Category Archives: Social Media For Real Estate

How To Address a Buyer’s Needs in 2011?

The other day I attended a California Association of Realtors webinar regarding understanding today’s homebuyer.  The survey was released in June 2011 and included some interesting facts.  Over the next week or so I will cover many aspects of the report, but today I wanted to focus on why buyers choose a REALTOR®.

It would be a really good idea to integrate these behaviors into your work flow.

Question:  What was the single most important reason for selecting the agent that you used in your recent home purchase?

  • Most responsive 28%
  • Worked with REALTOR® before 18%
  • First to respond 17%
  • Most agressive 16%
  • Most knowledgeable

Question: What was your preferred method of communicating with your agent? How did your agent actually communicate with you?

  • 73% preferred e-mail while actual was 70%
  • 37% preferred telephone while actual was 50% (Lesson Here  - find out what your clients want)
  • 32% preferred text message while actual was 1% (Ouch)
  • 21% preferred Twitter while actual was 0%
  • 14% preferred Facebook while actual was 0%
  • 6% preferred in person while actual was 3%

The lesson here is to be responsive to your clients and prospects, exhibit negotiation skills, and find out how your Clients want to communicate – not how you want to communicate!

If you are a CAR member you can download the full report in PowerPoint (PPT) or Adobe PDF under Market Data | Speeches & Presentations | July 2011.  You will need your membership number as it is password protected.

Photo courtesy of Frédéric BISSON via Flickr.

Google+ Joins The Crowded Party

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed at all the social media spaces and where I should spend my limited time.  It seems almost daily a new shiny object sprouts up wanting our attention.

Here is the way that I approach these things.

I will almost always sign up for everything new so that I can register my name.  And that is about it until I see that the platform is gaining popularity and has some momentum.  Otherwise they just fade away the great cyberspace junkyard.

Now, more than ever, it is time to concentrate on your business and not get lost in the latest new web toy.  Remember that we are in the business of selling real estate, not playing farmville, or worrying about our Klout scores, or who is the latest social media guru.

Just like software and computers, consider each choice carefully and measure if they improve your business goals, and if not, put it in your rear view mirror.

PS – My guess is that Google+ may be a major component in the social media space – but I am going to be watching – remember Google Wave.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

 

 

The Social Media Bandwagon

We’re  On The Road To Nowhere.

And it’s very far away
But it’s growing day to day
And it’s all right baby, it’s all right

-Talking heads

Yesterday I wrote a post regarding how much hype is going on in regards to Social Media in real estate.  Seems like overnight there have been traveling magic shows, social media experts and gurus, and lots of “this is how you need to do it.”  Many of them ex-real estate agents.  Lately the discussion have split into two camps with the social media zealots proclaiming the down fall of your real estate career if not embraced and the old school refusing to change.  Some where in the middle will be the reality of the shift in this era of disruptive technology.

Years ago when I first got interested in this space I was very enthusiastic about social media having a big impact on our business.  Today not so much except for a very few.

Let me explain that statement a bit more.

If you are serious about blogging or putting original content out to be freely used by consumers in understanding the real estate process I believe that is valuable and a worthwhile cause, but only for those few that are committed and have the talents to do such.  Much like the book Trust Agents, I believe these people will build authority over time as “just Google it” becomes even more a part of our lives.

Second I believe strongly in hyper local blogs and websites full of balanced and relevant content without spin.  I know too many REALTORS® in this space reaping rewards that in my mind will only increase.  Setting on an up-desk in a vacant real estate office is really a bad future business development plan.

Beyond that I think it is mostly a waste of time aside from what I would consider your minium  participation.

  • When you search for your name on Google someone should be able to find you easily.
  • Facebook is a really emerging way to keep track of friends, family, and clients in just a few minutes per day.  That does not mean it is a platform to blast all your new listings outs.
  • You should own your own domain – either your own name or the market that you specialize, or heck why not both?
  • You should have a professional e-mail – no more Hot Mail or AOL – your missing business you’ll never know about.
  • Return inquiries quickly in the method used to contact you.

If you want to do more, do more.  For heavens sake, we are in the business of helping clients buy and sell real estate.  I believe social media is far better than a bus bench for visibility.  It won’t however, make you a better real estate agent.

