Managing Your Online Reputation

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting

In light of yesterday's lawsuit, I think that it is an appropriate time to talk about online reputation and what  I think real estate blogging should include. 

Real estate is a relative late comer to the blogosphere, but the concept has spread like wildfire because there is great demand for real estate information in general, particularly in a challenging market.  Readers recognize that a Realtor micro-focused on a particular market can often ‘drill down' and provide information not readily available anywhere else.  

I consider Real Estate Blogs to be business-focused.  As Brokers, we have an established revenue model and blogging is an innovative marketing tool, not unlike listing syndication or websites.  With that in mind, I consider that our focus on blogs should be to provide information. 

When addressing blogging terms like transparency, advocacy and conversation initiation, my interpretation of those concepts in relationship to real estate can be summed as follows - provide truthful and accurate information without bias and overused sales terms.

I go back to the old days when the marketing mentality was to "make the phone ring."  Write an ad for a listing and leave out the address and the price.  The mindset was that people who wanted information would be forced to call you.  Those days are long gone.  It is now all about information.  We have all learned that providing factual and accurate real estate information is beneficial to everyone.

People criticize newspapers for editorializing the news - editorial belongs on the editorial page, inflammatory personal opinions and observations are best left out of your posts in a business blog. 

As an example, if you are posting a market stats report in a neighborhood where the inventory is climbing - there is no need for you to say "Listings are increasing at a catastrophic rate".  These sensationalized statements are best left to the "bubble" blogs who are trying to gain readership so they can sell ad space.  As real estate brokers, we have a business model - we would like to continue the practice of selling real estate, and if providing good information can do that, so much the better.  Adding inflammatory opinion just to gain eyeballs adds ZERO to your business plan.

Now, I appreciate that many blogging purists will disagree with me.  They will tell you they love to engage and create conversation through controversy.  That certainly has its place in many blogs - but for me, it adds nothing to what we , as Realtors,  are trying to accomplish.  I would never sugarcoat anything about the market.  Facts speak for themselves.  If the inventory in an area is up 30% and sales down 30%, the numbers speak for themselves.  We are helping no one by ‘sensationalizing' the situation...not the area, not the market, and certainly, not ourselves. 

Your online reputation is not just about blogging.  It is about everything you do online including where you choose to syndicate your listings, the quality and accuracy of the information on your website, your log of  comments and even the selection of vendors you choose for your online marketing.  Make your selections carefully, your online reputation will define your business reputation.

Comments (69)

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Beth, I certainly agree our blogs should be used to provide truthful and accurate information. I also feel this can be done in an entertaining way. It's hard not to be biased though as everything we do or say is biased based on our own perceptions. I do write controversy on occassion but I'm not writing it just for the sake of being controversial. It just happens that some of my opinions are strong and may go against the grain. So my options are not to voice my opinion or throw them out there and see where they go. I choose to throw them out there.

My experience from doing that is that the consumer appreciates my honesty and my willingness to share what I know or think. I get lots of business form my blogging efforts.

Now if we can just get NAR to get off the "It's a great time to buy and sell real estate" propaganda machine maybe we could all start rebuilding our tainted reputations with the consumer. Maybe your statement:  "These sensationalized statements are best left to the "bubble" blogs who are trying to gain readership so they can sell ad space." applies here :) 

Very good post Beth. Thanks f or sharing.

Jan 31, 2008 09:27 AM
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Christy: Thank you.  WE are living in a whole new world... there are a lot of odd things ;)

Wayne: I am glad you enjoyed the post  the comments have added a lot of "extra" good stuff.

Erica:  Integrity - another great word to add to the thread.  Thanks! 

TLW: Your blog is not CRAP! I laugh at the vast majority of your posts - and humor is a great tension reliever.

Jim :  Google alerts are a great way to keep up on what is out there - thanks for adding another useful tip.

Mary - your comments are echoed throughout this thread and honestly, just can not be said enough. It looks like the choir is singing here but I am sure there are a few silent readers.

Broker Bryant:  I agree.  You have a gift of providing accurate info in a very entertaining fashion.  Most of us lack that talent!  Opinions are valuable and certainly something that is sometimes sought after.  Thanks for commenting.


Jan 31, 2008 11:30 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Great advice. I agree it is important to manage our online reputation. Consumers can find out everything ever written about us on the web thanks to google.
Jan 31, 2008 08:05 PM
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~
To build a solid reputation you can not be too far left or right, controversial, or opinionated.  It will kill your business except for that little group you are appealing too.
Jan 31, 2008 11:07 PM
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC


Your post is a good reminder that everything we write on the internet is public.  I've seen a lot of folks get in a mess because they didn't think first.

Feb 01, 2008 12:56 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired
Very well said - poignant.  As others have said "Blog responsibly" because anything said in your blog has a long shelf life that we sometimes forget vs. the spoken word.  Besides it's a great opportunity to show the public out there that all Realtors are not the used car salesmen they think we are!  We've got enough controversy in the media being a supposed part of the "mortgage crisis".  I still can't figure out how realtors had a part in buyer irresponsibility!
Feb 01, 2008 02:25 AM
Brian Wilson

Beth, I just read two posts about this exact thing the other day:

RE Revealed

....and after searching around I can't remember where the other one was from. If I find it I'll come back and post it!

Brian Wilson, 

Feb 01, 2008 04:13 AM
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Gita - thank you.  You are right - what is online is there for anyone to see.

Russ - Knowing your target market is a great start.

Diane -  Thanks for commenting.

Lyn - Blogging is a great opportunity to put your best foot forward - thanks for sharing.

Brian - let me know if you find the other link.  Thanks. 


Feb 04, 2008 12:10 PM
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert
So very true since everything will always be available for others to see.  It could haunt you later.
Feb 04, 2008 12:12 PM
Real Estate Tomato
Real Estate Tomato - Cottonwood, CA
Real Estate Website Design Done Beautifully

Alright Beth,

Per your request: It's finally published: 


Feb 04, 2008 09:31 PM
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL
Thanks Tomato...
Feb 05, 2008 12:11 PM
Jackie -
770.498.7333 - Atlanta, GA
Learn to leverage technology to get more done.
Well put, Beth.  As one of my mentors always says, "people are watching."
Feb 06, 2008 09:27 AM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Will have one of our owners at Blogger Connect. Very much want her to meet you. We're a bit smaller company, about half as many agents, and thus gross annual sales.

But we all belong to the same re-lo, who's who kinda stuff.

She's just starting a broker level blog... and it's my bet you know a lot about that about now.

Hope you have been well,


Jun 07, 2008 12:21 PM
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Hey Gary:


Looking forward to meeting her and you guys at Inman.  All is well with me, just crazy busy.  See you soon.

Jun 08, 2008 04:20 AM

Dear Ms. Butler

I just happen tp read this very interesting blog  and I could not agree more on how important it is to go right to the point and try not to put anything that could comprise the integrity of your business.

I really appreciate that you took the time to place such good information on your blog.

Continue the good woork

Gabriel Duque

Virtual Florida Tours

Jun 25, 2008 12:59 AM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow. Finally. And hope you've been well.


Jul 22, 2008 01:01 PM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Yes, MS Beth, yes. told Kevin the arrival of the miami contingent last night was like dessert for the whole deal. was wonderful to meet you, and next time lets make a plan to extend that.

very cool indeed


Jul 24, 2008 04:00 PM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Good to hear from you now that you're back. Am up to our ears in REO alligators... and short sales, won't even t ough 'em. Sending you private email as I'd like to talk to you.


Jul 29, 2008 03:02 PM
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

Great post, well thought out.  Most of the comments were too.

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