I know you can hear it. Your mother's tension in her vocal chords as she blurts "Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to do it. If they all were going to jump off a bridge, would you jump too?"

In Commercial Real Estate, there are certain things that make sense, certain things that work when it comes to marketing your brokerage or your listings. The challenging question running through your mind is, "How do I know what works and what doesn't?"

I cannot answer that question for you with 100% conviction and completeness. However, what I can do is give my opinion and state the facts as well and allow you come to a conclusion.

Commercial Real Estate's traditional model was the handshake and warm chatter. Presentation, professionalism and preparedness are key in this method of marketing. Guess what? They STILL are, and it STILL works! Most deals continue to come to fruition through this method. Humans dig conversation, and most, if they were being honest themselves, would tell you that they feel they can evaluate someone's integrity better face to face.

There's an app for that: As technology has evolved, so have our methods in the Commercial Real Estate industry. We emerged as branded identities when we migrating from only MLS listings to our own websites. We proceeded to then post our listings on the ever-growing list of listing sites. Next, we skeptically dipped our toes into the shallow end of the Twitter pool and did the shoulder dip into the Facebook community and some of us got our hair wet on Active Rain.

I am not a skeptic, but I am a careful "evaluator". I want what I'm doing to MAKE SENSE. One of my pet peeves is wasting time. So if a listing website caters in only a certain region and my market area isn't anywhere near it, it isn't worth my time. If a networking group isn't active and thriving with conducive conversation and informative posts, don't sign me up.

Recently I read an article regarding Pinterest. The author was giving an example of how a consulting firm decided to utilize Pinterest to promote themselves. I don't know if you have visited the site, but I will give my humble, yet somewhat painfully blunt opinion. If I want to be taken seriously in this business, I will never have a business Pinterest account. This is for the same reason that you don't accept friend requests from your relatives on your business Facebook. It just wouldn't make sense, and in some cases, dependent on your family tree, it may be very detrimental to your career. I feel that Pinterest is a very "female-targeted" website allowing individuals to "Pin" what they like, thus inevitably promoting those "likes". It seems appropriate if you want to advertise your "Like List" publicly on the internet. Most include their favorite recipes, blogs, photos, quirky quotes and some even pin must-have clothing and shoes. It's a very "personal" platform. I'm going back to the "if it doesn't make sense" part of our conversation now. If I am in #CRE, then I need to be running in the same circles as what most #CRE runs in. If the majority of the site doesn't apply to my industry, I'm sorry, you've lost my interest. I'm going to go back to tweeting with Duke Long and J.W. Najarian and posting my wants and haves on The Broker List (courtesy of my friend Linda Day Harrison, founder).

The bottom line and ultimate "point" of this #CRE rant is...just because all the cool kids are doing it, just because it's the next greatest thing since flakes, or just because the ads say we should, doesn't necessarily mean we should buy in. Oh, and by all means, don't forsake the traditional model and sacrifice it on the altar of the latest and the greatest either. You must have a balanced marketing model that is all inclusive in this industry. Your "virtual" presence can only get you so far.

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