Social Media, Return on Invesment & Other ‘Pesky’ Questions

About four years ago, two things began to happen simultaneously in real estate: price erosion and social media.  The first, price erosion, is something that ‘happened’ to the industry.  While the second, social media, is something that real estate agents have jumped into head first.

Brian Boero of 1000WattConusulting has an “off the beaten path” post on the bizarro world that is social media.

The money quote, for me:

This social media thing was made for real estate.

But does it feel to you like real estate has really nailed it?  It doesn’t to me…

There are lots of reasons why. The details are less important than some of the faulty assumptions driving them:

  • That hundreds of thousands of under-experienced practitioners could play effectively on a platform that rewards substance
  • That the social media opportunity would get bigger the easier it got to participate
  • That social media marketing could be sensibly peddled to agents by many of the same folks who convinced them that haranguing their friends and neighbors with scripts was a good idea

Right there is the rub…Are you in real estate to earn a living, change lives or be friends?  And this doesn’t apply merely to real estate!  If you are in any kind of business for yourself, and you are utilizing social media, you need to be asking yourself, “Why, how, & how much?”

Why, How & How Much?

Ok, so this is pretty much like touching the third rail of politics, Social Security.  Once the folks in the swamp even breathe that they are going to ‘reform’ social security, the rails come off their individual races for re-election…In other words, folks get all hyperventilated when someone begins taking on their beloved program.

Why are you using social media for your business?  Is the aim to get more business?  Presuming the answer is yes, what is your strategy?  Do you even have a strategy?

<Sidebar> The s-word really annoys some folks in the SocNets, as they feel you should simply be yourself, share what you know and all will come back to you in some kind of Napoleon Hill exercise in universal energy.  Funny thing about that; ole Nappy Hill even went so far as to suggest we lay out a road map to what we want in life, otherwise all that “getting energy” is mis-directed.</Sidebar>

I stand by my analogy of social media as a giant Chamber of Commerce networking event.  To make good use of your time at the networking event, you arrive with one of two objectives: meet 3 folks that you need to “round out” your business network, or give away X number of business cards while having meaningful conversations.

If you are going to engage the SocNets for your business, you better have a strategy, or at least a well-thought out plan of utilizing the services provided.  Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time and money or entirely trashing your business’ reputation online… and Google’s memory is greater than an elephant’s!

How are you using social media? See where that strategy thing might come in handy?  Are you simply spewing links about your business and incessantly talking about your business?  Do YOU like ‘talking’ with people like this in meat space?

When you throw a party, you really shouldn’t, as the great host you are, usher people into your dining room, whip out the white board and hard sell your product to your guests.  They are all there for a party.  And a party is about getting to know each other and enjoying each others company.  The same holds true on the SocNets.  It is about creating meaningful connections, relationships.

How much time and/or money are you spending on the social media side of your business?

  • Social media marketing costs just as much or more than “traditional” marketing. You’re going to need to spend a lot more in time and spend your money in different places. On a marketing director with great writing skills, for example. Or a video producer who can do right by you. Social media needs to be treated with the same care that big newspaper ad contract received back in the day if you want results.

Brian hits it out of the park with this point ALONE!  Real estate agents have positively flocked to social media as a panacea to their lack of a marketing strategy (dang! There’s that word again…).  They’ve heard or been sold a bill of goods that says, “Get online and all your problems are solved.”  Truth is, getting online will only magnify the positives, or negatives, that your business currently has.  Seeing as many agents don’t operate with a business plan, this social media “strategy” has the double-plus, ungood effect of showing their marketplace they have no business plan, marketing plan or strategy.

Harsh Words…

Yep.  Reality can be that way.  This is not to suggest that folks practicing real estate or social media “the unapproved” way can’t be successful.  Far from it.  I simply posit that the majority of real estate agents, and folks using social media for their businesses, have no idea the damage they can do by “playing around” on the SocNets without a clear strategy.

Information/data is the new economy.  How are you using your information/data?

One thing that I remember, constantly, as I interact online is: “My grandkids will be able to see what gramps was like in the early aughts.”  Can you see how this thought can apply to your business too?

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