- One of the most popular groups in my Facebook feed is my local neighborhood group.
- Surprisingly, there seem to be few real estate agents present to answer relevant questions.
Last week, a drama unfolded in my neck of the woods: A goose was lost and found.
The goose was apparently escaping from an aggressive dog and flew too far. It wandered into the yard of someone who snapped a photo of it and posted it on a specific Facebook group — for people who live in my neck of the woods. “Lost goose!”
“That’s my goose!” commented a neighbor. “Please keep him safe!” (The drama ends happily — goose and human were safely reunited.)
This is not a scenario wherein a real estate agent could have solved a problem or answered a question.
But it did make me wonder, considering all of the time and energy spent on Facebook by real estate agents — in groups, on ads, on their own profiles — why aren’t there more of them in my very active community group? And if they are there, why aren’t they more visible?
Here are just a few of the questions people have asked recently that an agent could have answered, but didn’t (as far as I could tell):
- Does anybody know why our water still worked last Friday when the power went out? We have a well, and I thought that needed electricity to get the water to our house.
- Has anyone tried the new bear-proof trash cans that the waste service is offering? Do they work? It’d be worth it if they do!
- We just moved up here and we heard there’s a swimming pool closer than the one we’ve been driving our baby to for his lessons. Where is it and do they offer kids’ swimming lessons?
- Can anyone recommend a good electrician? We’d like to get a generator set up. (Can you all tell the rural electrical association’s power went out last week?)
- Any local restaurants have live music — preferably bluegrass — tonight? My brother is in town and we’d like to go out.
- I need someone to address some drainage issues around the foundation of my house, and I also need a handyman recommendation.
I’m deliberately leaving out all of the obvious real-estate-related questions — including “where can I find a good agent?” and “I’m looking to buy on X road, what’s for sale there?” Agents were proactive about responding to those posts.
Becoming a resource
There are the regulars who post on the page, and there are the moderators, and everyone knows who they are. They no doubt get sensitive questions private-messaged to them, too.
This is a small community, but it’s on the outskirts of a city containing one of the hottest housing markets in the country — Denver. It’s got more than 3,500 members (and counting), and there are quite a few spinoff groups — one for hiking, one “online garage sale” and even one for women who want to make new friends.
(I think I made some friends for life when I informed an inquiring neighbor that morel mushrooms do grow in this area, and gave her a tip on where she might find some. Maybe we’ll all go hunting!)
There are real estate agents in the group, no doubt — I certainly can’t claim to have met everyone in it. Probably at least one of them is among the most prominent, the super-helpful, but if so, I can’t tell from his or her visible profile information.
When new agents are trying to gain a foothold in their markets, one piece of advice I see over and over is to answer questions that their clients are already asking, and post those answers on a blog or website.
But when there are so many potential clients who are either already living in your area or interested in moving there — and they’re already gathered in one location for you, and they’re asking questions that can help them get to know, like and trust a real estate agent — are you also answering questions where your clients are asking them?