It has been over ten years this month that we have been marketing ourselves on Social Media. We started in August of 2008, after lengthy discussions with a friend who at the time was considered by many as a real estate visionary.
We decided to give it a try, and check in with each other. Our conclusion at the time was that this was going to be either "a colossal waste of time, an unexplored source of potential business, or something else". Time would tell and we are ready to let the cat out of the bag.
We joined every real estate social media organization and began writing blog posts that we shared everywhere, including Active Rain. We also joined the non-real estate focused one such as Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We formed Language of Luxury groups on those and on the real estate focused ones. We also joined real estate groups on various platforms.
The, then, rule was to accept everyone that wanted to follow us of be in our group regardless of who they were. Our friend (the real estate expert) was focused on numbers, "the more followers the better", and his other rule was "focus on having a higher number to of those you follow rather than followers". This would identify you as a magnanimous individual worth following!" Our follower numbers were huge!
We also listened to lectures and webinars of all the rising experts in the field. We heard many success stories of connection and dollars being made thanks to social media. The more followers you had, the more value you were seen to have in the eyes of the world. At one point, fashion models were hired based on their social media profiles and the number of their followers. Advertisers at the time believed that their online popularity wou sell more products.
At first, it was fun conversing with people (sometimes on a phone call via Skype) all over the world. We had a few clients work with us, as a result of our presence on the world wide web. We were in New York, when Inman premiered Gary V as the "Newest Best Thing!"
We admired Gary's prowess, his ambition, his primitive uncut video style, his basic advice ,and his subsequent success as author and social media adviser. We even spoke to him one on one at length.What made no sense to us is how real estate sales translated to wine sales. It is a no brainer to sell wine on line especially if you are familiar with it.
In our opinion comparing real estate to wine did not make sense to us. It is the biggest purchase someone will make in their lifetime. They are not going to buy it online, sight unseen. Of course, we witnessed a few exceptions when Silicon wealth was astronomicallly rising during the dotcom days. We would receive offers in the Napa real estate office we managed. However those deals rarely closed, unless that individual had seen or stayed at the home on previous occasions.
We joined Active Rain in 2008, and started posting in January of 2009. It took 2 years before anyone commented on our post, even though I(A) had done some commenting here and there. We were finally noticed by someone who was a very Active Rain member (Russell Ray) and is no longer on this platform. He reblogged several posts of ours. I was also the first commenter on Roger Mucci's post (also no longer on this platform). This began our active journey on Active Rain.
By 2012, we started seeing social media fatigue. Many of the real estate social media sites were dying and going off line for one reason or another. Some of the sites were hacked, and the owners abandoned them. The hacking generated all kinds of spam mail for us, so much so that we had to change our email addresses, and phone number. We also noticed that all kinds of weird followers and unsavory postings by our "so called" followers. We started "unfriending" and "blocking" many.
Among our friends of all ages, we noticed them withdrawing from social media stating that they wanted to have human contact rather than electronic contact. Those professional working in the tech world started to shield their children. Locally, (Santa Barbara County) law enforcement agencies visited schools warning kids and parents of the potential dangers involved with social media.
People admitted that consumers of products and real estate were seeking out more original and authentic experiences, than those available on line. They felt that they were missing out living a real life. Some were referring to this phenomenon as the Digital bubble. With all the different ownership sales and transfers, we also saw a diminishing Active Rain membership.
Stay tuned to Part 2...the conclusion or why we are still here on Active Rain? The cat definitely wants out that bag! Here is the link to Part 2!