It wasn’t so long ago that Real Estate agents and brokers relied completely on their local print media to generate business. Either an agent was advertising looking for new homebuyers, advertising to sell a listing or a combination of both. The beauty of print was the simplicity of the unspoken agreement between the Real Estate agent and the potential homebuyer. The agreement was “If you want more info you have to call me?” and millions of homebuyers called thousands of agents about different homes each and every day.
The reason it was so simple is the same reason that the internet is so complicated. Where a newspaper charged for every line of text or word, this limitation also compelled Real Estate agents to be brief and provide only the most compelling text in the advertisement. Combine the limited amount of information and add to that a simple call to action and what you have is a recipe for creating both interest and action.
This is why the internet is a completely different beast. The internet allows potential homebuyers to read hundreds of words and see multiple photographs and or video of the exterior and interior without contacting anyone. The downside is that this also allows the potential homebuyer to eliminate homes based on the amount and quality of the information that is provided with the online listing. A great deal of information may seem to educate the potential buyer but many times the information is missing essential details that could assist the homebuyer in making a more educated decision. This information is not provided by the internet as it can only be provided by a live person with first hand knowledge of the listed property. (see desperate seller, motivated seller, estate sale, selling the community as much as the house, the list goes on)
But connecting with the listing agent that possesses that oh so important first hand knowledge of the listing becomes more frustrating every day for parties on both sides of the equation. The transition from print to online Real Estate advertising has been created by sites that have for better or worse placed themselves in between the Real Estate professional and the potential homebuyer. These syndication sites allow the listed property to be seen by thousands of buyers but the missing call to action creates less human contact and therefore fewer opportunities to communicate the more complex attributes of a particular home.
Getting back to social media. If you think it’s tough to figure out how to find homebuyers, try being a homebuyer trying to find the right real estate professional?
Remember when every Real Estate agent was told that they had to have a website? They were of course told this by Real Estate website builders and the advertising platforms that stood a chance to make a profit from Real Estate pros that were determined not be left behind the new technology. Now we have social media aficionados telling us that we need to have 5,000 friends in order to be relevant online and to get in front of enough people to take advantage of these new platforms. As a real estate agent these friends have to be local or it really doesn’t matter.
Social guru’s also tout the effect of Tweeting, telling us that we need to tweet constantly about engaging subjects that are both entertaining while illustrating our professionalism. Add to that Google with the Google+ social platform. The list goes on and on and will not stop anytime soon. Notice that each of these social platforms tell us not to solicit business using social media? What are we in business to do? We are in business to do business but we are not allowed to ask for it or people will shy away from us and “unfriend” our commercialization efforts. This is ridiculous and is too striking in similarity to when we were all sold websites…that didn’t work.