Real estate agents who provide tools like ChatGPT with generic prompts to churn out content are missing out on the best uses of the tech, media experts argued at Inman Connect New York.

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When Griff O’Brien launched Estate Media with his cofounder Josh Flagg, they were spending somewhere between $10,000 to $15,000 a month creating shortform videos and other content to plug the new business.

Now two years later, they’ve reduced those costs by 75 percent to 80 percent, O’Brien said.

It’s a concrete example of the power of editing tools based on artificial intelligence and other new methods, which can cut down substantially on the time and effort of filming, editing and posting to an array of social media platforms with varying criteria for a successful post.

“I think if you find the right tools and know when to use them, from a content creation perspective, it can be really impactful,” O’Brien said.

Still, many real estate professionals have yet to find the right application of generative AI tools in the era of ChatGPT and similar products as they chase more content, build bigger audiences and navigate the increasingly confusing rules of each platform’s content algorithm, according to three media panel members who spoke Tuesday at the Inman Connect real estate conference in New York.

Their overall takeaway? A real estate agent’s core message on social media can’t come from AI — it’s something that has to come authentically from the agent.

“If you have a great message, it’s like, ‘Give me seven options of how to do this and optimize it for these platforms.’ But don’t ask it for the concept, the nugget, the differentiation,” Complex founder Rich Antoniello told the room of real estate professionals. “Ask it to help you create better entry points on different platforms — different formats, different editing. It’s opening up the aperture on the creative side of the application, not the concept itself.”

The AI products that are capable of producing marketing copy today have a strong tell, Devin Emery, chief content officer at Morning Brew, told the crowd. Social media users can often distinguish between text that’s written by a large-language model and thoughts that come from an authentic place, he added.

That’s why it’s important for real estate agents to come up with their own message, Emery said. When they do use AI, they should avoid using generic prompts that lack originality and personality, he added.

“If everybody’s using the same tools and the same prompts, you’re only going to be able to get certain outputs from using these tools,” Emery said.

The purpose of having a presence on social media isn’t merely to pump out content, Emery said. Real estate agents want to build an audience that can help them earn trust and attract clients. And to do that, they need their audience to develop an affinity for them and their content.

“People aren’t going to build the affinity directly with AI chatbots,” Emery said. “They need the element of the people and the brands that are being built in order to have something that has sustained value.”

But that doesn’t mean AI can’t have a big impact on how agents reach audiences. O’Brien, Antoniello and Emery have all used various AI-fueled tools, and believe they can help agents stay on top of the formatting demands imposed by a variety of social media platform algorithms — a must in today’s ever-changing environment.

In fact, the fewer platforms an agent is active on, the more vulnerable he or she will be to changes in the type of content that successfully reaches audiences.

“The biggest mistake I see people make is just not posting everywhere,” O’Brien said.

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