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Why real estate pros shouldn’t be intimidated by the crowded internet

The internet is definitely intimidating

Over lunch recently, I asked my Realtor friend why she still hadn’t pulled the trigger on starting her real estate blog. Over clanking plates and rushing servers, she listed excuses about how busy she is, something about her slow web developer, and about how she doesn’t know how to write. I jokingly told her that she knows those aren’t legitimate excuses not to market herself and while she fidgeted with her napkin above the table, she said “everyone’s already blogging, it’s too late for me. It’s too crowded.”

It can seem that way. If you haven’t been online since 1997 (or hell, 1980 for some of the super geeks), it can seem overwhelming, intimidating and really loud. Some people have hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, others write on their blog every day to thousands of readers, and many are even so accomplished that they’ve written books on web topics or they’re speaking at conferences. Yikes, I bet opening your laptop to get started and wondering where you fit in is exhausting and intimidating these days.

I reassured her that the web wasn’t “full” so to speak and we talked about how she could make it happen while we excitedly shoveled ten dollar grilled cheese sandwiches in our mouths (hey, they had five cheeses including Brie and came with a fancy salad, relax). I promised her I would give her empirical data as to why my claim is true and promised it would motivate her and not intimidate her, so here we go:

Millions of tweets, millions of blogs

I bet you’ve been to a conference where someone in a t-shirt and jeans told you that there are over a billion individual tweets per week and over 15 million blog posts written every week.

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Your first thought is oh wow, the potential to interact with a potential client is pretty high if there is that much activity online and the next feeling most go through is oh wow, there is no way I can compete, everyone’s already beat me there and it’s too loud. That feeling is natural. Just hear me out…

Why you’re wrong- the internet is NOT full

Forget what that jumpy presenter told you about how big everything is because your space is actually quite small.

Did you know that of those billion tweets, half are from half of a percent of users? Yep, only 20,000 power users do most of the talking, so it’s actually not that loud. Some people tweet once a day, I tweet up to a few hundred times on some days (I’m likely in the heavy user group). The other half is likely accounted for by bots that scrape RSS feeds and automate content, it’s not even anything manually typed out in many cases… there is a lot of spam. They all appear to have a lot of followers because they do this “follower ring” where they automatically follow anyone back and there are LISTS of these “follow all” people, creating a ring, thus a false follower base. Nothing to be impressed by.

As a Realtor, if you simply log in, consort with locals, share pertinent information about you and your market (not tweeting “how to get more Twitter followers” but legitimately interacting with people), you will already be strides ahead of even your competition already on Twitter. Remember- your competition on Twitter is not every Twitter user or even the thousands of agents online, they’re the agents online in your own market. That’s it. Your competition doesn’t tweet a billion tweets each week, we promise. Maybe a few thousand max. Divide that over the seven days and it’s even less intimidating.

What about blogs? There are a reported 15 million posts per week or as the saying goes “a new blog (site) is born every second.” How will you ever be heard? The secret is this:

Only 21% of all blogs in the world are by self employed people. Like you. You’re only theoretically competing with 21% of the world’s blogs, you’re at an advantage already. Narrow that down to Realtors you’re competing with and I’m betting that’s less than 1% and narrow it down to Realtors in your city that are blogging and it can’t even measure up to a slice of the pie.

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Why you shouldn’t be intimidated

Who cares how many global blogs or tweets there are, you’re only worried about your own back yard, so narrow it down in your mind that way and realize how little competition you actually have! Consumers are searching for “[insert city] real estate” not “real estate” and not “blog.”

What year were you licensed? I bet there were over a million members of NAR back then. Were you scared of that number? No. There were probably at least a few thousand agents in your local market, right? Were you scared of that number? No. You got your license and you focused on your area of expertise and you dominated- don’t you let the internet be ANY different.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Kevin "Troll" Tomlinson

    March 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    you had time for lunch?

  2. Joe Manausa

    March 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    That’s exactly what I preach to my agents when were together Lani. The consumer is on the internet, and they will find an agent there …

  3. Andrew McKay

    March 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I use the Real Estate Tomato and it works:) My area is know as cottage country. Google “Cottages For Sale In Wasaga Beach” and my blog is number 1 page 1. A variation of
    ‘Consumers are searching for “[insert city] real estate” ‘

  4. Michael Rice

    March 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve only been blogging since November and it didn’t take me long to learn that the only thing worth blogging is local info about my community. Those are the only posts that get read and the only posts that generate leads. And like you said, that narrows your competition down substantially.

  5. Ken Brand

    March 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    That’s some classic Reduce To The Ridiculous persuasion Lani. I saw that Twitter piece but would have never imagined how to weave that into such a smart share. Thanks.

  6. Tiffany Powell

    March 30, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Very good points! I talk to agents everyday about the benefits of blogging and getting involved in social media, and it blows my mind that so many agents are against it. It’s simply marketing. NAR’s 2010 Tech Survey has some really insightful info too. Sadly, in a few years, many agents will be looking around wondering what happened to their business.

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