agents are finding making a living a tough slog….and the one thing I have found out over the last five years in this industry is this: Agents are suckers for anything that will increase leads. Many “agents” monetize because they aren’t making a living. There is nothing wrong with that if they have something to offer. Some markets (including mine) are at a standstill. But be honest about what you can and can not offer. There is almost no transparency here and I get piles of emails daily from “gurus” telling me that they found me on the web and want to help me increase my “presence.” Well – if you found me on the web – I already have presence. Lowered production may indeed be that my market is in rough shape. But if that’s the case – you can’t help me.

    Sorry this is so long….didn’t mean to bore all of you!

    • Rob McCance

      September 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      Like the duck pics. I’m a photog enthusiast as well and have shot many a duck in my day as well.

      • Ruthmarie Hicks

        September 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

        That lens was for detailed molding and Victorian or Tudor homes. I hadn’t used it for anything else and happened to have it with me that day. I decided the ducks were a great target for detail.

    • Benn Rosales

      September 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      You’re just so bright. and I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass :p

      • Ruthmarie Hicks

        September 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

        Thanks Benn,
        That’s a great complement. It sounds as if you are on the war path…Just when I thought it was safe to put out my own shingle….

        Just KIDDING! I was thinking of doing some local stuff some struggling local businesses. Our area is separated by little villages and some of the bricks & motor businesses might be helped with a jolt of activity from adjourning towns. That’s one of the reasons I blog about them. I hate to see it become one giant strip mall with local businesses going belly up all over the place.

  10. Rob McCance

    September 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I hesitate to even write this. Maybe just stay under my rock here. But here goes..

    I like blogging. I enjoy it, do it quite often and nobody needs to urge me to do it. I’ve even written some SEO/AdWords/Lead Generation articles for our very own Agent Genius. (check em out, they’re classics)

    So, I’m definitely not against blogging.

    Now that that’s all clear, I must say that I don’t see why setting up a successful blog is so mission critical to Real Estate. In fact, none of my recent clients found me through blogs, frequent blogs, or even know what a “post” is or what “RSS” is or even Google Reader.

    I don’t have a blog and I get ALL my clients from the internet and generate many hundreds of leads a year. No exaggeration.

    I instead have a web site and I try my best to provide valuable information in unique ways and formats for clients and future clients (prospects). It’s always a work in progress. Right now, the site is frankly pretty weak, but even in this form, it still works.

    For me, blogs are for learning and sharing information with like minded people. Not for generating leads in Real Estate.

    The general public (your potential clients) has a bell curve of interest in real estate information. It starts at zero, begins to rise the moment it’s apparent they are going to move, and peaks about the time they write their contract (or sell), or some time before that. After they close, unless they are in real estate themselves, they are done with all the real estate info. It’s back at zero. They stop going to the site, never come back to the IDX, and stop contributing to your blog, if they ever did (doubtful)(not on mine).

    I’m not convinced a blog is the best way to fulfill this transient interest. In my view, a well designed informative web site fits this bill better.

    To me, blogs are not really for corralling the public, they are again, for like minded people with common interests to meet and discuss things. Not real good for someone that could care less in 45 days from now.

    Don’t forget the original “reason” bogs were pushed onto real estate professionals.

    Anyone remember?

    So you could accumulate a lot of targeted local content for your site so it would rank higher in search engines! Good ole SEO.

    Now that I said all this, if you choose to convey the information to your web site visitors in blog post fashion, then there’s an argument for how blogs are important for real estate. I do some of this myself, but rarely does any potential client make a comment on the posts. So is this really “blogging?”

    If you read this far, congratulations and thanks.

    🙂

    • Benn Rosales

      September 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      I read every word. I’ve never endorsed blogging as an SEO selling point. It’s simply one of the positive side effects of a great blog. But to your point, if you removed the website and inserted only a facebook page/twitter acct no matter how active, there is no presentation of value, only the social side of the person or ‘lack there of’ we actually find the depth within the website, and the blog takes even that to a new level.

      I gauge relevance by my own personal habits. If you do not have a google business profile, and are not listed, I will not find you if I need a service or storefront, from there if you do not have a yelp, I will not be able to rate or review you, you don’t exist in my realm. If I know you’re a business and I cannot find you in either, I’m frustrated and now seek you on twitter and FB, but by this point, I’m not doing business with you, I’ve already judged you negatively. If you have the google business listing, I’m probably now on your site and consuming your content.

