This week I am the one being interviewed, and by no other than real estate visionary and CEO of the leading real estate network BerkshireHathaway Home Services, Chris Stuart. I have had a chance to work together with Chris and his company, and I have found that the real estate industry is especially ripe for innovation regarding their marketing communication. Keep your eye on BerkshireHathaway Home Services as they represent what the future holds for the industry!
Even if you are not involved in real estate, I highly recommend you listen to this episode as it gives you my best practices in using social media as part of your personal or business brand whether you are in sales, marketing, a business owner or an entrepreneur. I believe that real estate agents and brokers make up the largest number of salespeople in the United States, and considering that each one also is their own business owner, they need to be savvy at both sales and marketing. They also cannot meet their customers physically, so there is also a need for them, like yourself, to better digitally engage with their current customer base and prospective clients.
I'm confident by the end of the episode you will have found a few new ways to Maximize Your Social Influence regardless of industry.
[05:57] Internet and Social Media's Roles on the Opportunity of Being Influential
[11:26] Bedrock Elements of Social Media and Influence
[15:35] The Concept of Marketing of Targeting Personas
[17:43] Content As The Currency of Social and Digital Media
[18:23] What is the Best Format of Content for Starters?
[22:50] Funnel of Relationships
[25:26] Best Practices on Collaboration
[29:33] Being Known Vs Being Influential
[32:02] The Line Between Yielding Influence and Manipulating
[34:45] Companies That Have Done a Great Job if Influencing or Being Influential
[39:34] Social Media Is Made for People
[41:45] The Journey of Establishing Trust and Influence
[44:19] Critical Areas of Focus on Establishing Influence Offline
[47:12] My Final Advice
- So if you want to yield more influence on a certain topic, you need to talk about that topic. I think also knowing the end game, what are you trying to achieve with your influence.
- The whole idea is that every single unique engagement is a unique opportunity to deepen that relationship and drive people even further down.
- You need to have a digital gateway for your company and that is through the website.
- I think being known is sort of the first step in becoming because of influence. Yes, they know you but there's also a sense of trust. They also sense some credibility.
- It's not just having content that's focused, but really align with that target audience so that it helps you better reach your goals.
Reference Links for Chris Stuart:
- BerkshireHathaway Home Services: https://www.bhhs.com/
Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:
- Contact Me about My Fractional CMO Consulting Services: https://nealschaffer.com/contact/
- Learn more about this podcast: https://nealschaffer.com/maximize-your-social-influence-podcast/
- The Age of Influence Free Preview: https://nealschaffer.com/age-of-influence-preview
as a marketer, a salesperson, a business owner and entrepreneur, how can you cut through the noise and truly build, like, know and trust with your social media presence? That is going to be the theme for my advice today on this episode of The maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, welcome to episode number 195 of the maximize your social influence podcast. How the heck you doing today? It was a crazy last week here in the United States, I was almost thinking of having a more a very, very different theme podcast for the week in all honesty, about how having influence also means you have a certain responsibility. And perhaps I'll record that podcast episode at a later date. If you really want to hear my thoughts on that now, feel free to reach out maybe that'll help me accelerate the recording of that episode. But we're going to stick true to the brand of maximize your social influence. We're going to steer away from the politics and religion and other things that tend to divide communities and social media users and stick with the tried and tested techniques and best practices. So if this is your first time here, it's a new year, maybe this is the first time listening to this new podcast, I want to welcome you for all of my loyal listeners, I want to thank you for your loyalty and for really helping this podcast break through a lot of podcast chart rankings. I'm looking this week, we're back in the United States, but also Great Britain, Australia, France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Nigeria, Moldova, hopefully, if you are in one of those countries, and you are still listening, and I want to thank you. I also don't want to forget my friends in Ireland. I don't know why. But I seem to have a lot of Spotify listeners there. So thank you as well. And this podcast, as you know, well, if you're new, you don't know, it's a mix of half interviews with other people that I curate, that I think we can learn a lot from in terms of better leveraging digital and social media to help build our influence and in doing so build our businesses. But I also do these solo episodes, and I tend to do one solo that one interview the one solo than one interview. So this is going to be unique interview, because this is an interview where I was being interviewed. And I thought it was just a great session to give you my up to date information on just what did you do in social media? We talked a lot about it, but I don't think I've ever directly said okay, this is my recommendations for what you should do. And this episode is really unique. The gentleman who interviewed me is none other than Chris Stewart, who is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway homeservices if you're in the real estate industry, uh, you know, Berkshire Hathaway homeservices is really one of the leading, if not the leading firm that is out there that is really trying to disrupt and really create, you know, a trustworthy relationship between a real estate company, real estate agent and the buyer and or seller. So, I've been doing work with Berkshire Hathaway homeservices, it was really an honor to be interviewed on Chris's podcast, which is called Good to know. And we'll put a link to that if you're in the real estate industry, I highly recommend that you subscribe to Chris's podcasts. But this podcast is really interesting, because even if you're not in real estate, I don't want you to just skip right away. Okay, hear me out here. If you are not in the real estate industry, what's really interesting about real estate, and about the agent, is that in the real estate industry, you basically have agents or you have the brokers that manage them, but it is probably the largest collection of salespeople that you have, in any