Every realtor wants to know how he or she can make money from social media.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, shared her own plan for getting the most from social media in a two-part series on Inman News over the past week. Bernice astutely observes that, “The real issue when it comes to social media and real estate sales is that most people have confused the technology platforms with the actual business of providing real estate services.”
Social media isn’t a new way of conducting real estate business; it’s a more efficient means of doing the same business that realtors have been carrying out for years. Building a reputation and relying on referrals has been the status quo for years in real estate.
That’s still the case as evidenced by the 64 percent of sellers who said they chose their agent based on a referral or had used the same agent in the past, according to the most recent National Association of Realtor’s profile of home buyers and sellers. “Buyers also most commonly choose an agent based on a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, with trustworthiness and reputation being the most important factors,” the report said.
However, what has changed dramatically is how buyers and sellers are finding out who their friends and family have recommended. Fully 89 percent of buyers said they used the Internet to search for a home and 85 percent of those searchers purchased their home through a real estate agent. In the prime home-buying age bracket of 25 to 44 year olds, an astounding 94 percent of homebuyers start their search on the Internet.
These numbers should tell savvy realtors that the real opportunity with social media is to build an online presence and maximize potential referrals by expanding your social networks. In other words, it’s about replicating the same offline experience that home buyers and sellers have relied on to find someone they can trust help them through this complex process.
Bernice is exactly right when she says, “The way you use social media to expand your sphere of influence (i.e., your friends and followers) is the same way you would make friends with a new neighbor next door.” It’s just become so much easier to reach people than knocking on doors or posting yard signs. But with everyone jumping on the social media bandwagon, it will be the realtors who execute tactful outreach, as Bernice prescribes, that reap the greatest benefits.
In part two of her series, Bernice advises realtors to start Facebook business or fan pages, and participate in video testimonials and two-way exchanges with contacts. These are all great tips that can have real benefits.
However, we built Stik.com as a low-maintenance alternative tool for realtors, and other time-pressed professionals, to tap into the power of social networks without becoming a full-fledged guru on their own. After creating a Stik.com profile in a matter of 60 seconds, professionals can request recommendations from any or all of their Facebook friends and then get back to other work while recommendations – and the SEO juice that comes with them – roll in.
Practicing the etiquette and protocol that Bernice and others suggest is certainly a good idea, but zeroing in on the time investments that will deliver the most business should be the priority.