The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Caution: Social Media Experts Ahead

Recently I attended a class about Facebook in Mesa, Arizona by a local social media company.  I had heard of them from other Real Estate agents and have seen some of their activity on Facebook so I wanted to see what they and their products are all about.  In this economy it is very hard to fill a room with Realtors but I have to admit that I am surprised to see this room filled to capacity, in fact its standing room only.  Now let me be 100% honest. This class was sponsored by another title company, a competitor in the same general area as me.  She was gracious enough to let me stay as long as I didn’t “market myself”.  What she didn’t know was that my business as a title rep is less and less reliant on shaking hands and handing out business cards……more and more of my clients are finding me.  More and more consumers-buyers and sellers are finding me.

Why I came.

Well to be honest, I was hoping that they are the real deal.  Social Media is here to stay, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger and I believe that it will play a huge role in your business as a Realtor or Loan officer.  My 1st surprise…..there are roughly 90 people in attendance and from a quick question posed by one of the sponsors, “How many people here are in the real estate industry?” only 20 hands raised, the rest are small business owners!  A testimonial to the validity of social media in business.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the big picture for your business, especially after you see Facebook’s Statistics.  There are 2 million people on Facebook here in Arizona alone. It’s the real deal!

This company spent 45 minutes talking about Facebook and why we should be on it.  OK, I honestly don’t know anyone that is not on Facebook, in fact, when I meet someone that isn’t on it my 1st response is “they still make you?” It soon became evident that the company’s whole message was going to be about the power of facebook and why WE should be on it.  I was a little disappointed to tell you the truth.  My biggest problem with companies, title people, loan officers, appraisers, homeless, home builders etc. that teach social media classes is that an overwhelming majority spend their time talking about WHY you need to be on Facbook. I and everyone else already knows WHY, what people need to know is HOW!

In case I didn’t cover it above,  I am a title rep for a national title insurance company based in Phoenix, Arizona.  I help my clients get found on the internet, where more and more of their customers are.  It’s called inbound marketing, and (shhh don’t tell anyone this but,)  I am quite good at it.

There are a few things that this company talked about that I question, I am hoping that I heard them wrong, or that I misunderstood.  One of the things they said is “YouTube will eventually be put out of business by Facebook, as it supports video”.   (I disagree by the way)….

Why?  Well, Youtube is owned by Google.  Let me say that again.  Youtube is owned by Google.  Google is going to own the world. I mean who doesn’t have a Gmail account?  But seriously, Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine in the entire world behind…….Yep, Google.

The 2nd thing he said is “you don’t need a website, facebook is all you need”.  OK, STOP.  This is where I have a problem.  Remember, there are almost 100 people in the room, and they are paying close attention to the advice this gentlemen is giving, and its BAD ADVICE.  Why?  Well for many reasons but let’s address a few here.

  1. You don’t own facebook
  2. If Facebook changes their terms of service to any other model including pay, you are stuck. Remember all of your business is on Facebook
  3. What if you violate the terms of service and facebook shuts you down?  You are effectively out of business.
  4. Search Engines.  Websites are indexed in search engines.  Yes, Facebook Fan pages are too but I have never seen a facebook fanpage indexed on the 1st, hell, even the 2nd or 3rd page of Google and certainly not for anything competitive.  But who cares about the 2nd or 3rd because you are invisible unless you are on the 1st.
  5. Keywords.  How can you really optimize a facebook fan page with keywords? yourself?

These are just a few that I thought of, I am sure there are many more.  Feel free to share what I didn’t think about.

I also have a big problem with the way this company suggests you grow your business.  Spamming.  Yep, Spamming.  They talked about ways to identify people that you might want to do business with and “friend them”, once again, I have a problem with Spamming.

