An excerpt from Volume 1 of Be the Better Broker.
Should you have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? What about other social media outlets?
The answer is yes, a professional presence. Even your personal presence should be professional.
Of course we all have real lives, with hobbies, quirks, funny friends, unique family members. I am not suggesting a scrub of your social media pages (although that photo of you guzzling a beer while behind the wheel of a Jeep in the backcountry before seatbelts were a thing maybe ought to be deleted).
Create a detailed LinkedIn profile, refine (or create) your Facebook profile and lock your name down on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social media sites where clients will inevitably research who you are and what you are up to in your spare time.
When it comes to posting on these various sites, my mantra is:
If not, then don’t post it.
LinkedIn is business-centric and requires a good-quality profile photo taken in a professional setting. You must also take the time to build, and maintain, a complete and up-to-date profile.
LinkedIn is like a forward-facing resume to prospective employers, i.e., future clients. There are regular updates emailed with the names of the people viewing your profile, who within days often call to discuss mortgages. Each time this happens it validates the medium. LinkedIn is a tool that is increasingly being used to vet the professionals we work with. Put yourself out there, professionally.
I have a personal Facebook page that is open to the public, and if you are into pretty well anything with two wheels then you might find my posts interesting.
Facebook is, in my opinion, a snapshot of who we are once the suit and tie come off and the shorts and flip-flops go on. My profile is open, and if you are so inclined feel free to friend me.
I do make use of a Facebook business page, which is designed to update existing clients more than to attract new ones. I would be inclined to put greater effort into this tool were I not already working with such a significant client base.
Twitter I am less active on. There is @dustanwoodhouse, which is primarily directed at existing clients. Also there is @ourexpert, which offers Broker-to-Broker-focused content.
I suggest refraining from posting or commenting on divisive personal topics through any of these platforms. When you get into religion, politics or topics like children’s vaccinations, all too often 50 percent of people are on one side and 50 percent are on the other. So whichever position you favour and share on Facebook or Twitter, you’re potentially alienating half of the people, and of course once you start posting on multiple topics you will have soon managed to offend 100 percent of your connections. Marginalizing yourself on social media rapidly marginalizes you in the real world.
Keep in mind that screenshots last forever and public shaming is the new online sport. There have been several very high-profile cases of people who were in fact extremely low profile up until that offside Tweet or post they thought was being shared with just “their closest friends or followers.” Look what just happened to Kim Campbell.
Ultimately, be sensible with your online activities, and hang around with people who are sensible as well. An unflattering photograph of questionable offline activities posted on the Internet will live there forever. A thoughtless, insensitive, or rude post or comment will do the same.
DO NOT EVER TYPE IN ALL CAPS! Doesn’t it seem as though I just yelled at you? Sorry, no shouting on social media please. Also, never use profanity. In conversation you might get away with the very rare use of profanity. However, in print it will paint an indelible picture of mental inferiority 99 percent of the time.
But above all else, always remember Internet rule #1: The comments section is where intellect goes to die. Restrain yourself.