Balancing Your Strategy in Social Media

Online social networks present some great opportunities to connect with consumers, but you shouldn't put all your chips on that hand. Instead, use it for appropriate communication and balance it with other mediums.

April 1, 2010

I probably don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot of buzz right now around social media—specifically, with using social networks to generate leads and communicate with past and present clients and prospects.

Certainly, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with people, transfer value, and generate leads from platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Still, real estate professionals consistently make mistakes in their overall social media strategy.

Here’s a list of common social media missteps to avoid:

Don’t Spend Too Much Time on It

Real estate sales, no matter where the leads are generated, is and will always be a face-to-face service business. Most buyers and sellers need to meet with us in person. Use social media to create leads but get those leads to meet with you face-to-face.

The real estate pros who earn the greatest income are the ones who have more time in front of clients and prospects. They are face-to-face with more people more often and for longer periods of time than lower-producing practitioners.

Generally speaking, if you are spending hours a day on social media communication, it’s too much time. The method you use to contact prospects and clients influences your conversion rates and success rates. The more barriers between you and your prospects and clients in time, space, visual, and verbal mediums, the lower the conversion rate on prospects and leads.

I encourage our clients to invest 30 minutes a day—or less—in social media communication. It can take up your whole day if you let it.

Communicate Value and Exigency

When using social media, position yourself as an expert on the industry. Use market stats, market trends, key reports, NAR research, board results, company track record, and your individual numbers to reinforce your conclusions on marketplace trends. Build messages of urgency of the advantages of acting now in today’s marketplace—for instance, clearly explaining why a seller should list now rather than wait for the spring.

Right now, we can use the tax credit (which expires on April 30), forthcoming interest rate increases due to the Federal Reserve ending their program to purchase mortgage-backed securities by end of March, the current low inventory levels in most marketplaces, and the phased-in changes of FHA mortgages between now and summer to emphasize the importance of acting immediately.

Use It to Find People

The volume of people on Facebook is astounding. Because so many people are using this social network, you can often find people or reach people through it that you don’t have phone numbers or other contact info for.

For some of my clients who are working expireds and can’t secure a phone number off the MLS or other Internet sources, they search Facebook and make contact using that medium. The connection rate is lower than using the phone, but there usually aren’t many other real estate pros who have made that connection. It gives you the inside track if they are considering relisting their home.

Social media can be a good way to generate connections and leads with prospects and clients. Be sure to invest time and resources into this area. Just don’t overdo it—it’s only one lead-generation stream among several.

 Dirk Zeller is a speaker, author and CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 350,000 real estate professionals each year through live events, online training, self-study programs and newsletters. He's written several articles and books, including Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies and Telephone Sales for Dummies. To learn more, visit http://www.realestatechampions.com.

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