  • Because it’s annoying, and invasive and it doesn’t work.  I get people I don’t know that send me friend requests all the time, you know what I do with them?  The same thing you do…..IGNORE.  Why? Because Facebook is still about friends.  I have pictures of my children and my wife and I (when I was skinnier), I don’t want to give access to just anyone, specifically someone who is clearly spamming.
  • Because it’s against Facebook’s terms of service.  Remember how the company said that all you needed was facebook?  Well if you only have facebook and facebook thinks you are spamming, then you are.  There is no judge and jury, they will shut you down!  And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  I mean you can’t tell your friends…….they are all on Facebook! :-)

I attended this event back in June of 2010 and am just now getting around to publishing this post, and I am glad that I waited.  Why?  Well an interesting thing has happened.  Remember when I referenced that the company said that all you need is facebook?  Well last month there was a gentlemen that had his Realtor Referral Page shut down by facebook because of “Improper Use Of The Realtor Mark”.  Facebook didn’t care that he had 47,000 fans or that his fanpage was responsible for sending referrals across the country, they shut his page DOWN.  He was effectively OUT OF BUSINESS. This gentleman was lucky, because of the media attention, Facebook allowed him to keep his page if he changed his Facebook URL.  You can be sure that there won’t be any reporters waiting to tell your story if your page is shut down.

So what is the moral of this story post? That you need to be careful of the social media expert.  Because in my experience there really isnt any.  Did I mention that this company was charging ridiculous, exorbitant amounts of money for custom facebook fanpages? I mean like $1500!  I had my custom facebook fan page done when they first came out for $400!  Not that I am accusing anyone of anything wrong but in my experience and from what I heard by these social media experts, its nothing that you can not do on your own-for a lot less money.  AND, you can probably do it better than them.  Why?  Because the point is to be SOCIAL..  How can someone else successfully build your social media better than you?

I figure that I should at least point you in the right direction so you can identify what a social media expert actually looks like

For All Your Arizona Marketing, Escrow and Title Needs


Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • PROOFessor

    Dude – Absorbanent? Did you mean exorbitant? Are you the same @mytitleguy that butchers the English language on Twitter? My fifth grader spells better than you…

    Do REALTORS really listen to your advice? No wonder the market’s in the tank!

    How ’bout a little Spell Check?? For the love of God, give it a shot!

    Better yet, stick to those crappy videos. Then I won’t see all the typos.

    • MyTitleGuy

      Thank you for your comment PROOFessor, I am honored that you are following my blog, twitter, youtube and god knows what else, I just wonder why? I mean, according to your comment, the market tanking is partly my doing and I make crappy videos. Oh, I know why…..judging from who you follow on Twitter it’s obvious that you are a competitor of mine, welcome! Bet you didn’t expect me to publish your comment huh. I mean who would? Well me. I’m not threatened by someone who sits behind the anonymity (did I spell that right?) of a computer. By the way, I wrote an earlier post about spell check, you have obviously already read it. For anyone else out there that cares to know, I usually write and publish my posts from my iPhone and sometimes an occasional misspelled word gets through. I will work on that just for you PROOFessor since you obviously read the “garbage” that I put out. Then again, No..I won’t. I will just keep being me. Keep drinking that Haterade. See you on my next post :-)

  • David Dion

    Someone knocking you for your spelling instead of commenting on your actual content… Obviously someone (probably your competitor) who is threatened by what you know and what they do not know… They are probably just frustrated. They know they do not know something, but have no clue what that is. In retaliation, they attack your spelling.

    BTW, I do disagree with just one part of your post. Knowing how to do something is almost worthless unless you know why to do something. I can teach a class and tell people how to do something. They leave and they do it. It may or may not work for them, but many, if not most will stop doing it at some point. If they knew why they were doing it, and knew what to expect from doing it, they might not only be more likely to continue, but they will also start to see other opportunities to do even more things…

    The spelling expert will never identify himself. He is a coward.

    • MyTitleGuy

      Gimme an H
      Gimme an A
      Gimme an T
      Gimme an E
      Gimme an R

      what’s it spell? PROOFessor! Hooray! :-)

  • Jeremy Smith

    Let’s settle this with video a la MTV’s Celebrity Death Match. This would be epic. I can see it now. The other title agent would try and kill you with postcard paper cuts. Since Celebrity Death Match characters are clay, it wouldn’t affect you. Did I spell affect correctly? Or is it effect? You could infect them with a deadly internet virus. Clearly, you would win the “Title”.

