Marketing

Mark Siwiec: ‘When people think of me, I want them to see beyond real estate’

Social-media all-star remembers the time he got a rental car on Christmas Eve through Facebook

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Age: 50

Years in real estate: 25

Job title: Real estate salesperson at Nothnagle Realtors

Location: Nothnagle Realtors – Brighton

Hours per week spent on social media: 20-30 hours per week

Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

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Target demographic: Past, present and future clients

Average number of posts per day: Between all of my social media channels, I probably put out anywhere from five to 10 posts a day.

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Which social channels do you work more?

Facebook is definitely my social channel of choice. To me, it’s the channel that fosters and cultivates relationships more than any other social media. In the real estate business, the ability to nurture relationships and expand your social reach is essential.

How many friends, likes, etc., do you have?

On Facebook, I have 2,856 friends.

Does that number matter to you?

It’s not so much the number that is important to me. It’s the quality of those that I can connect with. Through social media, I hope to put out a version of myself that is authentic and engaging. The purpose of having “followers” or “friends” or “connections” is to be able to reach out to as many people as possible, but in a meaningful and genuine manner.

Do you ever give it a break?

There are certainly slow news days, and it’s important to me to always post things that are significant or evocative. I don’t simply want to post for the sake of reaching some arbitrary, magical number of posts per day. There are also days where it’s important to unplug and declutter your mind. Sometimes this means giving social media a short, temporary break.

Does social help your business, how?

Absolutely. Especially in more recent years, social media has generated a vast amount of leads and has nurtured many relationships with past, present and future clients. For my business and my team, our focus is on the quality of the relationships that we maintain with clients. Social media is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of fostering these relationships.

What’s your goal for your favorite social channel?

I never want to be the real estate agent on Facebook who only shares beautiful listings and real estate news. My life is so much more than real estate, alone, and I want my followers to see that!

I love to post about my friends who are doing incredible things in Rochester, the latest and greatest meal I had at my favorite restaurant, or a thought-provoking film I just finished. It is very important to me to share the complete picture of myself — not just the real estate side.

What’s your strategy to achieve it?

As I mentioned, I make a point to share photos of my personal life, funny stories about something that happened the day before, a review of an excellent documentary, etc.

Is it worth it, why?

It is absolutely worth it. I want my followers and friends to see all different facets of my life. I love going out to amazing restaurants. I enjoy a good glass of wine. I take pleasure in watch a riveting new documentary.

When people think of me, I want them to see beyond real estate. That way, when they’re looking for an agent in the future, they think of the guy who loved the same movie as them or shared a review about a great new restaurant. This is very important to me.

What’s your craziest social media-related story?

In the early days of social media, I had flown into Honolulu and was intending to be there for a couple of hours until I caught a puddle jumper to the big island. As my partner and I were waiting for our next flight, it suddenly dawned on me that I had forgotten to rent a car … The problem was that it was 5:30 on Christmas Eve and I suddenly had visions of being stranded at the airport.

I grabbed my phone, my partner grabbed his, and we furiously dialed to see if we could find any rental agency willing and able to lease us an auto. The dozen or so attempts mostly concluded in laughter on the part of the agent who was speaking with us. I had nearly resigned all possibility of getting a car, when I had an idea. As I was running toward our awaiting plane, I began describing my predicament to my newfound friends on this brand-new social media platform called Facebook.

I held my breath as the plane was taxiing down the runway and we became airborne. Just before I lost my cell signal, my social media plea for help was transmitted. Remarkably, when we touched down 40 minutes later, I had received a message from somebody who I had not spoken to since high school, 25 years earlier. He told me he was a VIP client with Hertz and offered to help.

Before you know it, a brand-new car, never driven before, was waiting for us at the Hertz counter when we arrived. The power of social media!

What actions do you take that have gotten the most results?

My followers and friends are definitely much more responsive to personal pictures and stories. For example, when I shared a picture of myself holding the newborn baby of a member of my executive team, Erin, my Facebook friends loved this!

Is this more about “social” or about business?

It used to be about social, but it’s increasingly morphed into a business activity.

How do you monitor the channels? Do you use software or apps to manage your account?

I have a social media coordinator, Marissa, who helps to monitor my social media channels, in real time, as my days get pretty hectic. I also have Facebook and Twitter apps on my phone so I can check in between meetings and appointments.

Marissa works with the executive team to monitor and respond to notifications in a timely manner. She also uses Hootsuite to schedule posts at more efficient and engaging times.

How many hours per day are you on social? Do you check it daily? Multiple times per day?

Between the social media coordinator and me, we are always checking social media! It’s important to me to engage in conversation with my followers, so checking it whenever I have the free time is an essential part of my day.

Do you ever think of retiring?

I don’t think that I will ever fully retire. I’m hoping to find myself in a position, 15-20 years from now, where I will be able to work about 20 hours a week. I would hope that at this point, I would have the financial ability to do some yoga, complete some crossword puzzles, and most importantly, travel the world.

Do you consider yourself an influencer?

Yes.

Are you social in real life?

Yes! Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve begun to realize that I actually have two jobs. One is to sell real estate from early morning until early evening. My second job usually begins most evenings around 7 or 7:30 p.m. where I find myself taking clients out to dinner, hosting a cocktail party at my residence, attending a fundraiser, or making dinner for friends on the weekend at my second home in the Finger Lakes.

Do you have someone helping you?

Yes. Marissa, my social media coordinator, helps to manage and maintain my social media accounts when I’m busy at meetings and appointments.

Whom do you follow, and why?

I follow 75 individuals or organizations for different reasons. While I would like to read a greater number, I’ve found that following any more is too time consuming. I follow a number of different local reporters (Rachel Barnhart, in particular) to keep current with what is going on in Rochester. You never know what is going to be discussed at a cocktail party or over dinner.

Likewise, it’s nice to know who is hiring, who has just been promoted at work, or who might be moving in from out of town. I also follow The New York Times, CNN and The Wall Street Journal to remain engaged and aware of what is happening nationally. CurbedNY, Realtor Magazine and realtor.com keep me aware of national trends and topics.

Finally, in order to indulge my personal interests and hobbies, I follow NPR’s All Songs Considered, Rolling Stone magazine and a few yoga feeds. Everything that I follow helps to keep me informed, more engaged in conversation, and provides me great content for posting or retweeting.

Where do you find the content that you put out?

Most of the sites that I mentioned above provide content for me to repost. Also, I list and sell 200 or so homes annually. Photos of some of these properties are great to post. Finally, because I’m engaged socially, civically and philanthropically, there’s always something interesting going on in the community — something worthy of broadcast.

I’ve found that the posts that enjoy the greatest number of hits or likes are usually those posts that have to do with what it is that I’m doing personally. Travel photos, recommendations about new restaurants, concerts or parties that I’ve attended — they all seem to be more interesting than posting a story about unemployment trends or interest rates. However, I really feel the need to post both. Otherwise, I’m simply running a society column, which is not my intent!

What has been your all-time hit share? Can you share a link to the post?

My partner and I recently purchased a 26-unit apartment building that is going to require extensive renovations. This beautiful, historic structure is located in a quaint neighborhood in downtown Rochester. The out-of-state landlords had allowed the structure to fall into disrepair over the course of the past few years. When I posted that we had purchased the building and were planning on renovating it, Facebook went wild!

Are you a social media all-star who’d like to participate in our profile series? Email amber@inman.com.