      Now that’s just my habit, and to be honest, it’s a very natural habit of a lot of folks. I just realized this past week that I personally have a pattern although I had tried to avoid it. It just happened naturally.

      Considering how few consumers you really have on a micro level, there are a lot of patterns to plan for, but strategically, if one has a listing on google, and a nice website, you’re going to get a call from most. It’s just not rocket science to be ubiquitous in the most powerful ways.

      I stopped letting google sell me relevance a year or so ago, but I’m a somewhat educated consumer, your blog will help you if you still leave your results to Google- this pattern is diminishing, but it isn’t dead. I think of a blog as a word grenade, a personality grenade, a relevance grenade, and a turn-on or off grenade.

      If your read all of this, thanks for reading :p

      • Rob McCance

        September 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm

        Benn,

        I would say that YOU are not the average bear when it comes to your internet surfing habits and internet vendor verification methods. Not even close – You are an extremely high end user, and you know what you are doing.

        One of the challenges with trying to attract real estate prospects is there is tremendous variance to the persons visiting the site, and it’s biased big time towards to very low end of internet capabilities.

        For example, today a older lady called me from VA and left voicemail. I called her back and at the end of the conversation, I asked her “what’s the best way to get all this information back to you, do you prefer email (I was hoping) or phone.” She says good ole phone call. Ouch. I guess I’ll verbally describe listings to her.

        Ok, so this one is super low tech. She somehow found my site and got my number, but that’s the end of the internet part of this for her. This is the second largest group I see.

        The largest group I see are visitors can register on the IDX but then apparently, judging by the usage reports, can’t figure out how to search for anything, and that’s as far as they ever get. They also do not reply to emails. Still possibly good clients though….later.

        The smallest group, the extremely rare prospect, and I mean one in 200 or more here, registers, responds to my welcome email, reads a few of my lame articles, sets up searches and maybe even an alert or two. (love em!) Basically done deals if they are serious.

        Nobody EVER has subscribed to my RSS feeds of listings, to a specific community for example.

        Out of these groups, how many of them do you think will make the rounds you described (Google Business, FaceBook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.)?

        Answer: none. Or maybe 1 or 2 in a year from the smallest group.

        I currently have all of those services you mentioned covered except FB&Twitter (just flat out refuse to participate) but I guarantee you they are not being checked out by the average real estate searcher client.

        So, I’m planning for the bulk of my visitors and trying to keep it all very simple so they won’t get confused or irritated and surf away.

        I think that showcasing 6 or 8 blog posts on my home page definitely would not hurt and I may try it some day. But they need to be really fluffy because I really don’t want to risk turning any of them OFF via your “turn on/off grenade.”

        Realtors are not in the position these days of turning down quality clients because we don’t really care for their personalities, or we get into some Blog debate with them.

        Basicaly stuff like Ruthmarie has – Calendars of Events, Duck Photos, Craft Fair info Posts, etc.. It just can’t hurt unless it confuses people and they get off the site before leaving an email somewhere.

        Like I said way back – I like and support Blogging. I’ll add to that now by saying that Realtors just need to tread carefully into this arena on their sites. Add some value and interest and not be caustic.

        And lastly, good luck agents getting any RE Prospects to make comments to your posts and having it all thrive. Look at all the comments on Rughtmarie’s excellent posts, for example.

        The only successful RE related blogs I have seen are Agent to Agent. And we all know agents can’t shut up or quit typing (like me) so these things have mega traffic.
        I’ve still never seen a high-traffic thriving Agent to Public blog. CityData is public to public and PhoenixRealEstateGuy is agent to public but most comments are made bty other agents.

        Wow, this is long. Sorry.

        • Ruthmarie Hicks

          September 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

          I don’t get many responses from prospects in the comments section. I don’t expect that at all. I don’t really CARE about that. I do care that they pick up the phone or give me their information and get on my mailing list by signing onto IDX.

          Anyone with $4 million in sales altogether was in the 90th percentile for our market. So I can say that it DOES work. Do I need more business? Who doesn’t? Our market has been virtually frozen since the middle of 2007. Since I started in late 2005 – its been a rough road and this is the ONLY thing that has pulled much of anything.

          It is unusual for me to have three non-real estate posts in a row. The events calendar took off for some reason and I have about 200 readers a week for that. Cramming it in on the appropriate day has become an issue from time to time. The site itself has built up to a little in excess of 3000 visits a month. If you look at the pages there is GOBS of information about core real estate and neighborhoods.

