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A Real Estate Social Media Reality- Tweet: Jane Doe agent is a moron and her broker is “teh suck”

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first_phone_callThe backstory on AG & Social Media

We’ve been talking about social media for real estate for what seems like an eternity now. We’ve hashed out the how to get started all the way up to beginning the conversation about what is and isn’t marketing and ROI. Many feel it’s been beaten to death as they have come down on one side or the other as to its value- you either are or are not convinced, but I want to give you a tangible reason that you should at the very least take it seriously.

HP, thanks for doing the right thing?

If you follow the antics of those in the real estate space on Twitter and Facebook, then you may know that recently I held HP’s (Hewlett Packard) feet to the fire on a known issue repair. They voided a repair ticket created in warranty because the machine became out of warranty during the process. Their resolution offered was a repair price of nearly $300.00. It might seem like not such a big deal, but when you consider this is the third laptop of ours to die of the same fate within two years, we’re now talking thousands of dollars in useless laptops that lay wasted around our home and office.

I was pissed to say the least and quite frankly, we weren’t going to take it anymore. I gave HP a call, and along the way informed each member of support that I was Twittering about the call along with the outcome.

motorolaHere’s the point (maybe your client isn’t telling you)

Whether you enjoy the use of new media or not, in many cases, our clients do. They’re not on the sidelines, in fact, they’re out in public, living in public, sharing in public, and quite frankly, they’re using tools to broadcast their life without cause- I know, I happen to be one of them.

The sad reality is that you may not- you’re still left searching for a reason to even bother to care, and if I may be so bold, it may be your client that gives you that reason.

“teh suck”

Imagine tweets such as “My Realtor Jane Doe is a windbag.” Or even worse, “My Big Broker agent won’t call me back and these flyers suck!” Or how about a fat link to Jane’s website titled, “Jane Doe agent really sucks!” Depending on their sphere of influence (followers and friends), you’re on the outside if you’re not at least listening to all spheres and know how to combat serious problems such as these… imagine a client smiling to your face while the entire day Twittering every single thing you say and every lousy property you’ve shown them and about the lousy agent you’ve turned out to be, or even Twittering about how they perceive you as overcharging them on a listing all while smiling to your face and refilling your tea glass.

If you’re so stubborn as to intentionally remain on the other side of the fence (out of control), that is your prerogative, or you could at the very least take the time to learn how to use these communities to your advantage.  As the economy gets tougher in many areas of the country, you can bet frustrations will equally be on the rise as will frustrated socially media oriented clients (finally they feel someone is listening to them).

While the only real cure to incompetence is an apology, there are ways to handle these sorts of situations in a proactive nature- you need to take your ability to confine, repair and rebuild client confidence from offline to online and back to offline, before you experience this sort of retaliation to your lameness.

Tips to get you started: (a process with a purpose)

  • Ask your client in conversation what social media sites they use.
  • Ask your client if they mind if you follow them (and invite them to follow you).
  • Once you follow them, engage them and make it fun (keep it light).
  • Define upfront how you would like to engage problems and in what manner.
  • Agree to those terms and never fail at being responsive in the manner you’ve selected.
  • Ask your client if they’ve tweeted about the new property they’ve just made an offer on.
  • Share property pictures with them and ask them if they would like to share them online.
  • Invite them to share their experience online.

There is no debate on the issue of self-promotion in the online space- by doing so you will be shunned by a greater audience, rather, your goal in using social media is to create fans that rave publicly about you, thus doing the marketing for you… what’s so complicated about this simple process?

You can’t control everything or even try unless you understand the potential for success and for failure.  Executing a simple conversation, establishing simple rules to handle dissatisfaction, and keeping those rules are crucial.  By overcoming problems during the transaction in the manner you’ve laid out in advance (and in turn executing a great buying or selling process and encouraging their enthusiasm online) ultimately sends your digital calling card as wide as their sphere of influence online and then some.

apple-iphoneWhat happened with HP?!

In the end, I praised HP for repairing the laptop on their dime and with little argument or convincing- in fact, they had a plan for this exact issue, it simply took a savvy support manager to isolate the correct process- needless to say we were thrilled, and even though HP never engaged me online over this issue, SprintPCS did (but that’s a whole other story).

Do yourself a favor, stop being stubborn and at least learn how to engage your critics (and fans), because now days, everyone’s a critic (or a fan) with a megaphone (the sharper lazier version of blogging that is microblogging), even your clients– don’t be ‘teh suck.’

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Brandie Young

    June 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Ben
    Great points. An unhappy client is a danger – even more so if they are not communicating with you they are unhappy eliminating the opportunity for you to make it right. In the meantime, they are creating a bad reputation for the agent to an audience to which the agent is probably not connected.

    Glad you resolved things with HP. My problems and Tweets re: ATT cellular service went unanswered by ATT. Sad.

  2. Benn Rosales

    June 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    @brandiei “eliminating the opportunity for you to make it right” indeed!

  3. Elaine Reese

    June 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Excellent points. Last summer I made an insurance claim to have a new roof put on. I told both the insurance estimator and the roofer that I have a blog and would be blogging about the experience – good OR bad – and that I would name names. LOL

    As consumers, SM gives us power that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Naturally, as real estate agents, we must be careful that we’re not on the receiving end of that UNLESS, of course, it’s good.

