International relations, climate change, gun control, health care and natural disasters are just of few of the topics in the news on any given day. We are overexposed to news and information via our social media networks.
It’s not unusual for people to “unfriend” someone on Facebook, “unfollow” someone on Twitter or “disconnect” with someone on LinkedIn based on their posts about political issues and political viewpoints. It could be an article or a simple comment that they find offensive, and it breaks the camel’s back.
Your prospects will google you
As real estate agents, we work with a wide range of clients. In most cases we have no idea as to their political affiliation or their views on current events. The internet and social media are now changing all of that.
When we get a new referral, it only takes a minute to google them to get more information about them. We can only assume they are doing the same to us.
Which leads me to ask this question: “Should real estate agents post their political views on social media?”
What do you post on social media? An informal personal poll
Being a Realtor in Washington, D.C., can be naturally political. Our local news is everyone else’s national news. It’s easy to assume that Realtors in Washington, D.C., see and hear more political news than any other jurisdiction in the country.
Because I couldn’t find formal research on the topic, I conducted an informal poll to get a feel for how my colleagues felt about posting their political views on social media.
I asked the question above to 20 active real estate agents, and 19 said that real estate agents should not post their political views on social media. The lone holdout thought it to be a “personal choice.”
When asked, “Do you post your political views on social media?” the numbers weren’t as defined. One Realtor said “yes,” 10 said “sometimes,” and nine said “no.” The age group of the Realtors ranged from 35-69.
Those who responded, “sometimes” felt there were times when it was important to let their opinions be known. Those issues included women’s rights, health care and disaster relief. Several of the agents that responded with “no” said they felt they would lose clients if they posted their political views.
Keep it moving
In reviewing the posts of my real estate agent friends, nearly 60, I found that half of them post their political opinions on a regular basis. Although I may not agree with all of their view points, I recognize they have the right to post what they want to post.
It doesn’t mean that I no longer want to talk to them or work with them. It simply means I know their opinion. The good thing about social media is that you have the ability to scroll past a post you don’t like or don’t agree with. You have the ability to “keep it moving!”
Are you a risk taker?
There is some risk involved if you decide to let the world know how you feel about hot political topics. If a prospective client is passionate about something you don’t care for, it could cost you business.
To those who felt they would lose business if they posted their views, I think it’s necessary to look at the other side of the coin. You could very well get business it you posted your views. Some consumers may see your posts and comments as social proof and want to work with you. People like working with people who are like-minded.
The bottom line
Here’s the deal, people select or don’t select an agent for a variety of reasons. You could be too old, too young, a dog lover, a cat lover, a religious person or a political person. Sellers and buyers will work with people they think will do the best job for them.
Consumers want to work with an agent who is knowledgeable. In the end, you became a real estate agent so you could control over your schedule, your income and who you worked with. Like every aspect of your business, you can choose to run your business any way you like.
If you choose to post your political views that’s your prerogative. If you find your client base is not impacted, continue to be yourself. That will resonate with a lot of people. Those who don’t agree with your point of view will go elsewhere.
In truth, when working with a client, it is rare that you discuss topics that have been deemed taboo; religion and politics. The majority of your conversations will focus on the house and the homebuying and selling process.
Remember what’s important
These are interesting times and the news cycle is short. We are inundated with so much information that makes it difficult to keep up and keep track. Although we all make a conscience decision as to what we do and do not post, it’s only prudent to be aware of the impact of what we do could have an impact on our business.
Yes, we enjoy the freedom of speech, however, we still have a business to run.
One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from a dear friend of mine. He was in a highly visible job and was being interviewed by the local newspaper. The reporter noted that he wasn’t very vocal on many issues, where his colleagues had been very vocal.
His response was classic: “Everyone has an opinion, it’s just not important for me to let everyone know mine.”
That’s something to keep in mind in this age of information overload where many feel a need to share every aspect of their lives.
Candy Miles Crocker is the founder of Real Life Real Estate Training. She is a firm believer in managing expectations and her goal is to elevate the perception of real estate agents among the general public through education. Candy is also an active Realtor in Washington, D.C., and holds licenses in three jurisdictions.