If You’re Only Going to Do One Thing in Social Media…

This morning, I read with great interest a post from one of our competitors called “What is Social Media Priority Number 1 for Real Estate Professionals?”

Here’s the key quote from that post:

That’s why I argue that if you’re only going to do one thing on social media, let it be LinkedIn.

I think this is a great idea for a blog post, but I must say that I disagree with the advice.

Why LinkedIn Isn’t the Best Option

Here’s why I think LinkedIn is not the best place to start for a real estate professional looking to get into Social Media:

  • It’s not a very social site. That is, it is not very “conversational,” nor is it dynamic.
  • The sheer gross metrics in terms of “where the people are:” As of August 2010, LinkedIn has 75M registered users, while Twitter had 190M users in July 2010 and Facebook had a staggering 500M users in July 2010.
  • I spend a large percentage of my time on this very topic – how to leverage Social Media effectively in real estate – and LinkedIn is almost NEVER mentioned as a PRIMARY Social Media strategy. It IS frequently mentioned…but in a secondary, “Oh, yeah, you should have a LinkedIn profile, too” sort of way.

That is NOT to say that LinkedIn is a bad site. Not at all! On the contrary, it’s a great site for what it is intended to be: in my opinion, an online resume, more or less, and a place where people go to do “career-building” stuff.

But, compared to Facebook and Twitter, for example, I just don’t see a lot of interaction taking place on LinkedIn. Personally, I ONLY use LinkedIn to check out people’s profiles, and I only do that rarely, when I cannot find enough of what I’m looking for after reviewing a person’s Twitter profile and or Facebook page. And I am aware that LinkedIn includes other features…but “my crowd” in Social Media has simply never led me to participate in those things, for whatever reason.

Three Alternatives Better Than LinkedIn

Having said that, here are the top three things I would recommend to an agent wishing to leverage Social Media effectively:

  • Consistently engage on Facebook. As noted above, Facebook is almost seven times larger than LinkedIn. In fact, people now spend more time on Facebook than they do on Google! That being said, there is no better place to connect and engage with people in Social Media than on Facebook. For me, Facebook is the ultimate “B2C” site.

  • Consistently engage on Twitter. Twitter’s growth is exploding. As you can see in the chart below, “Tweets per Month” have more than doubled during 2010, from 1.23 Billion per Month in January to 2.64 Billion per Month in August. That’s extraordinary, and shows how interactive and dynamic Twitter is. Further, as noted above, Twitter has 250% more users than LinkedIn. For me, Twitter is the ultimate “B2B” site.

  • Write a blog.  If you have the ability to blog consistently, I believe that blogging (or vlogging) is probably the best way to attract clients over the long haul, and the best part is that, once you have enough of a “foundation” established, it can continue to bring in real estate leads without as much required maintenance. When you consistently put out quality content that reinforces that YOU are the trusted expert on real estate in YOUR market, clients will be automatically drawn to you. And this isn’t just opinion. Here are two well known agents – Jay Thompson (@phxREguy) from Phoenix,  and Jeff Bernheisel (@JBern) from Portland – who are using a blog to create 90% – yes, 90%! – of their current real estate business:

I followed up with Thompson to see if he had additional comments. Here’s what he had to say:

I think Twitter and Facebook are vastly superior to LinkedIn for actively engaging with other people — which is where the real power of social media lies. And blogging is still the ultimate way to disseminate information (and highlight your expertise, and build your brand, and put your personality online). I do think that LinkedIn is under-utilized and does present some good networking possibilities, but the fact that it is under-utilized is another reason why Twitter, Facebook and blogging are better alternatives, not only for the beginner, but for the experienced agent as well.

Facebook, Twitter and Blogging

As an aside, I am in the midst of a speaking tour (called Agent Reboot and hosted by Inman News) on this very topic, and this is what I have shared with audiences in San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas and Portland. I’ve had the chance to meet a number of people who are leveraging Social Media effectively, and I would invite them to post comments to this blog post indicating whether they agree or disagree with my opinion. What I’ve heard from these other professionals has only served to reinforce my opinions on this timely topic.

Further, these are the techniques that I’ve used, and I am extremely pleased with the ROI that I’ve been fortunate enough to have created.

As a final comment, please note that I am NOT anti-LinkedIn! I love it, in fact!

