Believe it or not, way back when (almost 25 years ago) I was employed as a Seaboard Coastline Railroad Yardmaster. Yes, this young pup was supervising old railroaders twice my age and telling them what to do at the Raleigh Yard. It made for an interesting life until I was laid off due to a major railroad industry cutback. That’s when I decided to jump into real estate. So I secured my NC real estate license and went to work for Merrill Lynch Realty. It’s funny how things workout in life. Having come full circle, I’m right back in the real estate industry today and yes, I still have a license. Old lessons learned during my railroading days still help me today. That’s why it’s even more important today to “stop, look and listen” especially when it comes to social media.

Do You Hear the Rumble?

Yes, that’s the thundering sound of real estate agents and brokers rushing to social media portals like Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter. Sadly, many members of are jumping headfirst in the shallow end of social communities. Many are clueless how to connect and engage in this medium often called the “virtual cocktail party “.

Need to Buy or Sell a Home!

Armed with a pocketful of digital business cards and listings, agents and brokers are engaged in hard-sale tactics in these social portals. It’s enough to make any seasoned chamber of commerce networker cringe with disgust. You know the ones. It’s almost too embarrassing to be around them. You can hear their (well rehearsed elevator speech) battle cry now… “Hi, my name is Bobby De’ Realator and I’m a local agent. Need to buy or sale a home? Here, take one of my business cards and call me when you’re in the market!” Egads!!!!

Your First Act When Approaching Social Media?

Here’s my suggestion! Pretend a speeding train is comin’ and your approaching the railroad crossing. My advice? Stop, look and listen. Yes, I said stop before entering (creating a profile). Checkout (look ) how people in the social community interact. Next, listen to the conversation in the community. By lurking, you get a feel of the community. It’s like sizing up a Business Networking International event or the chamber of commerce meeting. Yes, there are ground rules. It’s called “netiquette”. Lastly, listen to what is being said and slowly connect (create a profile) and begin to engage in the conversation. Notice I didn’t say enter and begin handing out business cards and hyping your listings. Do that and you’ll be labeled a spammer taking your rightful place along side those who offer pills and porn.

Act Like a Party Cracker and Be “Sociable”!

Remember, social media is made up of “people”, so be sociable! Once you have connected and are engaged in the community try:

  • showing value
  • be a problem solver
  • offering assistance
  • contributing to the community
  • sharing helpful information
  • laughing with people
  • being a friend when others are sad
  • being a human being, not a human doing hard selling yourself

In Social Media – Size Doesn’t Matter!

By the way, social media isn’t about how many people you can “friend or follow”. It’s about the quality of your relationships. People want to relate to other people like them so show your human side and people will remember you. Be a cheerleader for people! Show them you care and you will be rewarded with “friendships” that are deeper and more rewarding especially when they transition from the digital realm to the “in real life” (#IRL) face to face (#f2f) meetings. That’s where it can become very gratifying and rewarding.

Do You Hear the Train?

What mistakes did you make when you first made your grand entrance into social media? My suggestion? Stop, look and listen first!

Bobby CarrollDakno Real Estate Marketing
Follow Me on Twitter: @rewebcoach