My mom is a real estate agent in her early 50s. She is awesome at what she does, and she is an extremely knowledgeable resource for her customers. However, she is self-conscious about the “social networking craze”, a trend among realtors, and she is always asking me, “Laryssa, should I get a Facebook or a Twitter? I want people to know who I am”.
My answer is always this: If you have to ask someone else whether you should join Facebook and/or Twitter, and you spend more than five minutes analyzing the decision, then please don’t do it.
I think part of the problem is that my mom is negatively influenced by young “social media gurus” trying to make a buck. They target realtors in her age group, selling seminars and consulting services. They make her feel like she needs to be on top of the social networking scene in order to remain relevant, and they are trying to convince her to pay them a consultation fee.
Mom, don’t listen to them. Not everyone is ready for social networking, and that’s okay. Why? Because not all customers are ready for social networking either. You may miss out on a handful of hip, young clients by forgoing Facebook, but who’s to say that Facebook will even be worth your time, especially if you don’t enjoy the time you spend there?
“But all the realtors I know use Facebook,” she says.
“Do you think they use Facebook appropriately?” I ask. “What do you want to achieve with it?”
“I want people to know what I do, and I want them to contact me if they need a realtor.”
A common misconception about Facebook is that it is an advertising channel. Yes, you can advertise on Facebook, but no, the ultimate goal of joining Facebook should not be to advertise. Facebook is a social networking platform not a billboard.
What does that mean? Well, do you remember networking? Before the Internet, career-minded people would reach out to their contacts with the hopes of strengthening professional relationships. They could achieve this with a phone call, a personal letter, or a business lunch.
Facebook is the lazy person’s mode of networking without the business casual attire. No one can force a desire to join Facebook. You either want to network online or you don’t. If you don’t like using Facebook/don’t understand it, you’re not going to use it – and other Facebook users are going to know! Personally, I think an unused Facebook account is worse than a nonexistent one.
Don’t let a “social media guru” convince you otherwise.