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Social Media is a Sinkhole for Real Estate – Seriously?

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Someone sent me this article by Mike Parker this weekend and I had to read it a couple of times to make sure that what I was interpreting his message correctly, and this paragraph in particular keeps hitting that sensitive spot,Escher's Relativity

Well, as I have been telling you for three years now, that is hogwash. Social media is a sinkhole that absorbs time, effort and money that could better be spent on finding listings and selling houses. Social media is the new blogging. It too will peak, then decline with one very large exception: affinity group business communication.

Before I can even start commenting on this article I feel a need to define Social Media – isn’t it another “tool” in our marketing bag of tricks? Isn’t Social Media a marketing tactic like any other that should be used strategically with other marketing tools in order to obtain a balance that works for you as a real estate agent and becomes a good conductor between you as a professional and your audience? (the audience that ultimately buys and sells real estate from you).

I’ve learned a lot from my marketing genius friend Murray Izenwasser who I first heard speak in a local BarCamp and later at a Social Media Club meeting and his message was clear. Social Media is not just marketing but a marketing TACTIC – should be used intelligently according to your needs and should be understood for its power to reach an audience you may not have had the exposure to with customary and traditional marketing tools.

So if our industry is about relationships and social media has added a “social” aspect to internet marketing, doesn’t it seem like the perfect fit?  I do agree with Mike that it can be a time suck if not used properly, but I don’t agree that you can separate blogging from social media, because blogging is part of it.

The section in his article called “Why social media won’t be a long-term selling tool for real estate” is one of the ones I find the most intriguing. I think most of you will agree that it is crucial for someone that will post an opinion on Social Media tactics to understand the dynamics, intricacies and social behaviors of the medium before they start coming up with conclusions. If you understand the basics of SM being about permission based marketing as opposed to interruption marketing then you would see that statement as absolutely ludicrous. In an age of an educated consumer with spam filters and TiVo – you need to know that posting your listings and ads all over the Internet will never work!

Just came back from NAR’s annual convention in San Diego where numerous real estate agents proved how they were using Social Media successfully – some of them utilizing their blog as their hub and the rest of the platforms as prospecting tools that lead potential clients to that hub which consequently has plenty of google juice and calls to action.  Others using different platforms to add to their “bag of tricks”, others simply answering questions directly from the consumer in places like Trulia or Zillow.

I do agree with Mike in his statement about the success of an agent online being measured by the speed at which you answer inquiries – but that in itself is a demonstration that you cannot turn your back on Twitter, for example, where the conversation is happening real-time and you have the ability to answer and connect on the spot.

One thing we do need to understand is that there are different users of SM. I recently told you about my presentation to top producers in their late 60’s who don’t need to make any changes or even learn how to turn a computer on, but are still curious about SM. There’s also the successful agent who has ventured into SM to compliment their already effective marketing and who can stop their efforts at any point and still be successful. And there are the newer agents who have immersed themselves in the medium and are expanding their sphere of influence at a pace that traditional media would have never allowed.

Mike Parker advises thousands of agents and brokers on the subject of online marketing services for realtors

– I’m sure Mike is great at what he does, but I’m also convinced that he doesn’t quite get SM, maybe some of our readers can enlighten him.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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80 Comments

80 Comments

  1. Heather Rankin

    November 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Inez – dip ~ I just wrote a long reply and it got eaten 🙁 That said

    Summary of last post: There’s very little scientific data on either side of this SM ~ Blog conversation. A few things I know

    I am a techie and fairly new to real estate.
    I am doing more deals than most agents in our area.
    I use all sorts of SM to drive traffic to my blog, which happens to be the only one for several hundred miles.
    An agent of 25 years asked me a couple of days ago, what my secret is.
    Our local newspaper is published once a week and is costly, and i mean costly, to advertise in so I cover local news and events in my blog.
    Local FB friends have found my blog through FB and it has a steady, surprisingly good, readership.
    Hard to know with Twitter, but just this morning, while in a town 60 miles away, someone commented on a tweet that I had posted. This from a person I did not think knew what Twitter was but in fact, uses Search Twitter a lot. I am becoming the expert.

    So I will keep doing what I am doing because it is working for me. If someone else thinks that is a “black hole” more power too them 🙂

  2. Lani Rosales

    November 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I’m with Heather- PLEASE spread the good news that it’s a waste of time, that’ll think out the herd.

    Seriously, this smacks of “I run an online marketing company but can’t figure out social media so I’m going to take a big turd on it to affirm my own shortcomings.” Anyone can read on this very site hundreds of case studies, tips and hands on advice about how social media improves real estate marketing and Ines, you hit the nail on the head- it’s a tool, nothing more and to say that a tool is invalid proves that the user probably doesn’t know how to use said tool. Am I wrong?

  3. Eric Hempler

    November 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I seem to be making a pretty big dent into using Social Media. I started working on Facebook Page and have been working at networking it to others and have received some good compliments on it. At some point I would like to have a custom tab designed by someone. I would also like to get a custom website, but for now I’m working with the template that’s available. I’m not sure what social media will provide for me, but I seem to be heading in the right direction.

  4. Darin Persinger

    November 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Any type of business development could be a sink hole if you suck at it.

    What I find so fascinating about Social Media, is that a few of the “experts” ideas about it ex. Juliette Powell, author of 33 Million People in the Room, Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor, Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush IT!, and Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents, is so in alignment with how real estate business should be built its scary.

    We’re not talking about Social Media here, we are talking about building a real estate business that is built on relationships. Period.

  5. Janie Coffey

    November 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Damn, I guess those two listings that I got from FB this month would have just appeared out of nowhere. Or maybe they are virtual listings? Ooops, nope, one already has an offer and the other I have keys in hand….Oh, and did I have to “sell them anything?”, nope, just friendship…. hmmmm SM? nah, it doesn’t work 😉

  6. Matt Stigliano

    November 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Ines – So what do you think, should you stop talking “mojitos” and take down Miamism? I’m sure half the people that read that shouted the same answer as you did – “No.”

    First of all, the fact that someone advises thousands of agents about online marketing, but is crying the end of social media is kind of interesting to me. What is Mike’s method of online marketing? I don’t know Mike, so I can’t answer that, but I’d be willing to bet that I (personal opinion coming) would think of it as something more on the spam side of the spectrum. Of course, I consider a lot of things spammy. Please remember here, I am only making my own assumptions.

