As the managing principal of a boutique residential real estate brokerage, I encourage all of my brokers to use social media, but I also advise them to keep some very specific guidelines in mind when doing so. In this day and age, social media is most definitely important, and for many businesses, it has become virtually essential. Social media has been revolutionary in enabling clients to come directly to brokers rather than brokers always having to court potential clients, as it has been in previous years. Along with crafting your own image on social media, liking posts and just scrolling the news feed is a low effort (and often enjoyable) way of staying engaged in what’s going on in your industry as well as keeping yourself top of mind in the brains of professional connections. With that said, I always warn my brokers that social media is never a substitute for basic human interaction. While it’s certainly beneficial to have a presence on social media platforms, brokers still need to make personal calls and send individual emails.
Private or Public?
When it comes to the matter of business and personal profiles, I often advise brokers not to separate their social media accounts in this way. In my opinion, it’s more beneficial to channel all your efforts into one account for each platform, aiming to provide quality content and to cast a wider net in terms of followers. Of course, when combining both the personal and business aspects of one’s life in this way, it’s imperative to be mindful of appropriate social media conduct. Refrain from posting anything on social media that you wouldn’t want sent in an email directly to your clients.
Be careful of letting other brokers who specialize in exactly the same area as you (and are thus your competition) have unfettered access to your social media accounts to prevent your ideas from being taken. Setting your accounts to private so that you have to approve potential followers can be an effective way to keep track of who is looking at your content. Brokers should also be cautious about what they’re sharing in terms of market information, projects they’re working on or personal anecdotes that may not come across in a way that benefits them. As an example, one of my agents found himself trapped in the bathroom of an apartment he was showing and posted a photo of the door on the ground after he had broken it down to free himself. This particular young man only intended to be humorous but I asked him to take the post down as anyone who saw it may jump to the conclusion that the building was poorly maintained. Even if one’s intentions are pure, it’s always essential to consider what a viewer who doesn’t know the full story may think.
Business Not Politics
In terms of politics on social media, I find that it’s best to stay away from this topic at all costs. The one exception to this rule comes into play when there are political situations directly related to real estate, such as the recent legislation that was proposed to the New York City council regarding brokers fees and security deposits. If you get into the habit of opining about politics on social media, you start to appear as if you assume everyone agrees with you and that your personal opinions are much more important than they actually are. Although this may be seen as an antiquated opinion, I firmly believe that business and politics should be kept separate and that a customer-service business, such as real estate brokerage, should be especially apolitical.
Social media offers the opportunity for all of us to create a persona or an idealized version of ourselves. Because these platforms serve as highlight reels, we can use them to show off the best parts of both our professional and personal lives. I don’t believe that people have to post every day in order to experience success on social media, but I do encourage my brokers to post regularly and to really capitalize on what these platforms can do for their careers. As long as one is prudent as to how they use social media, it can be a phenomenal tool in building a solid residential real estate business.
Adam Frisch is managing principal of Lee & Associates Residential NYC, the first residential division of the national Lee & Associates brand.