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Why passion in the real estate space is dead [op-ed]

It’s true. “I’m using social media” has replaced “I’m #1,” tweeting has replaced standing for something, and friendship is just another word for monetized.

Gone are the days of reciprocation, attribution, and unique ideals that are shared and vetted. The real estate space as we knew it in 2005-09 is dead and its history is being rewritten by the maven/guru/ninjas of the industry. The passion is gone and ActiveRain is to real estate as Twitter is to the rest of the world as the place to be for smoke blown up your ass, and if you’re on both, it must be euphoric- now you’re really a big deal!

I’ve spent a lot of time resisting this article and it’s just come to a head in this past week… I can no longer remain silent. As more and more real estate practitioners merge online, the failure of experts to promote and teach the fundamentals of conversation though blogging has created a vacuum of epic proportions in the realm of consumer-centric real estate. I loathe the idea of selling numbers over quality, and followers in exchange of fans, but that is exactly how it’s being taught by fraudulent gurus every day.

If you’ve been online for any length of time, then you know if something is missing the tenants of consumer-centricity, then it’s not social media, it’s just marketing – bad marketing.

Three people today attempted to sell me a course, NAY, a designation for social media, and I’m thinking to myself, you can’t sell or buy social media. I mean, I can sell you how to turn on your computer if you’re really that ignorant and I’ll even throw in a badge for knowing that you should turn it on. Please

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I mean no disrespect at all to those that have been in the space, done the time, listened to the masses, engaged in dialog around relationships and cultivated the very space and ideals I’m speaking of- to be quite honest, there are very few of them.

I’ve been asked several times this week if I was friends of so-and-so only to say no and to learn that so-and-so has used my name or the AgentGenius brand to further their personal agenda. With a little research, I couldn’t even call the folks acquaintances. What in the world is wrong with people? It gets worse to hear the backbiting of those once called friends utilizing our influence for their own gains. It truly makes me ill to see those same people attack the very foundation of the influence they’ve stolen.

There’s a buyer for every swamp, just as there’s a follower for every guru. I say to those that are truly a friend, remain true to your consumer, not your ego. Your feeling of fame on Twitter or Facebook is merely an illusion, and the ball truly is succeeding in business.

The way forward is clear, and many will attempt to pull you from the path, but you do not need a designation to build and foster a relationship. Gauge not a person’s integrity because I follow or do not follow them on Twitter. Quite frankly, there are very few people other than my wife, family, or Christ that influence me or my decisions. We’re not interested in being co-opted and if that makes us enemies, so be it.

If no one is centered around their business and their consumer, improving the industry, nor the reputation of the Realtor brand so be it, die a painful death- we’ll report on it and continue to work with people who understand the values of a consumer-centric culture.

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If you’ve been handed a geek t-shirt by a Realtor coach this week, burn it; I implore you to understand that being a geek is not a business strategy. It’s a turn down a dark path of following followers to conference after conference to blow smoke up each others’ ass. We’re F’n AG, and if we’re not there, it isn’t worth attending and you don’t have to sell your soul to hear content regurgitated on a stage that people read on AG the year before.

Has it ever made you wonder how in the hell one can produce if they’re at every conference, every month, every year? That’s right, they’re not producing… their lonely spouse at home is, and they’re out selling you something other than real estate (ego) and the last time I checked, YOU are the one still in real estate.

A month ago, our company was approached by a builder vendor to consult on an “innovative new widget” they could “pass off to their builders” (their words) as an answer to their demand for a more social consumer experience. Seriously? Needless to say, we’ve never looked back. Between cheap idiotic brain pickers and self-centered self-promoters, the smell in real estate today is a stench of hysteria married to complete loss of focus and vision.

This is the last I’ll say on the subject, you know where I stand. There are very few people I dislike in this world, and few I’d ever speak poorly of, even if asked, but not because the gurus have issued a decree that they should not be called by name in public, but only in private (which is code for “we’d prefer to talk behind your back“). Yes, we are all seeing and all knowing, and that person you call a friend says they’re our friend too. Welcome to social media. It’s a small world after all.

So Benn, you wrote this article, and I’m just a learning guy or gal, how do I sort real from bullsh*t? Well, that’s easy. Just email me and I’ll tell you what I know, and if you happen to need help turning on your computer or logging in to Twitter, I’ll probably answer those questions too.

