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Outside the Box, Inside the Heart of Social Media

I wonder how many people in general look at their relationships with others and say, “Gee, I wish I had done this, or said that, or taken a little more time with so-and-so.” I’m really grateful for the many sides of people in my life and that I am getting to see and know all of them. There seems to be one common thread among the ones I admire and call friends, and that is the fundamental desire to push outside every box we seem to have been placed in.


REBarCamp Orlando 2011 - extraordinary event for Florida Realtors It’s been a week since REBarCamp Orlando, and after arriving home, with two stranded Massachusetts folks, Speaker Leslie Lambert and Moriss Partee,stranded from hurricane Irene,  I am finally getting unpacked and re-organized.

Planning this year’s event quickly became a BIG job when the numbers of attendees rose over 300, then 400, 500 and finally 640.  While I didn’t expect all of them to show, we did calculate that we had over 533 in attendance, a pretty great turnout for events like this. The biggest fear for me was keeping it REAL, and keeping the integrity of a true BarCamp style event intact.

We had a few folks outside their little RE BarCamp shells,..they wanted to get up on the board, get in front of an audience, just could not wait to “present.” So, we decided to mix it up, again , keep it as organic as possible. A large white board held pink stickies with attendees “Need to know” subject matters, and white session facilitators “Will help you know” topics.  I’m not sure it worked exactly like that, but it kept the board from filling with session hogs and gave more people a chance to collaborate and to really think about what the needs of the attendees may be.

There were some bumps with vendors and product pimpers, but that won’t happen again so easily,.. you just live and learn as they say! As in any BarCamp, the organizers got great ideas as well as to how to keep that from being an issue in future events.

The highlights for me were somewhat different than for others, for first-timers etc.  This is my third REBarCamp,.. but many of the attendees who were also speakers at the Florida Realtors Conference were actually friends of mine. Yes, friends that I met online during my initial dive into social media. Others were online only acquaintances until REBarCamp Orlando where we had our first “in real life” meetings. 

In any other circumstance, that might be a little weird for some who are not as social, but I have a gift.. it’s that I am from the South. I swear I inherited some ability of intuition about people and when you add the most beautiful part of social media to that, (how social media enables you to learn about people on a deeper level than casual friendships), it just makes for the perfect opportunity for REAL friendships and networks that extend way beyond our business lives. Meeting Diane Guercio and Amy Cesario for the first time after nearly three years of online friendships was like running up to hug a sister you had known all your life, but never laid eyes on. It was wonderful, happy, and yes, brought a little tears, but it was not strange or forced because through social media, I knew them before they ever arrived. Wouldn’t you like to know your customers like this before you ever try to help them? Can you see my point?

All the above may seem a little gushy so for your non-gushers here is also the reality – Social Media and Networking events like REBarCamps give you much more than any other conferences you can attend. Hands down. You want to know how something really works, if it works, you need to get to a RE BarCamp.

So, here are questions that people ask us social media event gushers about all the time:

  1. What”return on investment” do you get? 
  2. How do you make money with social media?
  3. Do you use it for business only or personal use?
  4. What do you get out of planning a Real Estate BarCamp?

Simple answers:

  1. Business relationships build referral bases, provide you with education from the school of hard-knocks, provide you with money-saving and making tips that you can’t get from a book, and those you can get from a book – or online.  The adopters of social media, who “get it,” will share their knowledge,.. and expect you to do the same. I’m constantly working it, but Social media increased my business by 65% this year. That’s no peanuts!
  2. Applying what I just said in #1. You build the relationships, it will come. I have had 6 incoming referrals from others I met at REBarCamp 2010! I’ve made five  direct referrals to my friends of social media. I’ve increased my business by 65% in one year from direct social media marketing efforts, and my sellers are thrilled to see their home being exposed in so many venues. I have acquired buyers directly from social media efforts..and it’s not slowing down.
  3. My business is me. “Me” is who I am on a business page as much as a personal page, just in a dress (sort of), and with a certificate that says, “I know a little something about,….and I can help you, and yes, it’s my job, and I hope to get paid for it sooner or later.” People know I’m a Realtor on my profiles, for sure.
  4. I get a lot of satisfaction, seeing agents get excited about their businesses again – it’s a synergy that I can’t explain adequately in words, but it’s inspirational. I also have a network of industry leaders, Realtors, vendors, association executives that I would never have met , that I am closely associated with that have given me much more than I have given in return! Plus, I believe in “Pay It Forward.”

This year, I thank my early influencers once again for all that I learn from them.. both on and off the Real Estate Island. MikeMueller of, Diane Guercio – Realtor, Towne and Country Real Estate, Mass., Lesley Lambert, Realtor, Western Mass; Bobby Carroll, Dakno Marketing, N. Carolina; Amy Cesario, Realtor, Denver, CO; Jeremy Blanton, 210 Consulting, Myrtle Beach; and my Ra-Ra sisters (a Mastermind group formed after REBCORL 2010), Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs; Cyndee Haydon, Clearwater and Janie Coffey, Miami and mentors Bill Lublin, Amy Chorew, all of whom were at Real Estate BarCamp Orlando among many others who helped make this one a memorable event. These are some REAL people, and REALLY smart people of REBarCamp Orlando 2011. When’s our next event?

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