We’re very excited to welcome Herman Chan for today’s installment of the Business 2 Community social media expert interview series! First, some background on Herman:
In his videoblog, Habitat for Hermanity, Herman pokes fun of the real estate business all the while empowering buyers and sellers with behind-the-scene tips and secrets of the industry. Realtor Magazine didn’t christen Herman as the Internet Sensation Videoblogger for nothing. With his trademark helpful hilarious flair, Herman offers a glimpse beyond the glitz and glam of real estate and design.
Labeled by Inman News and Sold Magazine as The Real Estate Celebrity & Expert, Herman’s glittering personality has been featured on countless media outlets like HGTV, House Hunters, Yahoo, KGO, My House is Worth What, MSNBC, Money Magazine MTV’s Downelink, Logo, CBS, KOFY-TV, LA Talk Radio, ComcastTV, World Journal, GlobeSt.com, Epoch Times and the real estate documentary Moving Up, Moving Out. You can catch him as the Design Expert for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Money & Living Expert for MTV’s NewNowNext, as well as the host for eHow’s Home & Garden Real Estate. He’s a contributor for Huffington Post, a columnist for Agent Genius Magazine, and a nationally published writer for Realtor Magazine, Frontiers, Echelon, Asian Real Estate and more. (Hey, can’t let that fancy Communications degree from UC Berkeley go to waste!) Live audiences watch, laugh and learn from Herman as he enlightens and entertains as a public cpeaker! He’ll chat your ear off about design and housing! Most recently, Kodak partnered with Herman to be their brand’s Real Estate Influencer. When he’s not hockin’ homes or his mug on TV, Herman also lends his face to various charitable causes, like the NoH8 Campaign and Saks 5th Avenue’s WorkOpen Campaign. He is the spokesperson for the anti-cyber bullying campaign, Say It To My Face as well.
6 Questions on Social Media With Herman Chan
1. How did you get your start in the industry?
I grew up in a real estate family and never in a million years thought I would be doing this. But after graduating from UC Berkeley with a Mass Communications degree, I languished trying to “figure things out” in typical Generation Y fashion. The Post dot-bomb and post 9/11 era weren’t the best of times. My mom suggested I get my real estate license to sell a home or two to get by. Well, being the overachiever I am, I went gang buster and what do you know?! It was in my blood. My media background, internship at San Francisco magazine, and general obsession with cultural trends/technology helped me elevate my branding and marketing above other realtors who were still doing bus bench ads. With my big personality, my (v)blogging was a natural next step and it brought me so much attention (deserved or not).
2. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry?
The average age of a real estate agent is 60 years old. The average buyer is 30. There technology gap is widening at a frightening rate. Millennials/Generation X and Y are going to be driving the business, and I’m seeing many old school agents getting left in the dust trying to do business the traditional agent-centric way. Now it is about the consumer. With clients wired 24/7 on the phones and tablets, they are armed with more data than ever. The role of the agent is no longer gate keeper of information. Agents who cannot out the consumer at the center of the deal will become dinosaurs.
3. What is the method to your blogging success? What inspires your blogs?
I’m helpfully hilarious. That is the Herman Brand! Real estate historically is conservative and stuffy, when in reality it’s actually a funny business. I try to show a different side to the industry through my blog, HabitatForHermanity.com. People don’t want to be constantly sold to. Consumers crave authenticity and humor. If you can make a reader smile, you have won them as a client. As a visual person, I love images of homes (gems and dumps!) , and house porn, especially of Hollywood celebs and Silicon Valley/SF elite. The meteoric rise of Pinterest is a testament that readers are visual creatures! As a news junkie, I love sharing wacky housing stories too.
4. What do you think is the future of social media?
Social media was a very pure space originally, where people came to together, communities sprung up and lots of sharing occurred. As corporations realize it’s not a fad, the social media space is quickly morphed into a social commerce space. There is intense pressure to monetize the social experience (sponsored ads in Facebook timeline, etc.) It remains to be seen how this affects us. Some people decry this as the end of an era, but I think we are so jaded and cynical, we are already socialized (resigned?) to accept commercialization of social media. Currently social media is fairly free. I hope that does not change in the future.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
With regard to social media, there is no way you can do it all, especially since it seems a new social media thing pops up every week! Pick one or two and work it! But be strategic. If you are in a rural or retirement community, chances are that your consumers are not tweeting. As for real estate, it is a tough business for newbies, but fear not! Quick tips: be an assistant to a top producer for a year. Watch, learn and then fly solo. Or find a real estate team or partner whose business you can piggyback on while you learn the ropes. You’ll have to split your commissions but it is more important to gain experience when starting out.
6. Where can we find you on the web/on Twitter/Facebook/etc.?
My main hub is my hit blog, Habitatforhermanity.com, “Where real estate hilarity ensures!” Otherwise find me at: twitter.com/Hermanity, pinterest.com/Hermanity, fb.me/hermankchan, and gplus.to/Hermanity! Don’t be shy! Ping me!