The other day I was having lunch with a friend who works in marketing and we were discussing the importance of both personal and business web presence.
Long gone are the days in the past when society in general relied upon newspapers, billboards, television ads, and the phone book as their primary sources of information on a particular business or professional. Not only are we much more technologically advanced, but think how our lifestyle has shifted dramatically. Years ago a person went to school, graduated, got a job, bought a home, and then probably stayed put for the rest of his or her life.
In contrast numerous studies have been conducted that show how Gen X and Millenials change jobs and move more frequently than our parents ever did. Some data even suggests that my contemporary millenials switch jobs every 2 years!
The old adage that, “the only constant is change”, has certainly become a modern truism.
Think about your own personal research habits. For most of us the web is almost always where we begin to research a person, group, or organization. We try to learn what we can about them, perhaps without them even knowing. A popular term used today is “creepin”… although I prefer to think of it as doing your research. Regardless of what you call it, this anonymous information gathering process means trying to find out if someone is:
and perhaps most importantly…
– Who you have in common
The bottom line is that everyone searches the internet.
So the questions we have to ask ourselves are…
– Have I claimed my online presence?
– How difficult is it to find me online?
– Do I appear under relevant search terms?
– Am I socially networked properly?
– Have I found ways to create value through online mediums?
Applying all of this to myself; as a professional Realtor it is my job to ensure that I am easily found, and that my clients listings are as visible as possible. Most real estate searches begin online, and the popular real estate index machines like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com can be great first step tools for both buyers and sellers.
While these sites can help educate consumers, these statistical indexes are just computers in a far-away place that dispense public records. So when it comes to perhaps the largest investment in a person’s life, they want to not only be educated but they also need to be adequately represented, properly advised, and sufficiently protected from the numerous pitfalls inherent to real estate.
So to whom are they going to entrust their present and future life to?
Is it some smile or name on a billboard?
A witty catch phrase or jingle?
Most likely it’s going to be a person they have been “creepin” online. They may have gotten the name as a referral or off a listing sign, but no matter where they found the name it’s going to be someone who fits their criteria and passes whatever benchmarks they have set.