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Is Your Broker Your Technology Nemesis?

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The Barrier of Fear

This week, while on a conference call, the conversation turned toward using video as a source to convey messages to other agents.  One member of the conference call brought up the issue that some brokerages have blocked on-line videos in their firewalls.  Thus, blocking their agents from on-line training, marketing and many other beneficial features necessary to increase knowledge and market using a fantastic tool.  Even though I had heard of this issue, I haven’t put much thought into it till that moment.

Why would a Broker alienate both today’s technology and the emerging brand of practitioner?  Is it the need for control, security, the lack of understanding or all of the above?  What would possess a company to make technology a barrier?

The Broker’s Role

Whereas I am a firm believer in the Broker’s mentality and education setting the culture of the firm, I am also growing in my despair.  I am simply  not seeing Brokers growing as rapidly as their agents.  The reluctance I see in Brokers being willing to lower their defenses against emerging trends and the evolution of the industry is very pungent.  The need for Brokers is evident and important.  Agents need someone they can depend on to mentor and train them.  Pre-Licensing standards and the nature of the business combine to preclude elimination of the Broker, at this time.

Therefore, we need to keep moving forward and those who get “it” need to just progress until we outlive the mentality.  Eventually Brokers will have no choice but to embrace the need for brokerage-evolution.  No more home tours, no more floor duty, no more archaic and ineffective marketing and really, really no more hiring agents who can just fog a mirror.  Progressive education, open-mindedness to new ideas and provision of resources, that meet the needs of today’s consumer are all important elements of long term development.

Where Do You Hang Your Hat?

Over and over again I hear agents muse about the antiquated modality of their brokers.  And here’s my question – why are you still there?  It takes virtually no effort, in most instances, to transfer your license to another shop, or to even become your own broker (even though I don’t think everyone is cut out to be the “boss”).  I heard a speaker say “Brokers are only as good as the worst agent.”  I am going to go a step further and say that an agent is only as good as the span of control and development offered by the brokerage.  If you find yourself always frustrated by the broker, why haven’t you found a new home, yet?  Is it your own fear, complacency or lack of motivation?  If any of these answers are true; than you have what you deserve.  Or maybe, just maybe it’s you and not the broker in the first place.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could relocate all the social media agents on twitter, facebook and services such as AgentGenius together in one company?  You’d own the world!

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. monika

    October 24, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    I like that idea! Imagine the firm we would have!

  2. Missy Caulk

    October 24, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve had the same thoughts Matt, a brokerage of ALL technology agents. We would rule the world, problem is you’d have to come and manage all of us.

  3. Chris Shouse

    October 24, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    That would be the most fantastic agency in the world. I would love to be part of something like that. Could it be done? Probably not because of the differences in each state. Bummer.
    You have discribed my broker to a tee and he is younger than I. I asked him why he did not have a good strong website bringing in leads and was not more into technology. OH then he would have to pass out leads and mooniter stuff. He competes with us and is now into foreclosers but he never shares anything. I long ago quit going to the office and I do not use his paper or ink or forms I download my own off the website. But I still pay 100.00 bucks a month and he charges me late fees if I can’t pay. Why am I still there? I have no idea

  4. Michelle DeRepentigny

    October 24, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Recently I merged my office with two others. After searching for over a year, my final deciding factor between the 2 offices I was considering was that my new broker was on Facebook and we had a company group on Facebook.

    While not every agent in the office is quite up to speed and he is not quite as social media savvy as I would like to see him become, he does recognize the potential and isn’t afraid of change. We spend some time every week talking about the things we can implement to move of closer to the perfect blend of technology and high touch professional service for our clients. As a start, every company listing has a video on youtube and the office website. Now if I can just convince him that a multi author blog is the perfect replacement for our stale little website, I will feel that I have accomplished something.

    Eighteen months ao I was the only broker in town with a written blogging/social media policy and mine was not restrictive, it was just to re-emphasize the use of the golden rule in online formats. I actively encouraged my agents to blog, with admittedly limited success. Recently I had another broker call me to discuss how to “control this blogging thing”….she wanted to prohibit her agents from blogging. She just doesn’t get it and I failed at converting her. I fear that is the mindset of most of the brokers in my area, they are scared to death of what their agents may be doing and instead of getting involved and making sure everyone understands the responsibilities that come with a blank page to post for the whole world to see…they just want to darken the screen.

