I’m beyond the point of return in the social media arena. I mean, wth? I’m a social introvert unless I am in front of clients. Give me a television, a great college football game and I’ll give you the keys to all the open houses you care to lounge in. Sincerely, I don’t really care to talk to masses when my brain throbs from the numerals floating around in my head- as I said today, my eyeball hurts. I no longer see stars, I see numbers- stop computing!
There is no way an agent can be in every place every day, to sell every client, so it stands to reason that creating ways for business to come to you is the answer. That answer is the royal flush we hope for with each new username/password we create and honestly, it just doesn’t come in the first or 30th hand. We’re ahead of our time in many respects, those of us who venture to join these new online cliques, we’re pioneers.
But pioneers when settling new lands had to plow fields, build buildings, homes, create irrigation methods, dig outhouse holes and more to establish their neighborhoods and online social networking isn’t much different– winters were cold on the plains of the new lands, and these new online lands are roughly the same.
My advice to any agent planning to pioneer their own online town is to pack lots of food, brings lots of socks for the long cold winters, and a soft chair for the hours of waiting for your online town to be found by the wouldbe fellow passing through.
Consumers really don’t get it yet. They pass through blogs and wonder wtf!? They search for homes in google and some result comes back 3rd or 4th with a random quote from someone they’ve never heard of- a fragment of a conversation picked up by a search engine spider– the result is the ultimate frustration of walking into the middle of a conversation that has really no meaning to their search at all because you’re 500 miles away.
Some techie selling a product (with the hopes of going IPO or being bought out by a tech giant, or scoring VC funds to hit their lottery dreams) said their way was the road to everywhere, and we bought it, hook line and sinker. Those same techies have agents jumping through social hoops all over the internet trying to answer the so called call the consumer hasn’t even made yet- fine, you do that, while I write this contract with a buyer that came from the phonebook you call so archaic. You type on twitter while I dine at the Saltlick with investors from California. Seriously, you sit there while I farm your neighborhood and fill the void you left when you stopped sending mailers.
Maybe the housing slump wasn’t caused by subprime and credit woes, maybe it slumped because all of the agents went out west to settle baron waste lands. Or, maybe you’ve been so busy taking your eye off the ball to follow covered wagons you’ve let your own business slump.
The answer is really simple. Pick one or two social arenas that you enjoy, continue the marketing you know has brought you success, treat your blog like a client or better, and most certainly, continue the things that work. You can do both the settling of new lands, and continue to maintain the business you’ve already built- and most certainly keep your eye on the consumer, and not the shiny beta badge.
As much as I like Zillow, and Trulia, and see consumers gathering in those places, I see more opportunities in a shopping mall to make one on one impressions with real people, real buyers that do not need to be convinced. I see more opportunities in Church that know me, that want to work with me given the opportunity, and what about the PTA, the Men’s Club, Happy Hour at the local pub- the last time I checked all of these places were full of real people, real business opportunities in networking.
My most recent client came to me by accident when I rented a car here in town. Last year, he drove me home 5 minutes from the car rental place and we chit chatted about real estate. Last week he called me, today we wrote the contract, soon we’ll close.
The quality time invested in these types of social arenas has real value, and the last time I checked, these people talked to you about real estate to grow knowledge, not steal it.
All I’m saying is you do not have to take the word of a techie and throw all of your business into the wind. But whatever you do, make sure you do it really well- or you may find yourself living in a wagon.