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Fear not AG readers, the passion here is still alive and well, and we’ll continue to keep those that make decisions honest, as hard as they try to minimize or devalue us- AG is still the king of what’s hot in real estate. If it’s worthy, you’ll hear it here, but not because they’re a diamond sponsor or a platinum sponsor, but because I think it’s something you should see and check out for yourself. People in this space know me as being level headed and fair, so you know that if I am the one saying all of this, it’s getting pretty thick.

Last but not least, don’t buy a piece of technology to fit into a wannabe old man/old lady chic geek crowd, do it because it’s a productive tool that will further your business or your life.

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.

66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. Kye Grace

    September 15, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Boom! I will sleep well tonight knowing finally, finally someone said it. Someone qualified to say it.

    Sadly it is only going to get worse I am sure…I am watching the locals in Vancouver, once known for their innovation being sucked down the same drain…chasing the latest, the shiniest, the coolest kid on the block…in meantime not doing the simple things that are here and now.

    You know, a decent blog, a site that solves consumers problems, some basic SEO, some quality interaction online and offline for sake of being genuine…just for starters…

    Of course you know…cause SEO is dead. Only Bill Cosby has been dead more then SEO in the past 3 years…yet it still seems pretty effective. And Bill Cosby is still alive.

    All while the ‘gurus’ & ‘big machines’ of RE technology and marketing are doing little then taking their money, focus and time to be Realtors in turn for doing little more in return then buzzwords and suggestions to try this or that in beta. You know cause it is cool to be the first to do something other then prospect, convert and close…regardless of the fact the only other people using these items in ‘beta’ are others chasing their tail instead of being present…

    Ok maybe I won’t sleep well now…I, like you am plenty tired of this crap.

  2. Chris Johnson

    September 15, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Active Rain is a tool. Not a club. It’s a tool to get buyers & sellers.

    It can work.

    So is Twitter. So is BHB. So is this.

    All can work.

    And there are people that go Home Depot, have the newest offerings of Ryobi and the best battery packs, and the most nifty things. And they can’t cut straight.

    What people don’t do is serve others. The vacuous personal branding ethos-being a star (ilo) being of service is the real deal.

    bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/?p=13070

    We’re all vendors. Nobody wants to hustle, nobody wants to work, and nobody wants to be of service. The idle people group together and come up with schemes like “The real re barcamp” or certification schemes, or the evil RTB movement.

    I rejoice in your despair. I’m glad you’re here. I pray it’s real. I pray you double down on this and kill it.

  3. Loren Nason

    September 15, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I know this is all you want to say but more has to be said. I’ve been wanting to write a post about the Facebook Page creators and some of the BULL SHART i’ve seen.

    I’ll start with saying that Facebook Pages can be great, but they take work to cultivate them and have an engaged audience that can possibly bring you the opportunity to engage more people.

    What I find atrocious is this charlatans selling “facebook page” packages that cost $500, $1000, and I’ve seen $1500 facebook page packages.

    HOLY FREAKING CRAP … are you that gullible to shell out $1500 bucks to have a “custom” facebook page? I’ve seen some of these pages and they have 3 fans, maybe even 10 fans. Big woopitydoo. And the Wall is EMPTY with no status update.

    I could sell these crap facebook page packages but to me that is just joining forces with the devil and ripping some (l)user out his hard earned cash.

    Learning to use these tools effectively is not about how much money you can spend. You need to learn to use the tools and just be a normal human.

    There is no get rich quick on facebook/twitter/blog

    Put some work into and learn it. Those who have the mindset to learn and engage will be successful w/o spending thousands on badges that say they are E-PRO or SOCMED Pro

    How about a badge that says = #URAFI

    ok… i feel better on joining your rant…. I will have to continue this later as a post on my blog.

    • Jessica Thornton

      September 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      I have to say that I agree with both of you… and it totally boils right down to there is not get rich quick from social media. You cannot easily monetize your efforts, kind of in the same way you cannot monetize traditional public relations. But for MANY people out there, (ahem, especially real estate agents, ahem,) it is not as easy for them to “Figure it out” or “learn” on their own. Courses designed to truly educate and train on the execution of tools and strategy online are totally valuable — large in part because they get old school agents online and comfortable with how a LOT of communication works today.

      So I get that everyone is frustrated with the overload of “Experts” in the field and the seemingly rapid shift towards social spam, bear in mind that those who maintain the ideals of the power of social med are the ones working the hardest, putting in the most time, in order to preserve the value of the tools and networks before they all fall apart. And the most idealistic are those training others to recognize the medium they are dealing with, and apply the same strategies and principals…

  4. Loren Nason

    September 15, 2010 at 2:36 am

    oh look … theREninja on twitter tweeted out your link

    I wonder if they play Fruit Ninja

  5. Kristin Kanan

    September 15, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for your article! I’m pretty green to real estate and I sure picked a fine time to join the club, huh? But I’m not new to social media. In fact, the real social media IMO started with games, which I worked in for 6 years in the early 2000’s. Heck, I even had a fan site for a game franchise.

