Why are Realtors some of the biggest digital renters?

Realtors own websites

Just a few weeks ago I was able to go to AgentPress Live in California with the good people from CopyBlogger media.  One topic that was discussed was ownership of online presence.

Sonia Simone at CopyBlogger has a great article about digital sharecropping.

Sonia brings out the points that when we make a great Facebook page with tons of followers, Facebook owns it.  We can use it, rent it, or whatever, but ultimately, your Facebook presence belongs to Facebook.

A Realtor who has all their content or marketing based on their social media channels, Trulia page, Zillow, or ActiveRain Blog, is renting or even “squatting” in a digital sense.

Think about MySpace.  What happened to all the people who built a great presence there?  It is pretty much useless in today’s world.

There is an even more dangerous game in real estate.

Most of the big players in real estate websites use pricing to “own” the digital content of realtors.  When you get a new real estate website for just a few bucks to setup and a nice monthly fee, you usually don’t own the site.

I have clients who ask me all the time about moving all their content from “AgentRealEstateWebsitez.com” or something similar.  The agent may or may not own the domain name, they have to have us copy past all their blog posts, photos, logos, etc. because they are “sharecroppers“.

The owners of these sites know that there is inertia involved.  It will be so difficult and complicated for you to stop renting, that you will stay with them forever.

How to own your digital space and real estate marketing

So, how do you gain “ownership” of your online presence.

Sonia mentions 3 things that I completely agree with.

  1. well-designed website with your own hosting account (be sure to use WordPress)
  2. An opt-in email list, ideally with a high-quality auto-responder
  3. A reputation for providing impeccable value

In real estate specifically, I recommend that you use one or two social media networks that you really like.  Don’t try to get too many things going.  One or two, but make all your posts link back to your website.  You own it.

Next, post original and interesting content to your readers.  Don’t just copy/paste real estate articles from Realtor.org like thousands of other people.  Google won’t give you credit for that.

Lastly, put your website info on all your business cards, and other publications online or offline.

Even NAR recommends ownership.

http://www.realtor.org/reports/social-benefits-of-homeownership-and-stable-housing

http://www.realtor.org/topics/home-ownership-matters

Leave a comment below about what you are doing to own your online business.