          However, relatively few people enter via the home page. One of my main target audiences – Manhattan – averages about 700-900 visits a month. But they don’t come in through the home page. Most come in through pages on White Plains, Tarrytown, Larchmont etc…in other words COMMUNITIES. I’ve worked hard on long tail SEO so that the individual blogs and pages pop up in searches.

          I’m rearranging some of the sidebars to make things a bit more user friendly and am rolling out a huge new series for buyers from the city. The site is promoted by a variety of means. Moo mini cards – Listing cards (business cards – scattered around) – Cards with specific domain names that are redirected to specific pages. Post card campaigns etc. That’s why I can’t tell you fully how much is specifically the blog. If someone picked up a post card or mini-card and came through that way – that might not be due entirely to the blog.

          • Rob McCance

            September 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm

            Ruthmarie,
            Using your site as an example was in NO way a knock of your site. I love your site, no need to defend it.

            My comment was more of a general one that if you want a thriving active blog as a RE Agent, then good luck because it’s very difficult to get prospects and clients to participate.

            Your blogs are well done and plenty interesting for your local market. They are on a site (yours) with reported high volume of traffic. And still, no comments.

            So, for blogging, most agents will be relegated to ONE-way blogging. Where you write the post and then you get no comments. So you have to just keep writing them but each one is dead ended and does not grow content on its own, which is one of the goals.

            Anyway, we both understand this. I have 5 or 6 posts as well and like two comments total. LOL.

            We have similar site strategies. The bulk of my traffic comes in from the 65+ Neighborhood specific landing pages I have. See the Neighborhood Navigator at the top right. Many of them rank on page one of Google for the community name and various combinations.

            I also use AdWords but finally my organic traffic is exceeding my Adword traffic. I just checked my last 30 day summary on Google Analytics:

            atlantarealestateinfo.com/

            View report 3,067 00:01:34 73.26% 0 -4.66%

            Down 4.66% in traffic at 3,067 visitors. Average time on site 1:34 with a 73.26% bounce rate.

            I’ve done 11 transactions so far this year and my gross is way north of $4M. The average sale in my neck of the woods is over $500k and I’ve had some bigger ones. Every single client comes off my site. I do NO local lead generation whatsoever.

            So now we have publicly compared stats.

            Like you, I have huge plans and ideas for my site. I want to differentiate it a lot more from the sea of sameness out there which I have somewhat fallen for myself. I also want to build 6 or 8 city specific portals, with tons of specific info on each. Like Alpharetta, Duluth, Marietta, etc. I’ve done all the KW research already, several times, since that’s the fun part to me.

            Anyway, perhaps we can take this offline and if nothing else use each other to provide feedback and or ideas on each other’s sites. I think we’re pretty much non-compete!

          • Rob McCance

            September 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm

            Ruthmarie,

            Set you a reply but it got stuck in moderation because I tried to paste something in from Google Analytics and I didn’t know it had a nyperlink in it.

            Hopefully it will get released soon.

  11. Dan Connolly

    September 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

    There are many, many different ways that people find a way to make money in real estate sales. Some people hang out at the country club and play golf and that’s it. Some people knock on 500 doors a day, or cold call for 4 hours a day. Some chase FSBO’s some chase expired listings, and some work funeral homes. Some mail 3 thousand postcards a month to neighborhoods, some specialize in REO, and some specialize in investors. Some people are married to the head of the hospital or the president of the university and they get enough business from their spouses circle of influence to make a huge living. Some people set up websites that work and the phone rings off the hook. And there are some who get a lot of business from blogging, facebook and twitter.

    But not everyone who tries to, makes a living doing any of the above. There are people who try to train people in all of these standard approaches. The world is full of those who will take advantage of the agents circling the drain. We have such a easy way into this business, it is inevitable that there will be a huge fall out rate. Plenty of these “trainers” do a miserable job, with hokey scripts, cheesy post cards, ineffective websites and bass ackward approaches to every kind of training. It’s not just limited to social media.

    The agents who ultimately learn how to make a living have to have enough common sense to sift through the bull and figure out what works and what approach fits their personality. The phony gurus aren’t limited to social media they are everywhere in every approach to every business. But it doesn’t mean that any of these methods (including social media) is inherently flawed. With the right person and the right application any of them can work. None of it is easy.

    • Benn Rosales

      September 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      Amen, but what’s changing is that we’ve already ranted about the 1.0 bs, we’re not onto 2.0 ranting. The minute you step up as a trainer / guru / designation, you’re now vulnerable to review, and that’s exactly what we intend on doing.