    I gotta tell ya – there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to swim out of the pool of social media trainings being offered left and right.

    Right, so the way I look at is this. While all the wannabe social media experts spend all day online reposting NAR articles and tips for home buyers, I’ll be out doing it old school and go outside and actually talk to humans.

    And when I do start writing (it’s brewing), you can be damn sure I’ll be honest…. with sugar, of course. 😀

  6. James Chai

    September 15, 2010 at 4:22 am

    We all get the need to learn about something to get a better understanding and not be “sold”. But there are way to many real estate professionals turned SEO, SEM, SMM etc gurus. They get a few followers and fans and are now self pro-claimed web 2.0 experts … I mean really.

    When I talk to clients and they feel the need to educate me on “technology” then I wonder what the heck am I doing here?

    We would love to see Agents, Brokers and Realtors get back to selling real estate and let the tech guys/gals (people who do it for a living) sell the technology. Is that too much to ask?

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    September 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Thank you… This kind of post is what brought me to AG in the first place.

    In the past four years I’ve seen genuine friendships in real estate and a few marriages dissolved because of “friendships” in social media. At the beginning of this year Jennifer and I made a conscious decision go not travel to every BarCamp, spend our lives Debating “RTB” (which is really only agents trying to get rid of competition.) and to concentrate on clients and the agents I manage. Online engagement has changed. Twitter is so noisy it’s useless and I think I’ve given it the college try…

    I do teach classes of all types and some are technology, but I’m now trying to concentrate on tools and shy away from “social media” because it’s been tainted. If you don’t get genuine interaction, I’m no longer convinced that it can be taught. I just don’t know, anymore…

  8. Ken Brand

    September 15, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Plenty to chew and ponder on. A Break-Pattern is a gift. Resisting seduction requires consious effort, which is generally, in short supply. Rock on Benn.

  9. Erica Ramus

    September 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

    If there’s a chance in hell of NAR or others making money on a niche or fad or trend they will take advantage of it.

    You can get e certified (meaning you know how to send an email and attach a document). You can get green certified. Short sale certified. And now of course you can be social media certified.

    You can also be knowledgeable in any or all of those areas and not pay a dime for the priviledge of calling yourself an expert and attaching more letters behind your name.

    I believe in taking classes to become more educated, reading to become more knowledgeable and learning a niche to better serve the clients.

    I don’t believe in forking out dollars so I can add to the alphabet soup list on a business card.

    • Mary

      September 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Erica, you are right most of those selling on social sites don’t even know what they are selling yet they have 300,000 followers!

  10. Fred Romano

    September 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

    What a fun article to wake up to! You are such a great writer Benn. Don’t hold back now.

  11. Marc Davison

    September 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I like.
    A lot.

  12. Nick Sweeney, DotLoop Social Media

    September 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Thanks so much for finally telling it like it is. The amount of smoke, mirrors, and insincerity on Twitter is palpable. Thank you for pointing out what needs to be said: that the real estate industry is at its best when it focuses on people its serving, not the egos its boosting.

    Bravo for a well-written – and heartfelt – article.

    • Houses in Pasadena

      October 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      And “bravo” to you Nick.

      Too many people forget the ‘customer’, they just want to see their name with a dot com at the end.

  13. Drew Meyers - YouReach Media

    September 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Benn-
    First off, I do think it’s important to realize that, like me, you’re accustomed to interacting with the agents and brokers that are ahead of the pack in terms of technology adoption. While doing social media for Zillow, I only talked to non tech savvy agents when I traveled to trade shows and I was constantly bombarded with questions about Twitter, SEO, Facebook pages, websites, etc. on those trips (or ended up with an angry agent moaning about the Zestimate on their listing). The rest of my time was spent interacting with the likes of Jay, Kris, Ines, Jim Duncan, etc — no one needs to show them the basics of social media or how to use it, they already get it. However, I very quickly realized when I jumped from Zillow to YouReach Media that there is still 75-80% of the market that has no idea what are all these tools were, and hasn’t the faintest idea about how they could potentially harness those tools to build business and grow their sphere more efficiently. I knew those agents were out there, but I didn’t realize how big that group was until I started talking to them more regularly. At YR, most of the agents in our first group of 200 agents who started in March were not social media savvy and they genuinely wanted our help to figure out how to harness social media tools to their advantage. The fact of the matter is that not everyone will go learn Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Zillow, Trulia, and Flickr themselves the way you and I do. They want someone to walk them through the process and be there to answer questions along the way.

