So, you have a Profile set-up on Facebook and you’ve become Friends with many of your old classmates, family, closest friends and a few colleagues. You may have even learned how to leverage your current or recent client’s Friend Lists to tap into their Sphere-of-Influence (SOI) to expand your own. Now you might be wondering what do you need to say to turn all of these people into clients without boring or offending them? The long and short answer is to BE YOURSELF, and this is going to naturally vary for each person.
First and foremost you need to keep in mind that Social Media is best served for SOCIAL relationship building. It IS NOT a business advertising platform, but if you play the game by the ‘rules’, Social Media can be much more effective than the most expensive advertisement. Since 74% of your business will on average come from your SOI, we at the Professional Realty Council (PRC) specialize in helping our selected member agents build their SOI in cost effective ways that positions them as the GO TO person for real estate related services in their market area. We feel that Social Media is the most effective means of communicating and networking in real time on a large scale. Yes, nothing beats person-to-person contact, but your time limits will prevent you from reaching enough people to be highly effective from a MARKETING standpoint. (To learn more about PRC, please visit www.PRCStandards.net )
With this in mind, let’s get back to what content you will provide. Through our surveys of top agents participating in Social Media, we have found that the 80%-20% rule applies. You will want about 80% of your contact to be personal and social, and about 20% to be business related, or roughly 4 out of 5 posts should have nothing to do with the fact that you are a REALTOR. The 80% should be about you, your family, your hopes, your dreams, your hobbies, and within reason your political and religious views. BE YOURSELF, and DO NOT be afraid to be POLARIZING. If you try to be everything to everybody, you are going to come across as being dull and forgettable. If you want to keep your life private, then Social Media probably isn’t for you. You may also want to re-think sales as your career choice. People want to be in your Social Network because you add character, intelligence, humor and value to the collective stream of social consciousness. If you have strong political or religious views, so long as you do not personally attack someone with differing views, you will gain Friends and Followers who share those views. Yes, you may lose some of those who do not share the same beliefs, but the net gain of passionate followers will always outweigh the losses. BE YOURSELF, comment on what is happening in your community, or with your children, or grandchildren, or charities, or on what is in the news. BE ORIGINAL. While it’s okay to on occasion copy someone else’s post (with credit being given), don’t make it a habit. Attach photos to your albums or Flickr account, and/or videos from YouTube. Use your smart phone to upload status updates and content as you participate: meetings, sporting events, visits to exciting places, gatherings with friends, etc. The idea is to let people know who the REAL YOU is. Trust me, you will attract the like-minded people that you’ll want to become better acquainted with.
The other most important thing to do is PARTICIPATE in what others on your Live Feed are saying and doing. On Facebook it is very easy to add a comment after someone’s Status Update to engage them in conversation. Be positive and supportive. Be likable. Ask lot’s of open-ended questions. Your comments will not only be seen by the person who wrote the original comment, but by their ENTIRE Friend List. You can also send private messages to get to know someone better or comment on more sensative postings. Show that YOU CARE about them. Respond to comments that Friends add to your posts. You want to keep the conversations moving forward. Even if only a few people are involved in the conversation, many others will be reading the back-and-forth.
For the other 20% you want to just mix in enough content about your business to gently remind people that you are a professional and the GO TO resource for real estate information in your area. Talk about how you helped a recent client, post links to newsworthy articles about the real estate market in your area, share classes, seminars or other educational opportunities that you’ve had or offer. Talk about why a new listing is special or why you enjoy working with the client. Remember, the idea is not to sell a house today, but to build long-term relationships where people in your SOI trust you enough to call you WHEN they have a need for your services. This is no different than how you’ve positioned yourself to your SOI in the past, just with Social Media you are now able to leverage relationships much faster, in greater depth, and for FREE. My only caution is that you manage your time wisely so that you don’t spend too much time in this one area of marketing.
I’d love to hear what Social Media prospecting techniques have worked for you. In my next installment I’ll talk about using Twitter and Facebook in conjunction with your personal blog to reach an even wider audience.
Dennis Rosvall is the Broker/Owner or PRC Access Realty in Scottsdale, Arizona and can be reached at www.Facebook.com/DennisRosvall or www.Twitter.com/UberRealtyGuy