RISMEDIA, November 14, 2009—While many real estate professionals believe that social networking by itself will help generate sales and lead them to success, this is only partially true. Here, Brian Wildermuth, president/owner, SharperAgent discusses how social networking is just one component of a real estate agent’s success.
As I travel all over the country to various real estate conferences and events, I get to learn first-hand what the new shiny object will be for the real estate industry. You know what I mean. Every year our industry becomes transfixed on a new magic bullet that is going to solve all our problems. Several years ago, it was lead generation and lead capture. Next up, it was lead conversion and management. Last year, it was online video and blogging. And let’s face it—you would have to be in full seclusion on a deserted island not to know that agents are mesmerized by social media marketing.
I recently watched a presentation on the Web with a successful online entrepreneur extolling the benefits of social media marketing. He concluded his talk saying, “If you don’t get into social media marketing, you will be gone in one year.”
Like you, I’ve heard this all before. If you don’t get a computer, you will be gone. If you don’t get online, you will be gone. Well, oddly enough, many successful agents are thriving today without securing any leads or business from the Internet. That’s not to say I don’t agree with the notions that you need to be online, that you need to be proficient with technology, and that you need to tap into social networking. I just don’t buy that success in real estate is decided by technology; quite the contrary, I believe that success in real estate will always be centered on the ability to form and maintain strong relationships with people. That’s it—end of story.
So then what should an agent do today about the latest shiny object? It is obvious to me that social media marketing presents great opportunities to secure new leads and build stronger relationships. Like open houses, purchased Internet leads, website inquiries, target or direct marketing, past clients, networking, advertising, traditional PR and many other methods of marketing, social media marketing has its place in lead generation and cultivation. And being that millions upon millions of consumers are on the Web and interfacing via Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and other sites, being absent from this arena could cause you more damage than good.
My two cents? Add social media marketing to your other top three lead sources to supplement and/or enhance what is currently working for you and your business. Make sure to create a written strategy that aligns with all of your other marketing initiatives and take a class or two to help you learn the basic do’s and don’ts. With the right approach, you will be adding new leads, finding buyers and cementing your existing relationships. Most importantly, remember that the ultimate goal is a well-maintained relationship—one of mutual respect and trust. The best way to accomplish that is good old fashioned face-to-face communication.