It’s a common refrain in real estate today that agents need to beef up their social media presence. But Jon Krabbe, founder of digital marketing firm Agent Image, offered something of a warning for agents who aren’t careful: Consumers can see through posts that aren’t authentic.

“It’s really important to present yourself and your personality,” Krabbe said Wednesday morning during Inman Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills. “They can tell if it’s authentic.”

Krabbe specifically advised agents to use their social media to “humanize” themselves. They can do that by posting about their passions, rather than just photos of listings they’re trying to sell. Or, Krabbe suggested, agents can focus on their communities. Either way, though, real estate professionals need to think of their social media as building a holistic brand rather than as a platform for simple advertising.

“It can be whatever you’re passionate about,” Krabbe said. “Make it relatable and about things you enjoy.”

Krabbe also encouraged agents to have their own websites, even if they are part of a larger brokerage or team that has a online presence. “As long as it represents the brand well,” he explained, “it’s a no-brainer.”

Julia Spillman, a team leader at Douglas Elliman, agreed with Krabbe on Wednesday, telling a packed room that agents should “be themselves” online. She suggested actual social media users control their own posts, rather than entrust that task to someone else, and went on to cite the example of one agent who posts about his workouts and dogs — not just real estate. Those kinds of posts help the agent build a brand.

“We want them to be very relatable and very human,” Spillman said of agents’ online presence.

Julia Spillman at Inman Luxury Connect on Wednesday | Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic

Spillman also argued that social media is important but also “not where the deals are coming in.” As a result, agents need to create online content, such as newsletters, that lives on other platforms and helps agents not only convey a brand but also connect with potential clients.

“Be mindful of where you’re spending that time,” she said.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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