    What I don’t get is that so many people are willing to write off social media and say it’s a waste of time, but I wonder what their experience with it was. Did they try and fail? Did they half-ass it and get no results? Was it just not for them (like door knocking is for me)? Where was the disconnect for them?

    There obviously was something that helped them come to these conclusions – what were those things?

    I have found that it’s easier to say “face to face rules – death to social media” than it is to finally admit that there is a sort of “face to face” occurring on the internet. Yes, it is not human flesh touching human flesh, but it is working. People are interacting on a new level these days. Strangers in real life, can mean so much more to each other in the “virtual world” of social media.

    Let’s take Ines as a great example. The day I meet her in real life, it will be like two old friends having a chat. I bet we will talk about mojitos and Yngwie. I’d be willing to put a lot of money on that bet. Why? Because I know about Ines. I have connected with Ines. I like Ines. I will like her more once we’ve had an hour over a mojito I’m sure (and not because of the alcohol).

    I actually see a future where the phrase “face to face” gets replaced with “connection” or “have built a relationship.” Yes, face to face and belly to belly will always have a special place in this world. Yes, it does really solidify a relationship. Is it necessary to build the relationship needed to move from curiosity seekers to clients? I don’t think it is anymore. For some people, yes, but not everyone. Will it take that relationship from great to awesome? More than likely, of course.

    Too many people want to find something that is the cure all for everything. I think once any method is viewed as a tool instead of a singular path, success can come from many different avenues (including social media).

  7. Duke Long

    November 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Please let him push out the “Blackwater” message. Lost in the woods and need our help? We are in a far away place with vast and mystic knowledge. Just give us money and we will solve all your Re problems,even though we don’t exist. Social Media is just not real .We are . E-mail us.We will contact you promptly via a spambot.Our vast universal most awsomeness 3 ring binder of resources will insure your total success.

  8. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    The truth is that this is not for everybody -especially not for those that don’t have a need for it. We all know it’s not easy, it IS time consuming but the rewards are beyond anything I could have expected.

    I started blogging without an audience in mind and realized that I was doing it wrong and had to shift gears – I’ve been tweeting for over 2 years and at first it was purely for fun – now it’s so much more than the 140 characters and the connections are priceless – look at this tweet I got yesterday from a local peep:

    @ines hey there! I just gave your website addy and phone # to a couple looking for a home in Miami. Ami & Craig.

    There are no rules, there is no formula but there is the concept of “creating relationships” which is so important in our industry. As with everything, you need to strategyze and have a plan – you need to have goals and realize it’s not about the particular tools but how you use them because different tools will come and go. I agree with Darin about

    Any type of business development could be a sink hole if you suck at it.

    Love Janie’s examples and think it’s laughable that people still doubt SM’s validity….but in the end…..it’s all good : )

    Matt – count on that mojito and the talk about #Yngwie (which btw I wrote a note to and mailed it and seems to be totally ignoring me – the stalking is not working) 😉

  9. Genuine Chris Johnson

    November 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    @dave Any type of business CAN be a sink hole if you suck at it, love it.

    Without 1.0 closing/selling/people helping skills this is a waste of time and effort. Better just not engage, better wait for the phone to ring.

  10. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Balance no? chris?

    As @LindaDavis once put it at a preso in an Inman Convention – “If your real estate business sucks, blogging is not going to help”

  11. Brandie Young

    November 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Inez,

    Great post … compelling argument. I think it can be argued logically from every angle. Given that, every marketing effort, if not SMART and well executed can be a time (and money) suck.

    I’m sure everyone here has their success stories with SM, but there are those without that shouldn’t be ingnored for the sake of being fully informed.

    I have an agent friend, late 30’s been an agent for 14 years – so pre and post internet. She is not one bit involved with SM (with the exception of light photo sharing on FB) She will have her best year ever this year, closing just under $43 MILLION as both a buyers and seller agent (not sure the number of COE’s, but numerous, not just a few massive hits). Ditto another friend, different geography, mid 40’s but only 8 years experience. She will close ~$37 Million.

    Certainly not a representative sample, yet it makes one wonder …did they UNDER-perform or OVER-perform by not taking the time to utilize SM as a marketing/networking tactic? The question can’t be answered, but I’d take 3% of $43 Mil any day!

  12. Brandie Young

    November 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    p.s. when i said as both a buyers and sellers agent, I did NOT mean she represents both sides, just that she caters to both…

  13. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Brandie – I’m totally with you – you can be a successful agent without social media, it’s been proven again and again, but that doesn’t discount the ones that are having favorable outcomes.

  14. Brandie Young

    November 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Ines,

    No, that can’t be discounted, and I wasn’t meaning to imply that at all.

    It will be interesting, as years go by, to see if someone can create a uniform way to truly measure it’s outputs and lay that over profitabilty. It’s so subjective and personality-based it will be tricky to quantify.

  15. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I don’t think it’s hard to quantify at all – we ask all our clients how they heard of us and we know if they came from our local chamber ad, direct mailers or our blog, for example. Once you’ve been at this for a while, you have a very clear idea of what’s working and what’s not.

    The question becomes this – if only 2% of my direct mailers get a direct response and I spend $X and 70% of my business comes from my blog that only takes time (and time IS $) – where do I rather spend time and $ and what’s getting me better results?

    I have not been in real estate sales for 7 years yet which means I have not even experienced a whole selling cycle but have gotten repeat business from clients.

    I think @mizzle needs to come in here because she is also a perfect example of success and she is quantifying it.

  16. Jay Thompson

    November 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Mike Parker has been proclaiming the death of blogging for quite some time and it looks like he’s on an anti-social media kick now. We went round-and-round a couple of times way back on a Point2 Agent user forum.

    He sells “professionally managed lead sites” and (at least used to, not sure if he still does) SEO services. Blogging and social media by their nature tend to diminish the value of those types of services. Tearing down your competition is one way to make yourself look better. I suppose.

    You’d think someone with his proclaimed knowledge of the internet would have a Google alert set up and would have chimed in by now.

    Then again, since social media is hogwash, I guess there’s no point in paying attention to it.

    Of course not every agent needs to use social media / networking / blogging to be successful. Just like not every agent needs to use door knocking, direct mail or geo-farming. Nor does every agent need to use television, radio and print advertising. Hell, there are wildly successful agents who don’t have any website. That’s the beauty of this business. There is practically an infinite number of ways to be successful.

