No topic is discussed more in real estate offices then social media and the role it plays in marketing our businesses and helping to create and flesh out our personal brands. Though social media is crucially important, many people don’t seem to realize that it must be done in addition to all other promotional work, not instead of it.
I see so many young agents vlogging and posting photos on their Instagram stories, which are great marketing tools. But they still need to realize that the purchase and/or sale of a home is a truly emotional experience, and buyers and sellers want to work with someone they like and feel comfortable with. That can only be built through quality human interactions. One may buy a pair of shoes because they like the way they look in an Instagram post, but that same person is not going to turn around and hire a real estate agent because they like their posts. What they will do is trawl through an agent’s social media after they have meet with them to see if the agent’s social media persona jives with their initial impression. I would draw the parallel to LinkedIn–most people’s LinkedIn profiles are not doing much for them, but not having a LinkedIn profile is a very bad sign for a professional.
Should agents post and make videos? Yes, of course they should–after they have completed their prospecting. The name of the game in real estate is client acquisition, and that is done by talking to clients, meeting clients and getting current clients to refer new clients. It is not done solely by posting videos and taking selfies. That’s for when an agent has finished their primary work and has time for secondary work.
The real reason people are drawn to social media is that there is no possibility of rejection. If you reach out to a financial planner who could theoretically refer his clients over to you, he could turn you down, or flat-out not even return your email (which happens a lot). If you call a prospective client, they may not even call you back, might not be interested, or a multitude of other possible outcomes that could be perceived as a form of rejection. However, if you post a photo or video online, all your friends and co-workers will like it, making you feel good about what you have done, and more importantly making you feel as though you are doing something.
That effort is much more useful when put into prospecting, cold calling and door knocking. Agents are drawn to social media because it is easy, and in life, easy things for the most part are easy for a reason. My first office manager gave me the best advice when I started my career: “If you do the hard things your career will be easy, and if you do the easy things, your career will be hard.” Social media is easy, and that’s why it’s attractive. Is it an integral part of a marketing strategy? Yes, of course, but that’s all it should be–a part of it, not all of it.
Thomas Hilal is an agent with Nourmand & Associates, a second generation, family-owned-and-operated luxury real estate boutique with offices in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Hollywood. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 300-3362.