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Do Realtors Really Need A Social Media Manager?

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Heresy.

Yeah.  I know it.

Depending on who you talk to Social Media is a source of tons of new business and a way to keep in touch with our sphere of influence — aka “fan base” — or it’s purely entertainment.  Social Media is either the “must have” tool in our real estate tool box or a mammoth waste of time.  It seems like there is no in-between.  You’re either passionate about it for your business or you love Farmville.  Which is it?  And does it need to be professionally managed or directed.

What Is A Social Media Director, Anyway?

I know I’ll get a lot of heat for this because there are a lot of people out there that have created a nice little niche for themselves.  It’s a pretty lucrative niche, too.  What better way to make a boatload of money than to take something that is a bit confusing with metrics you can spin this way and that and tell someone that you can help lead them to riches beyond imagination?  What would the job description look like anyway?

“Must have computer skills and the ability to spend endless hours on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as any other social networks extant or in development…” Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.”

You get the point.  It may include travel to various Meetups, Tweetups or REBAR Camps to meet with other like minded folks while we’re back showing houses or going to listing appointments.

Here’s the thing: Is having a Social Media Manager/Director worth the money?

Maybe, more to the point, is a Social Media Manager/Director effective?  Is being Internet Famous the point?

If you’re an independent entrepreneur (i.e., Realtor), my guess is that an important metric would be the business you can track to the work of a Social Media Guru whether it’s a designer, status updater or event attender.  If you’re an organization — either for profit or not-for-profit — I would want to know if your core constituency both inside and outside the organization appreciate the effort.  Does it further the mission?

Maybe it’s just me.  I can’t tell.  Is the Emperor wearing any clothes?

A Postscript

My heart goes out to the family, friends and associates of Laurie Manny.  Laurie’s sudden and untimely death leaves a void in the Real Estate blogging community.  She was a good woman, a great Realtor and she will be missed.

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Janie Coffey

    August 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Hi Ken

    I think that for actual Realtors or teams, having a social media director is disingenuous, you can’t have someone stand in for you on Social Media any more than you can at a networking event. BUT for larger brands, brokerages or larger teams, where there clearly are multiple people behind the screen, I think it can be done properly and can make sense. Either way you look at it, we are almost expected to have a SM presence. If you look at a site or blog and there is not FB or Twitter icon to connect with, it’s almost a let down. So in those cases, you need one. Here in Miami, Sotheby’s International is doing really well with their use of SM.

  2. Sheila Rasak

    August 29, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Yes! Too much time over here trying to tweak my internet presence. I don’t need anyone to blog for me, tweet for me, etc. Just string those tags and meta tags or bed bugs if you will and I’ll be one happy camper!

  3. Bob Wilson

    August 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

    “Either way you look at it, we are almost expected to have a SM presence. If you look at a site or blog and there is not FB or Twitter icon to connect with, it’s almost a let down. So in those cases, you need one.”

    The prospective buyer looking for a house on a real estate site doesnt give a hoot about your FB or Twitter icon.

  4. Ken Brand

    August 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    This will be a recurring question, it’s a good one Ken. I think, depending on size and scale of the company, a dedicated Social Media Person type position might pay for itself in more than one may. The first thing people usually consider is how to use it for external, money & client getting, marketing, branding, trust building, etc.

    As more leaders/owners consider how it can positively impact bottom line when it’s also used for internal purposes/benefits, such as culture building/creating, recruiting/retention, communication, team/loyalty building, sharing, praising/recognition, internal broadcast, training, etc., the likelihood that a companies would create a Social Media Director position, goes up.

    My 2cents.

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      August 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      As Director of Social Marketing for CENTURY 21 Award in Southern California, I can’t agree more with this comment.

      Though a portion of my job does include creating corporate presence on these sites, much of my time is dedicated to training agents, creating online content (videos/blog posts) for those agents who can’t attend in-office trainings, and helping facilitate internal communications via Facebook Pages and YouTube channels.

      If the corporate channels aren’t seeing as much traffic as I would like (hey, there are only so many hours in a day!), I have seen a marked improvement among our agents in their online presence.

  5. Jeff

    August 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I contend that the average Realtor does not but a large agency might. The average realtor needs tools that allow them to market their listings, open houses and other services on the personal Facebook page and engage with their friends which for many are in the thousands and let the power of social media and friends help them. A brand able credit management tool that helped them automatically with no more effort then sending an email help repair the credit of past, present or future clients to build a pipeline of future sales is what they really need.

  6. Jb

    August 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    This social media thing is crazy does anybody actually get much business off of those sites?