    Interestingly, I don’t know of any agent who successfully employs social media tools that claims others HAVE to do it. Yet I hear naysayers frequently claim we say just that….

  17. Dena Stevens

    November 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Ines,

    I’ve followed you and many other successful agents for a few years now. And if I’ve learned anything from all of you it that there is no exact science or formula to selling real estate and the best tool is to be myself.
    Yes, I’ve closed deals as a direct result of my blog but I’ve also gotten deals from a hand shake, actual networking or somebody finding my business card on a public bulletin board.
    Am I going to keep Tweeting silly things? Darn right I am! Local people have found me there and contacted me. Does Face Book give people a glimpse of who I am and what I do? Yeppers!
    Ines, keep leading because I’m following you!

  18. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Jay,

    Blogging rules. I make a lot of money from blogging and my internet presence.

    Agents should not confuse blogging/internet presence with Twitter and Facebook or 12 second videos.

    Here’s what rubs me the wrong way: social media has become an industry in itself. Many agents who have left real estate and have become social media “gurus” tell other agents at barcamps, NAR, etc, that “they must be doing this—this is the future.” Those statements are not only unfair to the agents in the audience, but are largely unproven.

    If all this is proven/true—why the NYTimes article that says that Twitter is worth about $2 per share….If social media was a “must do” then there wouldn’t be “the other side.”

    #justsayin

  19. Genuine Chris Johnson

    November 23, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Kevin-

    Good good point. Social media is an industry, and most should have the tagline : “Trying shit with your money since I failed at Real Estate in 2008.” No standards, nothing professional, and nothing CONVERTING.

    Pisses me off.

    I.E. If you did less than 5mm from social media sales, if you don’t have the hud-1s to show? Don’t confuse realtors.

  20. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Genuine,

    I appreciate you being genuine. I actually feel a responsibility to protect agents from this industry of gurus. I am a Real Estate Agent ADVOCATE.

  21. Jay Thompson

    November 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Rubs me the wrong way too Kevin.

    Sadly, there are individuals and companies everywhere lined up to pitch products and methods to real estate agents. Not just social media snake oil, everything.

    And there are countless agents lined up to buy the next magic pill.

    You should have seen the expo floor at the NAR convention. I couldn’t begin to count the number of products, training courses and gizmo’s and gadget’s that were there.

    I didn’t see anyone selling what ultimately makes most successful — hard work. And I’m not sure anyone would buy it if they did.

  22. David G from Zillow.com

    November 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Mike’s misunderstanding is based on the expectation that Social Media is a new strategy / product offering. It’s a common mistake. The reality is that social media is merely a means to an end; a “tool” as you put it. It’s a communication tool, relationship building tool and brand-building tool. There is no good argument for agents not communicating or build relationships & brands so raging against Social Media is a bit silly. You CAN of course communicate and build relationships without social media but frankly, it’s a lot less efficient & effective. Who really wants to go back to fridge magnets and PTA meetings?

    On the flip side, this “social media as product strategy” thinking will end (IMO, the sooner the better.) Consider the telephone; another “tool.” Can you imagine someone in the full-time role of “telephone guru” — standing by to deftly spring into action at the next ring. Ridiculous, right? So the social media guru will also one day be a thing of the past but at that point there will be a facebook on every desk.

    Lastly, I’m nitpicking here, but blogs ARE Social Media. I think Mike was talking about “Social Networking.” Mike, if I can help differentiate it for you, you can contact me on twitter: @DavidGibbons

  23. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Yes! I find social media “interesting.” I’m glad I know of it/my way around it. But it’s waayy to early to tell.

    I blog, twitter, FB, have my web site, and do direct mail. So far the two most successful things are: direct mail and my website.

    I would liken SM to virtual tours. Remember when we HAD to have virtual tours? It was the future. It’s the future/must do…yada yada. Who does virtual tours anymore?

    That’s a perfect example.

    My honest feeling: I don’t feel that sitting around all day 5 + days a week trying to engage others (YEO) is simply wrong and no WAY near the best use of a real estate agent’s time.

    Additionally, I’m annoyed that places like Inman don’t put up AGENTS to review how the technology would be used practically, realistically. Have agents review technology. NOT VENDORS telling agents that they MUST use their products. That’s hog wash.

    As an agent, I want to hear from a high-producing and/or very experienced agent. Not a failed agent or a vendor.

  24. Brandie Young

    November 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Ines,

    I am certain you have a good idea where your clients come from, regardless of your years in the business. That’s why you’re doing well despite tough times. I just have a different background in looking at it. I think it’s harder to quantify than we may think.

    As for quantifying, my methodology would include take into account many more factors and measure at the individual level, as I don’t believe this is a one-size-fits all equation.

    Fortunately ads and direct mail are pretty easy to measure, because you have a hard cost you know up front. Part of the difficulty of measuring your SM efforts is time. You can never empirically know the amount of time it took to get that lead, therefore you don’t know how much it cost.

    So, for arguments sake, let’s say an agent earned $85k for two consecutive years, and that same agent works 40 hours a week with 12 hours devoted to SM (yeah, sure only 40 hours, but it’s just an example). That agent earns roughly $41 per hour. If it took 1 month to get a lead, that’s a $1,968 lead, 6 months $7,872 lead. (12 hours x 16 weeks x $41 per hour). But how do you know if it took 1 or 6 months?

    Plus, you never know the number of seeds you’ve also planted along the way that will (hopefully) one day bear fruit.

    Of course, that’s not a good example, because you were talking to many people, as opposed not 1 to 1 as in direct mail. Plus, it doesn’t take into account your increased influence, reputation and the brand equity you’ve built (separate, yet important measures). And, it doesn’t take into account penetration levels based on population and competitive saturation.

    Additionally, when you have numerous tactics, (direct mailers, social events, blog, Twitter, etc.), how can you attribute where exactly they come from – like in Dena’s example above? Especially someone that’s so well known and regarded as you? Except for certain instances, it’s likely the combination of efforts. (which, by the way, makes it hell for peeps like me to measure.)

    Again, I am not a nay-sayer. I’m a I dunno sayer. There just isn’t sufficient data … yet. But to your original point in your post, it’s a tool, one of many. And for the record, I think it’s reckless of anyone to make absolutes, particularly at this stage of the game.