given country. Think about it. Who does sales? Well, you know, every agent is a salesperson, every broker is a salesperson. So there are probably literally hundreds of 1000s, if not a few million real estate salespeople out there, which is probably more I believe, than any other profession for an industry. And what's really interesting is that each one of these salespeople, in essence, they are their own company, right? their income is 100% commission based for a lot of them. And therefore not only do they have to be good at sales, they have to be good at marketing. Right? And that's why, you know, I'm really fascinated by the industry. I think that there's huge room for disruption and for innovation and for progress, and really getting a lot of agents up to speed on what they should be doing. So that's really the core of the interview. But I think as you listen to the interview, you're going to get a few really, really good pointers. Regardless of whether you're in sales or marketing in the real estate industry or outside of the real estate industry, that's really going to hone in on a few different themes that is going to help you maximize your social influence. So without further ado, I know it's gonna be really weird hearing me being interviewed. But I really hope you enjoyed this podcast as much as I had recording it. Here is my interview with Chris Stewart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway homeservices.Chris Stuart:
So we'll just jump right in, first of all, thanks for your time, and being a part of this book with us. I'm really excited about it. Neil, in your opinion, what impact has the internet and specifically social media had on the role or opportunity for individuals to be influential?Neal Schaffer:
Well, the internet and social media has democratized the flow of information, the publication of information and the influence of information. And what I mean by this is, if you were an agent or broker 2030 years ago, to get the word out about your business, the, the the channels were so few and far between, and they were constantly now, anyone for free, can set up a social media profile and become a publisher, and contribute to the internet and potentially have their information be seen. And their advice be followed. So it's made it much, much easier for individuals and for businesses to become influential because more and more people, instead of the time, we used to spend reading the newspaper and watching the news on TV, we're now in social media, we're doing searches on the internet. And therefore we all have an equal opportunity to influence people. And I love to share. And I have a new new case study to share, I love to share the story of on Twitter, and tweeting out that I had friends that were evacuated from Fukushima, back in the day that tsunami hit Japan a few years ago. And the next morning, I had a direct message from a BBC reporter who wanted to interview that family. In fact, more recently, and we were just talking, we had these brush fires at the latest brush fire in Orange County was called the bonfire. And there was a reporter on Twitter, I was following the hashtag. And a reporter on Twitter was saying I'd love to interview people that are their experience in the fire. So I tweeted out I sent a photo of of the smoke and shared my experience over Twitter. And then a few hours later, I got an message from a reporter from the Associated Press. And this just happened last week. And this is just example, this is this is not influenced. This is not an area that I want to be influential in. But imagine if I was tweeting, and blogging, and posting information about something that I was an expert in, or something that I did for my business, you can imagine how when someone is looking for an answer, they find me they follow Me. And at some point, they they follow my advice, they reach out to me for advice, they become a customer and that's how being active in social media and on the internet with with content publication over blog, podcasts, YouTube video. That's how you get found, and you become more influential over time for whatever you talk about. And that's the key thing. If I was to talk politics all day, I'm gonna become an influencer in politics. If I'm talking, you know about my community all day, I'll be seen as an expert influence in that community, and therefore over time, people will tend to listen to me and come to me for advice.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah, that's great. I love that. And you mentioned they're sort of a buzzword hot topic, potentially hot potato topic, which is that of politics. And someone once said that any publicity is good publicity. And I think about some of our agents not necessarily just in our network, but in the industry ranting about politics and taking a position one way or the other. And that generates sometimes some pretty bad publicity for them. As to the statement, any publicity is good publicity. You agree with that statement? Or has the role of technology and the visibility of social media, maybe change that at all?Neal Schaffer:
I think that the role I you hit on a good point, I think that because of the way that social media works, it amplifies the good and the bad. So amplifying the good is great, but when the bad is amplified, it can have extremely negative consequences for people. I even we all feel pulled into talk about politics, I think more than ever. Recent events have made more and more people want to make a stand. And I believe for younger generations especially. So I think everybody just has to remember that that information is public. And people that you may not imagine will may have the opportunity to see that information for good or bad. So Good of doing that as you attract similar minded people that comes out of the social dilemma movie. And maybe you have even more passionate fans that that believe in the same things you believe in. But on the other hand, but you're sort of turning away half the country when you do that. So it's it's really tricky. It generally I would say, just stay away. But I know the recent events, it's going to be harder and harder for people. I think, obviously, your deepest opinions, you should always keep offline, you just never know when they can be used out of context. We see comments being made by politicians being taken out of context. And we don't want that to happen to two agents. So in Facebook, there are ways of sharing things to a few people, you create a friends list, and you only share it to them. That would be if you feel the need to get it off your chest. That on Facebook, for instance, that would be the approach that I would take.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah. Good advice. Good advice. And so just playing on that relative to advice and things that are important about social media and influence? What are some of the two or three, you know, most important things that you think about in your work coaching other companies and you know, our industry or other industries, but just working with your clients? What are those two, or three sort of bedrock elements of social media and influence that you anchor your thinking about the topics?Neal Schaffer:
