Do I have to use social media to expand my marketing efforts?

Not necessarily.  However, social media is another way for you to build business, a pool of potential customers that has recently become available to the average Joe. You can tap into social circles you already belong to and expand your reach… not by knocking them over to take what you want, but by sharing information that is interesting and pertinent. It is labor intensive, but free. AND IT IS GOOD FOR YOU. Doing research or reading on subjects related to your profession, then reflecting on those ideas expands your knowledge about your business, and about life in general depending on the subject matter.  In addition, sharing what you learn is a good way to earn respect and confidence in your abilities from your peers and friends alike.

The article below titled Who REALLY killed the real estate blog? (and is it even dead?) was shamelessly stolen from Sean Cutright’s blog at  It’s about social media advertising for the real estate business, but contains specific tips that are helpful to anyone who is interested in expanding their marketing efforts.  Some of you may relate to these experiences and confusion.

So lets get on with the plagiarism…

For years you’ve heard about the importance of social media.

“You have to blog!”
“You have to be on Facebook!”
“You have to get a Twitter account!”
“You need a profile on ActiveRain/Trulia/LinkedIn/insertstartuprealestatesocialnetworkingsitehere!”

And now, you hear the opposite.

“Agents killed the real estate blog,” a recent story on Inman News proclaimed in its headline.

After years of real estate conferences being driven solely on the self-proclaimed prophesies that you, by attending, will learn the best way to improve your business and profits from social media and blogging practices, now you’re being told that you killed that industry.

The worst part of it is it’s true. Kind of…

Real estate agents have been told what they need to do to improve their social media footprint repeatedly in one-hour conference sessions that amount to about 35 minutes of real speaking after introductions, questions, bad jokes, inadvertent sales tactics, etc. But they might not have really been told the importance of how they need to do it.

Blogging sounds great when someone is explaining to you at a conference you or your company probably paid too much money to attend how much it will improve your business. But then you attend the post-seminar luncheon. You chat with some old friends. You sit in the other hour-long afternoon seminars that also consist of 35 minutes of true engagement where you are told of all the other important things your real estate brokerage has to do to make money, possibly (depending on the conference) by a representative of a company that sells a product helping you do just that and also just so happens to have sponsored that conference.

Then you attend the cocktail hours (also sponsored by a company). You sit in on the next day’s worth of seminars, where you see a repeated theme. You take diligent notes, but even those begin to fade away along with the energy and vibrancy you walked into the conference with. You hurry to catch your flight. You return home just in time to crash for the weekend while the notes and seminars and tips and tricks and talking points and sales tactics and all the other “have tos” begin to melt into one big mess that you try and push away by Monday morning so you can get back to your energetic, vibrant self.

You return to the office. You remember a few key points. You re-read your notes, wondering why you took some of them. You see the stars you drew next to the key points.

We have to blog!”
“We have to be on Facebook!”
“We have to get a Twitter account!”
“We need a profile on ActiveRain/Trulia/LinkedIn/insertstartuprealestatesocialnetworkingsitehere!”

You start hashing away at accomplishing those things without remembering why you have to do all of them, and how, exactly, they translate to business.

Soon enough, you’ve started blogging. You have a Facebook and Twitter account. You set up all your social networking profiles. And you start filling those blogs/updates/profiles with, well, filler because you don’t know how else to use them.

And now you killed the real estate blog.

Well, the real estate blog is more than alive. But — let’s be perfectly honest — it’s terribly misused by several, several agents. So is Facebook. So is Twitter. So are all the other social networks.

But, you know what? They’re also terribly misused by a majority of the population. It’s just that it matters when they’re misused by the real estate industry because members of the real estate industry have a vested interest in prospering from their use.

Like networking at a community event, social networking takes time to perfect. Like writing essays and term papers, blogging takes time to get a grasp on your writing style, flow and subject matter.

Social media incorporation comes more naturally to those Generation Yers who were raised using it, and presents a learning curve to those Baby Boomers and late Gen Xers who make up a majority of the real estate industry. IE: adapting an effective social media strategy requires more time and practice than a one-hour session at a session-loaded real estate conference.

If you don’t get it now, don’t give up. And certainly don’t take the blame for its failure. Instead, stop blogging about only listings. Stop Facebooking to sell. Stop tweeting only price changes.

Start thinking about social media as you would any media, and social networking as you would business networking. Use social media to spread interesting stories of interesting places, businesses, restaurants and events in the community. Use social networking to build rapport with people; to spark interesting conversation and provide info for their region, not to sell homes or advertise your business.

Keep practicing and honing your techniques. Blog about any items of interest in the community. Seriously. Open this morning’s newspaper, find an interesting story that applies to your market and blog about it.

Soon, you’ll find that you’re thinking through how to use social media instead of only why to use social media. Because, regardless of what you heard at that business conference, social media is not going to improve your business and make you more sales anytime soon. But, when used correctly, it will help you get your name out, help you earn more Web visitors, help you help people learn about the community they live in or might move to. And soon enough, those people will start realizing that your site/blog/social networking account is providing the information they are interested in, but aren’t finding elsewhere online.

And I think we can agree that all those items will, in turn, help your professional brand…and stop killing the real estate blog.