Become A Better Storyteller Or Social Media Will Suck!

Real Estate Agent with Myrtle Beach Homes Blog

What's happening Rainers!  It's been a long time since my last post here, actually it has been well over a year!  Goodness time flies when you are having fun I guess.  I wanted to take some time today to write a post to hopefully help people both here in the Rain as well as those who are creating content on other social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Etc.  I see this question asked over & over as well as I see many people who are just plain out doing it wrong.  

Now, what I'm sharing today is my personal opinion as well as my experience since getting back into selling real estate full time in 2014.  As some of the older crowd here might remember me, the new rainers may not know, I've been around this business since 2001 and have spoken to thousands of people around the country as a Social Media Speaker, so I would say I've got a pretty good understanding on what works & what doesn't by now in the world of social media. 

Below is a screenshot from a group I am in with a question I see asked almost on a daily basis in different groups.  People are constantly trying to figure out how to get better engagement on social media and have it turn into business for them.  

We've been told over & over that social media can be a great source of business and that it can help our business, but the ways that some people are going about it, is completely wrong.  I took a few screenshots of comments on this post that I'll post below.

The comments to start were pretty good. Creating content that is non real estate is a good start.  They are correct, people are sick of seeing just listed, just sold posts.  Sharing hobbies is another great way for people to connect with you.  

Then someone mentioned about giving stuff away... Please don't do this.  All you are doing is giving away stuff and not building a viable good business.  Yes, he shared about how he got great interaction on the post, but what wasn't mentioned was that he spent money boosting this post out to people.  He paid to get the interaction, gave away a $100 gift card and at the end of the day had a bunch of interactions, but zero business.  He showed his "sellers" he could spend money to get likes. 

After the brief distraction of paying to play, we got back on track with comments from other agents.  I agree with them, nothing that would be considered marketing related is a great way to connect with people & get them interested. People don't like being sold to.  

"Her People"... Ok, so I did a little research.  She said how it's getting a lot of views.  After searching, the video had 118 views. The dog is teaching social media now?   That class is going to be "ruff."

Do you really think that parents that are preparing for back to school are thinking of buying a home at the moment?  As a dad of 3 children that start school this next Monday, I can guarantee that moving homes right now is the LAST thing on my mind.  And the cheesy saying "Let us do your Home work!" C'mon people, we are better than that.  Notice, the post had zero interactions.  

Um "Hello."  Once again, zero interactions.  

This one just disturbed me.  It also disturbed my wife when I showed to her.  She asked me, what kind of stuff is this person trying to sell?  Unfortunately at some point this person listened to an expert who told them that we need to post content on a regular basis.  The expert said you need to post daily & sometimes multiple times a day, so when you are trying to come up with content, a good option is see what the holiday of the day is & post about it.  So this person saw it was national lipstick day & posted about it.  That's cool & fine to do, but the image... Not a good pick.  Then to place the brand logo over top just makes me cringe.  The image looked more like the cover of a adult rated movie instead of something for real estate.

The point is this.  People don't really care how much you have sold, how many buyers you got their home, that you are the best Listing agent in the world.  They don't care that you closed 4 million dollars in inventory in a month.  To consumers this is bragging that can turn them off.  It takes them from knowing, liking, and trusting you to thinking of you as someone who is making too much money, who is driving a fancy car, living in a fancy house and they no longer can relate to you.  

That person feels like they can no longer reach out to you to help them with their most important transaction of their lives because well, you are too busy with your business helping others sell homes twice the size of theirs.  This is the image you give off by bragging all the time on social media.  Either that, or your constant trying to shove sales down their throat as turned them off and they no longer pay attention to anything you share online.  I relate this example to when you go to purchase a new car and the salesman is standing at your car door as you enter the lot trying to sell you instantly on how he can get you in a new car and out of here before your feet even hit the blacktop.

So What Should I Post?