    My point is that there is most certainly a need for social media training in the market. Frankly, if there wasn’t a need, there wouldn’t be so many social media offerings to weed through — the market wouldn’t warrant them all to exist. Now, the question is what form does that training come in…and I think that’s where the real debate is.

    “you can’t sell or buy social media”

    I 100% agree. But you can buy training to help you with understanding and utilizing the tools available at your disposal. And you can pay someone to help you develop a strategy and answer your questions in a timely fashion. Can those things be done for free? Yes. But is it worth the time it takes to find all the resources yourself and ask strangers to strangers hoping for a response? Maybe, maybe not — depending on how busy a particular agent is.

    Lastly, I still believe the people who are truly successful with social media are the ones that really do genuinely care about the relationships they are building and strengthening. The passion is not lost by those who care and will succeed; but it’s being drowned out by all the crap being posted. But I’m confident that over time, the good and passionate will surface again and the crap will get filtered out — and if it doesn’t happen naturally, then tools or exclusive aggregation sites will be built to help people find the good amidst all the bad.

    • Benn Rosales

      September 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

      I’m sure somehow you thought I would say “oh I didn’t mean you, Drew” that’s your first mistake. Secondly, we’re abundantly clear on what percentage of the real estate industry is ill equipped digitally, we happen to study it for a living, and just as an FYI 66% of the AG audience monthly are new to blogging three months or less. We’re well aware of our audience.

      I wrote exactly what I meant, and now that you’ve pitched your company and what you do, and can put that aside, you can now take a step back and actually read the article.

      I respect you more than you can possibly imagine, so I’ll ask for your respect in turn.

      This article is not about not needing training, it’s about what you are/are not being trained to do.

      • Drew Meyers - YouReach Media

        September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

        Benn-
        No disrespect intended…and no, I didn’t expect you to specifically exclude me from this post

        First off, I genuinely thought my comment was about as non salesy as someone can get while still not hiding their bias. My comment was my true thoughts on the subject, and not a pitch for my employer. I can’t comment here on a topic about social media and pretend that I’m not biased on the topic. If I did that, I all but guarantee someone else would chime in and tell the rest of the audience about my bias (and make me look stupid in the process) — if you disclose your bias, then no one else can…learned that lesson from DavidG 🙂

        Thanks for the clarification on the 66% — that’s useful background. Frankly, I assumed a lot less than 66% of the AG audience would be new to blogging. I would bet the overall industry wide number is closer to 80-85% then given people have to be somewhat tech savvy to make it to Agent Genius.

        I just reread the article — maybe I misinterpreted a little bit, but it’s abundantly clear you think most of the social media offerings and “gurus” (I really hate that word BTW) in the industry are crap (and hence not worth paying for), and I agree that’s true. The tone of this article makes me think — and probably the rest of the people reading here too — that you think social media training is not needed. Based on your comment, you do think training is a necessary part of the social media landscape — correct?

        • Bob Wilson

          September 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm

          “it’s abundantly clear you think most of the social media offerings and “gurus” (I really hate that word BTW) in the industry are crap (and hence not worth paying for), and I agree that’s true.”

          Drew, you should host the VMAs next year. You are way funnier than Chelsea Handler.

  14. Mike McGrath

    September 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    That’s what we need! Great post, Benn. Here’s ours: “Real Estate Needs More Rosales” https://bit.ly/bcAFpT

  15. Brian Block

    September 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Amen Benn!

  16. LesleyLambert

    September 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Benn, you are so right on so many levels, but I agree with Drew about the massive number of agents out there who still don’t understand social media and the need for them to find good training. My articles here are targeted towards embracing them and educating them so that they can find their way. Training however, isn’t a synonym for designation. Regarding designations, I happen to think most of the REALTOR designations are bullbleep, but that is a different rant.

    Social media is networking and if you are trying to use it otherwise, I think you will fail soon enough and become one of the ranks of “social media doesn’t work” people.

    “Has it ever made you wonder how in the hell one can produce if they’re at every conference, every month, every year?” Heck yes. As a single mom, every trip and conference I attend takes me away from the opportunity to earn and be with my children. I don’t attend many (even though I love them) because I simply cannot.