What are your thoughts?

Photo courtesy of Flickr and Juan Iraola.

 

 

In Response To The Elephant In The Social Media Real Estate Room

Jeff Turner wrote a brilliant post regarding the endless debate going on in the real estate space about Social Media and how effective it is.  What hit me most was the following quote:

“The ”traditional vs technology” debate should die. It’s about the conversation, not technology″. The question isn’t whether technology or social media is better than “traditional” methods of creating the opportunity for conversation, the question is whether the right, smarter, better conversations are being created either way.

The elephant certainly has stepped in some s**t lately.

Time has a way of flushing out those things that become common place in our lives.

Too many in our industry are running after the latest shiny object when all that is important are the conversations.  A decade from now we will witness the endurance or demise of Facebook, Twitter, QR Codes, and tablets.  Too many are selling shovels and pick axes to the gold miners.

The fact remains these are just tools to amplify our voices and free us up to spend more time in conversations with our Clients, friends, and family.

In the post Jeff Turner references a recent video done by Mike Ferry and Matthew Ferrara on the merits of old school vs. new school and a post written by MayaREGuru.  This is noise that is going on all over the Internet with each side confident the other will fail at any moment.

So I am with Jeff, let’s leave this tired old argument behind and have conversations on what does work.  Let’s start by getting out and helping some Sellers in difficult situations and buyer’s that are faced with some unbelievable opportunities right now.  As Jeff says:

“When you avoid talking about what isn’t working, you’re also avoiding what will fix it.” Those of us who see value in this space need to embrace the differences highlighted in this smackdown and work in the trench with those who hold counter perspectives and strive hard to come out of the trench better for the time spent. Those who shun everything old in favor of everything new are as off-base as those who shun everything new in favor of everything old.

Let us each be the change that we want to see in the real estate industry.

PS: Jeff, you have a permanent place in my Google RSS reader, rock on bro!

 

 

 

 

The Stripes Heard Around The World

The Loan Group

Lones Group Gallops After The Real Estate Zebra

Interesting social media study going on in cyberspace tonight, with breaking news on Inman, regarding The Lones Group suing Daniel Rothamel of the Real Estate Zebra.  The Inman article which will be behind a paywall shortly starts with the following:

Real estate agent and blogger Daniel Rothamel — known for years to his readers as the “Real Estate Zebra” — has been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit by a company that produces a “Zebra Report” and “Zebra Blog” to market its services to real estate agents.

Bellingham, Wash.-based The Lones Group Inc. claims its use of zebra-themed imagery and trademarks predates Rothamel’s, and that he is “unfairly diverting business” away from the company.

Now I don’t know, and certainly am not interested in researching the validity of the claim, from The Lones Group. The  important lesson to be learned once again regards the speed of social media and the impact on your brand.

Jay Thompson wrote a post today titled “The Lones Group v. Rothamel: A case study in destroying your on-line reputation.  Jay kindly started his article out with a ” I am not an Attorney” disclaimer and had this to say:

In a complaint filed Tuesday against Rothamel and his brokerage, Strong Team Realtors Inc., The Lones Group seeks an injunction restraining Rothamel and the brokerage from using “in any manner” the trademarks The Zebra Blog or The Zebra Report, “and any other term or terms likely to cause confusion,” including “Real Estate Zebra.”

The lawsuit also seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000, including an award for damages equal to three times the amount of actual damages. (Note: I removed the link to The Lones Group. Bad reporting. So sue me.)

First off I am sure there is no one foolish enough to sue Jay Thompson, a champion of those that speak their mind and the TRUTH.  Secondly the damage that has been done to the Lones Group has brought to the forefront their Brand in a very negative way.  I have never heard of the Lones Group, which is ironically helping real estate agents in social media.  The certainly have put themselves “top of mind” for all the wrong reasons.

It is up to a Judge to determine the validity of the injunction, but The Lones Group has already lost in the court of public opinion.

If you are going to swim out to the deep end of the pool folks, make sure you can swim.  It is no longer a one way street, and reckless allegations can have serious results on your brand.

Get real Lones Group, the only one ”unfairly diverting business” from you is yourself.