    P.S. The MY TITLE GUY would be wrestling in an Alejandro diaper.


    Stephen’s Favorite Groupie!

  • David Dion

    It took just 5 minutes of “research” to uncover who “Proofessor” is. He should be ashamed of himself.

    I will not dislose who it is, but I think he should. Stand up and be proud of yourself. He won’t, he will hide behind the ‘anonimity” he thinks he has…

  • MyTitleGuy

    Wait,Dave, are you saying there is not anonymity on the internet? (macaulay culkin “Home Alone” face.) PROOFessor, will you please get the rest of the haters you know to comment on this post? You are helping my SEO! Oh yea, forgot who I am talking to, that’s
    Pretty sure I spelled that right. :-(

  • Coach Collard

    WOW! Limited thinking, limited dialogue, and a POMPOUS attitude to be concerned about spelling. Making fun of TYPOS has been out since the early 2000s when email was about 12 years old. Blogs of all sorts, both written and video, ignore production quality slow downs, as well as other irrelevant minutia, and they get to the point at hand…CONTENT and INTERACTION!!!!

    This Proof…whatever person is SHALLOW at best, and needs to get over himself. IRS is in full effect..Immediate Response Syndrome. He’s offended like a 4 year 12 year old with no self esteem. OK enough.

    Comes down to this, I know you(my title guy), myself, Jeremy and our buddy, Double D, all know what’s up with Social Media and how to CRUSH IT, so I’m not concerned with this cat.

    And oh, by the way, it’s kinda funny… YES, you did special SEO correctly!

    PS…Comedian Jamie Kennedy from Malibu’s Most Wanted reminds us…. DON’T HATE…!

  • Michelle Shelton

    I have found that we see the world the way we are….not the way IT is. So, if someone has limited thinking, they just do. They pick out things like spelling because they are not willing to go deeper than that. What I want to know is why it took Dave Dion five minutes to find out who the professor really is. Five minutes….come on Dave, you can do better than that!
    Now…my little Stevie…do you think this guy is watching our videos on you tube? I bet he is…bet he loves my speech. Yeah…that works.
    Love your step momma, Gertrude

    • MyTitleGuy

      Thanks Gertrude, (I spelled that right right?) or is it right write? Or is it wright, write? I don’t know, I guess I will just have to focus on content and adding value, something our hater friend @PROOFessor should do as well. I was wondering the same thing about Dave, 5 minutes ridiculous!

  • Judy Elfving

    Stevie, your step momma, Gertrude, is right. I’d add that you let him win the round by responding. I can’t believe we’re wasting this much time on him.
    Your step aunt, Judy

  • Dean Carver

    Wow scintillating stuff! Social media is the “hot” thing right now just like dot com IPO’s were in the late 90’s. You had to get online and be the first out the gate. I was with a VERY well funded dot com back then and was one of 3 companies vying for that coveted first to IPO spot.

    The short is the 2 most highly funded firms ended up spending close to $100 Million to be that “one”, merged and then closed their doors. The 3rd one with a paltry $8 Million in venture funds from a bunch of ex-tech executives won and is still in business.

    Just being first or throwing money at something isn’t going to get you there and keep you on top in the long run. Social Media like websites, email, fax and mobile phones before it will become part of your tools in your arsenal to build your business. And yes something bigger, better, faster, cheaper and whatever other adjective you want to use will come along. Always does…

    What won’t change are people hiding behind false identities, ghost posts and hateful commentary. It’s amazing how rampant this is in the real estate industry. Frankly I find it childish and sophomoric at best. BTW, how do people find the time to do those things?…I certainly don’t have the bandwidth. I‘d rather spend that time with my family and ethically finding business. And of course commenting on your posts.

    Believe me when I say this Stephen, Karma will ALWAYS get them in the end. Did I spell Karma correctly?

  • Chad

    This is the same guy that yelled at us for tweeting while driving when I was behind you on the freeway a while back. Little did he know I was with my wife and was not driving. What a freak! He must be bored because he is so unproductive.

    • MyTitleGuy

      Yes Chad it’s that guy!

  • PROOFessor

    Mission accomplished.