Communication and Supervision in the Age of Snapchat, TikTok and Targeted Commercials

John Mijac, Managing Broker
Long Realty Foothills Office


This message is antithetical to its medium… “What?” You ask. Follow along and I’ll explain, but be patient, if you can. And, to mimic my mother, do what I say, not what I do. We live in a world of VERY short attention spans, where even the briefest exclamations must be clipped, OMG. So, since your clients, agents, and other brokers probably zone out on the second paragraph of any dissertation…how will you get info to your target audience? 

This is a dilemma I faced when I was the Designated Broker for my company. Every month I wrote educational messages sent to roughly 1,000 agents. Through tracking, I realized these were being read by as few as 9 to 15 people. It wasn’t the subject matter, nor the writing. I had not understood the time constraints of my audience, coupled with the fact we live in an instant gratification society. Our consumers have little patience with any message longer than 30 seconds, are bored the moment they’ve heard anything similar before, and reject outright any requirement to think deeply on a subject which appears to have little value to them. Have I pissed you off yet? 

I hear the objections …my agents are not consumers, my audience is sophisticated, and what I have to say is important to them. Well, yes, no, and that’s not the point. First, we are all consumers now, our society has made us so, and, given the fact that we are pursued by targeted ads on every device we own, we have become used to gathering information in tiny snippets…as short as 1 to 5 seconds! Next, however sophisticated we are, we are constantly distracted. Our attention is being chased by our phones, our watches; in fact, all our devices demand our attention…so remember that your consumers are also similarly plagued. Advertisers understand to really grasp the message, we must hear it, see it and feel it over and over…not just three times, five or seven times might be required for the thought to sink in through all the noise. Last, you must find something bizarre, unusual, outrageous, or filled with your own passion to grab their attention. 

When I first realized I was not getting my written messages across to any but the most ardent readers, I turned to 30 second videos and the audience numbers immediately increased by 10 fold and then by 10 times again to the point where I was able to reach most of the agents in my company. Naturally the novelty dropped off after a little while, but I quickly learned to speak to the hopes and fears right in the title, vary the method of delivery and poke fun at myself from time to time…a sock puppet here, open up with a dance to random music there, a song on an odd occasion…anything absurd enough to get attention. Now I also vary the medium and sometimes deliver my video messages via text, or the social media my team is using. 

What will you do? My suggestions are to surprise them, mix it up, keep it short, hit the important points in different ways multiple times and track it. If you track your missives, you will learn very quickly what your people will give their precious attention to and what they will reject. Don’t feel bad about rejection! Understanding what your audience rejects is a gift that leads to a communicator’s success. And now I have broken every rule I gave you unless you finished reading this last word.