Now that I've given you a good understanding of items what not to post, let me share with you what kind of content you should be posting.  The power of social media and connecting with thousands of people online lies within storytelling.  

You can still create content about that home you just sold, but the way you share that message can be done completely different and tell a different story to get you much more interactions, connections, and business.  I recently sat down with an agent in my office who needed some help sharing a video she made & when we started the conversation, she was trying to write a description that went something like this:

"Just sold this fantastic home in Waterford..."

I stopped her and said "Kim, let's try to tell the story you shared with me instead of just another sales pitch."  So instead we wrote the description instead that talked about how she was closing a chapter in her & her friends life where they had raised their children and how part of her was sad to be ending this chapter.  See the post below:

This video had over 1,100 views in 3 days, had 24 comments here & was shared by the friend whose house she had just sold.  As I shared with Kim about the power of telling stories instead of selling, I could see the lightbulbs going off as it set her free.  She has dreaded sharing content on social because just like most consumers, Kim doesn't like to be sold to. 

I shared with her how I shared a story back in January that was very personal for my wife & I and our struggles to get back to home ownership from 2009 till today.  You can read the entire post here on my Facebook profile.  This post is by far my most active post of the year.  

To write this post made me and my wife vulnerable. It shared about how we had struggles and had to go through foreclosures when the market tanked..  It shared how our credit was destroyed in 2014 when trying to purchase a vehicle and getinng multiple denial letters.  It shared how we were human and that everything isn't always perfect in our lives.  It was relatable content that people attached you immediately. 

When I posted this content, I didn't expect much from it other than to share a testimony of how my wife & I were finally able to own a house again.  Then it all clicked shortly after posting this out online.  Within an hour of sharing this post my phone rang and it was an old friend that I had not talked to in years who told me they had a home that they wanted to sell and needed some help to get it sold.

They shared that they had seen my post and while they were so nervous to sell their first home ever that they felt confident working with me would be the perfect way to get this done.  They shared how they read my story and just connected immediately to me.  While they knew many other agents, they felt they needed to hire me to help them sell their home.  A few weeks later we met, got their home on the market & sold it in under 36 hours. This was a friend from college that I had not seen in over 10 years.

Then a few weeks later, I got an email from another person that I've not spoken to in probably 8 years.  We had connected back in my days of traveling as a social media speaker.  He knew I used to build custom WordPress sites and that I had gotten back into real estate after my dad had passed away, but to call an acquaintance is a stretch.  Check out his email:

Notice the last sentence of his email.  "Anyways, I'm sure you're busy, but if you have some time to chat and see if we could work together, I'd appreciate it."  So instead of me having to try & search down the sale, the sale is coming to me & asking if we can work together.  

Next month Chris and his wife will be purchasing a brand new home and it will be one of my largest sales of the year.  Chris knew many agents here in the area too.  In fact, shortly after announcing online that he was moving back to the area, his previous agent reached out to him trying to work with him to which Chris replied, "Thanks we are good, we have Jeremy."

That post back in January not only brought these two deals this year, but also brought forth 2 agents that have also sent me referrals this year from other parts of the country.  One is for a listing which is right now one of my higher priced listings, and also a buyer who I am meeting with this coming weekend who want to buy and close by the end of September.

I share this success not to brag about how awesome I am as an agent.  If you are reading this post thinking that this is just a brag fest, you are completely missing the poing.  Instead I share this to encourage you to write content that tells better stories to consumers to connect to.

The post I shared on Facebook goes against almost all the rules of social media.  It shows my wife & I in a unpleasant situation.  It shows that we had a foreclosure happen.  The post written was way too long.  It was 856 words in length.  Experts say keep it short & simple to keep your audiences attention.  The post wasn't on a current trending topic.  It wasn't a video.  It didn't wasn't a contest.  It was simply a heartfelt story of our struggles, and triumph of once again being able to own a home.

