Don't Blame Social Media for Relationship Problems

Technology isn't making it more difficult to establish stronger bonds with your clients. How you're using technology is the real issue.

Real estate can be a lonely business. I speak to practitioners every day who spend their time running from fire to fire, client to client, talking to dozens of people per day — and they still feel as if they are completely alone in their efforts. Gone are the days when real estate professionals spent their life at a desk in an office. The community we once had is being replaced by technology, digital transactions, and telecommuting.

It would be easy to blame the technology, the portals, or the culture of your office. We could complain that the smartphone is replacing belly-to-belly contact or that Facebook is ruining the relationship process. We may long for the times when we sat around the coffee pot and leafed through the new-listing sheets.

Folks, those days are never coming back. If you are longing for the “good ol’ days” in real estate to return, you may as well cash your chips in now.

Ironically, the key to surviving (and thriving) in the face of all this technology is still people. The need to surround yourself with great people has never been greater in this business. It has also never been easier, given the abundance of social media. And what an amazing opportunity social media is! You have the ability to connect with smart, wise, inspiring people around the globe in ways you never had before. You can gather them into a tribe of warriors that will help you take your business to places you never dreamed.

Social media isn’t keeping you from building meaningful relationships. How you spend your time on social — and more specifically, who you hang out with — could be the bigger problem.

Too often, we engage online in conversations and with communities of people who would rather whine than empower. Friends, it is no one’s fault but your own if you choose to do that. I’m sick to death of coaches, trainers, and managers telling practitioners that social media is a waste of time. Anything is a waste of time if you allow it to be.

Follow these best practices to start finding the good in social networks instead of getting mired down in the drama:

  1. Don’t be afraid to clean house. Unfriend, block, or unfollow those who don’t add value or clog your feed with negative energy. You do not have to accept every friend request. (In fact, blindly accepting every request is a horrible idea.)
  2. Avoid groups where pros just complain about each other. You know which ones I am talking about. Sure, venting can feel therapeutic, and everyone needs to vent once in a while. But keep in mind that everything you say online is public, and you have no control over who shares it or takes a screenshot.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who you admire. One of the very best advantages of social networking is that you have the opportunity to converse with anyone, anywhere. Seek out those who are positive and trying new things.

Your outlook will change completely if you spend time curating a tribe of people who will encourage you.  The same way you are prospecting for new business, you need to be prospecting for a tribe. Seek out those who add value to this industry, and engage them in conversation. How often are you adding to your personal tribe? Are you networking for allies and mentors, rather than just someone to refer to? Social media is not your problem, but it can be your solution. It all depends on how you look at it.