      • Dan Connolly

        September 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

        i wish you would name names, I know you are not wanting to be sued, but nonethless, I’d like names or hints.

        • Benn Rosales

          September 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

          It has nothing to do with legalities, to name one bad one you indirectly endorse the rest that are equally as lousy and to numerous to name- help me find a great one, that would speak more volume.

          All consumers should ask discerning questions. Personally, value is in the eye of the beholder, and what we’re getting at here is there are people in the space that have virtually been around minutes in the conversation and already bringing books and products to market based on other peoples work, study, and doing a pretty 1/2 ass job at it. The depth in which some of this takes is 10s of thousands of man hours to assess and is being narrowed to buzz words and phrases to sell a class or keynote as some sort of get rich quick product.

          I cannot believe how many emails and direct messages I’m getting over this, there are many gurus that should be very careful as there is a fire brewing over the issues I’m bringing to light – the bubble is rupturing in real time.

          Listening to the crowd is in the best interest of even the most popular social butterflies.

  12. Drew Meyers - YouReach Media

    September 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Love this post Benn. I’m a passionate guy, and agree that 1) NO ONE on the planet can teach passion and 2) that passion is vital to success with social media. You either have it or you don’t. And for agents who don’t have it, they should get out of the business and go find something they are passionate about; life is too short to waste doing something you hate just to make a buck.

    • Bob Wilson

      September 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Drew,

      None of you taking money from agents and brokers to teach them how to make money in real estate using social media have done it yourselves – meaning you have not been successful selling real estate in THIS market using social media. You are still selling a pipe dream.

      Asking the Bill Lubins and Jim Marks of the world if they ever sold real estate doesnt mean anything and doesnt make them any more credible that any one else because Lubin didnt build his biz on SM and either did Marks. Both saw their greatest success in a market that was completely different – a market where hanging out in Starbucks was all it took to get business.

      hang your license and employ the tactics you pimp, then come back in a year and tell me how it worked for you and you will have some credibility. otherwise you are just another passionate snake oil salesman.

      And shame on NAR for giving these guys a platform at NAR instead of the real top producers out there.

      • Drew Meyers - YouReach Media

        September 20, 2010 at 5:07 am

        Bob-
        Jim’s entire Virtual Results business was built on social media. But you’re right – we haven’t sold real estate ourselves (I for that matter have never sold a home) in this market using social media. But Jim’s clients most certainly have.

        A big reason I was attracted to working with Jim was because he doesn’t sell sh*t to sell sh*t like many in this industry; he genuinely wants to create the best damn products that actually work. He looks at the data, figures out what works based on analytics, and implements that. YouReach is no different; the strategy is not a pipe dream without real examples.

        “And shame on NAR for giving these guys a platform at NAR instead of the real top producers out there.”

        There are certainly some in this industry who have the technical know how & time to figure out internet marketing (which includes social media). But that’s most certainly not the norm. Real estate agents make money selling homes, not from mastering all aspects of internet marketing. The top producers are too busy selling real estate to worry about this stuff — and I would guess most top producers don’t even do their own technology at all. For instance, Russell Shaw uses Number1Expert for his website. I don’t think there are any true “top producers” who have built their business using social media. If you know of any, please share who they are.

  13. White Bear Lake MN Homes for Sale

    September 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Benn, this is a great post. It’s difficult (or impossible) to build a stable pyramid if you are trying to build the top portion first (i.e. the social media marketing) without having a solid foundation (i.e. website, knowledge, and being a real resource for clients). This is a great reminder for us all. Thank you!

  14. Blaine MN Homes for Sale

    September 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Benn, this is a great post. It’s difficult (or impossible) to build a stable pyramid if you are trying to build the top portion first (i.e. the social media marketing or any marketing for that matter) without having a solid foundation (i.e. website, knowledge, and being a real resource for clients). This is a great reminder for us all as we try to build and sustain our businesses in this challenging economic climate. Thank you!

  15. Patrick Healy

    September 21, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Great post. I think that there are a lot of folks out there that have lost site of what’s really important in the industry – selling homes and having genuine relationships. I think there is a place for teachers/coaches/etc/etc/etc but when those people try and overshadow the real goals of what has to happen, you get what you are describing. There are too many folks that are spending their day doing social media and not doing real estate.

    I myself have never sold a home or even owned one and I consult on operations management and marketing strategy. I don’t pretend to be a Realtor (and many do) and don’t pretend to have all of the answers. What I do is help businesses become more proficient and efficient with the technologies that are out there. That’s it.