But I just don’t think it’s the right place to start for a real estate professional looking to leverage the full power of Social Media…and it certainly would not be what I would suggest a Realtor do if they were only going to do “one thing” in Social Media…

Trackbacks Comments
  • If I could only use one tool (network), I’d go with a WordPress blog, hands down!
    Ricardo Bueno´s last [type] ..Social Media Advertising Fail

  • Michael,

    Limiting your social media efforts to one venue is like advertising real estate in the penny saver.

    Like Ricardo, if I was limited to only one it would be my blog – fortunately there is no such requirement and we are each free to roam the Internet – that is a wonderful THING!
    Jeffrey Douglass´s last [type] ..Real Estate Franchise Myths – Part Two

  • Agree totally with your post…BUT…if you are in Commercial Real Estate..LinkedIn is 1.God(with a little g) 2.The only platform that you are on. 3.Social Media,Blogging,Twitter???? what’s that??

  • Can I agree with both?

    I would say the KW article is correct if an agent is looking for the best place to have an unattended profile. Go to linkedin – set it and forget it. Maybe check in once a year to add new volunteer positions or approve the 2 dozen friend requests that have accumulated. An unattended twitter or facebook profile is far easier to tell.

    With that said, I agree with you too. Actively managing a facebook or twitter profile is much better than setting and forgetting a linkedin profile. Even actively managing a linkedin profile is better than just setting one up. But I think “actively manage” is a bigger one thing than the KayDub author was talking about.

    So if actively manage is one thing, I agree with Ribeezie. WordPress blogs are legit!!

    Good article – I like the topic.
    Phil Sexton´s last [type] ..Google Voice for Real Estate Agents

    • Phil,

      I don’t disagree, but I don’t think “set it and forget it” qualifies as “Social Media.” At least not as I think of it. And live it. And breathe it. Social Media isn’t Social Media UNLESS it requires “active management,” in my humble opinion.

      Getting past that, I agree that WordPress is the bomb. Our number one brand elevator, for sure.

      Thanks for your comment…

      Michael McClure´s last [type] ..If You’re Only Going to Do One Thing in Social Media…

  • I personally feel that blogging is the most powerful thing you can do, as it is an easy way to build your brand, your identity as a local expert, and create content that drives traffic and potential clients to your web site (or blog). It continues to account for a generous portion of my business

  • If I was to say what the first priority in Social Media for a real estate professional should be, it would be to figure out who your targeting. I find countless numbers of agents who have all of these cool tools at their disposal and yet they don’t have any idea who their audience is and who they want to say yes to them (outside of… you know, everyone being their target…which isn’t a target).

    I talked to a guy who has a large business in the realm of REO listings. The main target for him: Asset Managers. My suggestion to him was to 1) Start a blog (of course) and generate content focused at asset managers and then 2) Focus his initial Social Media efforts for this target on Linked-In and gear his summary, recommendations, etc toward this target. Now, I’m not saying that the asset manager won’t connect with him on Facebook, but in my opinion there’s a greater likely hood of Linked-In being a good base to start from for his target market.

    Ultimately content is crucial… but if you don’t know who or where your audience and target market(s) are, or if that target is everyone(again, not a real target), real estate agents may continue to struggle when it comes to applying the right technology to their business.

    From the book “Good to Great” — http://www.cocoonworks.com/library/mindmaps/business/business%20management/good%20to%20great/7-TechnologyAccelerators.html


  • I totally agree with this post and am living the results myself. It takes some time to build the social media marketing plan ( a year and a half for me to realize serious results ), but it works. I think often people think it is either old school or new school techniques and I think it is important that we use both.

  • Mark Jeffers

    Agree. I think you are right. Did I mention that I agree with you on this one?

