Social Media – A No Pitch Zone?
I know quite a few people in the real estate social media space. Many of them are some of the most intelligent people I know. These are the same people that recognized Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites as more than just a place to chat with friends well before the masses jumped on board. Many of these people have in the past few months really started to consider if there is a place for a strategy in social media.
In the begining of social media use, the concept was simple, it was sheerly a way to broaden your number of connections, selling was unheard of and spammers were called out publicly. The concept of a “strategy” for social media was a taboo subject. The most important concept was to be a resource and help others, bring to the table what you knew and people would come to you.
Are You Making Money From Your Social Media Efforts?
There are those in the real estate field that I can assure you are making money from their social media endeavors. The Phoenix Real Estate Guy - Jay Thompson is one of them. Jay gets thousands of visitors to his website by blogging and engaging with those that comment. Dale Chumbley’s 365 Things to do in Vancouver, WA is another, he’s stated to me personally that he’s actually gotten multiple deals from the site in it’s short 160 day existence.
Is The Average Realtor Making Money From Social Media?
I think the vast majority would answer no. But I don’t think it’s because they can’t. I believe it’s something different. For various reasons I think many of those that have flocked to social media are looking for a magic bullet to increase their business. I believe that these Realtors are expecting social media to be leads just falling over themselves calling the agent to get information. But where I see a huge disconnect is one of the primary rules of sales, Ask for the sale!
Asking For The Sale
If a salaried salesperson in a different industry were to go through a sales pitch with someone and not ask for the order, they’d be fired. I believe that many Realtors are just never trained to ask for the sale whether that’s in person or online. Now in no possible way am I suggesting that Realtors go online and start selling their services and stalk people to make sure they use them for the transaction of real estate. Instead, what I’m just pushing is that after an agent has built social capital with their groups of followers and friends in social media, that at least in some capacity they remember to ask for the sale whether that be a gentle request if the person knows anyone interested in the market right now to have them give a call or something more simple. I believe that the single biggest thing a Realtor can do is to build a database list, so why not at least ask those that you are interacting and engaging with to sign up for a newsletter / market update email from you? (assuming the person is living in your area)
Why not ask people that follow you on occasion to subscribe if they find value in not just your friendship but also in your work?
Do you have systems in place to encourage your followers to subscribe to your information? Do you feel comfortable enough to soft sell people to remember you are in real estate?
Twitter Is A Connector
As proof of how powerful this can be, the other day I made a comment on Twitter:
“Does anyone know how to request more information from a Realtor on Realtor.com I simply can’t find the info request button anymore”
I was expecting to get responses from Realtors across the country complaining about the changes to Realtor.com and agreeing that it’s odd that it’s impossible to contact the listing agent from a property on the site. Instead the first tweet I got back :
“@EricStegemann you should just find a house and go with @KarenSTL she’s the best realtor you’ll find.”
This message was not from another Realtor. This was from a college student who is unrelated to Karen Goodman a Realtor in St Louis.
Walking The Line – Hard and Soft Selling
But here’s what separates those using social media to drive business and those that don’t. Karen Goodman knows how to be fun on Twitter, but she knows how to softly remind people that she’s in real estate. There are tweets going through her stream reminding people that she’s holding an open house, that she’s going to listing appointments that evening. It’s not waving a flag saying “I’m a Realtor, you should use me.” But it’s still effective. In her stream she offers people market updates that always include a subscribe link, and a way to sign up to receive notifications when homes sell in a specific area. Her social media strategy may not be written but it was effective enough that a 20something made sure to reach out, thinking I was looking to buy a home, and made sure that I would use Karen if I was.
This is the foundation for a winning online social media strategy.