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Navigating the authenticity crisis: How embracing your true self on social media can drive real estate success

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Social media is what we make of it — for better or worse. I recently shared how competition drives innovation at the best of times, but when things are tough, comparison leaves us miserable. Expanding on what’s helped me achieve authenticity with integrity, here’s some more food for thought.


Build a real brand


I’m not talking about pretending you’re on a private jet or going to Fyre Festival or driving your Bugatti, unless that’s your actual life. I’m talking about thinking about what makes YOU happy and finding those in alignment. 

Here’s an example from my experience.

Jiu-jitsu is a bit of a niche sport. Maybe not so much these days, but when I started back in 2005 it was akin to the movie Fight Club in most people’s minds. As a kid I was bullied and martial arts was something I naturally gravitated towards. Having made it a part of my life for more than a decade, it taught me discipline and resilience and I still give it credit for much of my success today. I didn’t share much about my life in that world back then because I never thought it mattered. Why would anyone buying real estate care about jiu-jitsu?

The reality was I was overlooking the fact that on the mats daily were police officers, lawyers, musicians, tradespeople and everything in between. As I shared more and more about my progression in the sport, more people would engage on those posts and my newest listing or sale — by a LARGE margin. DMs would come asking for gym recommendations — they would show up and I would make new friends. Then it clicked again when I met one of my mentors, Ryan Serhant, who said, “No one wants to be sold, but everyone loves shopping with friends.”

In one year I did close to a dozen transactions strictly from my gym family. I helped them relocate the building, all without ever pitching anyone. 

Actually, when I think about it, I ACTIVELY didn’t speak about real estate, but it always came up. Because through my content, I was sharing what I was doing day-to-day when I wasn’t in the gym. This led to giving my people the ability to decide if I was right for them. Rather than trying to sell someone who would never want to work with me anyway, this was a much more natural and sustainable approach. Not to mention the hack of getting to do something I love all while building my business.

So what is it you love? Restaurants? Sewing? Fitness? Fishing? Cars? Cats? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you don’t hide your light. The more you shine your light, the more the right people can find it.


Tell stories of your true journey — reputation is built over time but lost forever in a moment


People love stories. They love hearing about struggle and, more than that, when the underdog overcomes the struggle. New agents struggle with what to share and often make the mistake of trying to showcase they are more advanced in their careers than they actually are.

 A trend in real estate is new agents booking “previews” of luxury listings and attempting to showcase those listings as their own. They’re hoping to build a reputation of being a “luxury agent” without having the skill set to go along with handling clients of this calibre and complexity.

There’s nothing worse than getting an opportunity for a sale, only to have them know very quickly that you’re not qualified. Reputation is something built over time but lost forever in a moment. 

Instead, share your ACTUAL journey and where you’re at. People want to be part of the come-up.

Just learning contracts? Take time to be around people with experience and share that journey with your community. Formulate unique perspectives and insights. You’ll quickly find that people appreciate frank candour rather than being sold.

For example, I once shared about the residency clause in the typical APS. I learned that a BUYER could be liable for capital gains if the seller was a non-resident and fled before paying. Furthermore, if the agents didn’t do their due diligence in identifying the parties, they could be sued.

I shared this in a post on Instagram when I only had 150 followers. A builder was in the middle of a deal, saw the video and told me he saved himself from a costly mistake. He never liked the post. He never shared it. But, he did call me for coffee and a partnership which, to me, is far more valuable. 


Social media can save you from the wrong clients


I almost forgot to mention how much social media saved me from the wrong clients. The business we’ve built would not survive on a discount model. That’s not saying that a discount model doesn’t work for others or is wrong, it’s just not what we chose. 

Putting out as much content as we have, I’m positive that we’ve saved hundreds of hours of effort from working with people who don’t see the value in what we do. 

There are nearly eight billion people on the planet. If only one billion want to sell their houses with me, I’m okay with that. Every “no” gets me closer to that one billion. 


Now what?


You’ve now peeked behind the curtain. You realize that the “fake” side of social media will always be there. At the same time, you realize the “social” side of social media is underutilized. 

It doesn’t mean you need to dance on TikTok. It doesn’t mean you need to book a trip and hire a lifestyle photographer — unless, of course, that’s who you really are. Instead, it means that it’s okay to be yourself.

Share your interests. Share your passions. Find the place where the things you love intersect with what people will pay you for. Share it consistently for long enough, and I’m sure a builder will be calling you before long for that coffee that you always wanted. Attract the right people. Repel the wrong ones. 


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