So next time you are trying to create content, don't go immediately to sales pitch mode, but take a moment to think things through and consider a way to tell a story that a consumer can relate to & connect with you on.  Trust me when I say, this will work much better than the sales pitch and connect with many more people.  

As many of you who know me well already understand, I'm an open book and am not afraid to share online about my victories, and also my struggles online. So to give you an idea of how well that single post has done for me in 2019, let me put it into financial terms.  By the end of September, that single post will have made me over $29,000 alone in business in 8 months time. 

So figure out ways to become a better storyteller. That is what consumers are looking for and what they can relate to.  As they relate to you & your stories, they will then begin to know, like and trust you.  They will then begin to not only use you for their own buying and selling of a home, but they will also start to share your name out to others who are looking for an agent in the area. 

Comments (26)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Great suggestions, Jeremy! I love that you're back in the saddle again and once again a homeowner too - how powerful is that? You worked so hard to get back there. #ProudMomentsInLife ❤️ 

Aug 13, 2019 10:31 AM
Jeremy Blanton

It was a tough road, but we've made it back and it feels oh so good!

Aug 13, 2019 01:33 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Jeremy Blanton - Congratulations on being FEATURED on AR. I was so happy to see that your excellent article was recognized! I wish you continued success in personal and business. Cheers to many more FEATURES on AR!

Aug 14, 2019 12:11 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Thanks Patricia!  I always enjoy me a ⭐️⭐️!

Aug 14, 2019 12:22 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Very interesting.  Good points.  This stood out for me: "People don't like being sold to."    I think we've had some comments here about this issue, on and off.  What exactly does 'being sold to' imply?

Some people actually want to know that you are active and selling a lot of properties, don't they?  Would you contact an agent who is barely scraping by?  Not sure.  Accolades are nice as industry peers or even laypeople recognize your abilities.  We need a more in-depth discussion about this subject.  

I am not sure how much the human interest works in various industries (I don't know that I want to hear about how my heart surgeon's house was repo'd, etc.) but I think letting a bit of yourself out can't hurt!  Thanks very much.

Aug 14, 2019 12:35 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Being sold to:  Always posting only new listings, just sold, just listed garbage on a consistent basis.  If you do this, people will ignore you online in time.  Think of it like when you go to the car lot.  If you pull in thinking about a possible new car and the salesman is standing there saying let's get you in a new ride today before you even get your feet on the ground are you turned off?  Of course you are.

When you become a better storyteller instead of a salesperson people will relate to you.  Their guard drops and they learn to know like and trust you much faster.  People who I connect with on Social Networks and the come to buy a home I do not have to have long conversations about whether they want me to respresent them, they already have connected with me and usually the response is "where do I sign?"

Aug 14, 2019 12:43 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Regardless of what comes from it, a good story is always worth reading and anything that connects us as people has tremendous value.

Aug 14, 2019 01:41 PM
Stacey Mayer - Everett, WA

You really caught the spirit of social media's true potential. This is why some folks are able to rapidly gather loyal followers, and their cup runneth over because of their sharing efforts on Facebook, and Twitter, etc. You have shown us the key. You have earned a follower, and I sure hope you post here much more often. I will be listening.

Aug 14, 2019 03:31 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Thanks!  I'm going to make an effort to come back here & post much more often moving forward.

Aug 15, 2019 06:02 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Jeremy - it is good to see you back here and hope we'll read more from you. Loved your post.  People have to feel as if they can relate in some way with the blogger. 

Aug 14, 2019 05:30 PM
Jeremy Blanton

So very true!

Aug 15, 2019 06:03 AM
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Jeremy  Thank you for sharing.  Human interest stories always keep me engaged and feeling like I can relate.  Guess that is how relationships start!

Aug 14, 2019 05:33 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Exactly John!

Aug 15, 2019 06:03 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Welcome back! Congratulations on your home and thanks for sharing so much of what you've learned. Love how you can be so open with your stories and how being YOU has been successful. Look forward to many more stories. Thank you, Jeremy Blanton 

Aug 14, 2019 05:56 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Hey Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland ! Good to see you!  Hope all is well.  I am just me and always will be that.