I'd say the most important thing is what I hinted at at the beginning, which is you are what you tweet. So if you want to yield more influence in a certain topic, you need to talk about that topic. So this gets down to sort of the role of content in in the social media experience for anyone that wants to become more influential. I think also knowing the end game, what are you trying to achieve with your influence. So as an agent, you're trying to achieve business, in your hometown, or wherever it is understanding the target market and the target audience, that sort of marketing 101. But being able to sort of shape that content, so that it is attractive to that target audience is something I think a lot of people who want to become more influential forget about. If you want to focus on particular communities, particular lifestyles, you should be talking about that. If you're always talking about saving money, a target, what have you, you're going to attract a certain demographic, versus you were talking about the top 10 ski resorts in Vail, for instance. So it's not just having content that's focused, but really align with that target audience so that it helps you better reach your goals. And I'd say the third part, the first two around content, third is really about branding about who you are that profile photo, that description of you, and making sure it's aligned with with what you do for a living, and what you want to become influential on. Because people forget, I think anybody that looks at a LinkedIn profile, or an Instagram profile, we have analytics for these platforms and Twitter. And we can see how many people come to our, our profile, and how many people take action. And there's a lot of people that come to people's profiles that are not following them that are not engaging. They're the lurkers that the 70 to 90% of users. So you want to make sure for these users, that your branding is set up in a way that it puts you it paints you in the best picture forward. So if I was to add a fourth tip, and the first two were sort of similar, I'd say collaboration, you find a lot of influencers in various industries will collaborate with each other. And I think this is a really powerful tactic that a lot of people want to yield more. Don't think a lot about, there's a lot of credibility and social proof for your influence, when you're able to show yourself engaging and collaborating with other influencers, in your community or in your market or what have you. So a lot of different ways to collaborate, it can be done through content through a Facebook Live, but collaborating, and really what's cross pollinating for an agricultural term each other's audiences, is a really, really powerful way of, of growing your influence, really standing on the shoulders of other influencers. And this is something I really challenge agents when we talk about sphere of influence. I think about all those people, when I talk to brands, I talk about their customers. Well, when we talk to agents, we talk about their customers as well. But there's also ecosystem partners they have and really finding those key influencers and finding ways to collaborate with them to really raise the bar for everyone involved is something I'd like to see more agents practically do.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, I love that. And so just to explore that topic a little bit further is, I feel like in a lot of ways traditionally, marketers have attempted to segment their audiences on the basis of demographics geographies, Whatever attributes are distinguishable. And I'm just curious as to your opinion, is that the right approach? Or should should we be aware of those attributes within the audiences and appeal to them differently? Or it kind of sounds to me like from some of your previous responses here today that you're more saying, Let's just be your genuine self. And in the process of that, you're going to attract people across a number of different attribute groups, including those that are connected to some of your key partners in your ecosystem.Neal Schaffer:
Yes, so we have this concept of marketing of targeted personas. And even in social media marketing, people talk about avatars, what is the perfect avatar, the challenge is that there is no one perfect avatar, there's, you cannot say your customers are only going to be 28 years old or 48 years old, it's obviously going to be a range of people. And it's going to be dependent on so many factors. I think, understanding in general, that target demographic is very, very important. But once you get out there online, in social media, it's not like the old days, where the information flow is very limited, you're going to attract a broad range of people. And some of these people are going to engage with you more than others. For some, your message is going to resonate with them more than others. And some of them are 10 are going to tend to become your customers more than others. So I think a more modern approach is really as you build this, this community of influence is the art of surveying them of getting to know more about them, why are they interested in you? What what are their, you know, real estate needs, what have you. And you find a lot of marketers these days, talk more about trying to align your message, not with a fictional target persona, but with the actual audience that is engaging with you that respond to you, that will complete a survey, so that you better understand how to talk the way they talk, how to position your content with the way they consume content. And I think that's just a general best practice. You need to start somewhere with sort of these these attributes, what have you. But I just find a lot of marketers spend way too much time going, getting lost in the weeds, where I want to see them out there starting to engage seeing who comes along for the ride, and getting to know those people better. Why did they come along for the ride? What are their needs? How can you best serve them? And obviously making customers out of them?Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah, I love that. And so you based on some of your earlier comments, I think it's fair to say that, in the absence of content influences completely unobtainable. So content precedes influence. Is that a fair description?Neal Schaffer:
