By Tom Townsend
I was recently accepted as a guest Blogger and Technology advice contributor over at the Home Gain Real Estate Blog. Since my back ground is based in the technology sector and I have been actively involved in the Real Estate industry for some time, it made sense for me to contribute to the larger Real Estate society of Bloggers and those that look upon Home Gain. After all Home Gain was one of the first major players in the online scene of Real Estate and competitors like Zillow have continued to hone their best practices following the path all ready blazed by Home Gain.
With that, I was warmly introduced into the Home Gain family by the Marketing & Communications Manager Jessica Gopalakrishnan of Home Gain on Thursday April 3, 2008
My first article written exclusively for the Home Gain Blog is entitled New Technology and the Social Forest. In the article I take a look at the amount of Industry published self help articles aimed at Realtors that are not into the Social Media aspects of today's online Real Estate.
This article has started a lively debate and several comments have all ready developed from the article. The comments are positive and supportive of my article comments. However, one comment in particular I felt should be drawn out for more dialog. So I thought I would share it here and then those that want to continue can do so, as well as having you check out the base article over at the Home Gain Blog.
So moving on:
Steve Obermon commented:
“There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all entry point to social media marketing. There are many entry points and if one does not work for a Realtor, they should just try another until one works in their market.
Those who choose not to participate in social media do so at their own risk.
Eight out of ten housing consumers are on line – are you visible to them as a Realtor? When they contact you by phone or email, are you available?
Is your brokerage set up to work in web time?
Good basic questions to start with – and review as you go along.
And,yes – seek out the best advice you can get for free and pay for if you need it.
Start as soon as you can your market is waiting!”
My Reply to Steve:
Trial and error in the Technology arena especially in the current market is only for those that have the aptitude, foresight, time and money. If you are one of the agents I referred to that still has issues managing your email and trying to figure where to find files on your PC then you need professional, expert advice. The first place you should look would be your local community college or other technical training resources in your community to get you up to speed with the rest of the business community on basic computer skills. Trying to jump in on the social scene without the basics will make you even more confused and steer more agents way from the very thing they should be learning to embrace.
Every one talks about consumers on line, and most of those consumer are more computer and web savvy than your average Realtor.
Why ? Because most of them have grown up with games and computes from the very onset.
I have very vivid memories of when the PC revolution really hit me. Do you recall when yours was ?
It was in my first year at a community college back in the mid 80’s. I was taking English composition 101 and had to write weekly short stories for submission. I was on active duty in the Navy at the time and had access to IBM Selectric typewriters which were the best you could get at the time. Obviously, word processors were only used by those that could afford them. While Apple had started building PC’s in the late 70’s it was not until IBM started selling the Personal PC in the 80’s that Personal Computer usage really started to take off. So here I was typing, re-typing and correcting my term papers only to find out I missed a major typo that cut my final grade by a whole grade point. Yet, the top student in the class did all her work on an Apple PC. At the time, my thought was that she was cheating. Interesting enough, I was all ready involved with computers as my job in the Navy was as Technical Instructor teaching students how to maintain and repair system utilized on the then most advanced Submarine of the time, the Ohio class Trident Submarines. The systems I worked on were the Univac AN/UYK-7 and AN/UYK-43 systems which were the US Navy's standard main frame computing system for war ships. So, I had a head start on the technology arena, and I still spend a massive quantity of my time learning and trying to stay up to date on the technological changes which seem to happen at an almost daily rate.
Yet, many of today’s realtor's have not been involved with computers of any type for this length of time. Not that anyone should have to match my skills, thats not what I am implying here however, they should be more proficient at the normal tools of business for that profession.Statistics will bear that most children born to these same Realtors have mores computer skills than their parents.
If there was an aptitude test for a Real Estate Agent to obtain or renew their license today , based on the ability to manage email, organize files on a computer and be able to aptly use MS Office tools like Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point, I would wager my home that over 50% of the active Real Estate agents in the US would fail and loose their license.
This is a rather huge issue and NO ONE is willing to even discuss it, except maybe me. The Brokers I think are the ones who have looked the other on may of these issues, yet again many Brokers I know and have talked with suffer from the same affliction. Yes, there is a lot of training available by the various Realtor Organizations, but much of it is still fee based, and from the ones I have investigated they cost more than the tuition to a local community college or technical school would charge.
If NAR really wanted to assist Realtors, they would open up their E-PRO classes to any realtor. Or even better yet, make it mandatory in order to for you to renew your license. But the fee structure should be waived and they should also institute basic skill sets.
In my opinion: When this happens you will see more agents embrace blogging and Social Media. Until then they should look to experts in their fields to get them up to speed.
In my neck of the woods or even yours that would be Get Found Now. Go ahead, go to Goggle right now and type in the name. What you will see is the number one listing, they are Social Network Marketing Experts SEO Blog Design Web 2.0 ... etc. They can get your site where it needs to be at.
If your goal is get to eyeballs to your site, that is increase your site traffic, so you get more phone calls etc…then pick someone who has a proven track record of doing just that. Weather you have a static site and just want improve upon it by adding blogging, or maybe your blogging is not getting you anywhere and you need some one to look your site over and tell you what needs to be done, check them out.
Shameless Plug: Now when you want to talk about Video for your site, I am not talking about your garden variety You Tube video. I am talking about a Viral Social Media Video campaign that works in synergy with your blog system to get your message noticed. If that’s your cup of tea or coffee as it may be, then check us out and give us a call over at Virtual Interactive Systems.