    Thanks for being so refreshingly plain with your thoughts, I love that!

  17. Missy Caulk

    September 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “Has it ever made you wonder how in the hell one can produce if they’re at every conference, every month, every year? That’s right, they’re not producing… their lonely spouse at home is, and they’re out selling you something other than real estate (ego) and the last time I checked, YOU are the one still in real estate.”

    Yes I have wondered this time and time again. There is NO WAY to be successful in Real Estate, serving your clients and be gone all the time. It is simply not possible.

    I think (thought) the Social Media Designation was totally ridiculous. Now in saying that…I will say most folks don’t “understand it”, know how to do it etc…Nothing wrong with training but to have a Social Media Designation behind my name would be laughable.

    Benn, you Rock!

    • Jordan Gilbreath

      September 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      Took the words right outta my mouth–thanks Missy! And thank you, Benn. Our service (realtor’s service) is about finding the people who want to buy and the people who want to sell & walking them through the process. It’s as simple as that.

  18. Anna Altic

    September 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Damn Ben… Does this mean I have permission to not ever blast out my location on four square every ten minutes?

  19. Jim Marks

    September 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    What part of this is news? This is nothing new. This is a NOT a break pattern. This is a pattern.

    Every few years a “new something” comes along and some agents throw money at it and waste that money, while other agents take the time to determine if “that new something” is valuable and if so, learn the “that new something” and make it a permanent and valuable part of their business…

    Whether they PAY to be trained or DO it themselves is a business decision and personal. No right. No wrong. (how they best learn/implement and the highest and best use of THEIR time.)

    The frustrating part of this whole situation is the lack of RESEARCH or QUESTIONS the agents who prefer to learn by training ask about WHO they are paying or WHO they are learning from? What is the trainers credentials? Is the trainer monetizing social media? How do THEY know what works? Can they show you clients that are actually making money doing what they are prescribing. Are THEY making money doing what they are prescribing? Where are the numbers? Can you show me the results? Did YOU sell Real Estate? How did you do? (none of these questions alone matter.. but there has to be SOME experience of success?)

    The sheep analogy goes WAY further than the Realtors. The TRAINERS are sheep, also. I cant tell you how many times I have been at a table where “Guru A” tells”Guru B” a piece of info and that info INSTANTLY becomes part of Guru Bs lesson. No research, No analysis, no testing. It INSTANTLY becomes fact. This is crazy.

    I have NO ISSUE whatsoever with Realtors paying for quality training. 10% of the Agent population doesnt know the difference between their email and websites. They have ZERO chance of “figuring this sh*t out.” There is a NEED for quality training.

    If I were an agent, I would hire a technology person to keep me up to date on the latest trends and show me which were effective and create strategies for me to implement. I want to invest MY time doing what I do best…..Selling Real Estate

    Now, to be clear, I am NOT saying that ANYONE NEEDS to do SM, or Internet Marketing at all… but if they decide it is right for their business and choose to engage, 60-70% of the agents would be best served to find a REPUTABLE, CARING, SMART, PROVEN marketing consultant or training class.

    This is not about the tool. It is about the lack of knowledge to use the tool.

    85-90% of all agents WEBSITES are failing. Is this because the Internet doesnt work? Web Marketing isnt effective? or the agents lack of understanding… Perhaps they could of used a little training… If they would have been TAUGHT what the Econsumers search and click habits are, and what an effective website looks like, perhaps they could have helped their web designer create something that actually worked. Perhaps training would have saved them 8 years of owning an Internet Business Card instead of a Real Estate Website.

    Instead they were told, “Get a Website… You need a website.” They figured it out on their own…. How is that working for them?

    Now they are being told “You need to DO facebook…” This is the pattern. Push the new button. Not “here is the button, This is how it works. This is what it is for. This is the amount of effort and results you can expect. This is HOW to best push the button. This is how the button CAN become addicting and suck the life out of your business, etc… now with all that knowledge… decide if you want to push the button..but do it with purpose.”

    More training, not less.

    I would be willing to wager that 80% of all agents reading this thread who feel they KNOW SM WELL are failing at it… Why? Because they dont understand the Internet Consumer and have no strategy toward it. They cant. They are not Analysts and most of the info out there available to them is supposition. Not Analysis. Granted, there are exceptions. But, MOST agents will never be Ines, Kris, Jay or Sue. It comes NATURAL to them. Not to most of us.

    For me? Social Media is a mercenary activity.