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      August 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      Here are a few success stories for you:
      Twitter: youtube.com/watch?v=uyb2XzNlcc0
      Facebook: youtube.com/watch?v=nahWprCQUQo
      Facebook: youtube.com/watch?v=VqrDB1Mk-A0
      A mix of everything, resulting in a referral: youtube.com/watch?v=flw8GrEoeTs

  7. Alex Cortez

    August 30, 2010 at 5:18 am

    A Realtor I work with had hired a SM ‘Director’. It lasted a couple of months, with disappointment on both sides. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary at the agent level as it really defeats the purpose of the medium (to engage an audience in a more personal level). I’d like to hear input from those who actually hired a SM Director.

  8. James Chai

    August 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I would say that they need a Social Media Strategy more than a manager. And if your strategy is detailed and complex you may then need a manager. It comes down to the desired impact a Brand wishes to have in their respective space.

    Social Media requires a commitment of resources (time, budget, manpower etc) so most firms go at it by themselves. They should atleast consult and get their road map of how to proceed.

    You could try and figure it out as you go along but that is not recommended.

  9. Teresa boardman

    August 30, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Some agents could benefit from a social media manager. There are many out there who are social media experts. Some charge way too much for what they do and others are looking for a way to make a living and so they decided to become social media experts. They often have less than two years of experience with it and it is easy to sell becasue Realtors need more business. From a business point of view this is all pretty new. it is easy for the experts to make it up as they go. Maybe some agents need a manager but there really are not very many people who understand social media and real estate well enough to do it . . yet they get paid.

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      August 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      It is definitely advisable to find someone who “gets” real estate… it will help them define a strategy much more effectively.

      You might consider hiring a new licensee as an assistant… they will probably be younger (which means they will likely have an inherent grasp of SM), you will mentor them, and they can manage many aspects of your business (such as managing schedules and appointments, open houses, TC work, showing houses, etc) besides the social media presence.

  10. Eric Mieles

    August 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I believe most are missing the point of what social media can do. Most tend to think in terms of the “What” rather than the “Why”. Social media is a chance to form real relationships just like you would in real life. You don’t walk up to someone at a party and say “My name is Eric. I have this listing for sale…Buy it now”. You begin to get to know someone, you ask those questions, you form a bond and create trust and credibility. Social media allows for the tools to do this more effectively and with a wider audience.
    Rather than social media managers there should be social media strategist like someone mentioned earlier. You MUST have a strategy and you MUST be able to consistently create, develop, and optimize CONTENT toward that strategy. Social Media allows us to have a UNIQUE voice. We now have the tools to have a megaphone directed right at our target market and talk to them directly about our unique message. The problem is our profession continuously wants to be all things to all people. We end up being nothing to nobody!

  11. Jeff Belonger

    August 31, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Ken… what I think it comes down to from the perspective of a realtor, loan officer, escrow person, etc… is that you are either a marketing guru… that you want to be well known, in the spot light… to teach people how to become successful, and sell secrets that you have collected over the years… while making a living doing this… VS.. the true professional.. that is blogging, on facebook, twitter… etc, etc.. all in the name of networking, but for the consumer.. for the most part.’

    So… my point? It takes time to learn all of this and you can be personal with your sphere of influence, your past clients, and new clients… if I hired a social media manager to touch facebook, to tweet for me, to touch my fan page and such… people might see this… knowing me and my personality, might pick up that it’s not me… and especially from those borrowers that I actually closed already, who know me.. and I might know that they just had a new baby, new house… well, if I am answering them, my manager wouldn’t know this part and wouldn’t be able to reconnect with them.

    Yes, it takes times… but I know successful people that do it all themselves, and are good at it… it takes pride, time, and dedication.

    Now.. I nknow this one loan officer… that blogs a lot… is all over facebook.. twitter, just published a book… has been mentioned in a mortgage magazine as one of the top 25 most recognized loan officers in regards to social media and such… well, sorry, but this person is a fake. He is the marketing guru… he use to follow my posts, comment, and tell me what excellent info that I would put out there. Just last month, I came across one of his blog posts and recognized it as someone else’s… so I read some more of his… another one that looked the same.. and another.. so I decided to e-mail him… and all he said was, he has paid for the rights… don’t worry about it. lol This just told me that he doesn’t write his own stuff… yet he acts as an expert… he even told me that I do a good job, but that he doesn’t have the time… Sorry… BS… I know someone that ran a mortgage company, has 3 blog sites of his own… runs a radio show… and writes on 4 other sites… and on top of that, is a ghost writer… and he is good with facebook and twitter… it takes time. This other guy.. just a poor excuse… he comes across as a rock star, but with false credentials. I even read one comment on his facebook, when he was mentioned in a paper… the person said… hey Mr so-called loan officer guru… you have credibility now, because you are being recognized… LOL Yea, with someone else’s work… again, I just call him a great marketer. My problem, that he passes himself off as someone else, as an expert… yet there is no proof out there… and just excuses…

    Okay…. I am babbling… but I have so much to say in regards to those that want to be seen every where, but to have someone do it for them… I guess I am a straight shooter that believes in another form of transparency… good post.