If you want to help out Daniel to defend this claim please http://zebradefensefund.com

Photo courtesy of Flickr and Woodlouse, which is by the way, is licensed for creative use, content can be used commercially, and content may be modified, adapted, or built upon – in case you get any ideas about suing me for trademark violation.   Click on picture for attribution.

Zillow Announces Agent Reviews & Endorsements

The battle for the eyes of real estate buyers is on between Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

Things are moving pretty quickly and Zillow announced today the ability for Clients to review you as an agent and also recommend you.  There has been quite a bit of talk about agent reviews and Zillow is the first major site to add this service.  I would expect Trulia to follow fairly quickly and it will be interesting to see if Realtor.com has the guts to do it.

This is game changer stuff as consumers want to know before hand feedback from past Clients.  Shiny award plaques, fancy titles, and “top producer” status will soon be replaced by the transparency of the web and social media.

Are you ready?

Do As I Say Not As I Do

Seems to be a bit of Dr. Heckle and Mr. Hyde going on with big franchises.

This has always worked for them in the past – push the spin and drink the Kool Aid.  Not so much anymore.

Desperate to re-invent themselves they are starting to try out social media.  The first result came to mind with the RE/MAX video regarding part time agents and now Keller Williams has a video asking if brand matters.  Thanks to The Notorious R.O.B. for the inspiration to this post.

Take a few minutes to watch this Keller Williams video about company brand and why it does not matter.

Next check out the post at R.O.B.

4.9.4.29 Sign Policy

Our image is one of the most important assets we have. Protecting it is one of our most important jobs. In order to maintain a consistent and professional public image, the following will apply when using signs to market properties:

1. Our associates will only use standard KWRI for sale, open house, directional, rider and any other so-designated signs. Any deviation must be approved by the Regional Director, with final approval by KWRI.

….

3. All personal name/phone rider signs placed on Keller Williams® signs must be in the Keller Williams® standard color scheme except for signs or riders using an associate’s personal logo and photo which have been approved by the local TL or the Keller Williams Regional Director. No former company name riders may be used. If an associate does not own his/her riders, then no rider shall be used.

4. All for sale signs must have a Market Center phone number unless the listing associate has been given the exception to do so by his/her TL…

Does image = brand?

Must have the market center phone number unless team leader approves?

The humorous thing about the RE/MAX video is how many part time agents are affiliated with the brokerage.  They are risking a serious backlash from social media where the message should align with the reality.  A comment on the Keller Williams video says that it may have been done with KW agents during a “family meeting.”

Please don’t mis-understand me.  I truly believe that every company has the right to build it’s own culture and brand.  I just think that the spin should somewhat resemble the reality.

Someone asked me the other day why RealtyV2′s colors were black and white?  I simply told them we are who we say we are,nothing more and nothing less.

These are my personal opinions,what are your thoughts?

Looking For A Professional Bio?

My good friend, Melissa Delgaudio, is offering BeeLine Bios at HoneyBee Consulting for a really great price!

As REALTORS®, we all know how important it is to use a professional in their field.  Why not hire a professional copywriter to do your “about me” page to share of Facebook, blogs, Trulia, Zillow, and Twitter?

Consider the following:

You work tirelessly for your clients. You bend over backward to help them. You’re respected by your peers. You solve the myriad problems with style. You’re a well-educated, trained, expert in your field. But try to sit down to write a few paragraphs about how fantastic, how super-qualified, how amazing you really are? Forget it.

And really? When it comes to marketing yourself? What’s more important? When people visit your website, they need to get sold on YOU. They don’t care about widgets and shiny objects. They want to know why they should hire YOU and not someone else. The “about me” section of your website is its single most important feature.

Enter BeeLines.

BeeLines by Honeybee are clever, creative, away-from-the-everyday bios that are created exclusively for you. Nothing canned, no boilerplate, never anything generic. BeeLines takes your greatness and sets it off the way it should be.

For $300, you’ll get an customized “about me” page that you can use for your website or blog. You’ll also get shortened versions that you can use for things like speaker profiles or for places where you’re given limited space.

You’re an outstanding commodity. Your bio should say nothing less. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and giving yourself the leg up you need, and that you deserve.

I highly recommend Melissa and spending the money on one of the most important aspects of your social media efforts.

Visit Melissa at Honey Bee Consulting or follow her on Twitter @startabuzz.