    The problem I see with tracking possible discussions about us on Twitter is that our name is likely to be greatly abbreviated. Do you have any suggestions on how we set up searches?

  4. Benn Rosales

    June 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Elaine, follow your clients is my number 1 way (because you asked upfront, you should know at least their fave stomping ground), google and twitter alerts for your name, and misspellings (abbreviations) , company name and misspellings, and constant temp checking of your clients (as I know you do) is the best practice. Everything else is by periodically (weekly) doing an audit on twitter search, and bi-weekly on google of possible variations. Also, watching your incoming links to wordpress is another way of catching stuff.

    If anyone has more ideas, we’re glad to hear them, but these are at least the basics. Nothing ever replaces good ol’being present though.

  5. Elaine Reese

    June 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks, Benn. I use the Google Alerts, but think Twitter is a little more tricky. Clients can pick it up later, and may not use their real name. Of course, the BEST thing we can do to eliminate the risk of negative publicity is to treat our clients well in the first place. LOL

  6. Adam Green

    June 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Since you’ve asked for suggestions for real estate Google Alerts, I thought you and your readers might enjoy viewing a public Google Alerts account I created as a demo:

    https://www.alertrank.com/mrgooglealerts/2009/05/14/public-google-alerts-account-for-a-real-estate-firm-first-boston-realty/

    You can see a real world example of how you can track your firm, competitors, clients, and properties. I also recommend collecting news alerts about your area that you can share with clients. Using local stories about schools and events can be a great form of drip marketing. You can send an FYI email to show you are thinking about them.

  7. Benn Rosales

    June 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Ha, hey Adam, awesome suggestions, and thanks for the read.

  8. Benn Rosales

    June 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Elaine, you might also want to think about following alerts for your broker- it isn’t hard to remember names of the bigger or known local brands especially and may catch some that way.

    Also, you may want to set up alerts on any farms you have, buyers/sellers might be communicating with you in other ways.

  9. Joe Loomer

    June 5, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Benn,

    Great choice for this entry, dude – we get lost in the day-to-day of how WE should be using SM to further our business, and forget that virtually all of our clients – past, present, future – are already there using it mainly for the pure social aspect.

    Posted my blog entry about the tax credit on FB, and an old Navy buddy 400 miles away emails me about a prospect coming to my neck of the woods. It works.

    You have to make a point about connecting to them, finding them, friending them, following them. Get on their list and you’re so, so well armed when they get in your car or you show up for that listing appointment it’s scary. “Loved those pictures you posted from your trip to Disney – Jimmy and Johnny are getting bigger by the minute! They grow up too fast” is a hell of a lot better openning line than “how many kids do you have?”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Teri L

    June 5, 2009 at 7:52 am

    >While the only real cure to incompetence is an apology

    Almost. The only real cure for incompetence is to become competent, but an apology is certainly a step in the right direction, and I think that’s what you meant.

    I’d also add that when we are working with clients, slamming other Realtors with whom you are working, is not a sign of professionalism. If you’d like to discuss real estate as a profession, or real estate in general, that’s one thing, but would your clients appreciate you publicly slamming another Realtor with whom they might be working through a transaction? I wouldn’t appreciate seeing my doctor bitch about my surgeon in public, even if the surgeon made mistakes, it would force me to question the professionalism of everyone involved.

    Our duty is to our clients, but part of that is to facilitate the real estate process. Hard to do when you are publicly bad-mouthing the person who might be bringing a client to the table.

  11. Doug Francis

    June 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Again, thanks for making me think and understand an excellent conversation to have with my clients (active and inactive).

    Being informed, proactive or simply engaged with the world my clients are living in will help me re-tool if necessary and develop my own “apps-for-that”. The conversational web is the new frontier.

  12. Bryan Ellis

    June 5, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Excellent Post, the best I’ve read all week.

    To add to what you said, you should add a Google alert with your Twitter ID to see who’s chatting about you and what they are saying.

    Imagine someone telling their 20,000 followers that your service sucks! Now, more than ever, people are being heard!

  13. Benn Rosales

    June 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Bryan you said:

    Imagine someone telling their 20,000 followers that your service sucks! Now, more than ever, people are being heard!

    Honestly, that’s an opportunity of a lifetime that most average agents would not be equipped to handle.

    Teri, yep, an apology is tantamount to a diagnosis when you’re talking about relationships, but that road to getting competent is a whole other conversation! Thanks for weighing in.

    Doug, if this is a new conversation you’ll be having with your clients, avoid using the words social media when you ask- be specific to get to the real homebase, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. This will help agents who are only toe dipping in sm to not try or need to be everywhere at once.

  14. Gwen Banta

    June 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Great suggestions, Benn. I haven’t been sure how to Tweet because I’m a techno dork, but this article was very illuminating – thanks!

  15. Missy Caulk

    June 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Never thought about a twitter alert, thanks. I love my multitude of Google alerts and you can subscribe in rss instead of email to check on them.

    Sounds like my nightmare with Dell a year ago. I blogged on it and after a multitude of comments a Dell Ex commented and we went back and forth.

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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