  12. Jeff Belonger

    August 31, 2010 at 1:18 am

    ps.. In just read Erics comment above me… he is spot on. These forms of social media is to form and cultivate real elationships. which is part of the point that I was trying to make, but I lost sight on… and wandering all over in my comment.. lol thanks

  13. Eric Mieles

    September 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Jeff thanks and I agree with what you said. I believe in total transparent and authentic relationships which lead to trust and credibility. However that being said I do still see a way that Social Media strategists could play a huge role in our profession.
    First the strategy and leadership role they create for the Realtor would have to be authentic. It couldn’t be faked and added-on the personal brand and message would have to be cultivated from within. Also if they were hired to create content that content would have to be informational and relevant to their target market.
    It couldn’t be fake or created and passed on as their creation. For example as a buyer who found your site online. You had tons of content in the form of text. From blog posts, to articles on how to buy, finance etc. I would consume that content and find it very valuable to me. My first thought wouldn’t be “Ohhh wait this guy is a fraud”. However if your my friend on FB and Twitter and your pretending to interact with me and communicate and I later find out it wasn’t you. I’m DONE!! I lose trust and I start to wonder about you. So all in all I believe it has its place and I believe you must be very conscientious about how you go about it.

  14. CashFlow Queen

    September 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Reading through the comments were great feedback for my research. I happen to own a Social Media Management company and for the most part what our company does is manage our clients presence across the various social media platforms.

    We will initially go in and create profiles, fanpages and blogs for our clients insuring that proper keywords are put in place so they may be found in search engines and we do some graphics for those that may need it.

    Initially we will have a social media strategy session with our clients to understand what type of time commitment that want from us and what are they willing to put in.

    Yes social networking is all about cultivating relationships and expanding your network however there is not anything wrong with having a dedicated team to help manage the various platforms for you…especially your blog.

    I have seen some RE blogs that could definitely use some help as they haven’t been updated in ages. Your blog is the central point of any successful social media strategy as it allows the interaction and connect all the other platforms and is constantly crawled by search engines because f the regularity in fresh new content.

    But if you don’t update your blog or just use it as a static website then it does you no good

    My suggestion is if you do hire a SMM company to have regular meetings at least weekly to stay up to date and get metrics on the various sites. Also have all the usernames/password for each platform so that you too can go in and network and also monitor your brand.

    Just so you know SMM don’t pretend to be their clients. That’s now what we do.

    At the end of the day the decision to hire or not to hire will depend on the individual themselves and how far they wish to take social media marketing. If you have more time than money then your best bet would be to set it up yourself and carve out time each week to socially network and put out educational content that your network will value.

    Lastly if hiring a SMM company make sure that they also understand “online marketing, metrics and SEO” as well to further your brand and exposure the correct way.

  15. Bruno Andrews

    September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

    As a Social Media Manager myself, I feel inclined to chime in. A good Social Media Manager will not necessarily tweet, blog or update for you. The right SMM will find what is important to you, and work from there. With some of my clients I only do basics such as respond to urgent messages and requests (alerting my client to the problem), cleaning out social media in-boxes, deleting spam and spammers, and posting blog updates. This allows my client to focus on nothing but building relationships and using the social network efficiently.

    This may not be the case for a full time SMM but as a freelance I can adjust to your needs and offer my clients the services they need. It’s much cheaper than a full time manager, easier to work with, less intrusive and more intuitive than a full time member on staff. A freelance SMM can work with any size business down to individual entrepreneurs.

    Just my two cents.

  16. Greg Fleischaker

    October 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I find that I must agree with the last few comments. No one single rule is good for everybody, and while some Realtors will abhor the idea of using a social media manager, others might greatly benefit from handing off some responsibilities to other people. I don’t see social media as being much different than other aspects of running a successful business, and most people don’t perform every single job that needs to happen, in real estate, or any other business.

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