Yeah, I mean, offline influence is a whole other story. There are influential CEOs that don't even show up on social media, but they still have incredible influence in the business world. So that's another story. But speaking about online influence, I mean, the whole idea about social media, if we define it as you have a user profile, and you have user generated content published on your user profile, so yes, it does come down content is the way people they get to, like, know and trust you, right? They they find you, they see your content, get to know you. And over time with consistency, they get to trust you. So yeah, content is the currency of social and digital media, really.Chris Stuart:
And when you think about the, the format of content, what is sort of your priority and working with your customers that you the sequence of the format of the content that you'd like to see them go and tackle, if they're just starting from a blank canvas and looking to really increase their their activity in this in this area? Is it video first? Is it blogging? What is your playbook?Neal Schaffer:
Yeah, so this is, so I'm actually this is my next book, Chris, which I'm still in the process of conceptualizing. But that's, that's the playbook I want to create for my next book. And I with the pandemic, we've always been digital first, as consumers, it's taken time for businesses to play catch up. Those that were more digital, or their digital transformation of sales and marketing was was more accelerated, obviously, I think did better after the pandemic than those that are still trying to play catch up for a decade of being behind. So when we think digital first when I think digital first, what are people doing online digitally? Well, they're either searching for information, they're in social media, or they're in their inboxes slash reading tax. So if you think about it, that way, it comes down to search social email. And I think the most important one of all this is you need to have a gateway you need to have a digital gateway for your company. And the best digital gateway obviously is a website. Well, if you have a website, you want it to become discovered. And the best way to make that discovered is through content published on your website that leads adds to it being indexed in search engines, which leads to traffic. So I believe the beginning is the website is content in the form of blog content, because that is the life time of a social media post is very short. But you'll see blog content continue to get traffic year after year after year. In fact, if you were to do a search for something on Google, often, the results come from content that's a year old, two years old, sometimes even five or 10 years old, actually. So with that in mind, and just the number of the volume of searches being done, obviously, is huge. So I double down on content, I begin with the website. Now, above and beyond the website, that's where you get into you have podcasts, which are audio, you have video for YouTube. And then you have the social media. So after your website, if you want to tap into the podcast or the YouTube, I consider those only after you're pretty confident you have a good game plan. And you're already implemented in finding really good success with your web content. Because I think that's where you need to start. On the other hand, going into 2021. It's very, very hard. Because there's so many companies trying to rank for keywords, it requires a lot of money requires money for content requires money for SEO, and you're competing against big companies, if you are a big company, great. But if you're an agent, and you're an individual blogger, I almost say let your corporate, let them rank for those keywords. If you want to rank for community keywords, local keywords, that's another store. I think that's the role where the local brokers and agents can can can do it. But if you want to rank for keywords on on Google, it's it's very, very competitive, you need to, you need to have that content there anyway. But this is where we begin to look at YouTube. And we begin to look at podcasts because there just aren't as many publishers on YouTube or on podcasts, and very, very few companies, it's mainly people, meaning the playing field is a lot more level. And it's easier for you to cut through the noise and be heard and be discovered, I believe, even today, even with YouTube today, or a podcast than with a blog. So that's, that's really the search part, right? And then well, after we do the search part, I often will move on to email. And the reason is you want to move people when they come to your website, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to contact you? Well, some people might contact you, most people leave? How do we get a little how do we develop a relationship with them. And their relationship is done through email through providing them something of value, which we call a lead magnet, it could be a 10% off coupon, it could be a free ebook, like like you've already created. And this is something that we hope to acquire an email address so that we can keep the conversation going, we can continue to have a weekly communication with them. So you begin to have this funnel. And the way I'm showing my new book is really about this this funnel of relationships. So you start out with nothing, you have a digital gateway, you want to be discovered by search engines, once people come to your website, you want to bring them further down in your funnel, and emails the next logical step unless they contact you, right? So once you get that in place, if you don't have that in place, and you go immediately to social media, they're probably going to click on a link to go back to your website, and what are they going to find? Are they going to find the content they're looking for? Are they going to find something that's going to opt them in to your email list to continue that communication, which is why for me, that's the the last is social. And the social, I think this, this funnel of relationships is really, really easy to see. Because when you start a profile, and nobody follows you, you're you're you're a single entity, in a few billion social media users, you're you're attracting in general public, it's when you start to get followers, that you begin to bring people into your sphere of influence digitally, right and, and this is something where they have that they have the potential to find your content every day, instead of just one they do a search on Google. And then I think once we bring people into our our followers, or our engagers sphere or ring in the funnel, I think this is where and recently Chris, I show a picture of a Japanese tea ceremony. The whole idea that every single unique engagement is a unique opportunity to deepen that relationship and drive people even further down. And the further down obviously is becoming part of your email list. Becoming a customer becoming a fan becoming an advocate that's going to talk about you and spread word of mouth about you and that's really the core of influencer marketing. So search, email, social, they all have their roles. But I think when you look at it strategically in that way, you begin to see where the pieces fall in the place and the content mediums. So I think a lot of people tend to tend to gravitate towards like YouTube videos and podcasts and I tell people to stay with the basics until you feel you're doing really well there then branch out but but yeah, until on social media, that content doesn't go that far, but the relationships can go really far. So I would all of this, what I'm saying, Chris, is, I think that businesses and agencies need to focus more on the one to one than this traditional one to many, the one year run of email relationship, the one to one of the follower relationship, and then of the advocacy relationship. And that's where you're gonna get the biggest bang for your buck, in 2021. And beyond, I believe.Chris Stuart:
