There’s a lot of discussion these days about managing your reputation online. Much of this discussion has to do with monitoring your public persona: dealing with bad reviews on Yelp, responding to negative blog and social media comments, etc.
But there are other, less obvious pitfalls when it comes to how you present yourself, whether on social media, via email, or in person. Here are six ways you may be hurting your reputation.
You’re not funny (at least not to everyone).
Humor can be a great tool for marketing yourself and your expertise, but it also has its risks. What reads funny to you may prove strange to someone who’s unfamiliar with your tastes, or someone you never intended to hear it.
It’s okay to friend and follow your clients on social media. In fact, it’s a great way to stay in touch and find new leads. But it’s also easy to lose track of who can see what you’re sharing—or, in the case of tagging, what’s being shared about you. You could sort your Facebook friends into lists and keep certain things private, but someone will always slip through the cracks. If you’d rather some of your friends or followers didn’t see something, you’re probably better off not posting it at all.
You’re a cold fish.
While it’s possible to be too familiar, it’s also possible to be too formal, particularly when it comes to written communications. An email that sounds focused and professional to you may sound stiff and robotic to a client, making him feel like little more than a transaction.
Buying or selling a home is an emotional process, and your clients will want an agent who’s not just skilled, but supportive. So whether or not you’re a believer in emoticons, exclamation points, and the like, try to inject some personality and warmth into the conversation.
You’re too quick on the trigger.
Social networks are making it easier and easier to post content with a single click. While that’s certainly convenient, it also means you only have one chance to get your comment or status right. Once you’ve hit that button, you can only delete, not edit–and removing your content can have just as negative an impact. A couple typos might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re making them all the time, you risk coming off as sloppy or careless. “I’m no good at grammar” isn’t a valid excuse, either. If you’re educated enough to be a real estate agent, you’re educated enough to write a halfway decent sentence.
Before you post, take a moment to read what you’ve written. Does it make sense? How does it make me look or sound? Form good habits here, and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief in the long term.
You’re too cautious.
After the recent election, many of us know more about our Facebook friends’ political proclivities than we ever wanted to. Over-sharing is especially dangerous for real estate agents, who often use their personal Facebook accounts for business. Some might use this to justify avoiding social media entirely. After all, if you don’t say anything, you won’t risk offending anyone, right?
Perhaps. But you’ll also be sacrificing opportunities to connect with prospective clients. Politics and religion are almost always too dicey, but don’t be afraid to voice an informed opinion on other issues, or to correct something you know is wrong. Just make sure to do so calmly and respectfully.
You’re not selective enough.
Whether you’re blessed with tons of clients or struggling to drum up enough business, you should always remember your limitations. Just because a qualified lead comes along doesn’t mean you have to jump on it. By taking on too many clients, you risk stretching your resources too thin. Sure, you’ll get that extra commission now, but it could cost you a handful of commissions down the line when your former client complains that you didn’t give her the attention she deserved.
You’re multitasking in plain sight.
It seems obvious that you should give clients your undivided attention. Still, we’ve become so accustomed to multitasking that we sometimes break this rule without even realizing it. This is especially true of social media and its digital paper trail.
The flip side of connecting with your customers and prospects on every channel is that they can see what you’re doing at all times. So if you’re running late to a showing, or on a call with a client, you might want to think twice before liking that photo or retweeting that celebrity–you never know who may be checking up on you.
What other less-than-obvious reputation mistakes do you see real estate agents making? Tell us about it in the comments!