By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Alvin Toffler was a writer popular in the bygone days of newspapers and television who surmised that our world has been riding a post-industrial wave since the 1950s as slowly and inevitably as if it were floating along atop a melting glacier. That’s pretty heady stuff you might think doesn’t even apply to realtors until you understand this forward thinking author of The Third Wave applied the term Information Age to the changes he saw on the horizon.
Then it all becomes a little more focused for people working in the real estate industry today. Consider the listing services for the residential side of things like Trulia and Zillow as part of some of the early successes that have hung around long enough to be considered tech staples and credible resources today.
Hand-Held Filing Cabinet
However, going “all in” on technology isn’t always the best bet. Granted, most real estate professionals would be lost without a smartphone to carry their important contact and other information like a hand held filing cabinet, but there’s a case to be made for exercising some careful judgement before you buy into some of the apps and other technology out there today.
Consider carefully the mixed blessing that’s taking over social media called live video. On the plus side, the capabilities offered by Twitter and Facebook can put you right in front of potential clients in real-time situations. On the other side of the coin, these social media crazes don’t always keep tabs on who’s watching you and that allows the criminal element to grab a potential foothold.
Keep in mind there’s no editing here and whatever you say or do goes live so it’s a good idea to be professional in your persona and develop a series of talking points beforehand. It’s a good idea to mix up the company you are seen with and not always be on camera alone. It’s also preferable to remove any personal objects from the camera shot whether you’re at home or in the office.
Of course that’s not to say you should stay away from anything that can supply you with real-time information because the up-to-date data you can get from social media sites like LinkedIn can help you further your career. By staying on top of the people who are in your group and when they are being promoted or changing positions entirely, you’ll be able to tell when they need to move to new locations.
The Rabbit Hole
Staying on top of Facebook statuses and recent Tweets are great ways to be aware of people who are planning on putting a For Sale sign on their lawn. That’s not to say that every option available on social media will help you to get more clients. In fact, there’s a few ways you can fall down the rabbit hole and waste your time including:
- Getting caught in that never ending cycle of commenting. While it’s good to establish a relationship with prospective clients, getting caught up on that hamster wheel that goes back and forth ad infinitum won’t help those sales numbers to spike.
- Taking the “social” aspect of posting on places like Facebook and Twitter to heart. Remember that when you’re a realtor, you need to be posting things that position you as an expert in your field. Pictures of your trip or your cat watching the birds outside your window aren’t likely to position you as a trusted professional in the minds of people looking for someone to help them buy or sell a property.
- Spreading yourself too thin. There are many different social media sites but you don’t need to have an account on each to be successful. Pick a corner of the social media world, build a strategy and then work it.
Sometimes, it works best to take a step a step back as a real estate agent and anticipate how your client’s needs fit into the mix before you decide on any technology. Will getting involved with the Internet of Things (IoT) make any of the processes in buying or selling easier and/or more cost efficient?
Here’s a great example of a real estate related service that blends these factors together.
ClarkSimsonMiller are the hoa financial management team that has taken their profession to the next level by offering remote services that can be accessed online.
Combined with their back office services for community association accounting, they provide the best a full management service company has to offer at a fraction of the cost. Using this innovative approach, community board members have access to real-time data anytime and the custom management software they use is industry leading.
The point is, although social media has its place for real estate professionals, you might just be scratching the surface of what tech can do for you with a Twitter account. Consider there are software alternatives like Intuit QuickBooks for general book keeping and industry specific programs like RealtyAPX geared to agents and brokers.
The choices are vast and the best thing you can do is take a careful look at your target market, your own needs and how much time you’re willing to spend before you start sorting through the tech maze. At or near the top of the pile are data analytics capabilities that are expensive but can actually tell you what the limitless piles of data you can collect actually means.