Yeah. I love that. That's great. What a great response. And so keying in on another comment you made earlier, which is the role of collaborating and cross pollinating with with other folks in your ecosystem? Can you speak to how you've seen people watch other influencers and achieve this collaboration, dynamic that you spoke about? And just sort of give some, some advice to the audience relative to how to how to do that? How do I, you know, choose the influencers, and I'm listening to what should I be observing, and what are some, you know, best practices or things that you've seen work in terms of really leveraging that.Neal Schaffer:
So it's funny, I, I'm not a big fan of sort of kissing up to influencers to be recognized by them. But organically, I wrote man, it was about 10 years ago, that social media books, and I, they were from, like, 1520, of my favorite authors. And then I started getting comments from some of those authors on my blog, people like Guy Kawasaki, and Mari Smith. And I was able to develop relationships with them, just for the sole reason that I mentioned them in a blog post. So this is the way that you, you begin to develop influence. And the whole idea of a collaborating is that if let's take that analogy, and say you were to write a blog post, or you were to do a social media post, and you were to tag these businesses, the top five House Painters in Irvine, California, and you would assume that they all have profiles on your account. So if Instagram is really big for you, and maybe you're targeting younger audience, look for industries we're talking about sphere of influence here, it could be lawyers, could be banks, whatever it is, but look for industries where people are active on Instagram, they have a greater following than you do. And create a post that says, hey, these are my five, the five painters that I recommend, all my clients are your favorites here. And I guarantee you what happens when you do this, let's say you just pick five painters that are on Instagram. Number one, they're all going to thank you. Right, so you're going to deepen your relationship with them by mentioning that. And if you don't have a relationship with them, this is going to begin that relationship, because then you can go, Hey, if you're ever looking to collaborate, and there's a lot of different ways to collaborate, that's a whole other topic we can talk about, let me know. And if you have like a discount for for clients, I send your way, let me know who knows, right? So that that's one thing. But the other thing is all the other painters out there, who saw this post, for whatever reason, maybe because of a hashtag that weren't included on the list. Now want to become your best friend? Hey, why don't you include me? Hey, what can I do? Hey, what I'm so called through my work that the next time you have a client that needs, you know, a room painted, I'm going to paint a room for free. That's sort of how we're even today, I write all these blog posts recommending marketing tools, and I do it as a service to my community. But every day, I get another company saying, Hey, I noticed you mentioned all these other tools, why didn't you mention my company's tool? Yeah. And they'll say, hey, we'll give you a free lifetime, to use our tool. And, and that's when all these you're not trying to influence for all these little fringe benefits. But when you start publishing content about things and, and tagging people, and talking about people, it's going to attract these both sides. And that's just a really, really easy way. Or you could say, Hey, this is this is my, my network of whenever before we sell a home, this is these, these, this group of five people that I'm always in touch with, I'd like to introduce them to you. So you, you're sort of appreciating your network, you're promoting them, you're looking for deeper ways to collaborate, and then all those other people are or some of those other people are going to reach out saying, hey, next time, if your stager is busy, I do staging as well. Let me get to know you and that and that's sort of how this can work in a real scenario, I think.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, I love that. I love that. And so we talked about the triumvirate of know, like and trust. And I'm just curious as to your opinion, as to the difference between being known and being influential.Neal Schaffer:
I think being known is you can't yield influence until you're known. So I think being known is sort of the first step in in become because influence. Yes, they know you but there's also a sense of trust. They also sense some credibility. trustworthiness, in some instances authority, someone that they can reach out to and have a conversation with knowing that you're on a similar wavelength, or that they can trust their business with you. So getting known everything I talked about here, it all that content, the whole role of the content is to help you get known. So but if you stop it just getting known, you never yield as much influence as you might be able to potentially yield. If you continue to follow this advice on the content of branding, and I think most importantly, this engagement.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah. I love that. So being known is all about short game influence it being influential with long game, is that a fair description?Neal Schaffer:
Yeah, I mean, the known dependent on search engine that can last a long time as well. So yeah, I'd say that's a really good way of looking at it. And then Chris, just yesterday, that that comment about Elvis Presley and vaccinations, it's also once you yield influence of making sure you maintain that influence. Yeah, my son made the development Academy Soccer Team A few years ago, right when he was like 11 or 12, that the first year they had it. And the first thing is code said, congratulations. But just know that a year from now, everyone wants your spot. Yeah, I think that once you yield influence, if you're not, once you if you're not using it, others are going to try to steal the spotlight from you. And because there's only so many people, we can follow so many people that we can consider in our trusted network of advisors. Yeah. So that that's that would be the final concept. That's that that's the ultimate long game. But yes, be known influence, and then really leveraging that influence. Yeah.Chris Stuart:
