“The only thing I schedule are tweets via Buffer,” says Calltharp. “Aside from that, I post when the urge strikes me about whatever I feel like, and then I look at the response.”

Inman is profiling social media all-stars. Here’s Bret Calltharp, director of talent attraction at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

What’s your craziest social media-related story?

It’s actually from back in my band days in Florida. I was single at the time and had a profile on Match.com. Women would figure out which band I was in then show up at our shows because they saw the concert dates posted on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m up there playing and I’d think, “Wait, she looks familiar …” I always found that a bit stalkerish, though in their minds, they wanted an “A” for effort for their investigative skills!

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

The more I open up and just be myself, the better people seem to respond. It took some baby steps, but I now fully embrace things like my Star Wars geekiness (hence the Twitter handle), and I’ve found that the more of myself I share, the more people seem to read and respond to what I do. I don’t have anything to sell to people, so that makes it easy. My affiliation with Inman has certainly helped to boost my profile as well.

Is this more about “social” or about business?

There’s no difference. I’m me, whether online or off, and I love to meet people no matter where they’re from or what they do. Whether I’m helping a broker to recruit more effectively, an agent to be more productive or a friend with dining tips in a city I’ve visited, I just like helping people and meeting people in general.

Which social channels do you work more?

I definitely lean toward Twitter. It’s had by far the biggest impact in terms of networking, relationship building, interaction and professional development for me than the others, and it’s fantastic for education as well.

I kept Facebook fairly private until the last year or so, and it’s been great to interact with a lot of colleagues, industry friends and professionals there as well. I use Instagram from time to time, but it’s usually in conjunction with a tweet.

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

Close to 2,000 Facebook friends, 2,078 Twitter followers, 463 Instagram followers and thousands of LinkedIn connections.

Does that number matter to you?

Not really. The relationships developed through social media matter far more to me — I’ll usually choose quality over quantity. It is nice to have a bit of reach and a voice in the industry — the more people I can help to get better at what they do, the better I feel.

In terms of “status,” I couldn’t care less … there’s always a bigger fish, so I try not to measure myself against them.

I will say that the day the real Grumpy Cat started following me, I was pretty amused.

Do you ever give it a break?

I’ve tried to be a bit more aware this year of when to hop on social and when not to. I took a small hiatus recently as I moved from Vancouver to New Jersey. It was liberating to be sure, but I quickly felt out-of-the-loop industrywise, so I had a binge session once I was settled here!



Does social help your business?

It absolutely does! I use social to connect with agents and brokers around the world, which is in line with my work within our brand. I also rely on social for education; I spend at least an hour per day researching so that I can be the best I can be.

Finally, the business contacts and relationships I’ve made have no doubt assisted my career path the last 24 months. For our company, in my opinion, social allows us to help expand our footprint and name recognition, which assists talent attraction.

What’s your goal for your favorite social channel?

Personally, I’ve always loved Facebook, as it allows me to stay in touch with family and friends around the globe. However, I never used it for real estate until fairly recently, and so far it’s been a great tool to achieve better reach with my posts.

As for Twitter, it’s the same as my goal for most things in my career — to create or curate content that will benefit
someone and to make myself accessible to anyone who needs or wants that input.

What’s your strategy to achieve it?

I work hard to continue to better myself and to learn, allowing me in turn to share the fruits of that learning with others.

On the tech side, I pay attention to hits and clicks and try to structure my posts to be the most effective that they can be. I haven’t found that perfect strategy; I’m tweaking my social media plan weekly.

Overall, as my friend Sean Carpenter says, I use social to “build relationships, solve problems and have fun.”

Is it worth it?

It feels good to give. It is absolutely worth every second of the effort. I’ve developed so many terrific relationships through social, and it’s perhaps most rewarding at a conference like Inman Connect where we can take those online relationships offline.

It’s always nice to have someone come up and say, “Thank you! I did what you suggested and it worked great!” but it’s equally as good just to meet new people that you know from social in general and building those relationships. Helping agents and brokers to learn and grow is my passion, so every day I can do that is a good day.

How do you monitor the channels? Do you use push notifications, email? Do you use software or apps to manage your account, and if so, which ones?

For the most part, it’s organic — the only thing I schedule are tweets via Buffer. Aside from that, I post when the urge strikes me about whatever I feel like, and then I look at the response. Aside from Buffer, the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn apps all work well for me.

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

During the workday I avoid the websites, instead checking my phone for notifications, etc. I’m new to this role so I don’t have time to spend all day online!

However, I usually spend an hour in the morning figuring out my posts for the day and time in the evening as well. I definitely check notifications multiple times per day.

Do you ever think of retiring?

I just turned 40 this year so that makes you think about a lot of things! However, my father (who’s my biggest influence) is 71 and still works, not because he has to but because he loves what he does. I think that rubbed off on me and that I’ll be plugging away for decades to come … as long as it’s rewarding.

Do you consider yourself an influencer?

I suppose I am. It’s all a bit surreal … I relocated across the continent 2 1/2 years ago, leaving a much smaller group in Florida to head to Vancouver where I worked with the No. 1 multioffice sales force in the world (by sales volume) within my previous brand. I learned a ton from that experience.

Now I’m truly honored to be working with Sherry Chris, Amy Chorew and Karlton Utter at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate — not to mention our fantastic network of professionals. Once you add in the Inman affiliation and the speaking I’ve had the pleasure to be invited to do, I certainly am in a position where I get to communicate with a lot of people from all over about real estate via the platforms and channels I use. Every person reading this has a voice in our industry; however, it’s up to them to make it heard.

Are you social in real life?

Extremely. What you see online is what you get in person. And if I’m out of my Adderall … watch out!

What did you do with your time before?

I’ve been a musician my entire life. I had my first band in grade school and had two pretty successful bands in Florida during the last 10 years. I spent a lot of evenings in warehouses rehearsing in those days. It was fun and I had some amazing experiences, but I know I made the right decision to leave that behind when I moved to Canada. I consider myself for the most part retired from music.

How do you leverage your prominence/influence on social?

I don’t. Perhaps it leverages itself? For a large industry, it’s pretty small in a lot of ways, and once your name gets out there for the work you do, people come to you. I concentrate on doing the best job I can within BHGRE and beyond, providing the best information I can and hopefully doing so in an entertaining way … the rest sorts itself out.

That being said, I’ve still never been offered a decent Klout perk.

Do you have someone helping you?

I do not and would not. Social media should be you … you can’t delegate your psyche.

Whom do you follow, why?

I follow people who educate and entertain me.

Standouts include @AllThingsRE (All Things Real Estate BHGRE) of course, Seth Price and Placester, Valerie Garcia, Tara Christianson, Mobile Agent TV, Sean Carpenter, Travis Robertson, Tom Ferry, Richard Robbins, and of course the entire gang at Inman and the affiliated Inman accounts.

Where do you find the content that you put out?

From all of the above, plus dozens of other influencers and publications that I follow. I spend at least an hour or two per day of my own time curating content, mostly from Twitter.

What has been your all-time hit share?

On Facebook it certainly would be some silly Star Wars photo vs. real estate knowledge shared, I’m sure, if I looked it up. On Twitter, my Inman articles tend to get the most views/comments/tweets, etc.

Age: 40

Years in real estate: 16

Job title: Director of talent attraction, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Location: Madison, New Jersey

Hours per week spent on social media: 20

Social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest

Target demographic: Real estate agents and brokers

Average number of posts per day: Two to three

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

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