Since I don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I hear that posting Yelp.com reviews in eateries is now prevalent, I snapped a photo of a Yelp reviews sign in the window prior to entering Damon and Pythias in Calabasas, Calif., on my way home from a week’s worth of meetings with brokers throughout the state.

It got me thinking.

Since I don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I hear that posting Yelp.com reviews in eateries is now prevalent, I snapped a photo of a Yelp reviews sign in the window prior to entering Damon and Pythias in Calabasas, Calif., on my way home from a week’s worth of meetings with brokers throughout the state.

It got me thinking.

I don’t buy it

As a part of an analysis we offer brokers — drilling down into their systems, Web sites, marketing, technology, vendors, etc. — we spend time with their agents, attempting to gain a deeper understanding of the broker brand and what it means from their perspective. Through this exchange I also gain insight into their understanding of social media.

Out of the 400 agents I spoke with last week, only 18 dabbled in social media. Out of those 18, only three do it right. If you are Gabe Filkey, doing it right means using it to market himself, attract new customers and sell homes.

Three out of 400. Wow. Something’s not clicking for me. After all, agents love people. It’s why they got into real estate to begin with. Many built their careers knocking on hundreds of doors a month for years. So how is it possible that these very same people are so reluctant to socialize online? Can it be they don’t like change? I don’t buy it.

I asked the agents I met with to talk to me about social media.

This is what they believe:

  • Social media is "stupid" and "full of people writing nonsense about ‘what they are doing at any given moment.’ "
  • It’s a huge time-suck and they can’t imagine where they would find the time to invest in it when they already work around the clock.
  • They think social media is a generational thing and many felt they were "too old" to learn new tricks. They don’t see how it can help sell houses.
  • And the big shocker was: Many saw no point in revealing personal things about themselves to others, which I found absurd considering the kooky things they already do and reveal about themselves on their Web sites, billboards, etc.

My sense was that everyone I spoke with suffered from one thing: confusion.

So I put it to them as simply as I could. …CONTINUED

Breaking through the haze of social media confusion

The first time you receive a comment to your blog telling you how good your post was, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll find to write another one.

The first time a long-lost friend from college locates you on Facebook and coincidently happens to be in the market to buy a home, watch how fast you start "friending" everyone you’ve ever met throughout your life.

The first time someone posts a question on Twitter about your community and you respond seconds later with precise info that turns them into a follower, notice how your slogan — which has sat dormant on your business card forever — begins to glow.

It took mere minutes to get them through their haze of confusion. That’s because they all really want to get it. And if your experience is that they don’t get it, perhaps you haven’t done a good enough job explaining it.

No limits

Maybe blogging isn’t your thing. Or sitting around Facebooking with others doesn’t suit you. And I get the fact that Twitter can be addictive. The incoming rush of tweets can derail your day if you let it.

These aren’t the only games in town, folks. Why not set up a profile on Yelp and leave reviews of establishments in your area? It takes seconds and exposes you to a whole new audience through information that is uniquely yours, currently locked up inside your head and screaming to be let out.

Last week, Angie W. was a complete stranger. But I met her through an iPhone app while seeking a place to eat on my way home. As a result of her review I enjoyed a great dinner. I even ordered the marinated steak sandwich that she reviewed. I now trust Angie W.’s taste — and will eat anywhere else she recommends.

Agents have spent fortunes trying to create that sort of trust connection through paid marketing. You can take full-page ads out in your local paper and still never accomplish what Angie W. did leveraging her experience and her opinion through a free review that probably took her 60 seconds to create.

That’s social media, folks. Go for it.

Marc Davison is a founding partner of 1000Watt Consulting and national speaker. He can be reached at marc@1000wattconsulting.com.

***

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