And so I feel like a lot of times for certain sales people and maybe marketers as well, there's always this fine line between influencing and advising and guiding and manipulating, in your opinion, based on your experience and observations across industries. Where do you see that line between yield wielding influence and manipulating?Neal Schaffer:
The bottom line of all this, Chris, is you're serving others. There's a quote from a senior VP of Walmart that I used right after Coronavirus in the pandemic started my presentations, which is the businesses exist to serve society. So as long as you are serving society, in serving your community, you are not manipulating them, you're being helpful. And that's when you stop serving community, because you want to serve yourself. That's where I think it tends to fall more into the manipulation, that you would do anything, so that you can go ahead, instead of allowing your community to advance. So I look at things maybe it's too simple or too simplistic of a perspective. But I think that I that That to me is the guiding light.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, I love that. It's kind of like the golden rule or, but it's about a switch of selfless or selfish. And I think ultimately, also is, Are you are you advising on the basis of what's in the best interests of the other person, which is selfless? And are you advising on the basis of things that you do yourself?Neal Schaffer:
Absolutely. And I've been in some, I've been in some interesting real estate transaction myself, where I wonder if, if the agent was really trying to serve his or her community, or his or try to increase the probability that they're going to get a commission check earlier rather than later. So yeah, that's where that's Yeah, so I'm sure you're about issues like this. But But yeah, that's where I think it's important. It's really funny because I mentioned this to Bob, when when he first reached out to me, because I actually went to real estate school first team real estate, has this little real estate school here. I never got licensed, but I went to the school to get licensed. And it was three or four years ago, and they were talking about the importance of agent the meaning of agent that you represent. You're you're not you're not an entrepreneur, you're representing the buyer or the seller in the transaction. So it's a similar that that is the exact approach of serving as an agent, you are serving others. Yeah. And it as long as you stick to that, and you remind yourself it's like Steve Jobs looking in the mirror every day reminding himself do I do I still enjoy doing what I'm doing? and reminding yourself that you're you're there to serve them. And when you serve others and make them happy, good things come your way. Right? And yeah, trust the process that that will happen.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so switching gears now towards the company perspective of influence, can you give our audience some examples of companies that in your opinion, have done a great job of influencing or being influential?Neal Schaffer:
Wow, I mean, big consumer brands have always been influential. They're always in the center of things. I some great ways I think it was a Dunkin Donuts recently partnered with Charlie to maliau the 16 or 15 year old Tiktok star To create a drink for her, that she then promotes on tik tok and in social media. So this is a product collaboration is a really great way this is sort of like the Air Jordans of the past of collaborating with influencers, which obviously helps brands like Dunkin Donuts expose their products to this audience, but it also sort of aligns them it's also if young people don't go to Dunkin Donuts, they prefer to go to a Starbucks that reminds them that hey, Dunkin Donuts is cool. So and so it's it's a celebrity endorsement, right? So and so is drinking their stuff, you should drink it as well. I think of Ocean Spray recently another Tick Tock case study of someone you know, drinking the Ocean Spray great cranberry juice on a skateboard and Ocean Spray actually taking advantage of that situation reaching out and really building a lot of good goodwill from from engaging with someone that became somewhat of an influencer online. So there's a lot of brands that are smart now now that they realize that they're reaching social media declines as people become more and more influential, of actually collaborating with people in different ways. The case study that I normally give most recently in presentations is a watch manufacturer called rosefield. They're they're actually European wats company based out of Amsterdam. And they basically created a community, they basically created an army of influencers and social media. And they did this because they went into their email database, they went into their social media followers, and they went into their customer database. And they did an analysis of people that had a little bit of influence and social media people that had we call them nano influencers, people with like, 1000 followers, and it's okay, we can reach out to people that don't know us, we don't know them, and try to engage them to collaborate with us, or we can work with people that already like know, and trust us. And in doing so, they've established a very, very broad for people that love the brand, a very, very broad and open inclusive brand ambassador community that offers basically exclusivity to new products, when they come out before anyone else gets a shout out and store credit points. So there's no exchange of money. And they're getting incredible benefits. And the people that are part of it, their customers right are just so happy about it. They're when brands recognize when companies recognize people and bring them in, there's just amazing things that can happen. It's just another, you know, case study my business banks of Bank of America. So a few weeks ago, I get an email, but a bank of america advisory panel for small businesses that I've been invited to. So you think wow, Bank of America chose me, right? It makes you feel happy, you feel more aligned, and you It builds a deeper relationship with the brand. Unfortunately, when I entered this Advisory Committee, and I'm using air quotes, all they were doing was it was just a bunch of survey questions, and I got no value out of it, and I immediately left. So there's a good way to do this and evaluate to do this. But really, Chris, the way I like to look at it is early in my career, I had a job offer Procter and Gamble to do Product Marketing for them, for the