An unpopular thought.
I've never been know as one to shy away from speaking my mind and this time I wonder what the reaction will be. I'm not here to tell you how to run your business, but I still feel the need to speak up. At Trulia Voices there is constant controversy over what is the "best" or "right" way to respond to questions. I have plenty of opinions about that, but you'd probably be shocked to hear some of them. I'm not as single minded as you may think.
When you join, what do you do?
When you first joined Trulia (much as I did), you probably clicked around the site and began to see what was out there. I saw a lot of interesting things that I thought I could use to help build my business. One of the things I enjoyed the thought of was Trulia Voices. A way for end users to get some ideas or help. An opportunity for agents to get in front of buyers and sellers and begin building relationships - social media 101.
Most agents seem to gravitate towards Trulia Voices much like I did. And when you first get there, you wonder - who can I help? You're eager, you're excited, and ready to take on the world of Trulia's visitors hungry for your knowledge.
So you start answering questions. You reply to 3 or 4 in your first sitting. You hope to see a reply from the visitor who asked the question or better yet, receive a phone call as you're still typing. You pour your heart and soul into an answer and you know you've written a masterpiece.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
You're late. You've been waiting for a reply or a phone call and nothing has arrived. It's quiet. Know why? That question was asked a month ago, two months ago, a year ago. It's old news. A dead topic. A lost cause. But you just brought it back to life and to the top of the list...so another agent jumps on it and answers it. They give their pitch for business (a whole other topic that is hotly debated on Trulia) and...guess what? Rinse and repeat.
I did it too when I first started. But I've learned that to use Trulia to it's fullest, you need to be talking to people who are here. Internet users tend to move quickly, from site to site. Sure they might come back, sure another person might read the question and find your answer interesting, but you're late to the party and it shows.
That's not to say you can't participate and some questions deserve follow up years after they were written (after all, the laws change from time to time, so updating those questions is a great idea). I think if we work harder to provide pertinent content in the "here and now" instead of building our answer counts, we can actually make Trulia a better place. Yes, I'm idealistic. Nothing wrong with that in my book. When you do answer an old question, think about writing an answer, not a sales pitch...that answer will sit there forever (and be linked back to your profile where users can learn more about you without the "call me" answer).
If we work to bring more timely info to Trulia users, we can bring more users to Trulia who come to rely on agent expertise, not your advertisement.
That's my two cents.
This post was inspired by a recent rash of answers to an older question here in San Antonio and an agent's comment asking if this was indeed an old topic. Just got me thinking.
photo courtesy of imagesbyk2 Photography
** This post was originally written on August 6, 2009 over at my Trulia blog (which I don't use very often), but I thought it beared repeating as I am beginning to see many of the same things happening. I know I'll never stop them, but if I can change one agent's mind about how they're going about using Trulia Voices, I'll be a happy man. **
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Matt Stigliano, Realtor® Becker Properties | (210) 646-HOME | www.RErockstar.com
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