    I love SM. But I do it because it creates real business. Real Income. This is where I feel the trainers are missing. It is NOT only about the “conversation” It is about the CONVERSION. It is not natural. It is not “like breathing. It takes work, time, and a strategy. Granted, most dont need training to learn how to USE Facebook, or be social. But most dont need traiining to learn how to place a print ad either. Now to CREATE a print ad that converts business at a high level? This takes training and Park Ave is full of companies charging huge dollars to do this. Why is SM different than any other type of marketing?

    Social Media MARKETING is a planned and measured activity, like ALL marketing. It is not something you just DO. (unless you are doing it strictly to be social.)

    And MARKETING is a learned (or taught) skill.

  20. Jo Soss

    September 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you! I needed to read this today. On my early morning reading all I could come up with was “boring, boring and boring”. For some reason I don’t get to AG nearly enough. What has come to mind the last few months is the saying “those that can’t -teach” or something to that effect. I am so sick of seeing “real estate agents”, niche into some type of “guru” status selling something. I have seen “ex-agents” morph into an “expert” and start charging enormous amounts for websites, Facebook pages and of course “coaching”. Now, for me I am not going to be coached by someone that couldn’t cut it in sales or buy a website for $750 from a person that has no design/tech background. Just because for a three year period you sold homes does not an expert in anything make you. I promise to be here more often. I am sick and tired of all the trash that is out there.

  21. Cindy Marchant

    September 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Here’s my 2 cents and that is truly all it is worth!
    I am sooo tired of being asked to “like” so and so’s fan page, business page, whatever the new normaclature is these days. Who wants a fan page with only Realtors following; how is that engaging an audience. So, I don’t have one (did but never use it now) and I don’t “like” any of them.

    I am in social media for two basic reasons:
    to learn (which Active Raiin does well)
    to engage with people (because that’s where over 50% of my clients and friends are)
    But, to spend money to learn how to do it…never. To want a badge that says I’m good at it …never. To let it overtake time spent doing “real” real estate…seldom if ever.

  22. Ruthmarie Hicks

    September 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve been blogging more than a few months now….BUT….social media is driving me crazy. Thank GOD Benn wrote this because I had been thinking of checking myself into a mental institution. Since my insurance wouldn’t cover it – I want to thank you – Benn for saving me a a lot of money. I had NOT gone insane – I was simply using what little common sense I had left.

    The two burning questions I have had were – and I quote Benn
    “Has it ever made you wonder how in the hell one can produce if they’re at every conference, every month, every year? That’s right, they’re not producing… their lonely spouse at home is, and they’re out selling you something other than real estate (ego) and the last time I checked, YOU are the one still in real estate.”

    That has had me wondering…. for a looooong time.

    The other burning question is – how many bloody fan pages can any one agent become a fan, friend or buddy of and retain their sanity?

  23. Paula Henry

    September 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I have been trying to get back here all day! What a great title, but that animal is scary! Almost as scary as trying to spread myself thin creating a SM presence, while maintaining a business. I have had more than one conversation about this subject with agents who either 1) feel the pressure to contribute everywhere or 2) don’t know where to start.

    I say, don’t start; it’s maddening! Blogging is more and more appealing everyday. At least I can follow a blog; I can’t keep up with all the conversations in the SM world; they just don’t make sense. With a blog, I can take all day or week to complete it, Twitter doesn’t give me time to write one word, before the next 140 characters arrive. I’ve tried, I really have!

    I don’t know everyone on here, but I’ll be a Cindy Marchant or Missy Caulk any day! Why? Because they sell real estate and lots of it!

    Great Article Ben!!

  24. Nanette Labastida

    September 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I took a Social Media for Realtors class once, the instructor ended up buying a house with me, so it was totally worth it. She like my In Person presence

  25. Dave deBruyn

    September 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Well said, wow. In my experience the true producers are out there producing, while the loudest yappers in the biz are busy yapping. The fundamentals of the real estate business have not changed, other than a minor variation in how you communicate with your clients. Social media can be great, technology can be great – but neither is suitable as the foundation for your entire business.

  26. Rob McCance

    September 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I’m confident that some day I will be totally vindicated for refusing to participate in social media.

    Until now, I’ve been totally ganged up on and blasted every time I even hint that using these gimmicks (Facebook/Twitter/What-the-heck-ever) to generate leads in any sizable and sustainable quantity is a complete waste of time…and a lot of it!

    Best I can tell from the outside looking in, Facebook is a bunch of teenagers and kid-like adults with nothing to do. Eventually, both will lose interest. Neither are good RE lead candidates.

