April 2, 2020

Evangelizing the Impossible

Has your real estate business gone viral?  Has your website been taken down by an onslaught of traffic in one day when your article was shared by Chris Brogan?  How about getting a million buyer representation agreements in one day because of your new release?   Unfortunately this hasn’t happened to you or me and isn’t likely to happen.  Why?  As a real estate professional you sell a service which is heavily regulated and requires licensure.  Services like this typically don’t go viral especially ones that are as human intensive as real estate.   Social Media and the web aren’t so kind to real estate professionals. They’re more kind to real estate software providers, tools, b-to-b products, and more or less tangible products related to the industry (supercheapsigns.com).

Frankly, services like real estate sales are hard to scale on the web in general and work much better in a hyper-localized basis.  What comes to mind is usually either the successful and local real estate broker or the soulless national brand that’s franchising up a storm.   There’s seemingly not much in between.  But isn’t social media supposed to solve this for all of us? Just tweet, share links, create video, and publish blog posts and all will be solved, correct?   The problem is greater.  In order to go viral people must be able to evangelize YOU on a scalable basis.  Real estate is as local as the weather as they say and we all know how scalable that is.

I found myself initially jumping on the social media bandwagon a couple years back thinking it was about quantity of followers, friends, etc.  Unfortunately the human brain can’t process thousands of friends, followers, and connections.  The brain can only handle roughly 150 connections. Some of you reading this will dismiss this article based on the mentioned link (theoretical rule); however I believe it to be true.  Think of how many people we meet and eventually fall out of touch with.  Upon my personal buy-in of the Dunbar number, I started to recalibrate how I approached social media, brand-building, and marketing in general.  As a real estate professional you should too.  Are you going the direction of building a national brand or firm?  Or are you looking to be the very best in your specific niche, in your specific geography?

I changed my approach by caring less about connecting with the latest social media guru or the ever growing realestate.net community (not that I don’t love you all) and have focused more on connecting with people relevant to my goals (and passion) within real estate.  For you that may be local community leaders, bloggers, media, and other centers of influence in your neighborhood.  These are the people that can evangelize you to their networks.  This is the result of an epiphany I had when I was a banker.  One of the goals I had was meeting local business owners and hitting business account opening quotas.  Going door to door and meeting business owners was a lot of work.  Though successful, over time I became frustrated.  I talked to one of the more successful managers in my market.  He had a laser focus on working with CPAs that already had the trust of their business owner clients.  These CPAs were evangelizing the banker.  This worked and it worked well.  If your CPA tells you to do something you’re more likely to do it than the guy who walks into your business with brochures.  This in real estate is more efficient than a million blog posts and tweets.   Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog or tweet.  Continue doing these but consider creating the content for those who can evangelize you to their network

The good news is; for you this very doable.  The barrier of entry into content creation and curation is low.  However the real value is in sharing knowledge.  This is where you can make a difference.  Start being a source of knowledge in your niche or locality.   Use that knowledge and unique perspective to build a social media strategy around connecting with a targeted list of specific influencers.  Service and protect your existing clients first and foremost and share your knowledge with them.  The new influencers are second.  An example of this would be providing your local popular community blogger with real estate stats and market updates.  He may start quoting you on the local market or mentioning you in blogs.  You suddenly have instant credibility to the readership of the blog.   Think of these mentions as endorsements of your brand.  I wonder how many blog posts you’d have to write to achieve the value of 1 mention from a credible source; dozens, hundreds, thousands?  Of course the knowledge you share and specific relationships you target and nurture are all leading indicators of success.  In maintaining a consistent strategy, you’ll eventually build the trust necessary to be evangelized.

– Ryan Hinricher


  1. Love the honesty! Most people think it but don’t want to say it out loud…way to go Ryan.

  2. Very very insightful. I agree with you on the capacity for people to only handle so many connections. I don’t know if I agree with the 150 number but there is a limit for everyone. I think the essence of networking is for people who understand it to connect with others that do. Those ‘connectors’ can exponentially expand their network with one anothers’ help and have to do less to do it – as long as they are all on the same page and trust one another. A genuine relationship must be there though…this is something I am seeing as more and more rare; particularly in our industry.

  3. Great post,think it comes down to knowing your audience/purpose ie what is your goal,and back to the idea of quality over quantity,and forming genuine bonds and relationships (and then nuturing them). 🙂

  4. Ryan, really excellent post and well written. One of the best I’ve seen, anywhere.

  5. Ryan Hinricher says

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Much appreciated.

  6. wow…look what happens when you take a few months off to take care of the family…you rock!

  7. Ryan-
    I love your thoughts and appreciate the time you put into this post! Thank you!
    Paul Zweben

  8. Far and away the best article I have read on the subject in awhile.

  9. Malcolm Carter says

    As I’ve mentioned on Facebook, thank you for a post that reminded me again of the necessity of face-to-face and voice-to-voice communication in addition to the essential social media connections that our lives demand today.

  10. My brain can handle, like, 3 connections.