Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent the past six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.
When I originally sat down to pen this column, my intention was to write something different.
Spurred by a long week in social media space — one that seemed dominated by spam and loud, obnoxious blatherings — the tentative title for this week’s column was going to be, “How not to be a d*ck in social media.”
Ironically enough, I was whining about the nonsense in the social space — on Facebook — and floated the potential title and topic out there. My friend Michael Maher (read his book, seriously) wrote this comment:
“Flip it … ‘How to be freaking awesome on social media’ … instead of pointing out the problems and negatives, highlight the positives and people who are freaking awesome on social media.”
Brilliant. Who needs more negativity in their life or their Inman feed? That, plus Rachel Hite already told us how to deal with trolls, and very recently, Bret Calltharp gave us some terrific social media advice as well.
So rather than a preachy diatribe around why you shouldn’t be a jerk on social media, why not proffer a few examples of folks who are, in my opinion, “doing social right”?
What does ‘doing social right’ mean?
I suppose we should probably define “right” before moving on. There are some in this business who will only measure something by the return on investment (ROI) it produces — fundamentally, how much money and how little effort is required to generate a commission check.
There are others who define success as generating prospects in volume. Some understand the importance of building a brand. Others use tools and platforms like social media to share information, thoughts, feelings and more — ostensibly and sometimes genuinely — to be seen as “that nice, helpful agent” which in theory builds brand and reputation that ultimately turns into business.
Short of examining their finances, there is no way for me to know what ROI the following people see from their social media efforts. I don’t know what motivates them, how many prospects they generate or even why they “do social.” I just know that from my perspective, they are doing it right.
Without further ado, here are some real estate professionals that “get it” and “do social right.”
5 real estate pros that ‘do social right’
1. Anne Jones | Tacoma real estate broker
I first “met” Anne several years ago when I saw a video she did with her cohort Marguerite. It was amazing — local feel, engaging, funny, a little edgy. It was too long — feedback that I, a complete stranger at that time, served up (and which Anne gracefully received).
After 30 seconds of that video, I just liked Anne. Couldn’t even tell you why. So I creepily stalked her online, watching her masterfully weave video, her amazing Instagram skills and other social channels into a thing of beauty.
What Anne does on social makes me want to move to Tacoma, and I abhor everything about moving.
Imagine that. A real estate agent who walks, talks and oozes the city they work in. A real estate agent doing things on social that makes one want to move there. A real estate agent whose name is synonymous with their hometown.
That has got to be something that builds business.
2. Brian Copeland | Nashville real estate broker
Ask this question on any real estate related Facebook group: “Hey, I need an agent in Nashville — know anyone?” Within a few minutes, half a dozen people will chime in with, “Brian Copeland!”
Brian is Nashville. He is also one of the most positive, uplifting and genuinely helpful humans I’ve ever met — all of which comes across in his social postings. Brian is active in Facebook groups, but not the typical real estate groups we’ve all come to know, love and sometimes hate. Rather, Brian does community groups. And I will guarantee that inside of those groups you won’t see Brian posting listings, inviting people 2,000 miles away to his open house or complaining — about anything.
Nope, Brian’s in those groups with his sleeves rolled up, helping others. Because that’s what Brian does. If he’s so unselfish with random strangers, I can only imagine how helpful he is to paying clients.
I’d refer my mother to Brian Copeland.
3. Dale Chumbley | Vancouver real estate agent
If you’ve ever heard of a “365 things to do in …” page, if you’ve ever tried to complete the daunting task of posting something daily to said “365 things to do” page, you can blame Dale. I think of Dale as a “serial first adopter” when it comes to social media. He experiments with new tools and platforms (anyone remember “Mugshot”?).
When most people hear, “Vancouver,” they think of that lovely city in British Columbia. Thanks to Dale’s efforts in social media, many now know there is also a Vancouver, Washington just outside of Portland, Oregon.
Using social media to put your town on the map. What a concept.
Much like Anne and Brian before him, Dale is one of the nicest, caring humans out there.
Hmmm, I’m sensing a trend here.
4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia | Miami real estate agent
Meet the ambassador of Miami. Heck, I don’t think Miami the city would exist if it weren’t for Ines and Miamism. Not just her website Miamism, but the whole “Miamism scene.”
There’s Miamism on Instagram, and it’s amazing. Ditto for Miamism on YouTube. Heck, Miamism even makes Twitter look good. Integrating the look, feel and practically the smell of all things Miami across multiple social channels is smart.
Ines is smart. And yep, she’s nice too. Gives back to her city, her industry and her friends.
Wanna bet she gives a lot back to her clients too?
5. Jesse Beaudoin | Founder, CallAction
Here is someone who might have “giving” as their middle name. Active in most of the larger real estate oriented Facebook groups, Jesse is one of those sometimes-annoying real estate vendors with a product to sell.
But Jesse isn’t your typical vendor. He doesn’t post spammy links to his product. You’ll never see him saying, “Message me for more info!” (that’s a trap people, to get your contact info). Instead what you will see is thoughtful discussion, tech help, tips and a super-smart guy who is willing to help others get super-smart.
Jesse doesn’t throw his competition under the bus. Jesse actually helps his competition. And if he’s that helpful to his competition, imagine how much he will help his clients.
What are some of the common traits of not just those shown above, but also demonstrated by virtually everyone who is successful using social media? With the exception of Jessie, who’s nationally-based, everyone I’ve listed focuses their efforts on location, location, location. They’ve become synonymous with the cities they sell real estate in.
They all have positive attitudes. They are ambassadors for their local village. They are nice people. They are helpful. They are not jerks. They are not condescending. They do not have an attitude of moral superiority.
They don’t look at every interaction as a potential prospect. They treat others how they’d like to be treated. They understand that the person you help today might never do business with you. They get “word of mouth” marketing and leverage technology to amplify that.
Do they get business from their social media efforts? Of course they do. I suspect they also receive a great deal of personal satisfaction from their efforts as well. After all, helping people feels good. Cashing checks feels good too. Why not share, care, be smart and have some fun all while helping people out and making the occasional run to the bank?
One doesn’t need a bazillion followers on Instagram to have success with social media. One really just needs to be a good human, understand that helping others can and will lead to other business, and for the love of all the puppies on the internet go have some fun out there!
Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree in Seattle, as well as the mastermind behind Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty.