Alaina Tweddale wrote a terrific piece in Forbes about the importance of managing one’s online footprint (3 Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation). Obviously, I’m biased, since I’m featured in the piece – but unlike so many of these sorts of articles Alaina really got at the important nuggets. For real estate brokers and agents – or anyone else that works in professional services – the message in this article is important.
Real estate brokerage is highly competitive due to low barriers to entry and a surplus of practitioners, but it is not commoditized, nor is it about to be, despite a litany of real estate tech companies’ prognostications. Selling a service like real estate takes specific skills that are developed over time and training. Due to the competitive nature of real estate brokerage, and the herculean efforts required for selling a service to today’s savvy and jaded consumers, real estate brokerage is a tough way to make an easy living. However, by managing one’s online footprint, selling real estate services can be made easier for brokers.
The first place all potential clients check when choosing a broker is the internet. Consumers are looking to evaluate the legitimacy and the fit with the potential broker. So to real estate brokers, managing one’s online reputation and profile is paramount to success. Sure there are the anecdotal cases of some long time industry vet who doesn’t even have email but still produces at a high rate – but those are the exceptions, not the rules – for the vast number of brokers, even prospective clients referred to them by mutual friends will validate the broker’s bona fides through an internet search.
There are marketing and public relations services that can help with online reputation. There are SEO services that can aid in crafting branded pages as well. But the most important step is deciding to take this form of marketing seriously. For some it may feel self-serving or boastful, but as I learned from my years in Texas, “if you don’t toot your own horn, someone else will turn it over and make it a spittoon.”