Facebook is Killing Estate Agency – and Far Worse.

Facebook is Killing Estate Agency – and Far Worse.

Facebook is killing estate agency  –  and Far Worse..

“Ripping apart the fabric of society” according to a former top boss.

Chamath Palihapitiya,  former technology chief at Facebook said the site was “eroding human interactions, as well as leaving its users feeling vacant and empty”.

In the Daily Mail article, Palihapitiya went on to say that “the short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created  are destroying how society works;  no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation. mistruth. This is not an American problem. This is a global problem.  It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by – and between – each other.”

Criticism of Facebook is nothing new.

A platform for paedophiles and terrorists.  A platform for spreading ‘fake news’.  Just some of the damning allegations.

Estate agents might see it differently.

A platform to connect with potential vendors.  A platform to grow their brand.  Networking with B2B opportunities.  A Free platform, more importantly.

Great for a performance driven sales culture.  Anyone with a warm pulse that ‘likes’ the page goes into the sales funnel.

But at what cost?

This fake, brittle popularity is so short-term.

“Like our Facebook page” pleads one agency.  And people do without further thought.

The problem is that agents conflate that signal with value.

1,000 likes, 10,000 likes, 100,000 likes.  That’s a very popular Fb page and it would excite most estate agents.

The ‘bottom line’, however, is that estate agents aren’t selling to a mass market and drilling down on the numbers to those that actually matter provides a different perspective.

As Gary Vaynerchuck says:

“It’s about how many people actually care. Not how many people you have.”

How many of those ‘friends’ has the agency met?  How many of them are ‘loyal’ to your brand  i.e unpersuaded by any other agency offering?

We trust people based on hints they give us in their vocal tones, in the stands they take on irrelevant points of view.  The opportunity to look a friend ‘in the eye’ and to gauge their veracity.  The way they articulate, enunciate and inflect their words.  There is so much more to a face-to-face meeting than can ever be imagined in one banal post on Facebook.

The counter argument might be that “‘everybody is on Facebook – we have to have a presence.”

There’s a saying that “if you hang around a betting shop often enough, sooner or later you’re going to place a bet.”

Studies have warned of links between Facebook and anxiety and depression, as members constantly measure their lives against the edited highlights of other people’s.

Harmless images posted of an estate agency’s latest instruction (security alert), or more personal photos of their holiday/car/party/charity/lifestyle may seem innocuous.

The social approval may seem real. The time spent on this trivial occupation may seem worthwhile.  Even gratifying.

But, as with the habit of gambling and other social excess, it can easily become addictive.

“you don’t realise it but you are being programmed.  It was unintentional (by Facebook), but now you’ve got to decide how much of your intellectual independence are you willing to give up”.  said Palihapitiya.

Why might Facebook be addictive?

It requires the minimal effort.

It becomes a forum for our egos.

Can make us feel understood.

Feeds the essential need for human connections.

There is often a worry that not being on Facebook can lead to social exclusion.

It’s not as though much of the content brings any form of enlightenment.

It becomes simply a mirror of real life.  With all the bad things that exist, broadcast to an ever wider audience.

This digital world eliminates the barriers of space, supposedly enhancing our ability to make a connection.

It doesn’t.

Facebook is worth more than Coca Cola, Ford and Walmart combined.   ‘Old guard’ companies, including estate agencies, are stuck trying to sell their stuff to us and have to pay heavily to do so.

Facebook, on the other hand, sells us. 

The data.  Your data.

 

If I might pose a question.

Will you still use Facebook and other social media if it is no longer free?

Or, if the rates for those highly targeted ads increase dramatically?

There are those on social media whom thrive on the very existence of Facebook.  They earn a pretty penny, directly or indirectly, from persuading agencies that Facebook is vital in the marketing mix.  I can think of few worse occupations than encouraging small businesses and vulnerable consumers to engage in this folly.

And whilst I would agree that it can be a profitable platform for some, there are many ways to better reach customers.  Ways that lead to a real rather than imagined friendship.

“Don’t build you house on other people’s land.” is an oft quoted saying.  Meaning that paying heavily to promote your brand puts you at the mercy of the media owner.

Rates increase, page hits decrease.  You lose control.

The solution?

Own the media.  Build your own media platform.

Control the message and the media.  Be a publishing company first.

Podcasts, newsletters, book, blogs, YouTube –  the front end driving business to your (back-end) estate agency.

Hard work, but worth it.  And very, very cost-effective.

Or, the easy option.  More of Facebook.

I realise that I am most probably a lone voice in this Facebook frenzied world.

Just over a year ago, I deleted my Facebook account.

For no other reason than I strongly objected to their tardiness in deleting images of Isis terrorist acts.  And to the insecurity of the needy souls that are too lazy to live a life in the real world.

It hasn’t been missed.

Happy, of course,  to hear alternate views and reasoned comment from all those social media guru’s promoting the fabulous world of Facebook.

Don’t tell me how financially successful it has been.  Tell me how morally right you imagine it to be.

Thanks for reading, as always.

 

Chris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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