When real estate agents hear the words “personal brand” the first things they think of might be business cards, social media posts and email newsletters.
But according to Douglas Elliman’s McKenzie Ryan, an agent in New York, a personal brand should extend into every asset of life.
“A brand is not one dimensional, or what you decide you want to portray on social media,” she told the audience at Inman Connect New York on Tuesday. “A brand is who you show up as in real life and a brand is who you are.”
Ryan spoke on a panel about strategies for building a lasting personal brand alongside Amie Quirarte of Tahoe Luxury Properties and Jas Takhar of REC Canada.
Takhar agreed with Ryan, and argued that forming a consistent personal brand was all but essential for those working in real estate in the current market.
“You have to differentiate yourself,” he said. “If you don’t get started in 2024… you are going to be left behind.”
Takhar also argued that maintaining a social media presence is more effective than traditional lead-generation strategies like mailers and cold calls.
“No longer do people want to be bothered by cold calling because you sound like an air duct cleaner,” he said. “Why not go where people are already scrolling on their phone and showcase other aspects of your life.”
The panelists encouraged agents to show their followers aspects of their life other than just their real estate business — their hobbies, their families, their communities and discouraged posts bragging about real estate awards and accolades.
“How many No. 1 real estate agents are there in every single city?” Takhar said. “Showcase the other aspects of your life.”
Personal branding can extend beyond your social media presence as well. Quirarte told the audience of a community Halloween party she hosted in Tahoe this year with local merchants and musicians that brought 550 people to an event space in town. After spending less than $1,000 on the party, Quirarte said she ended the night with three new referrals.
That’s not to say social media should be neglected. Many savvy potential seller clients may be more swayed by your social media presence than your listing presentation.
“I personally have a love-hate relationship with social media but we have to have a presence and what does that presence communicate,” Michelle Griffith of Douglas Elliman said during a panel conversation on winning listing presentations on Tuesday. “Do you have video footage so that they can understand who you are and get a feeling? I think that as agents, now more than ever we need to really focus on: if our clients are cyber-stalking us, what does that look like?”
Your brand shouldn’t be forced though, and should be an accurate representation of who you are.
“I think that in the beginning especially when you’re getting started and you’re trying to find out what your brand is going to look like its easy to try to fit into a mold of ‘I want to be in this box so that every single person likes me,’” Quirarte said. “Fuck that — you’ve got to do what is best for you. You need to be the agent that you are.”
“It sounds so cheesy and so lame but it goes a long way,” she added.