The Call Every Agent Wants to Get
A couple of weeks ago I got the phone call that every Realtor using social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) wants to get.
I answered the phone and Jenny opened with “Hello, I follow you on Twitter.”
It turns out that Jenny had her condo for sale listed with a real estate agent for about 3 weeks and she just wasn’t happy. Her agent wasn’t responsive to her questions and didn’t seem to be doing anything to market the property. He suggested she take the pictures of her condo herself because he didn’t have a good enough digital camera. She even wrote the marketing remarks for her MLS listing.
When she told her agent that she wanted him to market the condo using social media, he told her that he didn’t do that.
When she continued pressing him, asking what he was going to do to get some showings and the condo sold, he told her to drop the price. She was willing to consider a price reduction, but only after some solid marketing had been executed which proved that the condo wasn’t going to sell at the current price. When she kept pushing, he suggested that she might prefer to use another agent and he was willing to cancel the listing.
It’s hard to believe that there are agents so willing to walk away from business simply because they are expected to actually do some work for the commission!
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He is a part-time agent with a full time day job. He has managed to sell three properties in a couple of years. According to Jenny, 2 of the homes he sold were owned by relatives.
Agents like this give all of us a bad name. I welcome the day when real estate brokers set some standards and refuse to hire agents that aren’t effective at marketing and selling homes.
Effective Marketing Using Social Media
If you have your home on the market or are planning on hiring an agent, you should definitely ask your agent if they will be using social media to market the home. If they don’t know what social media is, you should look for another agent.
But anyone can sign up for a Twitter account.
Just because your agent has a Twitter account doesn’t mean that anyone is listening.
Many real estate agents have just a few followers (similar to friends on Facebook…which means that these are the people that get notified when a status update is posted). Even more tweeting agents have a large number of out of town Realtor followers.
I’m not discounting networking with others in your field as a valid use of Twitter, but a Phoenix real estate agent isn’t going to have a buyer for Jenny’s O’Fallon, MO condo.
I’ve worked hard at targeting my efforts on Twitter towards St. Louis people. A few of them are other agents, which is a good thing since they may have a buyer for one of my listings. But the vast majority of my followers are just regular people living in the St. Louis region. And each one of these people has friends and relatives who may be looking for a new home.
I joined Twitter in December, and my follower count continues to grow organically at a steady pace. I have to thank Todd Jordan (@tojosan) for helped me get past being overwhelmed by Twitter at the St. Louis BarCamp where I met him. Todd also gave me my first boost by asking his followers to follow me.
Since then, I’ve gotten involved in the local social media scene attending tweetups (gatherings of people using Twitter at local restaurants and bars) and making real-life connections. Since it is natural to pay closer attention to the posts made by people you know, attending events were I meet the people on Twitter who follow me is critical to effectively using Twitter to market homes for sale.
Questions to Ask Your Agent
Here are some questions you may want to ask your real estate agent about their use of social media and Twitter:
- Do you use Social Media to market your listings? Which sites?
- Who are the typical people that follow your updates?
- How many followers/friends/connections do you have on these sites?
- Do you attend events where you meet your Twitter/LinkedIn connections in person?
- What is your Twitter (or Facebook/LinkedIn) ID?
Then look up the agent and see for yourself what they really are doing on these sites.
What Exactly Is Social Media?
Before you ask your agent questions about social media, it is a good idea for you to understand what it is.
In a nutshell, social media is the concept that news and information is no longer controlled by a limited number of content producers with a silent audience.
Anyone can now publish information to the internet via blogs, video sharing sites (YouTube), picture sharing sites (Flickr), and leave comments or ratings on news stories/products (CNN, Amazon). Websites have been created just to allow people to network with other people and have conversations about shared interests (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Take a look at the social media slide show and Commoncraft video below for two good explanations of social media.