    You’ve inspired my next post. Thanks.

  25. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    David,

    IMO, blogs are social media ONLY in Seattle. Most blogs, even highly ranked blogs, have very little “conversation.”

    David, that’s it! That’s what gets me

    “Social Media as product strategy!” That’s a total receipe for failure.

    You can’t “engage others” all day and be a successful real estate agent. Just not possible.

  26. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Jay,
    I’ve been thinking about and re-reading your comment. You know why agents have started to abandon blogging for SM (sorry, David)? It’s hard as sh*t to write a good blog post.

    It’s much easier to fool yourself that you are doing something productive on Twitter or FB.

    If you are not in Google, then you are not doing business. Period.

    If 87% + of consumers start their search on Web—-well, be on the Web, dammit!

    Maintaining a good, consumer-centric blog is hard work. But it is the best use of an agent’s time.

  27. Jay Thompson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    David G – Well put (as usual). Personally, I think “social media” (and networking) has been around since Day 1. Humans are social animals. Sure the tools are different then they used to be, and they’ll be different in the future (in the near future quite probably). Heck, I even wrote briefly about cavemen using social media.

    And I agree completely that blogging IS social media.

    Brandie – I get asked ALL the time what my “social media ROI” is. And I can’t answer that question. I ask every client, “how did you find us?” Invariably the answer is “on the internet”. Sometimes I can narrow a client to one website, occasionally even to one specific blog post. But usually “the internet” is as close as I can get.

    Some clients I know I *first* engaged with on Twitter. But is that the reason they chose to work with us? Or was it something I wrote on the blog, or said in real life? So is it fair to call that person a “Twitter client”?

    It is extremely difficult to measure an exact ROI for this stuff. I do know this though, I generate 95+% of my business and a significant amount of business for my agents from my “internet presence”. The vast majority of that comes from the blog, but all the other places we are too — traditional web site, single property sites, Twitter, FB, Yelp, and yes, even the Tweetups on Friday nights — all contribute. I’m not really sure it matters if I distinguish one of those activities from another. Often (I think) it’s a combination of things that initially attracts a client. Who cares if I can’t specifically track it to one thing?

    Not to mention that sometimes the stuff I do/say on the internet, wherever that may be, is purely for fun, friendship and entertainment. It’s not all about work.

  28. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Jay – I’m with you all the way – anything we do is about hard work and the gadgets and thingies I saw on that NAR floor made me laugh at times (TG for Foursquare that just made us have a good time…..another gadget that may not be here tomorrow)

    David – the” telephone guru” thing made me crack up – but then again the word “guru” makes me a bit sick to my stomach (no offense to anyone). It is all so very new and it is ALL about relationships. I totally agree about Blogs being Social Media (to me, the most important part of it). The whole phenomenon happens to be IMO, the best way to brand a business ever. Where else would you have the exposure?

    Brandie, can’t wait to read the post – I see where the “quantifying” aspect can get tricky – but I simplify things now because I have the time and energy for my on-line efforts, which may not be true in the future…..I guess time will tell.

    Dena – you’re da’bomb! 🙂

  29. Beth Butler

    November 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Ines:

    I have been listening to nay sayers for longer than I can remember.

    “Computers will never replace the MLS books”

    “Why should I use email? My clients don’t even own a computer.”

    “Who has time to do all of that blogging anyway?”

    I could go on and on, we all know it works. Social media is a prospecting tool. Blogging is a content generator for a website. Direct mail and in-person networking are still very effective.

    We have choices – successful people choose the tools they are comfortable with and make a successful business. Adaptation to new tools keeps the business thriving. Failure to adapt is slow death to the business. Let the naysayers go the way they must and let’s get on with a successful business.

  30. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 23, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Jay – I have to add that what makes us embrace all this stuff (and I’m referring to the 2 of us in particular), is the fact that we have fun while we’re at it. I would never have fun door knocking or cold calling…..I have fun trying new tools and meeting new people, as do you. 😀

    • Heather Rankin

      November 24, 2009 at 2:44 am

      Inez – Your point and Jays is well taken ~ I actually have fun blogging, FB, Twittering etc.. Cold calling, door knocking, and other tried and true methods (business cards in peoples hands in grocery store lines) work well for some but it is not my style.

  31. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Blogs are not social media. For real estate agents, they are content generators to get found in the search engines.

    I don’t socialize with anyone on my blog. The only people who come to chit chat are other real estate agents, which frankly, I’m not so thrilled about.

    That’s my biz. My bread and butter.

  32. Kristin LaVanway

    November 24, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Great discussion!

    When I started in real estate, I didn’t know anything about selling, networking, or lead generation. I came from an engineering background so I naturally gravitated towards the internet, but guess what? Just getting 25 emails a day of “potential buyers” doesn’t exactly populate the bank account. Turns out you have to “work” the leads.

    So, I did the Brian Buffini training, learned about making phone calls, writing notes and doing pop-bys, but honestly, I just wasn’t into it.

    I have been experimenting over the last year or so with blogging and have settled on video blogging… I LOVE to do these postings. I use the social media outlets to post my vids and correspond with viewers, clients and my sphere. I send a monthly email that incorporates my videos and I am using Twitter more and more. I don’t see much difference between this and the calls/notes/pop-bys except that I actually DO the vids/tweets/FB stuff. I also meet face-to-face with as many people as possible and continue the relationships online. As a result, I am feeling a lot more engaged with my clients and potential clients. I am also seeing an increase in my business in quantity and quality.

    As many posters have pointed out, there is not ONE right way to market your real estate biz. We all just need to find the medium we are most comfortable using and do it consistently. Social media offers some great options, but like cards/notes/pop-bys, I am pretty sure you have to actually do the work to see the results.

  33. Jay Thompson

    November 24, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Kevin –

    IMO, a blog doesn’t need “conversation” to be called “social media”.

    I think you’re focusing too much on the word “social” and not enough on the word “media”.

    The “book definition” of social media is “content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies”. There is no question a blog is highly accessible and scalable. And there is no question it is at its core, a publishing technology.

    I can write a blog post and literally reach thousands of people. That kind of reach was not even close to being available just a few short years ago (unless you wanted to spent a shitload of money on television and radio. And even then, you couldn’t necessarily say anything you want to like you can on your own blog).

