What mums can teach us about being more attractive online

The things our mums taught us can help inform our real estate marketing.

In this post I’m going to look at how agents can make themselves more attractive online.


Well, we all know that people buy from people they know, like and trust so presenting a positive image is an important skill that helps agents develop longterm business relationships.

Luckily our mums taught us many of the skills we need to present ourselves well. Things like combing our hair, brushing our teeth, smiling and being polite are timeless lessons that continue to serve us well despite the years since we first learned them.

Unfortunately, not many of us were taught how these skills apply online. Although the principles are the same, the skills are different so I’ve come up with the following ideas to help you apply mum’s lessons in an online environment.

First, decide on what YOU want 

If you were seeking a new life partner then you’d want to present yourself in a way that attracts the sort of person you’d like as a partner. As an agent you’ll want to attract the people you want to do business with. That means attracting people who have an interest in properties in or around your patch. They might be a local home owner, an investor or someone who’s interested in buying a property in your area. Friending and following people without thinking about the why is a recipe for wasting a lot of time and energy.

Once you’ve decided that, the following ideas will make you more attractive to these people.

  • Make yourself look friendly and approachable. This means having a profile that’s appropriate to the setting. On Facebook and Twitter you’ll want a profile picture that shows that you’re more than a real estate agent. People don’t want to friend a real estate agent, they want to friend a human being, someone that’s not going to try to sell them something, so get rid of your stock agent photo. It’s so yesterday! On LinkedIn you can be a bit more formal, on Facebook you’ll need to be more relaxed.
  • Make your profile pic of you, not of you and your spouse, not of your pet and not of your favourite beach. You want people attracted to you, not a cat or a beach!
  • Make your profile photo head and shoulders. If people can’t make out your face they won’t know if they’re going to be attracted to you. So go, now, hire a professional and make yourself look beautiful. Pick the best shot and make that your profile but remember step 1, keep it appropriate. Remember, smile! There you go, mum would be proud.
  • Don’t say stuff, do it! If you have to say “I live life to the fullest”, you probably don’t. If you say “I’ve got a good sense of humour”, you probably haven’t. These things will come through loud and clear in your posts and the photos you share. Unless of course you’re not, then they won’t!
  • Know who you are and what you stand for. If you want to play online you need to decide who you are and what you stand for. You can’t be the party animal AND someone that people are going to trust with the sale of their most significant asset. That means you’ll need to dig into your online profile and get rid of all those photos of you doing stuff that you’d rather not tell your mum about. If you don’t like that discipline, toughen up. This is a tough world. If you want to attract the right people, start sending out the right message! If you still insist on living the whole split personality thing, get comfortable using Facebook’s dizzying array of privacy and list options. That way you’ll be able to share your frat boy photos with your frat boy friends. Just hope to god that they don’t share them or save them and post them somewhere else!
  • Share photos that contain social clues. Most agents use profile pics of themselves against some abstract background. That’s no way to make you look attractive. Include something that gives people a clue about your hobbies, interests and passions. Get some pics done while you’re at the beach, playing with your dog, or playing sudoko. Whatever floats your boat, just give people some clues about what you’re into. People dig people who are into stuff.
  • Be savage about moderating the comments on your photos. If people add positive comments to your pics that makes your stocks go up. Negative comments, even if they’re just in fun can make you less attractive. Don’t believe me? Go read this research. Remember, mum told you that you’re a reflection of the people you hang around. Choose wisely!
  • Show that you’re worth talking to. People go to parties to hang out with people, to talk, to laugh, to have fun. It’s the same deal online.  If your social profiles have no signs of life, if no-ones liking, commenting or interacting on your posts, people will wonder what’s wrong. Rather than click the friend, follow or connect button they’ll go hang out with the cool people. Your profile speaks volumes about the sort of conversations someone that connects with you might expect. Make sure your conversations tell the right story.
  • Show that you’ve got something worth saying. Anyone who’s been on the dating scene will know that you need more to talk about than the weather and the footy. People who have informed opinions are far more interesting than someone who only talk about themselves. Agents fall into this trap by only posting their latest property listings. It makes them look shallow and one dimensional. Go ahead, start a conversation about the latest Daft Punk album or about the relevance of the Higgs boson to achieving world peace. Whatever you choose, be interesting by being interested.
  • Let people know that they’re safe with you. No-one wants to hangout with a stalker or pervert. If your social profile shows that you’ve been hitting on people, being a sleaze, or watching soft porn your chance of someone feeling safe sharing things with you online is pretty much over. If you’ve made some errors of judgement, get to work on your profile and get them tidied up. Once it’s cleaned up remember what your mum told you and don’t do it again!
  • Remember that your online self lives in many places. An out-of-date photo on your company website or on listing portal sites makes you look like every other agent. Trust me, you don’t want that!
  • Say something worthwhile. If you dress to impress but have no better opening line than “Do you come here often?” you’re not going to go far in the dating game. Please, get someone to write some new material. While they’re at it get them to write you a new web site bio. Most agent bios are full of cliches like “Bill is known for his commitment to customer service and his strong negotiation skills.” Yawn! “Bill understands that peak performance is achieved through planning, training and preparation, to ensure successful outcomes for his many happy clients.” Zzzzzzzz! This form of agent-speak makes the agent sound like a robot, as if their bio was written by a computer algorithm rather than a human being with a heart and soul. Worse still, many agents have no About Me text on their website. None! Zip! Nada! That’s like standing in front of the hottest person in a bar and saying nothing. Talk about setting yourself up for disappointment!
  • Think about what you say. No-one’s attracted to a loud mouth, a bully or a know-it-all. On Facebook and Twitter what you say and who you are is reflected by your Timeline. If that’s full of negative status updates and argumentative tweets you won’t attract many friends. Remember what your mum told you – if you can’t say something good about someone don’t say anything at all.
  • Keep yourself well-groomed. Online, that means paying attention to how your profile looks. Is everything on your profile complete? Just like mum never sent you to school with an un-ironed shirt don’t take your profile out in public until it’s neat, tidy and complete. And remember, just as clothes go out of fashion, so do social profiles. Keeping yours fresh and current will help you stay attractive for longer.

That’s all for now. If you have any further suggestions please leave a comment.

Image by Nathan deGargoyle via Flickr.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+


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