    This faux celebrity and hype show has to stop. It’s killing the industry. It’s convincing these real estate professionals that you can sell real estate without actually selling real estate. Wake up people. There is no easy way, just smarter ways to work to use your time better.

    Thank you for sharing Benn.

  16. Jim Somers

    September 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Benn;
    Mostly you’re right, but why the disparagement of BarCamp? By coincedence, we held a BarCamp here in San Mateo County (California) yesterday. It was my third. At no single BarCamp event I have attended did anyone even once disparage the blog. It has consistently been the central focus of most of our sessions. It was recognized by all that the blog is our home, while facebook and twitter are timeshares. But these tools have their uses. And, done smartly, facebook is really a mini-blog. It can play a powerful role.

  17. Matt Dollinger

    September 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Benn,

    So I’m jumping on this post late and usually don’t comment on alot of the stuff that you guys provide here at AG – however, this post you wrote is something you should be proud of.

    In fact, I think it stems from something even before blogging… something that I have tried to focus on with our company and my agents.

    You need to be a competent, knowledgeable, professional and 100% committed-to-your-clients real estate advisor before any of these things make any sense to implement.

    Much of this that is marketed today is simply “cutting corners” to get business. It’s not about knowing the market better, negotiating better, or being better… it’s getting business. Because if you get more business it doesn’t matter if you’re good or not – you’re simply playing the odds.

    I agree with your post almost 100%. IT – was written with passion and conviction. Jeff Douglas is a great example of someone who I really think (gets it) and uses his platform to convey his knowledge to potential homebuyers and sellers in his market. Use him or not, he has done his job as a RealtorR and educated the public.

    This is just my thought on it, but figured it related pretty well to what you were speaking on.

    Matt Dollinger
    @properties

  18. Steve Crossland - Austin Realtor

    October 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Good topic.

    With regard to Realtor education, especially for the newbies coming into the business, I do worry that context, or the “big picture” is often missing as Realtors either ride or get drowned by the tech, social media and digital tidal waves that dominate the “must do” topics of the day.

    Social Media activities are but another tool to add to a complete lead generation strategy. Social media, blogging, twitter, Facebook, etc. are often characterized as “must do” activities which, if ignored, leave the agent in “the dark ages”, or “missing the boat”, and that’s not necessarily true for most agents. In fact, these activities probably hold back and ensure failure more agents than they help.

    For all the hours some agents spend on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, if they’d just print 100 fliers and go knock on doors for 2 hours, they’d generate more leads than two hours on Facebook. Or if they’d sit an open house on a high traffic street in a farm area, they’re more likely to pick up a buyer than posting their inane life snippets on facebook.

    But there is a reason not all agents (few actually) knock on doors, or cold call, or mail post cards (which still works by the way), or attend (real life) networking events. It’s because everything doesn’t work for everybody, so we all have to find our most effective efforts and do those things. Personally, I don’t do open houses because I’m no good at it, but I do write a blog, because I can write fast and express myself.

    Some agents network well through kid-related friends and activities such as soccer, PTA, volleyball leagues, etc. Others, as mentioned by another commenter, have a huge business network from a former career, or a social network (real life one) built from decades of living in Austin, or a sphere built through volunteer efforts in organizations.

    And frankly, the last thing a lot of those “real life” network friends want to start seeing on Facebook is the daily drivel from their friend-turned-Realtor about what listing appt they are driving to, or what house they showed yesterday, etc.

    The point is that an agent does not *have* to be on Facebook or Twitter any more than they absolutely *have* to knock on doors, do open houses, or any one specific activity to be successful in real estate. But I think the message being heard by most agents is that these online efforts are the new *must do* activities, and that’s a false message.

    Instead, the simple questions every agent has to answer are:
    1) Where am I going to get my leads?
    2) Of the lead generation methods available to me (including old school, new school, digital, face to face, online, offline, phone, etc), how do I decide which of those efforts and activities would be the most productive use of my time, given my unique set of skills and experiences?

    For many, a careful analysis of how they can best spend available time, would not result in the adoption of an immediate Social Networking strategy, especially if doing so would leave other more productive efforts untapped.

    So, I’d like to see less assumption-based social media offerings in Realtor Education (the assumption being that every agent has to do it or “else”), and more framing of Social Media and technology as just another tool to add to the box, which may or may not be an effective tool to pick up and use.

    I really do think a lot of agents are wasting a lot of time doing unproductive stuff online, and our industry and its educators keeps cheering them on blindly.

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