If you’re feeling overwhelmed with blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and hundreds of other new sites, take a deep breath and relax. Coping with today’s rapidly changing social media environment is actually easier than you may realize.
A primary reason people have challenges coping with change is that they view change as "taking away." To illustrate this point, imagine yourself taking part in the following experiment: You will be pairing up with one other person in the group. Once you have found that person, you will be asked to study their appearance carefully for about a minute. You will then turn your backs to each other. The next step will be to change two things about your appearance. Ask yourself, "What would you change if you were doing this right now?"
After you have changed two things about your appearance, you will then face your partner and see if you can both identify what has changed about the other person’s appearance. You will then be asked to repeat the process and change two more things about your appearance. What two additional things would you change?
After you repeat the process for the second time, the next step is to ask, "What did this experiment illustrate?" Most people say it illustrates how well people make observations. Almost no one guesses that the real purpose is to illustrate your attitude towards change. As you thought about what you would change, would you have removed a piece a jewelry, your glasses, or perhaps a piece of clothing? If you are like most people, you probably removed something. Rather than removing something, however, you could have changed your appearance by adding something.
This simple experiment illustrates the reason we struggle with change: Most people view change as losing something they have. When people fear loss, change is unlikely. In contrast, when change is viewed as "adding to," the process becomes much easier.
If you’re struggling to adapt to today’s rapidly changing market, part of your challenge may result from your belief that change means giving up something. A more effective approach is to identify how the change adds to your life. Here are just a few examples that illustrate this point.
1. Faster and broader communication
Twenty years ago, you had three main ways to communicate with clients: by snail mail, telephone or face to face. Fax machines allowed us to send documents quickly to our clients rather than having to deliver them personally. If you wanted to develop a geographical farm, you would have to door-knock, spend thousands of dollars on postcards and brochures, and cold call into the farm area. While these strategies still work, they’re not as effective as using technology. …CONTINUED
Innovative technologies allow us to reach more people electronically. For example, instead of sending a postcard, you can send an e-mail card or a text message. The goal is to stay in regular contact with your contact database. The activity hasn’t changed. Instead, we simply have more options from which to choose. While most people resent cold calls and toss out agent postcards, the changes in social media have created an environment where other people actually seek you out, provided you offer them value. In this example, the real change is sifting from communicating with one person at a time to communicating with many people simultaneously. When you post on your blog, Facebook and Twitter, you can reach large groups of people who welcome your message rather than resent it.
2. Serving as a trusted advisor
This is one of the most valuable roles that you can play. Most agents still answer client questions face to face, by phone or by e-mail. This process can consume massive amounts of time because many clients ask the same question. Several years ago you could post a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on your Web site. With the evolution of blogs, however, you can now answer these questions online and reach a much broader audience. In fact, you probably have a year’s worth of blog posts sitting in your undeleted e-mails. The beauty of this approach is that for each question you answer, you create a new link to your site. This in turn helps you obtain better search-engine ranking. You could also use the Facebook fan page function to accomplish the same goal. Unlike the Facebook profile pages, fan pages are searchable and help build your Web ranking.
3. Marketing your listings
In the past, you would take photos and send them to your clients by snail mail or e-mail. You could also post them on your Web site. Today, you have a wealth of additional places to market your listings.
You can syndicate your listing information to thousands of other agents. Syndication also reaches a host of major portals including Craigslist, eBay, plus all the sites that Realtor.com, your company and your local multiple listing service serve as well.
If you take videos, you can use a service such as TubeMogul.com to syndicate your video to 15 other video portals including YouTube, Google Video and Yahoo Video. Rather than being limited by your print marketing budget, you can literally reach thousands of potential viewers who may be interested in your listings.
Real estate is still about being face to face and providing exceptional service. That hasn’t changed. Technology simply allows us to reach more potential clients in less time — with less cost and less effort. If you approach technology changes as providing you with additional options to serve your clients, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to make the changes today that will keep you on top tomorrow.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.
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