Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Patrick Brusil, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Boston-Metro, for his methods on staying relevant in the Internet age.
7. I think this biggest tip for being relevant in the “Internet Age”* is to be present on the Internet. It is not enough to have a website, a Facebook account and a Twitter handle. I think agents need to be using Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Pinterest. While I am heavy on Instagram and Facebook, I have made a few Vines, and I only have a Snapchat account; I know nothing about it. However, I want to know.
If you are an agent in this business and in it for the long haul, think of how you are going to connect to first-time homebuyers in 10 to 15 years. I sure don’t think it will be on Facebook posts (don’t get me wrong, Facebook will be relevant to a certain demographic); rather, it will probably be Vine or Snapchat or an app that has yet to be created. Maybe it will be an entirely new platform than apps in general. One thing is for sure – to be relevant, you have to be present, and on those platforms. That is a no-brainer. The mobile phone is the first line of connection to the younger generation of consumers – not TV, not print, not mail, not radio.
6. You have to actually be active on the platforms you choose. I don’t care how busy you are as an agent – time block it. Sleep one hour less. Having a Facebook account or a Twitter profile that is automated with crap such as “Top 10 Homebuying Mistakes” or “3 Ways to Spruce Up Your Yard For the Spring Sales Market” is a waste of time. In fact, that spammy type of social content is almost as bad as having a Facebook account or a Twitter handle that is never used. In general (and I really say that broadly, because I am sure I break this rule), I try to stick to the guideline that if a consumer can google it, then I don’t care to post it. Get active, join groups, post original content, post interesting pictures (pictures that you took!), reply to other tweets, comment on posts – you have to engage people and do it on a person-to-person level. Apps, for many people, are a form of one-on-one communication. Yes, I am tweeting, but I may be having a virtual conversation, if you will, with the person I am tweeting with. That is a powerful connection to a lot of people.
5. Stop trying to sell via apps and social media. Add value to the people you interact with. Make them smile. I guarantee the last thing anyone who is “friends” with you on Facebook or “likes” your business page wants to see are posts that are bombarding them to do business with you. Posting original content goes a long way to creating followers, and people that won’t get sick of the few times a year you share about how great business is or ask for business. I can’t tell you what makes sense as original content, because it has to come from YOU. I can tell you if it is honest and you are passionate about it, then that will come across. If you are creating it for the sake of having content so you can be active, that will come across as lame. Don’t be lame.
I’ll share with you the original content I do: I post to Facebook, Instagram and tweet “Real Estate Porn” and “Boston Real Estate Trivia.” Both of those I try to do a few times a month. The “Real Estate Porn” consists of some images of an over-the-top luxury listing from anywhere in the world that most of us will generally stop and drool over. I try to give details about sales price and what the features are, but it centers around the pictures. The “Boston Real Estate Trivia” is usually a picture of a building that I take from a strange angle and award “points” that have no value other than for fun to the person who can guess the street, neighborhood, name of the building and such.
4. I’m all in on pictures. Pictures draw attention. So get good at taking pictures – take a class, read a photography book, learn to use the photo apps. Get good at it and post/share pictures. I’m also all in on video, though I have yet to really find a way to incorporate it from an original/organic standpoint. What those mediums allows us all to do is share and tell a story. And as real estate agents, we are marketers above anything else – I firmly believe that – and the best marketers tell the best stories.
3. I’ll use on old adage here: success leaves clues. Follow people on the Internet, social media and apps that are doing well. Really study them and what they do across all platforms and see how they handle themselves. Especially if you are not familiar with a particular platform.
2. Be honest. Yes, we can all have a social and Internet profile that displays how amazing our life is and bathes ourselves in the brightest of lights – that is the brilliance of being in control of the content that is put out on those platforms. However, life is not perfect, and the sun isn’t always out. It is the human moments that, when shared, create a connection with people. It’s okay to post about how you got soaked from a car that passed by on a showing of a luxury condo, how your client pointed out that you forgot to match your socks, or while you were waiting for your clients on that apartment tour, a bird pooped on you . . . or whatever it is.
Those are the moments that make us human, and people remember. And what you want is people to remember you across those platforms. I don’t care why they remember me, so long as I am top of mind when it comes to real estate. That is the most important aspect to being relevant in the “Internet Age” – creating a connection and being remembered. If that happens, the business will follow.
1. Be committed, and in it for the long haul. I can guarantee, 100 percent, that the work you do on social media/Internet will not give you an immediate return. However, do it regularly and be committed – after all, it’s free. It may take you a while to build up likes and followers and such, but stick to it. I post to social media out of habit, at this point. I first did it because I wanted leads; now, it is habit, and I don’t even think of leads.
And now that it is habit, guess what? Two out of the last three leads I got came from my Facebook account.
*I find that a funny term, as that has been around for a while; we are really in the “App Age,” in my opinion.
Patrick Brusil is a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Boston-Metro. A resident of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, Patrick has working within the Greater Boston real estate market for the last seven-plus years, and has helped people to sell/buy condos, houses, rent apartments, do investment sales and commercial leasing. He recently partnered with Keller Williams Realty Boston-Metro, joining the Creative Living Team.