Image by reeltor99 via Flickr
2008 was a tough year. And its not one I’m sorry to see leave.
The challenges we face in business are just part of our business, which is now and has always been cyclical. But 2008 will always be the year that I lost my best friend, suddenly, without explanation (not that an explanation would have helped) and without reason that I could understand. It was a year that made a change in my life that I still find myself struggling with, and would seem to have little to redeem it.
Time is very subjective for me. It seems like I have been without my beautiful wife forever, and yet when I think about something that happened in July when she was still the vibrant funny presence in my life, it seems like just yesterday. I find myself thinking about that and about this major change in my life often these days. It was during one of those long ruminations I realized that many of the people that I find my support from weren’t even in my life a year ago.
I “talk” to people every day that make me laugh, provide support, make me think, and help find things that interest me. I am invested in their lives and hurt when they hurt, cry and laugh when they cry and laugh, and seek their opinions and approval. I smile when I make them laugh, and I am proud when they are noted for their achievements. People like Ines, Ginger Wilcox, Benn & Lani Rosales, Jeff Turner, Teresa and Jack Boardman, Chris Griffith, Kim Wood, Sarah Cooper, Jonathan Dalton, Kris Berg and so many others who reach out to me regularly and make my life a little brighter.
A year ago I was aware of the RE.Net but not fully engaged. And when I became engaged, I found a world full of people to connect with, who had much to offer. I just wanted but I did find a need to share how grateful I am for my social media friends and acquaintances (yes they are “real” friends even if the roots of our relationship began in the virtual world).
So what does this have to do with 2009 being a better year? I just returned from Inman Connect in New York, where some of the predictions for the coming year’s economy were grim but the bloggers and social media types that were present were telling me that they were finishing a pretty good year. There were stories of international buyers, and community members making referrals, and people contacting them because they had written reviews of places they ate, or shopped, or worked.
The opportunities in the market may have gotten smaller, but the population fo real estate agents has also. And there are more and more people who are learning that by being good members of their communities, and participating in social media in a meaningful manner, they will be the consumer’s choice when the consumer needs them.And of course, there is the other important social media marketing feature – it costs so little, and returns so much. Unlike traditional interuptive marketing, the more you do , the less it costs.
So embrace your community, and as you give love, you will get love, and on the way, probably increase your business opportunities. But you will increase the people that you interact with. I only hope, for your sake, that they are as special as the people I found to interact with in my world.