Aug 15, 2019 06:04 AM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

I missed you, Jeremy !
And your stories, too.

Aug 14, 2019 08:24 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Aww thanks!  I'll work on coming around much more often Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR 

Aug 15, 2019 06:05 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have to disagree on the giveaways... This past summer I gave away branded yeti cups.  And then all summer people took them on vacation and posted photos of them at the beach, at the pool, at the grand canyon, in the rockies, etc. and tagged my business page in their posts and at the end of summer I had a drawing to give a "back to school" gift basket to someone who had taken a Lane Realty yeti on vacation or even posted a staycation.  All organic, and I can assure you I got business from it as well.  BTW, the only time I boost posts are listings or open houses.  

AND  please increase the font size next time... my eyes are old dude.  Hope you are well.

Aug 14, 2019 08:51 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Haha Tammy Lankford, this is the default font of AR!  Talk to Bob Stewart if it is too small! :p

Aug 15, 2019 06:06 AM
Tammy Lankford,

I don't think Bob cares if it's too small, but I care about my readers eyes, so I changed mine to 14 to be easier on the eyes.

Aug 17, 2019 12:06 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Jeremy and welcome back - I believe being genuine matters. In real estate and in life. 

Aug 15, 2019 05:25 AM
Jeremy Blanton


Aug 15, 2019 06:06 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Stories are the way to go. They are real!

Aug 15, 2019 07:22 AM
Jeremy Blanton

So very true!

Aug 15, 2019 07:30 AM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Jeremy, I'm happy to see you. Thank you for sharing your brilliant insight!

Aug 15, 2019 08:37 AM
Jeremy Blanton

Hey Wendy!  It's been way too long!  Hope all is well!

Aug 15, 2019 08:43 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jeremy:

Welcome back!

This is such excellent and insightful advice and a great reminder to us all about what social media really is all about. We all have stories we can tell that will interest readers and lead to more engagement, and not just about listings and solds.


Aug 15, 2019 10:48 AM
Jeremy Blanton

Thanks Jeff!  Good to see you again friend!

Aug 16, 2019 07:55 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Good to see you back here and congratulations on the featured post. Well done!

Aug 15, 2019 11:28 AM

Good blog post. I certainly appreciate this website. Thanks!

Aug 16, 2019 02:15 AM
Scott Seaton Jr. SLS Home Insp
SLS Home Inspections-Kankakee Will Iroquois Grundy Counties - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I don't remember you from the old days, but I am following you now. I can spin a story all day, just need to do more on AR. 

Aug 16, 2019 04:43 AM
Jeremy Blanton

Bummer Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector  When I say old days, I'm talking back in like 2008-2010 when I worked for ActiveRain for a while.  Glad you enjoyed the post!

Aug 16, 2019 07:57 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

I remember you Jeremy Blanton and met you way back in Philly in 2008 or was it 2009 but I agree people want to connect - They want to know you are a person just like them -Great post and you are missed 

Aug 16, 2019 05:08 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Man! REBCPHL was so much fun!

Aug 19, 2019 07:54 AM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Jeremy, I read your post this morning, as I was working on a blog post for a luxury lake front home in the area. I was terribly bored by what I wrote, blah, blah, blah.

Then I read your post and it hit me why I didn't like what I wrote. It was too many facts and didn't tell the story.

So this is what I just completed.

Yes, I"m going to write one on activerain also!

Aug 20, 2019 09:01 AM
faye schubert
Aug 21, 2019 09:37 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

What a post! So many thoughts!  I'll just say that I agree--putting more personality in the post helps, and I really liked your concrete example.  Here in KC we seem to experience a lull in the market from Aug-mid Sept due to back to school and vacations.

Aug 21, 2019 01:29 PM