Social Media is about as broad and useless a term as Telecommunications was before it. But, in general, both describe how we communicate. Telecommunications was analog utilizing a computer, land line, and a telephone, “classic”. Social Media is digital and mobile.
This seismic shift in communication style has significantly impacted every Sales profession; with Real estate, insurance, stocks, memberships and non-profits being hit the hardest. For some, these changes will mean early retirement. For others, the shift represents a truly huge opportunity.
Ask a roomful of real estate agents if Social Media is the future. You will get a resounding, yes. Then ask how many are strategically utilizing Social Media as a part of their overall marketing plan. The reaction will be markedly different. Many agents say they don’t know where to begin. Others cite technical issues. Either way, it’s a problem. If the future is so obvious, then why isn’t the path?
Herein lies the conundrum. For Millennials and I-gens, conversing Socially comes as natural as Boomers watching “Murder She Wrote”. The problem is, most real estate agents are still Boomers. Yet the number of homes needing an agent isn’t receding. When a majority of an industry’s sales force is unable to communicate with the consumer, it spells HUGE opportunity for those who can.
In terms of Social Media, Wynd Realty and all of Atlanta’s little “r” brokerages, actually have significant advantages over their national competitors. Sure, KW has a billion more followers. But, theirs is a national number. As everyone knows, all real estate, by its actual physicality, is local. A seller on Dutton Street in Dunwoody, doesn’t have much use for a bloated national network. Conversely, like all independents, I am pretty sure Wynd Realty’s social network is a 100% Atlanta.
For Brokers and Agents alike, having a Social strategy is a must. Brokerages who don’t offer their Agents a Social Media strategy, do so at their own peril.
Wynd Realty recently announced a goal of FREE Social Media advertising for every agent who wants it. To that end, we are currently Beta testing a program with a select group of agents through the end of the year. Our hope is introduce a program of Social benefit for all. What that will look like and how it will be implemented will be determined by the statistics we develop over the Beta period.
Much of the literature written about real estate and Social Media is flawed from the point of view. It assumes all the agents are career, full-timers. More often, particularly in Atlanta, that might not be the case. Surely the rules of engagement are different between part and full time agents. Their needs are different. Their voices are different.
Wynd Realty has long been Atlanta’s leading part-time agent advocate. The business modeling of real estate sales has been moving away from the national franchise. For agents, even part-time ones, “local and social” seems a much more appealing real estate strategy.
Imagine Media, one of Atlanta’s leading Social Media companies, recently developed a list of common Social mistakes made by Realtors. Upon reflection, this list reads more like an updated version of one of those old etiquette Guides. Don’t be a bore and self-absorbed. Encourage engagement and interaction. Go with the flow. Head for the kitchen.
Actually, we aren’t sure where real estate and Social Media are headed, but, like all things social, the kitchen is probably a good bet.