March 17, 2018

Will Social Save Your Real Estate Business?

Social networking certainly elevates brain activity (proven here), but how does this impact your real estate business?   During a period which interest rates are sitting at all-time lows (non-inflation adjusted), and mortgage purchase applications are at super-low levels not seen in 13 years, do you think social networking is the answer?

I’ve been seeing a push lately of people (at least talking about) getting back to work.  Seth Godin talks famously about shipping and asking the real questions, “Why blog, why Tweet, why Facebook?”  Are we living in denial?  The difference with him is he does it.  He lives his work.  Are the rest of starting to experience social fatigue? The majority of the social networking and real time web seems to be focused on business-to-business (B to B) or friend-to-friend networking and little on business-to-consumer (B to C) or Realtor-to-Client (R to C).  I’m wondering if people are realizing that no amount of social networking with friends and peers is going to pull a business out of the crisis.  It’s going to take a focus on one’s clients.

I don’t think social networking is going to do it.  I think customer relationship management (CRM) is the avenue (at least to real estate transactions).  I like to think of CRM as Social Networking’s ugly cousin.  It isn’t sexy and gets limited media attention.  Think about this for a moment; Mashable gets 3.5-4million unique visitors per month, but I can’t find a CRM blog that gets more than nominal traffic (in popular blog terms).  Which one brings in the checks to your real estate business?  Calling customers and developing 1-to-1 personal relationships or “sending status updates”.

Now playing the devil’s advocate, I’d have to say one the most profound moments in my last 3 years was attending TWTRCON in San Francisco and making 1 personal connection that has forever changed my life, and business, by mentoring me in online trust-building.  While that TWTRCON was probably one of the best financial investments I’ve made, for most endless status updates will give you limited consumer real estate sales.

Having a good CRM and developing good habits via connecting with consumers is today more important than ever.  In a post-crisis economy, consumers are much more wary of buying into hype and surface relationships.  Most consumers are looking behind the click to work with real estate professionals who have made a real personal connection with them.  This doesn’t mean that social networking can’t be part of one’s overall strategy in building trust with consumers.  It often can be the gateway to a relationship.  Relationships still have a tendency to develop at a higher level once off-line.