This year’s National Association of REALTORS dues have been paid (as have the dues for the state and local chapters.) Belonging to NAR isn’t a choice here in the Phoenix real estate market as the associations own the Arizona Regional MLS – if you’re not a member, you have no access to the listings.
Missing from this year’s itemized list of assessments was a contribution toward NAR’s Public Awareness Campaign which, we were told at the time, was an annual assessment. Perhaps it was rolled into the national dues without comment – it’s hard to take issue about the fees we can’t see.
Paying the latest dues assessment got me thinking about NAR’s Social Media Manager position. We’re about three months out from the announcement being made and, to the best of my knowledge, no action has been taken. And if it has been taken, the Social Media Manager has proven somewhat anti-social as there’s not been a word about their hiring.
Such a position could prove valuable for NAR should it be done correctly: communication of a positive but honest message without the heavy-handed salesmanship that so often permeates NAR’s communication.
One example of NAR’s communication challenges came a week ago in an e-mail about the Rose Bowl Parade float. In an e-mail sent to agents, we were being urged to vote for the float for a Viewers’ Choice award:
“I know each of you will be proud to support your REALTOR® float.” – Charles McMillan, NAR President
Well, not really. And honestly, this is the kind of missive that’s better off not being said. Even if you felt the need to promote the existence of the Viewers’ Choice award, the hard sell at the end is as likely to chase people off as to influence them.
We as individual agents know this. Shouldn’t the national organization that represents us?
And make no mistake, the position is all about influence – the ability to interject thoughts and guide a conversation in a given direction without blatantly promoting the message. How do you do this? Through comments on blogs, by becoming a part of the online real estate community (which admittedly remains a small percentage of NAR membership), by promoting discourse on different issues without being rigid and defensive in thought.
On the surface it would seem that someone like me – someone who has taken his fair share of jabs at NAR over the past couple of years – would be ill-suited for such a position. To a degree, I might not argue.
At the same time, wouldn’t it behoove NAR to bring into the fold someone with a bit of a critical eye, someone who can identify the challenges and make recommendations rather than blithely parroting “it’s a great time to buy or sell.”? (Along those lines, it might be time to retire the “dream of home ownership” lingo as well as it doesn’t resonate much better in the current climate.)
(For the record, I never applied for the position because of the ill-conceived idea that the Social Media Director would have to work out of NAR’s Chicago offices. These are positions that can, and probably should, be handled remotely. Fly the director in to train the staff on blogging, but beyond that, a physical presence isn’t needed.)
Assuming NAR’s still looking to fill the position, the obvious choice would be either me or someone like me – a person who understands social media, who has engaged in the larger discussions for some time and who also has ideas on how the message can be disseminated more effectively to the masses.
And if the position has been filled … olly, olly, oxen free. It’s time to come out and say hi.