    I do have something to say, however, about blogs. Blogs are a great, no wait a minute, the only way to get the full message out there about who you are, what you are about, and why you are about helping others. But just writing a blog will NOT get the job done. If you would like proof, please open the right hand bottom drawer of your desk, pull out the really well written brochure you created a few years ago about yourself/company. You know the one, it’s right on top of the mission statement and vision statement you wrote just before you created the brochure. Now count up the deals you closed directly from the brochure. In fact, count up the friends you already had that even saw the brochure. Same number? I thought so. A blog is only as valuable as the efforts to bring eyeballs to it are good. Social media, like any marketing, is a strategy. Complete with a plan and solid execution. I agree with you in that I like LinkedIn. I think it’s a great place for one to have their “business” story and connect with business acquaintances in case they would need one’s help or vice versa. If you have a referral only business, as some successful people do, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense. It even has some built in ways to spread the message, albeit not very virally or robustly. Other platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, used properly with specific goals, objectives and planning are far more useful in gaining readers for posts like this. Clearly I’m preaching to the choir, just look how many of the comments on this post are actually from Twitter. Did I say that I agree with you?

  • Linkedin is not widely used. I have just started a blog-hoping it will take off but nothing yet. Facebook is user freindly, and with 500 million users , it is kicking butt !

  • Joan Defenbaugh

    I am a relaitively new agent (re-activated my license in 2007). I see two types of agents. One type has been around a long time, has referral business, but now wants to “be on the internet” because their numbers are down.

    The other type seems to be the newer agents who understand where and how they need to use the internet and social media, but they will go broke before they have a closing from a constant income from real estate transactions.

    I don’t mean to paint such a black and white picture, but seriously where/how to we find the balance? I agree completely with Krisstina Wise in Austin who says she could not do all of it on her own.

    Are the days of independent agents going to go away to be replaced by teams that include the social media marketer, listing agent, buyer agents?
    I hope so! I would love to be a CTO for a team. That would be my dream job!
    Give me my computer, a camera, my flip video and my smart phone and let me work some magic. Others are better at working directly with buyers and sellers without the distraction of their Hootsuite updates :0)

    I know my strengths, just trying to keep up with the daily changes! At the same time trying to work with a few buyers and sellers to support my passion for all things internet marketing/social media.

    My LinkedIn profile seems like a resume with Google juice. I like to use the app on LinkedIn to show any books that I’m reading. Those results were on Google! What else is indexed on LinkedIN?

  • Agents if you are going to do one thing next year, identify your target market and focus how to get in front of those people. In some cases, your target market can change based on your listings, sphere of influence, etc.

    My advice is to focus on how to get in front of people. YOU CANT SELL TO AN EMPTY CHAIR.

    If your a buyer’s agent, focus on how to qualified people in your car or following you.

    If your a seller’s agent, focus on how to make more presentation of your services. In most cases, agents are both buyer’s and seller’s agents.

    The point of social media is to accelerate your success. It eliminates the need for print media and allows you to build up a fan base or a referral team i.e. for the price of your time-unless you outsource your social media engagements, which some big time agents DO.

    LinkedIn is my best kept secret. When everyone and their mother is marketing on the other platforms, I hone in on what I can do on LinkedIn where the competition of attention is lite. There’s too much noise on FB and Twitter in my opinion, but hey that’s just me.
    Real Estate Sales Training´s last [type] ..Real Estate Bar Camp Takeaways

  • Greg Grospitch

    LinkedIn is a great place to be, if you are considering leaving Real Estate. That is to say if you are going to look for a job in corporate America, LinkedIn is a good place to start your social media efforts. However, just because LinkedIn is the “professional network” doesn’s mean it’s for you. Furthermore, please understand that joining a “professional” network does not mean your a professional.

    Mike, the thing I think most people fail to understand is that “social” networking requires being social an engageing, and until that foundational fact I thoroughly understood, it really won’t matter much what platform you choose to use b/c your efforts will be unproductive.

  • Linkedin is relatively static information. It’s a good follow up resource, but it so does not belong in the same category as Twitter & Facebook.

    When you follow a person on Twitter over a period of time, you can actually discern what kind of character, intelligence and wit they possess.I would say that is similar on Facebook also.

    You can choose ANYONE you want to know more about, follow them on Twitter,monitor their Tweets, respond to them and see what they have to say to you. You might not be able to get their direct phone number,but you can learn a lot by following them on Twitter.
    The Mayor´s last [type] ..Ten Months Into Austin

  • Don’t ignore LinkedIn,especially the power of LinkedIn Answers. Great Google visibility. You can also integrate your twitter feed and your blog to LinkedIn. Here are some more ways to leverage LinkedIn http://mastersuccessseminars.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/leverage-your-linkedin/

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