About Gary Lundholm

In 2003 Lundholm and business partners Joseph Auzenne and Steven Edwards co-founded The Real Estate Group, which in 4 short years became the #1 full-service real estate office in Hampton Roads. Today, The Real Estate Group enjoys multiple locations strategically positioned to serve all of Hampton Roads.

The Social Web

We live in a remarkable age. Images and information can circle the globe with lightning speed.

World events are now being shaped by social media. In 2008 and 2012 we watched as our presidential election process took on a new dimension, allowing candidates to communicate with their supporters in ways never before imagined. The winners and losers of debates were determined largely by reaction on Twitter and Facebook, long before the conventional media “spin” was broadcast. Not only is the reaction to natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy felt online immediately these days, but political developments such as the Arab Spring are fueled and promoted via social networks as more and more people become informed more rapidly than ever.

All of these examples indicate that social media is a powerful marketing force and a huge opportunity when used wisely… and can cause hurt and destruction when misused. The secret is to use the power to connect with others but use it with discretion.

For example, in recent days we have watched as a Massachusetts woman ignited a firestorm by posing for a highly disrespectful photo during her visit to Arlington National Cemetery and then posting it on Facebook. Within no time, the news of the post went viral and prompted a “Fire Lindsey Stone” Facebook page, and it appears that Stone possibly lost her job over this incident. On the other hand, after Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, one local company, Hampton Roads Moving and Storage, decided they wanted to be directly involved in relief efforts. They mobilized their fans on Facebook, asking for supplies. Their drive benefited from the positive side of viral social media, and the company ended up delivering multiple truckloads of relief supplies only a few days after the storm hit.

The real lesson here is that social media is powerful. As real estate professionals, the line between our business and personal life can be very hard to define. This makes it all the more important to understand social media and use it wisely. Many of our best referral sources are old friends and clients who become new friends during a transaction. As we welcome our friends into our online world, it’s easy to forget that they are also the source of much of our business. For better or worse, their opinion of us is being shaped by what we post. A well-conceived post, whether a photo or a quick Tweet, can do a lot to connect us with our sphere of influence and give them a sense of who we really are. The same can have devastating consequences if we approach social media as a place to let it all hang out. Authenticity balanced with discretion seems to be the road to business success on the social web.

A few years ago I attended a conference where the big debate was whether social media was big waste of time or if the real estate industry could learn to harness the medium to create a real ROI. From my perspective that debate is over; social media is here to stay, and agents that have developed a strategic plan are applying new technologies with considerable results.

Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, sees social media as the fourth revolution. The first came in the 1970’s with mainframe computing, the second was introduced in the 1980’s with the PC, and the third arrived in the 1990’s with the birth of the Internet. Clara Shih contends that the fourth revolution is well on its way and is known as the SOCIAL WEB.

For far too long, much of real estate industry failed to recognize the power of the Internet revolution, creating a vacuum for third-party players to lead the way. Done right, the social web allows agents to connect with their sphere in a space where these players just can’t follow. Early adopters of best practices are seeing, and will continue to see, the greatest benefit. Those who are willing to connect on social media and carefully consider what they post are giving themselves great access to a truly human potential.

The social web is allowing individuals and savvy businesses to connect with more people and to manage those relationships in a more productive way. Dismissing social media as just another time waster is short-sighted and disregards the marketing power that we know is there. Granted, we’re still learning to navigate this arena and find the available opportunities—and as we do, we’re making some mistakes along the way, but isn’t that the way it is with any revolution?

Your feedback is always welcome. How has the social web impacted your business?

About Gary Lundholm

In 2003 Lundholm and business partners Joseph Auzenne and Steven Edwards co-founded The Real Estate Group, which in 4 short years became the #1 full-service real estate office in Hampton Roads. Today, The Real Estate Group enjoys multiple locations strategically positioned to serve all of Hampton Roads.