    The vast (and I mean VAST) majority of conversations I have with prospects and clients from my blog don’t take place on the blog itself. Those conversations take place via email, over the telephone, and face-to-face.

    They are, none the less, social conversations facilitated by blog posts. Just because those conversations don’t physically take place on the blog page doesn’t make them any less “social”.

    Just MHO…

    Ines – agreed. I don’t door knock or cold call for two reasons: 1) I hate it; and 2) I suck at it (and I probably suck at it because I hate it). Life’s too short to spend time doing something I dislike. And there are people that hate writing and chit-chatting. Hence, they should do that either. Doesn’t make me better or worse than them, or smarter or dumber. Just different.

  34. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 24, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Jay – same happens here, very rarely will the conversation happen on the blog, instead we get phone calls or emails or private FB messages – the reach is unbelievable and the permanence of the content priceless whereas my postcard was thrown out and the message reached one single person that may not have been even looking for the information.

    The idea that people that are looking for certain info are finding us through the medium….over and over again is one of the aspects that makes it so fierce.

    Kristin, I did the Buffini thing too and my personality could not let me swallow the scripts and it all felt to contrived and fake – what’s better than being yourself and attracting like minded individuals who like you for you?

  35. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 24, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Hey Beth!
    Thanks for your perspective, helps to see it from a broker who is out there pounding the pavement and trying to get their agents to listen up.

    I think you can understand my point better than others because you live it – you see top producing agents with years in the business who have no need to adopt these methods but you also see some that do and see a change for the better. They may not go full force with it, but see how it can benefit their business and in your own words how

    Adaptation to new tools keeps the business thriving

    Thanks for being one of the local ones that “gets it” 🙂

  36. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Ines,

    I have to ask a simple question: How is the success quantified? A lot of people him and haw and beat around the bush. Actually I remember someone telling me that at a panel at NAR last year that people in the audience asked about actual stats and you and T Board both declined to give info.

    That doesn’t help people. Saying “do it” it may work–is pointless. Tell an agent HOW TO DO IT—AND DO IT RIGHT. My problem is that everyone professes their love for the SM but NO ONE lays it out; shows it.

    I know Ardell did in one of her posts.

    I’ll start: I’ve made over $400k (in my pocket this year & verifiable) and I would attribute NONE of it to social media. I’m very active in SM and fact is, the consumer is definetely NOT ON TWITTER, and just a smidge on FB.

    Remember all over our convo’s on twitter are searchable so it’s easy to see if an agent is engaging with consumers.

    My point here is to give these agents THE REAL STORY—not theory.

    I would attribute 60% of the money to my Website and 20% and the other 20% referral.

    There I did it.

    Anyone else care to share A REAL story. Help agents out. Stop talking theory or “if-come” scenarios. Be transparent. Be authentic.

    It’s time. Look at MySpace. Google doesn’t have to pay the last $300M to MySpace because traffic has fallen so much. That could happen to Facebook and Twitter, too. Look at the article in the NYTimes this week about Twitter.

  37. tony lazzari

    November 24, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I’m not going to take shots at someone else’s philosophy or business practice, just offer my opinion based on my experience with these tools. Over the past 9 monthsI have developed more leads and new contacts via my blog (hub of my marketing plan) and other SM tools than via traditional farming methods in the 5 previous years.
    Fact: I can reach more people, more frequently, and more personally via facebook and twitter than I could ever afford to via mailers/postcards/pop-bys. How many meaningful personal touches can you make by writing on someones wall in a day. How many people read what others post on their wall? I will bet close to 100%. How many read that post card you mail each month? 10% maybe? Which do you choose? How big do you want to build that network?
    I can write a blog post and it is out on the web, searchable and findable for ever. I can demonstrate my expertise to a range of people/prospects that I could never reach via traditional methods. We all have our niches – with these tools we can publish and reach others with similar interests – and oh, maybe start building a relationship?
    And as Matt indicated, when you finally meet that person in real life, you already know them (like when I finally met Ines in SF – and helped video her mojito review, lit by iphones).
    As Jeff Turner and others active in this space talk about all the time: it’s about getting face-to-face. The thing of it is by the time you meet them, you already know them from the relationship built on line.
    And Jay, I am with you 100% on the cold calls – I can’t do to someone what i have having done to me. And I could not pop-by someones house and drop off a dollar gift with a cute poem attached without and be serious – it’s not me.
    So hey, if traditional tools work for you great, keep it going. I see these tools as a more cost effective way to reach more people, more personally, more frequently. As an agent isn’t that what you want? peace.

  38. MARIANA WAGNER [@mizzle]

    November 24, 2009 at 1:30 am

    1. Not everyone is going to be successful integrating social media into their real estate career. Just like not everyone will be successful integrating door knocking and cold calling … But this is not to say that any of these are not/cannot be a viable means to create success in our chosen careers.

    2. For what it is worth … I do A FRICKEN LOT of training on both general “internet lead generation” and “social media” for real estate agents. What I have found is that MOST RE agents do not even WANT to integrate a working website into their careers … let alone social media! We are talking about a very small population of agents who even care about this …

    3. Blogging is MOST definitely a social media tool – if you choose it to be. Yes, it is a powerful way to be found in the search engines, but it is also a communication device between me and the community of people who I choose to do business with – They can read updated information to answer their questions and I can integrate all this great information into OTHER forms of social media (enhancing them) through RSS feeds. This way my blog becomes a lifeline between WHO I am and WHAT I do.

    4. I talk the talk and walk the walk. Like last year, we are on track to make $300k this year. This number can be doubled if you include our team members who can feed their families because of us. Over 80% of this is because of our online efforts (Blogging, Facebook, Twitter …). Of course blogging (NEW business) is the majority of this, but about one deal a month is a direct result of our interactions on Facebook (past clients, sphere of influence, agent referrals) or Twitter (agent and RE industry referrals).

    5. Income Perspective: Our average sales price is just under $200k.

    6. Guess What? I ALSO agree that both blogging and social media will eventually stop being industry “buzz words” but that does not remove the validity of these tools from the agents who are successful using them.

    Finally, I do not have patience for anyone who places blanket claims on ANYTHING. I turn my nose up to them and continue to be successful DESPITE their accusations.