bounce product and in Japan of all places. And I turned down that offer but what I realized was that these big brands, in the old days and this is before social media, they almost wanted this distance between themselves and the consumer. Right? It's like we are the brand we dictate things. We create cool things we create entertaining TV commercials, and there's a distance. And I think what social media has done and with each generation with with Millennial now with Gen Z is that brands are realizing the closer they get to the consumer, the better it's going to be for everybody. It makes them more relatable, more authentic and it builds a deeper relationship than this old paradigm of we want to be as far apart people can't contact us people can't tweet at us approach that is very old school. So just the closer you can become if we remember that funnel of relationships that I talked about, the closer you can become to the people that like know and trust your business, the most your your customers or your employees in this case of obviously bhhs are agents and brokers. That's going to give you the biggest bang for your for your marketing buck. I believe in influencer marketing is really tapping into your internal external influencers that like know and trust you rather than people that just have a lot of followers.Chris Stuart:
Yeah. Yeah, makes sense. That's great. And so I, I would deduce from all of your great comments that consumers are more effectively influenced by people then buy companies. Is that a fair statement?Neal Schaffer:
Absolutely. People social media was made for people not for businesses say this a lot. And yeah, YouTube podcasts. It's dominated by people, right? When we do a search on Google, we tend to see company results. companies could have become YouTubers, they could have become instagramers and tick talkers. They could have been I mean, they have the money. They have the assets. They have the people to do it. But they didn't right now did they try I don't know. But Yes, we we resonate with people that are like us. And in the old days when the only thing we saw on on video screens was were TV stars and movie stars and TV ads is one thing but now we see our friends we see people. And when we see like a brand advertisement, it's just so it's it's not authentic, it looks out of place almost right? So yes, people from an emotional and if we had a neuro psychologist here he could he or she would say that, obviously we resonate more with people we resonate with, with people's photos than with brand logos, right? We resonate more with actual words that sound like something we may speak, then with marketing speak, coming out of businesses. Yeah,Chris Stuart:
I love it. And so relative to the journey of establishing likeability, and trust and influence as a real estate professional, versus what you see amongst influencers and other industries, how do you imagine that journey? someone were to be starting from not from scratch? Because we're I don't think any of us are at a at a point zero in terms of our existing social networks. But But how do you imagine that, that that maturation process amongst real estate professionals,Neal Schaffer:
I like to keep it as simple as possible. And I think a really simple way of looking at it is, the good agents that I've met, or most agents that I've met, are extremely social, they're really good at conversation there, they know a lot of information about my community, and obviously, about real estate. And some of them are generally really, really interesting, entertaining people, right? Some of the best out there. So when you look at it that way, why can't they translate that online, if they can translate those offline skills online, I think they're gonna, number one gonna make a lot of friends. Number two, they'll be able to share a lot of information to help them become more influential. And number three, I do think it will lead to a broadening of the people who at least know them, right, but that know, like, and trust. So I think it's, it's really, when we do a reset on our social media, it's understanding this, that we're not just going to random and we all fall victim to, this is an amazing breakfast I had or dinner, we all fall victim to doing stuff like that. But it's really just remembering that now you're not just serving your close friends, that you're trying to serve a broader community that include potential buyers, and really rethinking about the content that you post and starting to think a little bit more strategically about that content. It's obviously that first step. And if you're wanting deeper in your community, I lived in a community in Irvine, where there was literally a van with a realtors name that would be parked outside of the elementary school that everybody had to pass by every day twice, to get in and out of the elementary school to drop off and pick up their kid. So that was being seen every you know, it's being seen so many times in a strategic area. And I sort of think of publishing on social media, and commenting on other people's posts is something that that's very similar you you want to be seen. And you want to be seen talking about things that are going to resonate with your community, which often is about the community, right? That that restaurant, the new restaurant that opened up, or the new ballet school now I don't know, there's obviously a lot of things that you can talk about, but it's it's just staying out there. So you become that van that that people pass by this time. It's not physically but it's virtually in a feed in social media. But you also have the ability to be proactive and show up in other people's feeds as well as you comment and what have you. So it's it's a few step process, but it's obviously re synching your, your strategic objective with your content, and your branding, things we talked about earlier. And and then it's really the the the execution of that, and moving on to more of these collaborations and partnerships with people in your community that I think can drive that even further.Chris Stuart:
Now, I love that this has been so insightful and directing in terms of, you know, some of these best practices. So thank you so much for your willingness to share. And just a couple of final questions. And the first would be, you mentioned this earlier on is what do you believe are some of the most critical activities or areas of focus for establishing influence offline, so that there's some symmetry between what's happening in an agent's business online? What are your thoughts there?Neal Schaffer:
If yielding influence online is all about showing up and being out there? I think the same goes for offline. community events. It's it's been there. When that new restaurant opens up, you're you're in line along with everybody else. Like once again, think of your target market, your target audience, where would they be if they wanted to experience the best of where you live? In terms of offline activities, and I think you get the picture of those things, that even if you may not see other people that you know, there if, if you do the wonderful thing, we call this odo online to offline, right, when you have an online relationship, and then you meet someone in this virtual relationship physically, it only brings that relationship forward 234 X, walking into Lego Land with my family a few years ago, and someone coming up to me saying, Are you Neal Schaffer, I read your book, I follow you online, this is random thing. But now I remember who that person is. And it obviously helped bring our relationship that much deeper because of that. So in a similar way, you if you, if you are able to see people that follow you that from being active in the community, when you join these events, or when you show up offline, that's great. But even not that content, the photos you take are going to be great for your online. So either way, you're going to get a benefit of doing it. But yeah, you need to be active. And I think that this I think agents in general are probably more successful at the offline, the Chamber of Commerce meetings, the breakfast lunch and learns the community events, I think other things that could be doing is maybe aligning themselves with schools, for instance, I was on the committee for my son's PTA committee for my son's elementary school, right? These are really easy ways to build more influence in your community. I also was on the the Marketing Committee for the United Way of Orange County for a year, where I got to engage with other business leaders from my community. So nonprofits, schools, I would align with at least if your kids are in school, that's really easy. But a nonprofit, I think, is another way to really get invested in your community. It gives you the excuse to show up more offline. And obviously you're you want to do it because you want to serve, you're not doing this to leverage it for influence. But as a byproduct, it does help you be seen by more people, and more interesting things to talk about in your social media feed. So if you if you think you're running out of ideas, all these experiences will give you a lot of good things to share and attract the right people with.Chris Stuart:
Yeah, yeah, I love that. I love that. Well, in closing, I mean, you shared so many actionable insights. But in closing, anything else that you want to share any words of wisdom or inspiration?Neal Schaffer:
No, I think working with, you know, you and your team it. I think really, it's just, you know, people that become agents probably have a certain personality, they're probably more outgoing, I would assume that that's sort of part of the job is that they have to meet people. So it's really taking who they are offline and putting it online. And I think if they can do that, they're already going to be ahead of the game and doing it not in an artificial way. We're going to be creating training and best practices, but it's really being who they are being true to themselves. Because at the end of the day, people are going to do business, not with a photo on Instagram, but with you as a person. So you need to be the same online that you are offline. You ever get. You meet those people, you see them online, you meet them offline, it's like, wait, they're totally different. You don't want to become that person. So so it's it's not rocket science, it takes it takes an initial part of education, and it takes consistency and really staying the course. But just being yourself in showing up online. It's It's not hard to do it, you need to build a new habit. Just like when you started exercising in our day, you need to build that 510 15 minutes a day to just, you know, monitor your social media, what have you. But I think once you get into the habit, it becomes very natural. And I think it becomes over time in this industry, it should become part of a very natural way of doing business in a post pandemic economy. So I'll leave it with thatChris Stuart:
note. I love it. I love it. Well, that's great. Neil, thanks so much again, for for your time and your insights. And I know that our audience will will really take a lot from it. So thank you for that.Neal Schaffer:
Oh, no worries. Thank you. Thank you. All right. What do you think? I thought it was a great conversation. And I'm really fond of Chris and really everybody that I've engaged with over there Berkshire Hathaway, all I have to say is if you are in the real estate industry, you'll want to be checking them out and really working with them if you're free agent or if you're trying to figure out where to go next. I'm really excited for the potential not only in the industry for but for that company, so keep your eye on them. I also want to thank you for continuing to listen to subscribe to this podcast and to review this podcast. I want to thank Wendy girl for who recently said tons of aha moments five star I've been bingeing all of meals podcast for the past week, and I'm blown away by so much value and knowledge Neil has about influencer marketing. I love how each episode flows into the next lesson. I'm constantly having aha moments about my blog, podcast and business. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. Wendy, thank you so much. Wendy did put down that she is Wendy delarosa, founder and CEO of the social Dela Rosa and I am more than happy to give you a shout out Wendy. And for anyone else who wants to leave a comment. I'm just thankful for every instance everybody that supports this podcast. So thank you, Wendy. And I hope that you'll take a minute out of your busy day. If you found value in this or any of these episodes to leave a review on your favorite site and after you leave a review, drop me a line let me know I'd love to hear from you. All right, everyone. Well that's it for another episode. Make sure that you keep subscribing and we got a lot of great episodes coming up over the next few weeks. I you know, I can't wait to release them to you. But I want to stick at this once a week cadence. And if you haven't checked out the School of influence podcast, you'll want to check it out. I've already talked about it is the second podcast that I launched, co hosted with Amanda Russell. We had the number one former number one world tennis player Andy Roddick. On our last our initial episode and episode number two, this week has none other than Jesse Itzler, who is a Wall Street Journal, best selling author, entrepreneur all around just amazingly intelligent and inspirational individual that I think you're really really going to love the conversation. So make sure you go over to the school of influence and after subscribing here, he's subscribed there as well. And that's it. Wherever you are in the world. Stay safe and make it a great virtual social day. Bye bye and sale nada