I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve been told that social media is a waste of my time, or the number of times someone has referred to it as a “young person’s tool”, or the number of times someone has rolled their eyes when I’ve mentioned that I Tweet. But, sometimes I do feel like I need to explain myself.
I entered the real estate business in 2004. I was trained at a very well-respected company by well-respected agents. I was told to learn from their experiences. My first month on the job consisted of reading real estate books, waiting on my license to come in. I read about keeping in contact with my clients via newsletters and postcards. I read about the power of numbers. I read about print advertising and attracting buyers and sellers through print media. I read until I figured out that even blind squirrels stumble across a nut or two. I had a desk in the “bull-pen” and the advantage of watching some of the company’s top producers in action. I never observed people coming in to the office to work with the elite agents because they had received an insightful newsletter. I never heard their clients mention the fantastic recipe they had received from their agent either. What I did see was the need for the client to be guided by this agent. Their clients needed to have access to their knowledge and their professional sphere. They worked with these top producers because they believed they did a good job. I also noticed that the top producing REALTORS had taken time to cultivate their audience. They didn’t start out in the business as the elite. They worked their way up systematically and developed a following. As a young agent, age-wise and experience level, this was a very important phenomenon to behold.
But, ever diligent, I remembered my early training and the advice that so many had bestowed on me and plugged away at the newsletters, postcards, and stagnant website. I followed the lead my company was offering and questioned very little. However, nothing ever felt right. I applied for and received the production awards. I touted my production from the roof tops. I looked the part, dressed in my REALTOR-wear – slacks, button-up shirt, and heels, but I didn’t believe in the part. I didn’t feel comfortable in the skin I was told to live and work in. I was truly acting my way through real estate.
I was bored and it was only my third year in the business. My numbers were good, but there was no joy in my career. So, I began exploring the blogging world. And everything finally made sense. I realized I didn’t want to talk at my clients; I want to talk with my clients. I want my clients to take advantage of my knowledge. I want them to have the ability to respond to what I tell them and question what I tell them. I wanted my clients to be able to interact with me. I want to engage those in my community and in my profession. I want to build a following, not because of an end product, but because of the possibility of continued growth. I want to BLOG.
Social media has been a natural progression for me. I am always amazed at how many people I touch every day and how many people touch me. I am also always amazed at the feedback I get via comments or personal emails about my blog posts. Social media has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t think possible. It’s not about the number of hits a blog site gets, or the number of readers. Social media isn’t a numbers game. Having the most “friends” or “followers” doesn’t mean much if what you are promoting lacks substance. Social media is about the relationships that develop and the trust that follows. Social media is about the big picture.
I’m not saying that blogging is for everyone. And, I’m not saying that if you’re not blogging you’re doing it wrong. What I am saying is that blogging feels right for me. Blogging feels right for my clients and it feels right for my business. You’re not doing it wrong; I’m just doing it different.