I became a “virtual assistant” (ugh) before there was even a title for what I did.  This year I celebrated my 10th year in assisting Realtors with their online and offline marketing needs.

Call me crazy, but I believe things have really changed dramatically in this last decade.  But, at the same time, I think things have really become distorted too.  There’s so much confusion and chaos with new tools, new apps, new social sites, new, new, new …

At what point do you say, “STOP!!!!”?

My point has come.  I think it’s all freakin’ MADNESS.

This isn’t an epiphany I suddenly had, though.  This is something I have been seeing all around me for quite some time.   The “Shiny Object Syndrome” (better known as “SOS“) has plagued the entire real estate stratosphere in a HUGE way — and I’m here to shake some sense into you!

Extreme?  No, not at all.  Necessary?  ABSOLUTELY! 

Now, let me make one thing clear.  I’m not here to say that there aren’t tools out there that definitely can (and have) helped agents to gain additional business.  I’m here to say that you need to really consider what tools are making you money and generating new business.   Many peers within the real estate industry have confirmed that what I am witnessing is happening across the board — distractions, distractions and more distractions.  And they wonder why they aren’t making headway …

Here’s what I have learned over the course of the past year or two from being in the midst of the “SOS” generation:

1.  One Size Does NOT Fit All

The master of Foursquare, Matthew Shadbolt, uses this tool impeccably for his business’s brand and social space.  Matthew lives and breathes New York.  New York is an enormously huge market with a gazillion places to “check in” and just as big an audience to reach.  Using Foursquare has taken an immense amount of time and effort.  If you were to ask Matthew how much time and effort, you’d probably keel over.

The probability that it will work for you the same way it has for Matthew is zero to none.   Foursquare fits Matthew’s market, his brand, his personality, his very essence.  His intense effort and response isn’t something that you can do on a whim or as a test.  It’s an ongoing effort and his results are not a one size fits all scenario.

2.   What Used To Work STILL Does Work

Remember when Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and (God forbid) MySpace were just a twinkle in some multibillionaire’s eye?  What did you do back then?  Did you succeed in real estate?  What you did before you probably put a great deal of effort into.  Are you still doing that?  My guess is not.  Not if your time is being spent playing with the next shiny object that comes down the pipeline.  Maintain the basics — they still work — they are still there.

3.   Just ‘Cause It’s Created, Doesn’t Mean It’s For Realtors

Pinterest.  I admit it.  I was intrigued.  And then I left.

Can it bring extra traffic to your blog?  Sure.  Is the effort worth it?  Doubtful.  Very doubtful. (Enter another Matthew Shadbolt  — one-in-a-million — example)

This is just one of dozens of platforms that has come along to distract you from what will really gain you more business.   Just because a new social site comes along, doesn’t mean you need to jump on the bandwagon and be the first to “pin” it.

4.   If You Use It, Use It WISELY

Like I mentioned, there ARE tools, apps, social platforms that do work and are of value to your business’s growth.  There’s no doubt about it.  But, they should be used as an extension to your other touches (phone calls, emails, etc.,) and strategically: WISELY.  Set aside 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes during the evening and spend the rest of your day doing the things that you know are going to increase your business.  PLEASE!  Can we all just stop wasting time!?

OK.  So what actually works?”  you’re probably wondering.

What works is what works for YOU.  And what works for you is what you should STICK with.  Consistently.  Purposefully.  Continually.  If Facebook has brought you new clients on a regular basis, great!  If tweeting has, keep tweeting.  But if it’s just a time suck, move on.

Like the saying goes:  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  Same rule applies here.  Make a commitment to continue doing what you know works.

Sure, you can try out a new app, but don’t forget the tools that are solid and proven.

Long story short: You Don’t Gotta Have It! 

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