    “Post something on your wall.” That sounds really intelligent to me.

    Twitter is just ridiculous and that’s all I can say about that one.

    I follow maybe 50 blogs in my Google Reader and use that to learn things and interact with other like-minded adults interested in the same topics as me. I do not use blogs to attract RE leads.

    I know this was not the subject of Benn’s post, but I try to not miss an opportunity to blast back every now and then…

  27. Vicky

    September 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    All the parasites come out when they can’t make money selling real estate. I guess it doesn’t take much to become a guru.

    • Rob McCance

      September 17, 2010 at 9:53 am

      Well stated, and it’s real easy to be a guru behind a computer screen.

  28. BawldGuy

    September 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Though I’ve been persuaded to try much of social media, it was to prove a point — to myself. Most, but definitely not all, social media is the online version of holding an open house for another’s listing. Most agents will walk on hot coals while eating the hottest peppers if it gets them out of the trenches, where the real money is made.

    Blogging works well if you’re actually a seasoned professional. The IDX approach works well for those with real expertise or a consultant who knows which way is north on the map. The rest of SM? Show me.

    Agents in love with SM have no choice but to loudly defend all the time spent on it, as the alternative is to face daily rejection in search of clients choosing them based upon, you know, their actual skills, and ability to produce results.

    I gave Twitter a more than fair chance. I found that using it 90% of the time for post distribution and related content produced the same results as 100 times the tweets I’d been publishing before. When I’m not tweeting biz related stuff, I’m just having fun.

    Facebook? Why don’t folks just play Russian Roulette? Stuff gets put on FB that should never be there. Sadly, much of the inappropriate comments/pics etc., aren’t put their by the page’s host. They’re the same folks holding open houses for others, and anything else that brings a client to them every now and again. Again — their primary agenda is to avoid competing in the arena where sometimes ya lose, and sometimes ya win. They hide from the real market. SM is their latest/best protective shield.

    I’ve often thought most self proclaimed SM experts are merely real estate agents who’ve never cut it in the real world. The rest are techno-geeks who, IMO, wouldn’t know the real world if it bit ’em on the hind quarters.

  29. Ruthmarie Hicks

    September 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    It’s interesting. Reading the content in this thread – made me really think out my own views with respect to social media and the behavior of other agents with respect to blogging.

    Blogging made sense to me. People go to the internet to get information. Supply them with that information – create an atmosphere where they can have some fun and also learn about a market they are interested in – and you will draw in a certain percentage. When I do this – I try to put myself in the shoes of the buyer or seller and ask “what would they want to see? What do they need to know?”

    But its WORK!!! Never believe for one second that it isn’t. Neighborhood web pages with accurate stats can take hours to construct. I spend a large amount of time on road for business and also for photography. I deliberately set aside time each week to photograph areas. By the time you download and tweak the photos – put them on the blog – create links and use the proper keywords – you have spent considerable capital in terms of time and energy.

    So – my broker asked me to give a talk on blogging. But then it was suggested that I “make it seem easy – just to get them writing.” But that’s not going to do any good! Why would I deliberately set out to deceive people? So I did what I thought would be most helpful. I told the truth. You could hear the agents groaning – “but that’s a lot of WORK.” Did they really think it would be otherwise. So I was asked repeatedly why I didn’t just tweet and post on facebook – it sounded a lot easier. I do those things – but I do them to broadcast blogs and and to interact with my friends!

    Of course, no one is going to pay me to show them how to do something that is hard work. The fantasy is that there is a magic bullet that is easy and not very time consuming. That appears to be the true lure of social media.

    • Bob Wilson

      September 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      Well said!

      • Rob McCance

        September 16, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        Bob,

        I lost your contact info along with a HDD not too long ago.

        Shoot me an email at rob at ATL4U.com

        Thanks,

        RM

    • Benn/AG

      September 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Love this, and every word you’re speaking is the case, and why we have the vacuum we have now in blogging. I’m not sure what the fix is, but I do know without some sort of cornerstone, there’s really nothing behind the curtain (big fan of w/OZ). I think it’s time to revisit the roots and dispel some myths and I think you have it right from the beginning- it’s work, but just like any great business, it does takes focus and dedication and honestly, if you’re truly passionate about what you do, it’s not so much work afterall, sort of like your photography. 🙂

  30. Debbie Harris

    September 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This is my first experience with AG. I am a social media director for a real estate company, helping agents everyday understand the value in building relationships thru social media as simply one more tool for communication. It’s not for everyone, most agents don’t understand it or use it appropriately and certainly there is always something new to learn.