  39. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Tony–
    as with everything, one thing doesn’t always hold true. Rarely do I ever meet my listers before I list their property. The contact me via my Web site or from a mail out. I don’t need to do the whole meet/greet thing.

    do you feel the need to be befriend your taxpreparer or dentist? No. I’m a professional, much like your dentist or CPA or doctor. That’s where the real estate industry continues to keep tripping itself up.

    I’m a professional. I’m not looking to be your friend (Buffini). I’m looking to be top-of-mind when you need real estate services. That’s it. If more agents looked at it that way, real estate agents would stop putting pics of themselves with their dogs or children.

  40. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I do not consider the people who contact me through my site “LEADS.” They are people; and I treat them as such.

    I’ve been on the Web with one of the best real estate agent sites in the country. In the time it takes to cultivate a lead on FB or Twitter, I can find five others using other methods.

    I wouldn’t want anyone on my staff manning the SM controls trolling for engagement. I offer my services and people contact me. I have never done a cold call, a pop-by, an expired—nada. Beth Butler can verify everything I have said.

    Consumers contact me.

  41. MARIANA WAGNER [@mizzle]

    November 24, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Another fun thing about social media …

    Agent to Agent … Because of our online social interactions online WITH OTHER LOCAL AGENTS … there are now several agents who will GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to a) find a buyer for our listings and b) work WITH us to help a deal close. Social Media has created this local, brand-less camaraderie that makes my business taste better for both ME and my clients.

  42. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Mariana,
    That is exactly where the huge “sinkhole” is from my perspective. Most agents end up talking industry chat all day. I see it . I watch it, and comment on it with others.

    I use the MLS for agent to agent stuff. I hate when agents bother me with their listings.

    If I have a buyer —that’s what professionals use the MLS for! To be successful one needs to focus.

    When I get agent-to-agent communiques —I delete them and most agents do as well. It’s called SPAMMING.

  43. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I hate to drop this link in…but, well, I gotta. It’s from the Agent Genius site itself…and I lay it here, well, kinda smugly.

    It’s what I’ve been saying, and it was said back in March.

    https://agentgenius.com/real-estate-sales-marketing/is-social-media-missing-the-mark/

    On this link….I say good night!

  44. MARIANA WAGNER [@mizzle]

    November 24, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Kevin –
    “That is exactly where the huge “sinkhole” is from my perspective. Most agents end up talking industry chat all day. I see it . I watch it, and comment on it with others.”

    Honestly, if this is the bulk of their time spent then they wont be agents for long … so there MUST be some success hiding in there somewhere.

    “I use the MLS for agent to agent stuff. I hate when agents bother me with their listings. If I have a buyer —that’s what professionals use the MLS for! To be successful one needs to focus.”

    I am creating relationships with other agents bu interacting with them. I do not send agents my listings. I do not need to. When they find one of our many listings on the MLS, they want to find a way to work with us – finding a buyer … Truly a benefit for our Seller clients.

  45. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Well, Mariana, not to belabor the point, but I make those relationships when I’m out showing and conducting business.

    I know I’m gruff–and obnoxious—but I don’t need to be on Twitter and Facebook to make relationships with the colleagues.

    Again, to my earlier point–most people are literallly shoving the golden pill ( I wish they were vicodins) of SM down agent mouths–and I think it’s wrong. Facebook and Twitter are barely viable as companies themselves……

  46. Brandie Young

    November 24, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Ines
    What an awesome conversation you started!

    Jay
    “Who cares if I can’t specifically track it to one thing?” HUGE FAVOR: Can I ask you to speak to my former bosses and perhaps future clients? Most want to justify spend in every specific area, although it’s not always possible.

    Kevin
    “I do not consider the people who contact me through my site “LEADS.” They are people; and I treat them as such.” Interesting commentary! This is just my point of view – of course they are people! Hamsters don’t buy property (or if they do, we have some quick repositioning on which to concentrate!) Of course you’re not going to treat them like they hold a number while waiting on line at the deli.

    I hear you, but IMHO they are a lead, and they are smart enough to know it. And you are a lead to them. It’s like dating. You need to determine if you are a fit for one another. Until you determine yea or nah, it’s a prospective relationship which in my world equals lead (be it right, or be it wrong)

  47. MARIANA WAGNER [@mizzle]

    November 24, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Kevin –

    I also do not mean to belabor the point – but not everyone is going to be successful integrating social media into their real estate career. It works for some and doesn’t for others – like everything else in life. If it is not helping your truly succeed (however you define success), then don’t do it and stick to doing what DOES make you money- whatever that may be.

    We are all (supposed) business people. We need to lead with revenue and hold our business generating efforts responsible. Those who do not, regardless of what is being “shoved” into agent’s mouths, will naturally die off.

    It is not the TOOLS that make us successes or failures. It is how we use them.

  48. Heather Rankin

    November 24, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Hard numbers. I am a new agent – under 2 years so maybe that does not qualify but..
    100% of my sales have come from my blog. Small market but I am busy with only one other local agent closing more than I have this year. I’ve not done direct mail, nor sat floor time, or thrust business cards in the manner I’ve heard through some training we should.

    I use SM to drive folks to my blog and practice good SEO but I focus more writing for people ( not leads). Maybe this would not work in a large, competitive market but almost any time I go to the store, town hall, or the latest art association presentation people ask about something I wrote on the blog, twitter or facebook.

    I doubt what I am doing would be considered cultish. I am making rational decisions based on ROI – but maybe again I just drank the koolaid.

  49. Darin Persinger

    November 24, 2009 at 6:35 am

    @JAY THOMPSON
    “Interestingly, I don’t know of any agent who successfully employs social media tools that claims others HAVE to do it. Yet I hear naysayers frequently claim we say just that….”

    Its just like people with tattoo’s.

  50. Janie Coffey

    November 24, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Kevin, I hear where you are coming from (especially wanting to protect an agent from opening their wallet to a “guru”), but remember, there are as many prospecting tools out there for personality types of both the agent and the consumer (and the market). As Beth said above, different strokes for different folks (post cards, expireds, websites, blogs, open houses, cold calling, SM are all options) Can someone do all of them? No way? Will every one work for every agent in every market, no. We each have to find what works for us to reach our customers. Can someone loose too much time on one and be unsuccessful? Of course, but you can do that blogging just as easily with SM (Look at all the agents blogging to each other and not the consumer, unless they have something to sell those agents, too much of this is time lost)

    I also 100% agree with you and I think it was Brandie that it should be agents presenting at conferences and unconferences, we need to learn from each other, not hear a sales pitch. I walked out of the front row of one for that very reason at the last unconference I attended.

