Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Surprising. What Does it Mean to You? – Part II

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This is Part Two of a two-part post. You can read part one here and then read on for more of what we REALTORS® can learn about social media from an author, a pastor, a news parody digital director, a rock star, and a news anchor.

“Living in the Age of Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Surprising” was the second installment of CNN Dialogues which featured,

Here are some more insights from those varied and diverse speakers – none of whom are REALTORS® and all of whom we can learn from.

Social friends are real friends. (Tweet This)

I found one small part of the conversation between Don Lemon and Shaun King particularly interesting, as it is a conversation I have often when I teach social media workshops, especially to beginners:

DL: (referring to online friends vs. “real” friends) Do you know them?

SK: Knowing is relative…

DL: But have you met them?

SK: No, but the tendency is to think that offline relationships are more real. However, I may feel closer to someone I only know online who lives in, say, Albuquerque, with whom I share a passion for human causes than I do to my Uncle Wayne whom I’ve known my whole life and with whom I have nothing in common. 

What this means for you: Do you consider your online relationships to be as “real” as your offline ones? Do you take as much care to respond to those you do not “know” when they try to engage you on Twitter or Facebook or other channels, as you do to those whom you’ve met face-to-face? You should. If you don’t now, I urge you to change your attitude in relation to your online contacts. You, too, may have more in common with some of them than you do with the people you see every day, and paying a little more attention to figuring out those connections can lead to a potential client or referral source you didn’t know you had.

Social media is all about potential. (Tweet This)

Through social media, Baratunde Thurston stated, we have the potential to connect with those from whom we are restricted by geography. His examples were compelling: the homosexual teen living in a small town who can find a community online that makes him feel that he’s not alone; the rebel in the country where free speech is restricted who can communicate his thoughts and ideas and perhaps even lead a revolution. On a smaller scale, he used the example of the geography of home versus the much larger potential geography online. Baratunde said, “I feel like I live on the Internet. I keep my stuff in Brooklyn; I sleep there; but I live in the Internet.”

What this means for you: As a REALTOR® who does a substantial amount of relocation transactions each year, social media has played a huge part in my business and has definitely given me the potential to connect in real time and in a much more substantial way than ever before. Clients and other REALTORS® alike have found me through various networks (mainly Facebook and LinkedIn for this purpose) and have reached out to me to help themselves or their clients with a move to the Atlanta area. I receive referrals from Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections whom I have never met face-to-face, but we “know” each other from afar, through our social media connections. We may not even be directly linked until the need for the referral arises; we may have mutual friends or connections who point us in each other’s direction. Either way, we are worlds away – or at the least, a couple of states apart – and yet, we find a connection. There are countless other ways that bridging the geographical gap through online communication can benefit your business, your nonprofit or maybe even your personal circles – explore them and see how your horizons grow!

Social media is about being social. (Duh.) (Tweet This)

Pete Wentz said it best, when asked about advertising through social media: “If you sit through an ad on the Internet, you’re an idiot.”

What this means for you: Bottom line: if you populate my Twitter stream with marketing messages, I will unfollow you. If your Facebook updates are constantly about your listings and your open houses, I will unfriend you. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. If you know nothing else about social media, just keep your advertising and marketing messages out of it and you’ll be just fine.

In closing, Don Lemon asked each panelist to give a final thought:

  • Shaun King: I’ve seen the regular, average person around the world make a huge difference. Use your time to figure out ways that you can change lives, change the world via social media.
  • Pete Wentz: Don’t use social media as an alternative to living your life. Use it as a tool to expand your reach.
  • Baratunde Thurston: Social media represents one of the greatest shifts in power in our time. The potential for individuals is huge – think about how you will use your potential.
  • Maggie Johnson: For millions of years, humans have been together, face-to-face. Give the gift of attention to people – get offline and really connect.
  • Don Lemon: Social media allows you to really listen. The message is authentic – not controlled by the media. Use your time on social media to listen.

Finally, remember this: Social media brings up your past in what can sometimes be an alarming way. “There are some people you’re supposed to forget,” Baratunde pointed out. “That kid who used to see me pick my nose? He doesn’t need to be my Facebook friend now that we’re grown up!” It’s okay to ignore a friend request or to unfriend someone if you don’t see a point in being in touch or you just don’t have the energy to make the reconnection. The bully from elementary school who beat you up or that girl from high school who stole your boyfriend? Yeah, kick them to the curb – your business won’t suffer.