I realized recently that we are now in the midst of a revolution and a dramatic paradigm shift in the way that marketing is conducted. This may seem like a strong term for those who don't "get it" yet, but believe me when I say that it is nothing short of phenomenal.
In early 1998, about a year after I got my real estate license, my business partner and I decided to launch our own real estate website (www.austintexashomes.com). Despite the fact that we got a lot of funny looks and reactions from other agents in our office, we felt that this was something that we could actually afford to do that might also bring real results. We were among a very small handful of agents back then who had websites.
Since there was no IDX system, we crafted one out of the listings from the MLS to the best of our abilities. It was earth-shattering stuff. I am kidding, of course, but over the years, we have managed to garner the majority of our new clients and tens of millions of dollars in real estate sales from our websites.
Does any of that pattern sound familiar to you?
If not, you may need to give the following some thought:
Today, ten years later, I have immersed myself pretty heavily in the world of online social media sites, including ActiveRain, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others in order to gain a foothold before everyone and their dog does. Why? It's simple really. I see the boom in online social networking as something that has the potential to utterly and irreversibly change the landscape of real estate marketing in the years to come.
Five years from now (and more), those who choose not to "grab the brass ring" and embrace blogging and social media marketing are likely to be left behind. Presently, I don't know the percentage of agents who are blogging actively, but my guess is that it is under 5% based on my own research. Either way, Pareto's Principle (better known to us all as "the 80/20 rule") wouldn't even apply in this case, since the numbers are clearly even further skewed at present.
I finished reading Seth Godin's book "Tribes" this week (highly recommend grabbing a copy - I am going to give mine away to someone who will act on it). One thing I grasped while reading this book is that a big hurdle for most people who want to achieve something is fear of failure. I think the stigma attached to not succeding at something keeps many folks on the sidelines. To be frank, I felt that way myself when I started blogging. I saw huge point totals and some great posts, and I was a bit intimidated. However, I slowly began to gain some momentum and readership (and confidence in my abilities), and now I have my own "tribe", to use Seth's term.
Almost daily, I get multiple emails and/or phone calls from other AR members with specific site questions, or from other agents in Austin who are thinking of starting their own blog. In fact, I have someone in another state who may soon become my first official paying student in blogging and online marketing. I didn't advertise my services - this just sort of came to me. However, it does make me think about the opportunity which presents itself now, and the likelihood of helping other people, too.
The proliferation of sites and technology in recent years is astounding, and it's likely to continue for awhile. As such, it has also created a niche for those who are in the know. Why not use the knowledge gained to help others?
If you happen across this post as a new member of ActiveRain, or if you find it via a search on Google or another search engine, and you are not currently involved in social media marketing, or if you're not quite sure what that term means, NOW is the time to learn.
As a quick illustration (on an even larger scale), I heard an escrow officer tell us a story at a closing years ago about helping Michael Dell when he purchased his very first home. He was so young that his mother was with him when he went to sign papers. While the closer was explaining things, Dell started talking excitedly about the new company that he was starting. "Would you like to invest in it?", he asked. "No, I don't think so. I don't have a lot of money right now. Thanks anyway." was her reply.
Let that story sink in for just a minute.
Aside from the fact that I would probably be too embarrassed to tell that story publicly if it had happened to me, there is a strong lesson. Really big rewards require some measure of risk! Whether you are risking time or money, it is risk nonetheless.
Before he died three years ago, my dad shared a couple of stories with me about my grandfather's reluctance to invest in land on Lake Austin back in the 1950's for $1,000/acre, and about the fact that he passed up a chance to invest in Holiday Inn BEFORE it went public. Needless to say, those were both some amazing opportunities. The land that he could have purchased for $10,000 would likely be worth in excess of $3 million today.
I don't say this to disparage my grandfather's memory in any way, since he was an amazing provider and left a sizeable estate when he passed away in 1973. Instead, I just want to point out that there are opportunities around you, too, if you are observant and willing to take a chance. The good news is that almost all of the new stuff worth doing online is FREE!
After all, you don't want to be the one to tell your kids that you didn't think blogging would work, do you?
By the way, I was inspired to write this post after commenting on this post from Chris Elizabeth Griffith's entertaining post earlier tonight - read it, too!: Not Social Networking 2.0
Thanks for reading!
Photos are both courtesy of www.stockvault.com.
My RSS feed is http://activerain.com/jasoncrouch/rss
If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com. Thanks!