    I am in the market that both you and Ines are in (and thank the heavens every day I don’t compete head on with either of you, I’ll stay over here in the west, thank you very much). You have both done very well in a tough market (Kevin, you are a super star) but you have different target clients and have gone about it differently. Can your success be duplicated? Maybe not, cuz you can’t be duplicated, nor can Ines. We all have to find what resonates with each one of us so that we stick to it, perfect it and grow our business from it. If it means putting bus bench signs on every bus from here to the Everglades like the 24 year old kid fresh out of law school who now is spanking the established olders lawyers so much they are taking ads out against him, so be it. We have to find our own “bus bench”

  51. Linda Davis

    November 24, 2009 at 7:31 am

    While I don’t agree with Mike, I do question the use of social media for some agents. When I said “If your business is crappy, a blog won’t help”, it was out of frustration with the number of agents that think that social media will suddenly turn their crappy businesses into a good one. It was a word of warning that many “social media experts” have never sold a lick of real estate and some of those experts in the business haven’t sold much.

    I once had a friend email me from a conference where he attended a panel discussion on social media. While listening, he went into the local MLS and found that one of the panelists speaking on “how social media can help your real estate business” had 3 sales in the past 6 months. My friend stopped listening. Others are starting to tune out as they find out the dirty little secret that some of the experts might be great online but have crappy businesses. Stop over at Active Rain and read the blog titled “Twitter Kings and Queens, You don’t seem to sell much real estate”. You can see what some of the rest of the real estate world is thinking.

    Real estate is local and so is the success of social media. It probably works best in high tech areas but not as well in the rest of rural america, like my little town where someone is much more likely to find my name on a newsletter or calendar than on Twitter. Yet, I’ve heard a lot of social media gurus talk in disgust of real estate agents that do things like that.

    I’m constantly suprised at how many agents don’t have a real database. I’d start there before I start trying to attract Twitter followers. Once you get your business flowing then social media is the big bow that ties it all together. It can be a real pretty package!!

  52. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Brandie,
    I couldn’t disagree more. They are the customer and I am the vendor. That’s it.

    Agent-centric agents think they are the stars of the show. That head died with the supermodels. An agent who believes that they are an important part of the equation is doing business in the nineties.

    The way consumers buy and sell real estate has totally changed in the last five years. It’s now only about giving good service to the customer. The pendulum has swung back.

    I know my place in the transaction–and I do not insult or annoy the client by giving sermons (very, very old) or talking at them. I listened and have a conversation with them to be achieve THEIR goals. My goals ARE not important in this scenario.

    When will agents get it?

  53. Matthew Rathbun

    November 24, 2009 at 7:56 am

    There’s not argument here that can’t be applied to ANY level of real estate practice. There will always be those that are good at engaging online and then there are those who are better in other venues.

    I agree that everyone should maybe cut back on evangelizing that this socmed thing is the only way. It’s not. It’s the current tool and not everyone should do it. I happen to suck at phone sales and really think that a good email conversation that leads to a face to face a day later is far more effective for me. However if you listen to the likes of Dirk Zeller – if you have no phone skills you’ll never make it.

    Some say open houses are the way – I hate them, it comes through that way and I can’t close them.

  54. Missy Caulk

    November 24, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Great discussion, Ines.

    We’re all different and we use all the tools differently. Some successful agents don’t use anything but referrals. I have to agree with Mariana that very few agents use any Social Media tools in each locality.

    In my office of 200, 4 of us “get it”. I still get most of my business from my lead (the ugly word) site.

    …and Linda yea I looked too.

  55. tony lazzari

    November 24, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Kevin:
    I don’t understand this claim of yours that “the experts” are shoving this pill (not vicodin) down peoples/agents throats. Every conference and barcamp I have been to this year the message is clear. These are tools that you can choose to use. Every one applies them differently. The kickoff presentation for R E BarCamp Denver this year was based on the analogy of cutting your own lawn – everyone does it differently, with different mowers, but the job still gets done.
    Not all methods of prospecting and farming work for everyone – that is why the coaching industry in this space is so huge – and some say cultish. And you know, that is what works for some. Others choose other ways.
    So hey, congrats to you for feeling the need to tear down how others choose to do business successfully. Congrats to you for feeling the need to brag about your income level. You have found what works very well for you, great. And,I would suggest, put aside your arrogance and brashness for a bit and get to know the culture a bit more before you tear in to it with assumptions and generalizations from the outside. peace.

  56. ines

    November 24, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Devil’s advocate here – there are also those agents that don’t see the value in Social Media and still stick around, why? Why in the world would you tweet or Facebook or even spend time and effort on a blog or participate in the blogosphere if you have an extremely lucrative business that doesn’t need those tools?

    It was at the Master Broker’s Forum with all the sixty-something top producers that I realized the answer – because, as Beth mentioned above:

    Adaptation to new tools keeps the business thriving. Failure to adapt is slow death to the business.

    • Janie Coffey

      November 24, 2009 at 10:05 am

      Devil’s Advocate back atcha- – some (many) are on those sites for pure personal/social reasons, and that’s great, that is in part their original purpose. Some a mix and some only biz (and that last one is a “not so much” good reason for being there) That is the beauty of it all, it can be as much or as little or whatever each person wants out of it. But each has their own choice and no one really should be telling others what is right or wrong about how they choose to spend their own time (unless of course it is your employee and then there you go)

  57. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Tony

    I wasn’t tearing down anyone. There is validity to the article of reference of this blog post.

    Further $400k is NOT bragging. Believe me. If you believe it’s bragging then your whole comment above is hypocrisy.

    Agents want to know if it works. The ONLY way is to quantify it is with income or sales–not relationships. I did it. If you have a problem with someone coming out with SPECIFICS —well, then, that’s, in my opinion, the whole problem here.

    Tony–I don’t go to EVERY barcamp. I go to other (yes there are “other”) types of real estate conferences/seminars—I know, I know –it’s shocking!