    BTW, And I have to second your “no more” list – the only thing we have left to get rid of at our office is the caravan, which I quietly protest by not showing up.

  5. Nat

    October 24, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Hey, Matt. While us working together is a fantastic idea, I think we’ll slowly spread our influence over time in our micro markets. Unfortunately, you may be bouncing a grandchild on your knee by the time the majority of brokers fully embrace technology in all its applications.

    As a side note, I like broker opens/caravans. They’re kind of like social media/twitter – but real life people. I see the same crowds from week to week and network. I love those personalities almost as much as my on line RE buds. Call me crazy!

  6. Teresa Boardman

    October 25, 2008 at 5:29 am

    wow what blows me away is that there are agents who work in the brokerage office and use their computers. Seems to me the work around would be to go home or to go to a coffee shop and watch the training. I agree with what you are saying in this post but it just blows my mind that the computers in the brokerage office would be a barrier. Makes me think the agents are not ready to be out on their own.

  7. Jim Gatos

    October 25, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Nat,

    You’re crazy!

    I get more “love” with ActiveRain, Facebook, etc, than ever with broker open houses…

    You asked for someone to call you crazy; okay,.,

    You’re crazy!

    Just kidding
    Jim

  8. Ken Brand

    October 25, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Nice article. You’re spot on with Broker take. I’d also add that fielding a decent sized team of savvy tech-social-media-web 2.0 Realtor Icons would be a feat in itself.

    As a sales manager in an 80+ team member office, I use the tools you speak of. Leading, pleading, pushing, pulling people to embrace the future is like pushing a string. It’s the same story in most every office in my market area.

    Ask your co-ops – “Hey what’s your twitter handle? or Let’s friend each other on Facebook.” They’ll look at like you’re a Rapper or you’re sporting a face piercing. The whole freaking industry has some room to grow. Yea for us I guess!

    Having said all that, imagining the muscular power, fun and success of a fully connected team of service oriented, career minded real estate agents can make one giddy.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    October 25, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Monika – It would be fun! I think we’d spend more time sharing new gadgets than showing property, but it’d be fun!

    MIssy – I hardly think you all are manageable! It would probably be the easiest managing job ever, since most of you would rarely be at the office. 🙂

    Chris – Whereas I was a practicing broker, while managing; I’ve developed a opinion that managers should be either an agent or a broker – rarely both.

    Michelle – It’s a struggle for several agents to get their office up to par. Good news is for you, that they aren’t competing with the same tools you are.

    Nat – Unfortunately I may not have had a good perception based on personal experience, in regards to caravans. I found them to be a hen house of gossip and a “Who’s cool enough to ride with me.” They took hours out of my week and was just a way to make the seller’s feel good that agents showed their homes. If the home was priced well, and marketed well the agents would come show it regardless of the caravan. Glad to hear that my perception isn’t your reality!

    Jim – We’re all a bit “touched in the head” aren’t we? 🙂 I agree outreaching to consumers on my terms was way more beneficial than driving around to Broker Opens.

    Ken – Great to hear that you’re really doing it! You’ve probably already figured this out, but the agents who may not be tech savvy will most likely have other good traits that will benefit your team! The challenge is for managers to make it all work out.

    Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!

  10. Nat

    October 25, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Jim! I knew it wouldn’t take long for some one to call me crazy! Give me credit, though. I drive myself! (Oops, Matt, does that mean I’m not a cool kid?) And for the record, there is more love in the Rain or on twitter. Fer sure!

  11. Matt Wilkins

    October 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Sory for not chiming in earlier. From my experience with Brokers, most of what causes the issues being discussed here is a lack of knowledge/understanding of cutting-edge tolls and technologies. Many Brokers area afraid of alienating what they feel are the agents that will keep their company afloat and/or feel that their way of doing business is how everyone should it too. I was actually fired from the first brokerage I joined 3 weeks after receiving my license because the supervising broker would not allow any new agents to use any other marketing tools/systems besides the ones that wokred for him.

  12. Paula Henry

    October 25, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I am the only person in my office who knows what Twitter is, a few know about Facebook and fewer about LinkedIn, not to mention video, blogging or any other 2.0 technology. RE/MAX does have video training, though.

    BTW – I totally agree with your philosophy that Brokers should either be an agent or a manager and not both. My broker is one of the biggest competitors in my area.

    So, when are you opening that virtual office?

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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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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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