The Effect of Social Media on the Real Estate Industry

We have yet to realize the true effect that Social Media continues to have on the Real Estate Industry as a whole. Social Media is the "in thing", the "now", what's "hot". We are so intrigued with all of the buzz surrounding it that we willingly welcome it's companionship along the many avenues that it can take us. However, without due diligence and true understanding of what it is and it's potential effect, you are headed out on a blind date with no Plan B, my friend.

It is essential that we gain an understanding on how Social Media affects our Industry and each of us as Real Estate Professionals. Realize that Social Media is affected by what is going on around the globe. Deals are made and broken through Social Media.

Social Media is all about "sharing" least that is what Facebook and Twitter claim. But it is so much more. I would like to explore how Social Media itself is affected by the activity going on around the world. Global turmoil and crisis sincerely affects Social Media. Because of these disturbances, the scrutinizing observation of Social Media activity has become modus operandi. Everyone from goverment agencies to the Forbes 500 have their fingers on the pulse of their company...the VIRTUAL pulse. With that being said, Investors around the world are utilizing these "tools" to glean the public opinion of industry leaders and even their brands. These companies are now paying people to "be their listening ear" and find out both the good and the bad that is being posted over the Internet highways. This causes a new priority to emerge for business, especially medium to large corporations. As the old saying goes, reputation is everything. Just as an entourage of body guards surrounds that famous pop idol as they enter a venue, this new generation of "risk managers" defend and counteract on behalf of these organizations.

I know, now you say, "Beth Anne, how does this really affect Real Estate/Commercial Real Estate? What does this mean to me?" I'd like to give you a very "close to home" example. I was looking up a REALTOR via a Google search yesterday because I wasn't sure what brokerage they were with. Most likely, unbeknown to this person, there was an extremely defamatory review (bashing) on a social website regarding this person. Then it hit me. Real Estate Brokerages and Individual Agents that are listed in Internet directories or that are marketed all over the Internet as in Beiler-Campbell Commercial's case, need to be especially diligent in DEFINING themselves. Now I will take a moment to clarify. Definition means equal to (=) so it needs to be the truth. Cut the embellishments. The average surfer does not want to know how many babies you've kissed. Leave the lather in the soap dish. They want to know your track record, your core values, whether your know your stuff. I can ask you three questions and know whether or not you know this industry and more specifically, your local market climate. Every man and woman can make themselves out to be the best of the best virtually. There is a diva and a Don Juan born everyday on Facebook. Companies can project their organizations as the moguls of Real Estate/Commercial Real Estate. Guess what? We can see through the smoke and mirrors. When you claim to be an expert in every arena, I don't believe you. I personally can not be Master of the CRE Universe, nor do I claim to be. I want clientele to know what we are truly capable of - what we can DELIVER on. Because if we CAN'T, guess what they're going to post on our Facebook, Twitter, etc?

Truth in advertising is essential when we're talking Real Estate. They don't have ethics committees in place just to check to see how you are doing with your business and provide an opportunity for you to get out of the office. So, "how does Social Media affect me?" If it hasn't had an effect on you yet, you aren't using it properly. The type of effect it has on you is determined by YOU Mr. Broker or Mrs. Agent. Social Media is an "all or nothing" sport. If you put your foot in the water, you can't just wade around in the shallow and expect anything good to come of it. It's all in, and then you must maintain your reputation just as you maintain your appearance every single day. Your web appearance is just as important as your well-groomed hair and your stylish professional attire. It isn't something that you sign up for and walk away from. If there isn't much activity surrounding you, one will assume that you're not stirring up much activity in the real estate market. Don't utilize your accounts to brag about yourself, monotonously post your properties available, or let everyone know about how badly your barista screwed up your cappuccino this morning. I'm not saying that you cannot be personal with any of your posts. On the contrary, you need to personally engage because it is the internet and people need to know what makes you tick, where you stand on things, etc. That should be your interactions though. The majority of your posts should provide VALUE. You become the SOURCE for real estate/commercial real estate information in your service arena. Connect with people in your area through searches and hash-tag searches. Connect with colleagues in real estate/CRE to network. Truth AND engagement brings results.

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Comment by Sossi Crilly, Crepig Adviser on February 13, 2012 at 8:20am

Beautifully said.  I'm reposting.

Comment by JW Najarian on February 8, 2012 at 9:32am

Great Post Beth Anne. Some would argue that one of the main points you have made would be that if social media were not here then we wouldn't have to worry about it. I am speaking about the defamatory comment you mentioned.


I do believe that the Commercial Real Estate industry as a whole is largely an older less techy crowd that really believes that this new fangled car will never outshine the stagecoach, but in about a decade every 30 year old techy will be a 40 year old and on and so on, and the whether we like it or not we will be tethered to technology like an umbilical cord (wireless of course).


I like your second point that, if you are not stirring up business, then you might not be on social media. I really believe all can be done without the web. It has been for years and if the web went down we would all still go on building and selling, BUT we can also hammer in a nail with a rock and use a penny to screw in some screws... So why doesn't your carpenter carry a rock and penny (I think mine does)?


I like that you ended with what to do... I think the community needs more "How the Heck do I Utilize This" Stuff. Residential Real Estate is starting to get what to do and are doing pretty well with the technology.


Some have argued that is because residential realtors market to people and commercial real estate is more a B2B affair. I would agree, but also note that other B2B businesses have done exceptionally well using the new technologies.


The truth is that the web and social technology are just new tools and, utilized correctly, better tools in our tool chests. In the future working on the web with clients will just be called doing business just like using a pen or the phone.

Comment by Linda Day Harrison, CPM, CCIM on February 7, 2012 at 5:54pm

Good job Beth Anne! 

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