    I’m quite sure there was much negativity around the Internet, Email, Cell Phones and the like. While I stress the fact that person to person contact and networking is still vital, social media does provide an avenue for staying in touch, meeting people you might not meet and sharing in a way that one on one does not always provide.

    I stress the fact that you never know when you might be able to help someone you see on Facebook and I don’t mean sell them a house or list their short sale. I mean help them in some way in their lives with something they are asking for, i.e. an answer to a question, a plumber, an exterminator, a pick me up on a stressful day, a roommate (just had that happen among two people I connected on FB) and on and on. Listening skills are just as important in Social Media communication as face to face.

    If you are out there to help people, connect with people, share with people and open yourself up a little, the possibilities are endless. The world is getting smaller and social media allows us to reach out and touch those we might never have contact with.

    All the best.

    • Bob Wilson

      September 18, 2010 at 12:26 am

      “I stress the fact that you never know when you might be able to help someone you see on Facebook and I don’t mean sell them a house or list their short sale. I mean help them in some way in their lives with something they are asking for, i.e. an answer to a question, a plumber, an exterminator, a pick me up on a stressful day, a roommate (just had that happen among two people I connected on FB) and on and on. Listening skills are just as important in Social Media communication as face to face.”

      That’s sounds great, but it ain’t sales.

    • Ruthmarie Hicks

      September 20, 2010 at 1:25 am

      The issue here is does that lead to SALES. We are being bombarded by people who want us to give away “stuff for free” in order to “win over business.” Well – I’m sorry but this stuff ISN’T FREE. We are trying to earn a living doing this and there is just so much stuff and so much time to help people when there is no visible compensation at the end of the pipeline. In 2008 – when I was still fairly green I spent hours blogging – working with clients – pulling stats – taking out buyers. They would guzzle three tanks of gas before merrily walking away. I think I grossed about $9000 in NY! I went through a PILE of savings meant for my retirement and finally learned – my time is valuable. Social media can be a bottomless pit. Hours and hours can be spent – but the bottom line is it eventually has to start pulling in a measurable way.

      The problem with gurus who are not in real estate – what you and many others don’t seem to “get” is that finding someone a plumber is not likely to lead to a sale. Not in THIS field. There are two problems here:

      1. Agents are a dime a dozen. That person you help is very, very unlikely to remember that nice agent when it comes time to sell their home five years later. Ditto when their best friend wants to sell their home. The agent that gets the job is generally an “known entity” OR that agent is someone who was in their face when the moving issue hit the fan.

      2. Buying or selling a home is not something someone does casually. You can not manufacture a market for this – nor will people be talked into it or rushed. The act is deliberate. Expensive jewels, even a car might be bought somewhat on impulse – but NOT a house.

      BLogging can work because those who are thinking of buying or selling search online before doing anything else. They are proactive in that type of search – using Google to reel in results. But they are NOT searching Facebook and they aren’t tweeting. Quality content on a website or blog is far more likely to yield fruit for that very reason. Social media might point the way to the main meal – but it will not convert by itself.

      The irony here is apparent. The choice of agent appears to be almost random – although the decision to buy or sell is very deliberate and not done in haste. The purchase of a home is unlike ANYTHING else. Someone might even buy a fur coat or expensive jewelry on a whim – but NOT a home.

      Now can you as a social media expert – give me stats on the number of ACTUAL SALES that have occurred with your clients on social media? What percentage of agents are successful? How many sales per year? I find that most gurus have no clue – which means it probably isn’t working.

  31. Nadina Cole-Potter

    October 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Bravo! I have said for a long time that the vendors to the gullible agents may be the only ones making any money — and they are making of off of selling agents on the latest new bestest thing that you can absolutely not do business without!.. Snake oil for sales people.

    Probably the biggest rip-off are companies which appear and disappear touting themselves as providing X number of leads a month in your exclusive zip code. Then they take the money and run.

    The structure of the industry encourages it — brokerages get paid by vendors to be “preferred” and the amount of freebies available to agents (say, in comparison to unlicensed investors), is phenomenal. The quality of pre-written product, from pre-fab drip postcards to your “personal” blog is excreable (its a word related to excrement).

    The “newest, bestest” stuff isn’t appropriate for us commercial agents and brokers. Why would I want to interrupt a busy, serious business person — say a key player from an investment fund — with mindless egocentric twitter on his smartphone. The only result I can imagine is that they would peg me as a twit — not a busy, serious business person such as themselves.

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