    I’ve met a ton of great and fun people here (SM, etc) and:
    1. I haven’t made $.01 off of it (in terms of INCOME)

    As Mariana said above, I’ve had “fun” but HONESTLY I’m thinking that making it in real estate in this market; and hard work, are not fun.

    So you may have your opinion about me—but I’m not following the rest of the crowd by
    1. not disclosing
    2. not vetting
    3. not fearful to consider that
    a. this isn’t the best use of my time
    b. may go away

    Further, just because this is a blog (what most consider social media) doesn’t give you any right to “tear down” my thoughts either. That’s called “hypocrisy.”

    This is the last comment I will make. I will end it with a comment from Benn from one of the posts here on AG:

    >>I made the comment to Lani the other day, that it seemed to me, that no one online today is a consumer, everyone’s got a job, or a product, or even a service- burnout could possibly be the next “in thing” for the comet we know today as social media.

    My point has validity. And for some to act as if it doesn’t….well—have at it. I guess adiffering opinion and debating an idea died somewhere along the line.

    I put up real numbers, so did Mariana. So in my opinion everything else is rainbows and butterflies.

    Tony, one last thing: How come you didn’t call Mariana a braggart (whom I now respect) for posting her details? Seems like you have a bone to pick.

  58. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Devil’s advocate back at ya:

    Why would people get up and speak about how social media is so successful—when it could be only quantified, for real estate purposes, by closed sales?

    That’s my beef.

    Because I know of people who speak of SM but really don’t sell all that much real estate.

  59. Matthew Rathbun

    November 25, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Kevin,

    How about about the people who get up and speak about cold calling and open houses being successful?

    Somewhere in my desk I’ve got a report that says that less than 3% of open houses yield a client.

    I think you’ve got a lot of good points. I’m just curious to see if we could apply a lot of those same theories to other marketing venues.

    Chris Brogan has a list of Social Media case studies here: https://delicious.com/chrisbrogan/casestudy

  60. tony lazzari

    November 25, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Kevin~
    I am with you 100% that we need more agent perspective and experience at the forefront in sharing how these tools work. BTW, did you happen to see the presentation at NAR by Marianna Wagner, Kelley Koehler, and Ginger Wilcox on how they use different tools in their agent business? More of that is needed. I caught it on livestream – it was great. Ever see Heather Elias present on how she uses Market Stats and blogging to reach a community? Listen to Teresa Boardman talk about how she connected with Flickr to an entire new client segment related to photography? There are agents talking about how they use it across the country at different conferences. It happens. We need more.
    And yes, I am aware that there and not shocked that there are other types of real estate conferences. And I attend – on my own dime in order to learn and network and socialize (I know, bad word).
    One of your points I don;t understand and maybe its a matter of who defines what & how (that make any sense?) – You claim you have never made $.01 from the use of social media, yet 60% of your income derives from your website. Folks, check out Kevin;s website. I think it’s great, in that it incorporates rich content, calls to action, all the tools that should be in a real estate website. And there is even a blogging component. By most definitions of folks who use social media in this space – you are using a component of it very well – and generating measurable income with it, by your numbers $240k. Impressive!
    So I guess it’s Facebook and Twitter that you don;t see as viable components. No big deal – others do. Personally, I have learned one hell of a lot from the folks I have met on Twitter in the past year. There is a mindset among the folks there, as you know, that is stimulating, and groundbreaking. And Facebook – more people hang out there than exist in the majority of the countries of the world. There are effective ways to employ it. And yes, like any other tool, there are those who misuse it. Is that grounds to condemn?
    So I guess it’s “Weapons of Choice” (great youtube vid of that) in each of our businesses. We find those that fit our personality and style and, as professionals, hone them to a fine edge and employ them with constantly refined skill.
    Thanks for the stimulating discussion.

  61. Kevin Tomlinson

    November 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Tony
    Now your comment is a good comment to respond to. I don’t like, at all, comment like “true believer” or thing of the like.

    There are a lot of agents who genuinely ask me for good advice. Advice on how to get REAL ESTATE BUSINESS–not how to engage in social media.

    I think that it’s way too early for most agents to look at SM as a client stream. #justsayin.

    When these people look at me, and are struggling, and broke—I HAVE to tell them the truth. I have to. If I can only give them five minutes of my time–I’m going to tell them to:

    1. send a mailout
    2. know the market
    3. work an open house
    4. get a hybrid blog/Web site
    5. hold an open house for a top producer
    6. be and get active in the REAL ESTATE arena

    There are many, many more things to do, that yield better results than SM.

    Further, I would go as far to say that if your online efforts aren’t indexable in Google–then for right now, your time is better spent elsewhere.

    The above is great advice/direction for a newbie.

  62. Rob Hahn

    November 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Late to the conversation, and it’s a good one… so let me just ask this.

    Do any of you track the social media your past or present clients do about you?

    Just curious.

    -rsh

  63. Denise Hamlin

    December 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Hi Ines ~ I’m a real estate agent and blogger active on ActiveRain. I too felt compelled to write a post after reading Mike Parker’s article. I’m not sure if everyone here is aware of it, but Mike Parker is Principal with Compass Internet Systems, an SEO Company that charges mega bucks to get agents on the first page of Google. He wants you to pay for your leads and is probably not too happy with the concept of getting them for free on Facebook and twitter. (He also slams blogging and we know for a fact that blogging is great for search engine placement).

    In short, I don’t consider him a credible source for advice on social media.

    Great post. You make some great points on the merits of social media, plus of course some of the pitfalls.

    Denise

  64. ines

    December 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Hey Denise,
    Getting the whole scoop definitely gives everyone a rounded perspective, so thank you for that. It lead to many writing articles about ROI and social media beyond the real estate industry. Curious about Mike wrtting negatively about blogging if in this very article he talks about SEO. Would have been interesting to get his point of view.

  65. Denise Hamlin

    December 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Ines ~ “Social media is the new blogging. It too will peak, then decline…” That’s from the article you quote in your post. He goes on to pitch an exception to the rule. (Is he affiliated with the company he’s pitching there too? I don’t know, but I didn’t want to complete the quote and give them airplay here).

    Figured this was worth pointing out, since we can differ on opinions when it comes to social media, but it is a fact that blogging is good for SEO.

    Denise

  66. ines

    December 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Denise – and we cannot question the “permanence” of blogging – with what other form of marketing can you keep an ever “searchable” database for anyone looking for real estate information? It boggles my mind at times

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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